Gravedigger V started to play as The Shamen inside Chris Gast's garage around 1983 in San Diego. Leighton Koizumi led them on vocals beside Chris on bass there were Ted Friedman on lead guitar with his show of echoes, fuzz and feedbacks and a guy called Matt on drums, who was soon replaced by David Anderson. John Hanrattie on rhythm guitar completed the line-up (he had no aptitude for playing it, but at least thanks to him December's Children, the best fanzine devoted to the Stones' sixties era, was born). Prevalently their first concerts consisted of covers and their performances left much to be desired, but with Ron Rimsite's help (editor of 99th Floor zine) they began to become popular and making progress from a technical point of view. Greg Shaw was interested in them and released at the end of 1984 their first album. Tom Ward took the place of Chris shortly before. The other Voxx issues were censured G5 defined awful the track used in a compilation and Leighton himself took offence at the posthumous anthology that aligned seven tracks among demos and outtakes and a whole live side recorded in June 1984 in a horrible way; although from a qualitative point of view takes like the title-track, Be A Caveman cover, Drivin' Me Insane, Night Of The Phantom and No Good Woman sung with Pandora's Paula Pierce saved themselves, it was accused of speculating for Gravediggers' legend by some of music press. Before the release of All Black And Hairy the band split: Hanrattie went on doing the independent publisher, David and Tom joined Manual Scan recording a mod album while Leighton and Ted with guitarist Tom Clarke, bassist Jeff Lucas and drummer Mark Mullen created The Morlocks.
Whilst the Gravediggers' first LP came out, the new band was recording for Midnight Records of NYC its first album, using an original sixties smashed set under the production of Nadroj Wolrat (alias Jordan Tarlow, ex Outta-Place); The Tell-Tale Hearts lent them the instruments they destroyed at a gig played in San Francisco two days before. It was a final impact under the b-side: Project Blue (Banshees), It Don't Take Much and One-Way Ticket. Then the band left San Diego and moved to San Francisco that seemed more disposed to perceive their new sound. Ted forsook the group and Tarlow replaced him. The results on their sound showed themselves on their second album released through Brett Gurewitz's label: it was a live recording made in 1986 in Berkeley that featured some covers again Get Out Of My Life Woman (Allen Toussaint for Lee Dorsey), Leavin' Here (Birds' version) and Your Body Not Your Soul (Cuby & The Blizzards) but clear studio-manipulations of the audience's noises induced someone to think it was a feigned live. Before the summer of 1987, shortly after a concert performed at the Fillmore supporting The Cult, Jordan went away, essentially for drug problems that caused some disagreements, and joined The Fuzztones. So did Jeff who instead became a skin-head! Those left behind recorded under Ron Rimsite's production the tracks released later on two posthumous singles then faded out.
In 1991 the third album came from Croatia: it was recorded live in 1986 and 1988 in Berkeley, LA and San Diego and featured the covers of You Mistreat Me (Outsiders), Born Loser (Murphy & The Mob), Superstupid (Funkadelic!), Cry In The Night (Q65), Double Decker Bus (Count V) and By My Side (Elois) as well as the alternate versions of two of the tracks issued on the singles, You Must Not Be Seen As I Am and Under The Wheel.
About Leighton someone guessed the aids killed him in 1990 but two years later some rumours from San Diego gave him out clean and ready to start again, then nothing else Till the beginning of 1998 when they spread the groundless piece of news that he left us forever Not long before a killer live set almost wholly made of covers (Kinks' I Need You, Q65's I Got Nightmares, Bad Roads' Too Bad a.k.a. Outside Looking In and Eyes' When The Night Falls among the others) re-emerged unexpectedly.
The G5 played a reunion show on the 5th of November 1999 in NYC: click here to check out the official site for the event of the end of the century!
At present Tommy Clark lives in Seattle whilst Leighton is involved in a new project called the Featherwood Junction, after the one named Lance Rock Affair didn't carry itself into effect. Read the latest news on the guestbook!
A thousand thanks to Chris Gast, Darren Grealish and to my garage gurus: Claudio Sorge & Federico Ferrari.
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