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Melodic hard rock outfit Axe emerged in 1979 and found success in 1982 with their third studio album, Offering, which yielded the classic rock anthem "Rock 'N' Roll Party in the Streets." The band ceased operations in 1984 after the death of guitarist Mike Osborne, but they re-formed in the mid-'90s with lead vocalist and guitarist Bobby Barth serving as the group's sole constant member. Axe continued to tour and record sporadically as the years progressed, releasing a handful of concert and compilation albums, as well as a trio of studio LPs (1996's Five, 2000's The Crown, and 2019's Final Offering), before officially disbanding. Formed in Gainesville, Florida, in 1977 by former members of Babyface, Axe's original lineup consisted of Edgar J. Riley (vocals), Bobby Barth (guitar,), Mike Osborne (guitar), Michael Turpin (bass), and Teddy Mueller (drums). Signed to MCA, the band issued their eponymous debut album in 1979, with Living on the Edge arriving one year later. They inked a deal with Atco ahead of the release of their third full-length effort, 1982's Offering. The LP cracked the Billboard 200, peaking at number 81 on the strength of the radio hits "Rock 'N' Roll Party in the Streets" and "Now or Never," and helped get Axe onto the arena circuit, where they shared stages with the likes of Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Deep Purple, Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Cheap Trick, and ZZ Top. 1983's Nemesis breached the outer reaches of the charts, but tragedy struck the following year when guitarist Mike Osborne was killed in an automobile crash, which also badly injured Bobby Barth, bringing Axe's upward trajectory to a halt. The bandmembers went their separate ways shortly thereafter, and Barth briefly joined Blackfoot before mounting Axe again late in the 1990s with a revised lineup that included ex-Frank Zappa vocalist Bob Harris, Edgar Riley, Jr. on keyboards and backing vocals, drummer Teddy Mueller, bassist Blake Eberhard, vocalist Bob Harris, and keyboardist Rob Lowe. The group issued the studio LP Five in 1996, followed by a pair of compilation sets (20 Years from Home) that featured re-recorded versions of cuts from Axe's first four albums. The Crown appeared in 2000, with the concert LP Live in America 1981 arriving the following year. Barth rejoined Blackfoot in 2004 and Axe remained largely inactive over the next decade -- longtime drummer Ted Mueller passed away in 2012. In 2018 the band announced that they would be releasing a new studio album. Billed as the group's last record, the resulting Final Offering -- which featured a lineup consisting of Barth, Bob Harris, Gerald Berger, Scott Misner, Brad Banhagel, and Craig Gysler -- arrived in 2019.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo


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