Veil of Ashes was an alternative band from Oakland, California that was a favorite in the San Francisco club scene. Though Christians, they felt that they wouldn’t and shouldn’t be confined to the church circuit, making them one of the first Christian bands to play a constant string of secular clubs and to appear with some of the major secular artists of the day. They helped pave the road for many of the Christian bands that are in the secular arena now. Headlining such bay area clubs as The Omni, the Stone, Bottom of the Hill, the Berkley Square and Madame Wongs in Southern California. Their very first show was at the legendary Mabuhay Gardens (the Dead Kennedy’s, Iggy Pop, the Ramones, Devo). Veil of Ashes also had the opportunity to play Cornerstone Festival twice, Great America, Waterworld, and Knott’s Berry Farm. They also were asked to perform at Colleges like Pepperdine University and San Jose State. Veil of Ashes performed live on several secular radio stations in the Bay Area. They received national college radio attention with their songs reaching as high as the number one slot on many.Hipness credentials were incredibly high: the late Gene Eugene of Adam Again and the Lost Dogs produced the Frontline album Pain (voted in 2010 the number 352nd Christian album of all time) that included background vocals by the Choir’s Steve Hindalong and Derri Daugherty. Their song from this album “the Cross Was His Own” was featured on a compilation album entitled Frontline Classics. They appeared with bands like The Choir, The 77′s, Undercover, the Violet Burning, Tonio K., Mad at the World, the Altar Boys, Dead Artist Syndrome, Chris Isaak, Social Distortion, the Mighty Lemon Drops, the Psychedelic Furs, the Call, the Ocean Blue, 4 Non Blondes, the Graces (3 members of the Go-Go’s), Grapes of Wrath and many others.
Charlotte Caffey (guitarist of the Go-Go’s) commented that the lead singer Sean Doty had one of the best voices she had ever heard. Gene Simmons of KISS was quoted as saying, “they would be a great band if they left the ‘Jesus stuff’ out”. The band “LIVE” was heard to say that Veil of Ashes was an early favorite on Christian radio during their high school church years. And Peter Murphy is a facebook fan of the band.
The first album, PAIN, yielded a top ten Christian Rock single “Without Eyes”, beating out Petra that month. Pulse magazine named Pain as one of the top ten Christian albums of the year. The band changed it’s name to Veil for their second album, Mr. Sunshine on the Eden record label, that yielded a hit single “Queen For A Day”. The song was eventually banned by several Christian radio stations because it was a subtle yet distinguishable tribute to Freddie Mercury and the group Queen. The album itself was banned by several Christian bookstores because of the joker face on the cover. Interestingly enough after all that banning, the song, “Stygian Shore” was used in an Easter musical performed in churches throughout the world. Veil of Ashes built a cult following sufficient to justify a compilation album on Michael Knott’s Blonde Vinyl label entitled The Young and the Reckless (the Regression of Veil of Ashes) that pulled most of it’s material from their independent releases, Prayers for the World and Negro (not a racist term but the word for Black in Spanish).
Musically, according to reviewers, the band had a sound that sometimes recalled the Doors and U2, though critics would also notice touches of more obscure bands like The Cult, the Cure, and Gene Loves Jezebel.
ALSO THE SOON TO BE RELEASED ALBUM . . . “ETERNAL TEENAGE ANGST” in 2012
Graceland/Frontline, Blonde Vinyl, Eden Records
Brian Kirsch (Sterling) – bass, backing vocals.
Sean Doty – guitar, vocals, piano, harmonica
Phil Meads – drums and percussion
Lance Harris – guitar, keyboard, Hammond B3
Jeff Love – keyboard
Jeremy Hawley – drums
Scott Anderson – guitar
Mike Jackson – drums, percussion
Rich Medina – keyboard
Brenden Merithew – guitar
Additional musicians and artists on recordings only:
Nelson DeMarco – keyboard
Gene Eugene – piano
Derri Daugherty – background vocals
Steve Hindalong – background vocals, percussion
Joe Linn – percussion
Masaki Liu – violin
Nelson DeMArco (Negro and most tracks on The Young and the Reckless)
Gene Eugene (Pain)
Masaki Liu and band (Mr. Sunshine)
Shona Davidson, Lisa Lorraine, King Harris
“This is a band to watch” – CCM
“Explores the turmoil of the poor in spirit and seeks deep-rooted faith in black times” – Harvest Magazine
“In my humble opinion this is the best new music on the market” – The Obligator
“The songs paint small patches of a world that is searching for answers” – The Cutting Edge
“Pain is one person’s spiritual journey. From the questions/confusion of a young man (Times They Are A Changin’), to disillusionment with the world’s values (And They Call It Love, Without Eyes) and on to the thoughts of suicide (Corpse, Suicide). Then God makes His presence known (She), and Satan attacks (Take My Hand). The final four songs (Testimony, The Cross Was His Own, Hide Me, Come Unto Me) trace his spiritual strengthening and salvation.” – Frontline promotional release for the album Pain.
Much that comes out of AMerica’s Christian music underground is derivative and immature by bands hooked on some transitory concept of hipness. But for all that there are bands in the underground who are musical pioneers with the vision of prophets and a determination to break new barriers both lyrical and musical. Such a … band are My Little Dog China from Montana. Superficially, their noise-pop/punk fusion resembles a band like Sonic Youth but here you’ll find traces of hardcore, grunge and even the lilting lyricism of the Choir (Steve Hindalong produced this set). Their lyrics bristle with anger, compassion, hope and despair. Will this team be another Veil Of Ashes producing one brilliant album then disappearing or will their songs – several of which savagely attack the lies and consumerism of the rock industry – draw a sufficiently large audience to enable them to give up their day jobs? That paradoxically rests with you the rock consumer. All I can say is that this is a great rock album. My Little Dog China review – Tony Cummings
Rolling Stones, Beatles, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, the Doors, the Who, David Bowie, Velvet Underground, the Kinks, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cocteau Twins, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, the Cult, The Damned, Southern Death Cult, This Mortal Coil, Flesh for Lulu, the Mission UK, Dead Can Dance, Fields of the Nephilim, Gene Loves Jezebel, Iggy Pop, Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnyman, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure, Killing Joke, Public Image Ltd, Smithereens, the Call, the Alarm, U2, World Party, R.E.M., New Order, the Sugarcubes, the Replacements, My Bloody Valentine, the Smiths, Sonic Youth, XTC, Depeche Mode, Psychedelic Furs, Dream Syndicate, My Bloody Valentine, the Jesus and the Mary Chain, Pixies, Van Morrison, Peter Murphy, Peter Gabriel, the Stone Roses