IRON GREY

IRON GREY (Yves Lettanie live @ Hard 'N' Heavy festival, Gildenhuis, Zele, March 23rd 1985) (picture courtesy of and provided by Henri van Dommelen)


Biography

Hailing from Mechelen, the origins of IRON GREY go way back to January of 1981, when a band named BLACK WIDOW was founded by Yves Lettanie (vocals & bass), Peter Holemans (guitar) and drummer Jurgen Walldraf. Despite their tender age at the time (15, 12 and 11!) BLACK WIDOW started to write original material right from the start. BLACK WIDOW's first ever live gig followed on August 31 of 1981. In October of 1981 Yves Lettanie decided to concentrate on the vocals only, so the band had to look for a new bassist. Enter Christof Somers. In February of 1982 however Christof was replaced already, by Patrick Troch. The band continued to play live several times over the course of 1982. The band also participated in Humo's Rock Rally '82 talent contest and as such played at Tsentroem in Mechelen on April 16th 1982. By this time the bandname had already been changed into IRON GREY.

In February of 1983 bassist Patrick Troch left IRON GREY due to personal reasons. After a couple of bassists were tried out, they finally settled on Frank 'Bertje' Verdier. On April 23rd IRON GREY played alongside the likes of AXEL, CROSSFIRE, DINO's GANG, NEW VOICE and RAZOR at a Free Podium gig in Aalst. In September of 1983 drummer Jurgen was forced to quit, simply because he couldn't keep up with the rest of the band. Enter (then) 28-year old Rudy Lauman (ex NICKLE, ex COGNAC). The band's repertoire in those days included the likes of You're A Loser, We're The Angels, Are You Ready, Prince Of Darkness, Devil Device, Weekend Warrior and Rock This Town. Covers that they used to play included VAN HALEN's Somebody Get Me A Doctor and ACCEPT's Son Of A Bitch. The band started to play bigger live shows as well, in such places as Aalst, Brugge and their hometown Mechelen, including a couple of support slots to CROSSFIRE and KILLER. Still not satisfied with their sound they started a search for an extra guitarist. Which proved to be a difficult and time consuming task : IRON GREY tried out at least ten guitarists and at last they found the right guy in Dirk Renson, in March of 1984.

On May 19th 1984 IRON GREY was the support act for Holland's HIGHWAY CHILE in Zottegem. Which must've been very successful, as the band received offers from several record labels afterwards, including Antler, Mausoleum and Roadrunner. Plans were being made to do more touring in Belgium (with THUNDERFIRE) and in Holland (with HIGHWAY CHILE), but I'm not sure if this ever materialised. On June 20th 1984 IRON GREY recorded their first claim to fame, the Metal Item demo. A couple more shows followed during the summer, until drummer Rudy Lauman decided to leave, due to personal reasons. By the time that the Metal Item demo was finally released a new drummer had already been found in Marc 'Jimmy' Hendrickx (ex SHOGUN). Shortly after bassist Frank Verdier decided to quit as well, in order to form his own band, SCARVILLE, who later changed their name to EL LOCO. By September of 1984 IRON GREY had found a suitable replacement in bassist Benny Vercammen (ex WHITE FANG, ex SHOGUN). On September 1st 1984 IRON GREY were part of the Heffens Rockfestival in ... Heffen. Other bands on the line-up that day were EXPORTS, TRAIN and VICTIM

On March 23rd 1985 IRON GREY were part of the first Hard & Heavy festival at the Gildenhuis in Zele. Headliners that night were locals TRIAL and also on the bill were EXOCET and EXPLORER, another local band. Apart from four out of their six demotunes, IRON GREY also performed another bunch of original tunes, such as I Don't Care, When Diamonds Don't Glitter Anymore, Naturande Monta (instrumental), Breaking The Chain and Prince Of Darkness. Plus covers of MONTROSE's Rock The Nation and UFO's Doctor Doctor. The latter resulted in the singers from EXOCET and EXPLORER, as well as all five TRIAL members joining IRON GREY on stage and help Yves sing the song.

By mid 1985 internal problems started to pop up in the ranks of IRON GREY, and a split turned out to be inevitable. Two more gigs were supposed to be done (in Denderleeuw on September 14th and at the Giants Of Metal festival at Zaal Lux in Herenthout on September 21st) but were cancelled in the end.

However, earlier on in 1985 IRON GREY had submitted a copy of their demo to an organisation called Pink Productions, in order to participate in a battle of the bands that went by the name of Metal Race. In the end 60 demos were sent in for selection, originating from Belgium as well as France, Germany and Holland. IRON GREY was voted among the best 10 entries and thus automatically advanced to the semi-final on November 3rd 1985, at The Smash in Zottegem. Reason enough for the band to reunite. Eventually IRON GREY made it to the Metal Race final, alongside CYCLONE, EXPLORER and LIGHTNING FIRE. The final was held at The Smash in Zottegem on November 15th and IRON GREY came out as the winners by a noselength, just prior to EXPLORER, LIGHTNING FIRE and CYCLONE respectively.

All four bands' performances were recorded that day, and in early 1986 Roadrunner Records released a compilation LP, appropriately titled Metal Race, which included two songs by each band. And as a direct result of winning the Metal Race event, IRON GREY were able to sign a deal with Roadrunner as well.

On March 14th 1986 IRON GREY supported KILLER at Zaal Monty in Heist-op-den-Berg. The band played plenty of new songs on this occasion, all of which were set for inclusion on their debut LP. Plans for more local shows had already been made as well, and plans for a short tour through Holland and Germany were in the works too. Still, although there was talk of their debut LP being released, in the end nothing ever happened, and in the end IRON GREY ceased to exist ... again.

Still the story wasn't over yet ... In mid 1986 vocalist Yves Lettanie decided to change his stagename to Steve Grey and, together with longtime IRON GREY guitarist Peter Holemans, a new project started to take shape : STEVE GREY, the band. The STEVE GREY line-up was completed soon with the addition of Eric Vandam, Dirk Pluymers and Stef Derycke. New songs were being written and STEVE GREY intended to release an LP on Roadrunner at last, as Yves and Peter were still tied to the contract with said Dutch record label. In the end nothing ever materialized though ...

Yves Lettanie (or Steve Grey, if you like) would eventually surface in TARGET, replacing original vocalist Guy De Graeve in mid 1988. Then known as Steve Gray, Yves recorded the vocals for TARGET's second LP/CD (Master Project Genesis) in September of 1988, played several TARGET shows in 1989, but by early 1990 he was gone again already ...


Discography

1984 : Metal Item (demo) {Key To Freedom, Keep Running, You're A Loser, Werewolf's Attack, Nighthunter, Metal Item}

1986 : Key To Freedom & Werewolf's Attack released on Metal Race compilation LP (Roadrunner Records)


Consulted people

Vercammen Benny


First posted

December 12th 2006


Latest adjustment

October 7th 2007 (June 23rd 2007)




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