History & BiographyIcon released a 1980 demo featuring David Michael Phillips, called Singin’ Shoutin’, independently through its own Attendance Records and was soon discovered by Shrapnel Records' Mike Varney. The 'boys also appeared on the Arizona Sounds compilation. The Phoenix-based group signed to Capitol Records America and issued two albums with Clifford on vocals. Interestingly, Clifford’s father was the band’s first manager. The singer would quit on July 3, 1985 following a split with his girlfriend which would lead to his finding God, Christ and three wise men. Several members would work on his solo album years later though. The group was dropped following the loss of the singer and Night Of The Crime. The band auditioned again for Capitol records, with the Tommy Aldridge-recommended Harrison, but to no avail. The band's 1986 demos soon became A More Perfect Union. The band would replace the departed Aquilino with keyboardist Stoller in 1987. The keys man had worked with the band in the past. Icon signed on to the independent Megaforce Records. Leading up to the new deal the band was rumoured to be touring statewide under the Assmaster monicker! Ironically, the fourth album turned out to be the band's best-promoted release. Guitarist Wexler - he had also produced the band's last album - would find time to write and record with Alice Cooper. Wexler and the rest of the band would also work with Lydian, a female solo artist from Phoenix, for her 1990 album With A Vengeance. In the meanwhile, the band had jumped on the Bon Jovi and Skid Row tour. Lauser would soon take over the drums. More shows with label-mates Ace Frehley would follow.
1984: Live Bootleg featured songs from the first two albums, a video and four unreleased songs. It was issued independently in 1999 and reissued by Epicenter Multimedia in 2008. Rock Candy Records re-issued the band’s Night Of The Crime album in 2005. The band inevitably reformed in 2008 following a couple of rereleases. The band featured original guitarists Dan Wexler and John Aquilino and has just parted ways with drummer Bruce Stoddard in favour of original man Pat Dixon. The band was recording a new album.
ICON - NIGHT OF THE CRIME - ROCK CANDY
Apparently Night Of The Crime, the Phoenix hard rockers’ second full-length album, was softer and more commercial than its predecessor, Icon’s self-titled LP. The band was going for a more palatable sound, hoping for increased sales, given the relative disappointment of the debut’s sales figures. The album was produced by Eddie Kramer and co-written by Bob Halligan Jnr.
Expecting a hard rocking tour-de-force, it was a surprise to hear an album of AOR-cum-hard rock that is more in tune with Loverboy and Night Ranger than Judas Priest and Dokken. This is why the first half of the album goes by pretty inconspicuously. No matter what the claims of the extensive liner notes - it is always a good thing when the record company honcho is head over heels in love with your music - songs like Naked Eyes and Missing are deliberate commercial radio fodder. Funny, this sort of thing usually backfires and does not sell. Witness the progress the likes of Mötley Crüe and W.A.S.P. made versus Icon’s name recognition. The opening keyboard chords of the album could not have been a good sign.
It is only the second half of the album that salvages Icon’s 1985 release. It is after a two-minute intro that the song Out For Blood - also the title for a Lita Ford album two years earlier - raises the roof with a power chord, lead and soaring vocals that is analogous to the best things Ratt ever wrote. Also on this side is the heavier Raise The Hammer (no kidding that they are out for blood!) with its crunchy guitar sound, anthemic Rock My Radio and the L.A.-ish and classy The Whites Of Their Eyes. Now, these are more likely to raise fists.
Rock candy’s edition of Night Of The Crime forfeits a lyric sheet, but comes with extensive liner notes, photography and cut-outs of vintage articles on the band. That is value for money. - Ali “The Metallian”