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Warrior Soul

Warrior Soul is an outspoken hard rock outfit led by firebrand performance artist and drummer Kory Clarke. Emerging in 1987, the band's incendiary mix of anarchic art-rock and alternative heavy metal earned them a multi-album deal with Geffen Records. Commencing with Last Decade Dead Century, the group issued a string of volatile studio albums like Drugs, God and the New Republic, Salutations from the Ghetto Nation, and Chill Pill before ceasing operations in 1995. Clarke re-formed Warrior Soul in 2007 and forged on with a rotating cast of players into the 2010s and beyond, touring the world and releasing late-career efforts like Stiff Middle Finger (2012), Back on the Lash (2017), and Out on Bail (2022) that combine politically charged invective with gritty, punk-addled rock & roll. A Southeast Michigan native, Clarke got his start as the drummer for Detroit-based punks L7 (not the all-female L.A. group) and Pennsylvania Southern rockers Raging Slab. He promoted himself to stage front when he founded Warrior Soul in 1987 in New York City with guitarist John Ricco, bassist Pete McLanahan, and drummer Paul Ferguson. Drawing from his one-person performance art shows, Clarke concocted a Stooges- and MC5-style blend of political activism and art-rock tendencies and soon landed a record deal with Geffen. Warrior Soul's first album, 1990's Last Decade Dead Century, was a critical sensation, especially in the U.K., where listeners readily embraced the band's political moxie and insurrectionist rantings as the next big thing. However, while Clarke certainly had the potential to become Generation X's leading mainstream-bashing poet, the metallic hard rock sound he chose rubbed up against Nirvana's nihilistic post-punk/alternative style, which ultimately won out commercially. 1991's Drugs, God and the New Republic (featuring new drummer Mark Evans) and 1992's Salutations from the Ghetto Nation took the band's anarchist leanings even further. Clarke's interviews became increasingly bitter, focusing on the band's record label, which he accused of ignoring the group's potential. Eventually, Clarke resorted to an all-out war, telling all who would listen that 1993's Chill Pill had been botched to fulfill the band's contract. The ploy worked, and by early 1994 Warrior Soul was dropped by Geffen. Multiple lineup changes ensued, beginning with the departure of drummer Evans and the eventual ousting of longtime axeman Ricco, replaced by two guitarists: Chris Moffet and Alexander Arundel (aka X-Factor). Clarke then sought to reinvent Warrior Soul as self-appointed cyberpunks for their fifth album, 1995's Space Age Playboys, released on the independent Futurist label. Clarke disbanded Warrior Soul later that year. A posthumous collection of demos and outtakes entitled Odds and Ends appeared in 1996, and Clarke went on to form a new group called Space Age Playboys. In 2007, Clarke revived the name and set out on a tour of the U.K with a new batch of musicians. A live album soon followed, and in 2008 Warrior Soul released a new studio album titled Chinese Democracy (though they soon retitled it Destroy the War Machine in deference to the Guns N' Roses album of the same name). In 2012, another new lineup issued the full-length Stiff Middle Finger, followed by a European and U.S. tour. A concert LP, Tough as Fuck: Live in Athens, arrived in 2016, followed by a trio of gritty, no-holds-barred studio albums: Back on the Lash (2017), Rock 'n' Roll Disease (2019), and Out on Bail.
© Eduardo Rivadavia & James Christopher Monger /TiVo

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