Circus of Power

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Hard rock act who formed out of New York's sleaze rock scene in the late '80s.
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Circus of Power practically personified New York's sleaze rock scene during the late '80s and early '90s. Despite the band's failure to reach radio or MTV acceptance, they managed several major-label releases and toured with some of the biggest names in rock. The group's music and image had an edge that -- while similar to many of America's post-Guns N' Roses gutter-centric outfits -- reflected their all-important New York City roots. Their urban jungle was a different one; it was more jungle-like in its toughness and stark reality.

Still Alive ...
After slugging it out in the New York club scene for a while in the '80s, Circus of Power were signed to RCA Records and in 1988 their eponymous debut was shipped. The lineup for this first full-length consisted of Alex Mitchell (vocals), Ryan Maher (drums), Ricky Beck Maler (guitars), and bassist Gary Sunshine. The "blues-based" sleaze rock direction of Circus of Power set the standard for the group's successive releases with its midtempo swagger and stories of debauchery in all its varieties. The group followed up their debut with 1989's Still Alive, and 1990's Vices followed as the band made their first lineup change. Sunshine moved from bass to second guitar and new bassist Zowie Ackerman was brought into the band. RCA, unimpressed with the band's record sales, dropped them, opening the door for a new deal from Columbia. During this time, Ackerman was replaced on bass by Mark Frappier and Maher left the group to be replaced by drummer Victor Indrizzo. In 1993, their third LP, Magic and Madness, was released on Columbia, but by this time, even the best bands of this pedigree were struggling as the hard drinking, hard living, long-haired rock & roll of the late '80s had gone thoroughly out of style.

Circus of Power eventually disbanded in the mid-'90s, though over the coming years they re-formed a handful of times for one-off shows, most notably for a pair of 20th anniversary shows in 2006. Another decade passed before Mitchell revived the band with an entirely new lineup and entered the studio. Behind the singles "Hard Drivin' Sister" and "Fast and Easy," Circus of Power returned in late 2017 with Four, their first new album in 24 years.