THE WAR FOR WORLD DOMINATION
(by Alex Pouss)
BATTALION began in November of 1989. Lead guitarist, Chuck Marshall had developed a number of ideas for original music and decided to start up a band. Chuck first hooked up with Kevin Linn. They had gone to high school together and Kevin had re-newed Chuck's interest in guitar back then. Together they started searching the area for bass, drums and vocals. In early December, Tony Doan joined the band. He was just 16, but an exceptionally good bass player with much enthusiasm. The three of them jammed and refined the tunes Chuck had started while continuing to seek members to complete the band. At this time there was no name for the band. "THE BLACK" was toyed with early on, but another band was using that name, so Kevin came up with BATTALION. BATTALION sounded cool and everyone liked the imagery of the band as a powerful war unit consumed by aggression.
In early '90 the first incarnation of BATTALION was born with Bill Walters on vocals and Dave Macy on drums. None of the band members had much experience and it showed. They practiced hard, but the band never really got tight. BATTALION did one show at a party out in the boonies (Brooklyn, MI) and then broke up. This was in June of 1990.
In August of '90 (somewhere around then), Kevin and Chuck decided to try it again. That Fall they hooked up with Bill Fitzpatrick. Bill didn't have a whole lot of background in real heavy music, but he was a solid drummer with talent. Finally, BATTALION had a drummer that could keep time and jammed (a major breakthrough) !! Around November, Tony Doan got back into the band. The foursome concentrated on developing their sound and grew tighter musically. Here the agonizing process of finding a vocalist started. Many, many, many gomers tried out. Finally, a high school friend of Chuck and Kevin, Keith Poszywak, was picked to fill the slot. Here the second coming of BATTALION emerged in early 1991.
Their first real show in a club was Monday, June 6, 1991 at the Ritz in Roseville, MI (Just east of Detroit). 40 people turned up for the debut and the band made 40 bucks! It was a pretty cool show, given the fact that it was Monday. From there, BATTALION tried hooking up gigs, wherever they could, usually for little or no money (probably more like a loss, when you figure in transportation and promotion costs). As BATTALION played out more and more, the band's stage presence and sound improved.
In September of 1991, the debut "BATTALION" was recorded at the SchoolHouse in Ann Arbor. Everything was recorded in two marathon days. The only one of the band members that had ever even seen a recording studio was Bill. All the tunes were recorded live, except vocals and lead guitar. These were done the following day. It was a definite learning experience. About a week later mixing took place at Solid Sound, were the band first worked with Geoff Michael (the engineer/co-producer of EXCESSIVE FORCE). The mixing took a couple of tries because what was recorded and what everyone wanted to hear, were not the same. In the end, the band had a decent debut with good original material, but the final product suffered from poor sound and production.
It was during this time (Fall of '91) that BATTALION teamed up with Jeff Cooch. Jeff is the Editor of Epitaph Magazine, an Ann Arbor based metal magazine that features local and national talent. Chuck had been doing most of the management/promotion and it was not working well. Chuck didn't have any connections with the clubs and seemed to have a lack of persuasive power with club owners. The band decided to look for outside help in this area and Jeff looked like he might fit the bill.
Jeff helped in developing promotional materials and using the connections he had with other bands in the area, to get BATTALION on the road. Once duplication of BATTALION debut tape was completed in December, 1991, they started putting it in area stores and promoting it with shows and advertisement in Michigan and Ohio.
The band ended up putting the tape in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Toledo OH, and Windsor Ontario. The tape was also sent to local radio stations. The tape got a lot of good support from local college/high school radio. BATTALION's debut release sold fairly well and the band started to gain a following. At this time BATTALION was doing shows with local bands such as Harms Way, Halloween, Typhoid Mary and national act, Damien.
BATTALION continued to tour the Michigan/Ohio area until July of 1992, when Keith decided to leave the band to devote his full attention to his carpentry business. The rest of the band immediately started a search for a new vocalist. This again was a grueling process that resulted in a guy named Twist from Monroe, MI, joining the band. He had a very different musical background. Being more from the alternative music scene, Twist added a new dimension to the band. Twist picked up BATTALION's existing material very quickly and together they developed some really good new material (which is on the new tape). BATTALION quickly resumed touring of the Midwest and began thinking about recording another tape.
But, as fate would have it, BATTALION found themselves again without a vocalist. In January of 1993, just as they were preparing to go into the studio, Twist announced that he was moving to New York with his girlfriend. This was a devastating blow to the band. Demoralized, the search for a new vocalist didn't begin until February. While searching for a new vocalist, BATTALION decided to go ahead with recording the new tape.
Recording of EXCESSIVE FORCE began in March of 1993. On this tape the band's goal was quality, both in musical performance and in the production. Working with Geoff Michael at Al's Audio Diner (now Big Sky Recording) in Ann Arbor, BATTALION spent a lot of time making sure the sounds that they recorded were what they wanted to hear. Thanks to Geoff's guidance and Bill Fitzpatrick's attention to detail, the new tape is miles beyond the band's previous work.
While working on EXCESSIVE FORCE, the painful task of auditioning for a new vocalist continued. After many brave attempts by various people (including Chuck and his brother), BATTALION hit upon the former vocalist for Harms Way, Lee Davis in April 1993. Lee had the vocal stylings that fit BATTALION's new direction in music, perfectly. With his energy and enthusiasm for music and performing, the band was driven toward a higher plane of power. Lee diligently worked to get up to speed. With Lee, BATTALION forged more tunes to complete the recording of EXCESSIVE FORCE in June 1993.
Due to financial constraints (ie. the band was broke), EXCESSIVE FORCE was not released until early 1994. BATTALION toured as much as possible in Michigan, Ohio, Pennisylvania, and topped off the tour with an appearance at the Milwaukee Metal Fest with Slayer and a host of other great metal bands. Sales of the EXCESSIVE FORCE tape took off with sale of 1,000 tapes by June 1994. Sales included many foreign metalheads, especially from Germany where metal music is greatly appreciated. Many positive reviews of the tape in various metal magazines and metal radio programs propelled tape sales even higher. By the start of 1995, BATTALION's battle for world domination was well underway!
Unfortunately, all things must pass. Such was the fate of the band called BATTALION. Mainly due to personal and financial issues, the band broke up in the spring of 1995. Each member has gone their seperate ways, but the music lives on!!! Even today, people continue to ask about the band and look for new music. While a reunion is probably out of the question, rumors of new music being created by the founders has hit this writers ear. We can only hope this is true. Until then we still have EXCESSIVE FORCE!