Assessing his own songs as ‘the dark side of the American highway’, Robbie Allen, singer and songwriter with Los Angeles, California’s Thermadore, has propelled his band to the edges of the US mainstream within a few short years of formation. Guitarist David King and bass player Chris Wagner had recorded two albums together with Mary’s Danish before that group broke up in 1993. They subsequently teamed up with Allen, an employee on the psychiatric ward of the Norwalk State Hospital, California. He had left that post to work as a roadie, T-shirt salesman and guitar technician for the Red Hot Chili Peppers - the group who had befriended Mary’s Danish in the late 80s. The trio put Thermadore on a permanent footing in 1995, and immediately set about recording Monkey On Rico. This featured a star guest cast - in addition to Mary’s Danish singer Julie Ritter, Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, Chad Smith of the Chili Peppers and Josh Freese of Slider also contributed. Actress Rain Phoenix also collaborated with Allen on the band’s version of ‘Everything’s Alright’ - included on the soundtrack to a new version of Jesus Christ Superstar. The album was well received in the mainstream press - early converts to the band’s cause including Rolling Stone.
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