After leaving (or getting fired from -- depends who you ask) Kiss in 1984, guitarist Vinnie Vincent put together his own outfit shortly thereafter called the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. Filling the bass slot in Vincent's band was Dana Strum, a veteran of the L.A. metal scene who had also acted as a talent scout of sorts for both Ozzy Osbourne and Kiss, helping to recruit both the late-great Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee for Osbourne's band, and none other than Mr. Vincent himself for Kiss (and his subsequent replacement in the band, Mark St. John), with the muscle-bound Bobby Rock handling the drums. The trio set out to find a suitable lead singer, and was impressed by an audition tape from a newcomer, but the applicant failed to include a name or contact info. With a record contract with Chrysalis waiting in the wings, the band hired one-time Journey singer Robert Fleischman to impersonate the unknown singer's vocal style (which bore more than a passing resemblance to Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant). But just one look at the group's promo pictures at the time clearly showed that Fleischman didn't fit in with the group's dolled-up image.
The quartet issued their self-titled debut album in the fall of 1986, which showcased Vincent's speed-demon guitar solos, as the music (and the band's look) was identical to the glam/pop-metal movement that was permeating MTV and the charts at the time (M+¦tley Cr++e, Poison, Ratt, etc.). Shortly after the album's release, the band was contacted by the "mystery singer" who they had tried to track down previously, Mark Slaughter, who was immediately welcomed in to the band as Fleischman's replacement. Vinnie Vincent Invasion sold respectfully, almost hitting the gold mark, as the quartet toured the U.S. opening up for Alice Cooper. But by the time their sophomore effort appeared two years later, 1988's All Systems Go, interest in the band had waned, and it was becoming increasingly hard for the other bandmembers to get along with Vincent, who felt that he treated the band as merely a solo project. By 1989, the Vinnie Vincent Invasion was kaput, but both Strum and Slaughter would go on to achieve success with their post-Invasion band, Slaughter, while Rock manned the kit for pop pretty boys Nelson. Vincent's subsequent recording career didn't fare as well as his former bandmates, however -- all he has issued subsequently was an independent 1996 four-song EP titled Euphoria, which featured the vocal stylings of original Vinnie Vincent Invasion singer Fleischman. Vincent would also write with Kiss again for their back-to-metal 1992 release, Revenge, before attempting to sue them over a royalty dispute. ~ Greg Prato
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