Hellion

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Los Angeles heavy metal band Hellion was founded in 1982 by vocalist Ann Boleyn -- a willful and charismatic character whose singing abilities, it's generally agreed, were actually somewhat inferior to…
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Los Angeles heavy metal band Hellion was founded in 1982 by vocalist Ann Boleyn -- a willful and charismatic character whose singing abilities, it's generally agreed, were actually somewhat inferior to her drive as an entrepreneur, and talent for self-promotion. Somewhere between proclaiming that her lineage reached back directly to the famously decapitated queen, and launching the New Renaissance label with the express purpose of releasing Hellion's albums, Boleyn managed to ensure that her band would enjoy quite a bit of notoriety, and even some measure of commercial success, throughout the 1980s (despite their relatively infrequent and wildly inconsistent output). This, as anyone might expect, initially consisted of several demos and a split single with the similarly female-fronted Bitch, leading up to the release of a six-song EP in 1983, at which point Boleyn, guitarists Ray Schenk and Alan Barlam, bassist Bill Sweet, and drummer Sean Kelly were being managed by none other than Wendy Dio, wife of metal legend Ronnie James Dio. They were also already grabbing headlines throughout the heavy metal rags thanks to Boleyn's aggressive self-mythologizing and shocking stunts like pulling up to a gig at L.A.'s Troubadour in a tank! (Although, to her credit, Boleyn rarely used her sexuality as a marketing tool on the band's album covers.) Despite all this buzz, however, the group's musical talents had yet to attract any major labels, so after a few more years of frustration and setbacks (including Barlam, Sweet, and Kelly's departure to form Burn), Boleyn and Schenk took matters into their own hands and released 1987's Screams in the Night album through their newly launched New Renaissance imprint. They would do the same with the following year's Postcards from the Asylum EP and 1990's The Black Book LP (for which Boleyn literally authored a novel, as a companion piece) -- both of them recorded with part-time musicians and marked by unimpressive heavy rock as anthemic as it was ridden with '80s metal clich├ęs. Finally coming to grips with the verdict of public indifference, Boleyn decided to retire Hellion at this point, refocusing her energies on running New Renaissance (by then a hotbed for underground speed metal acts) and releasing the group's "greatest hits" as the Up from the Depths collection in 1997. She has resurrected Hellion on occasion in the years since (almost always with partner in crime, Schenk), and releases include the Live and Well in Hell LP (1999), The Witching Hour EP (2000), the Queen of Hell compilation (2000), and the Will Not Go Quietly LP (2003).