Forgotten Gems: R.U. Deadly-Various Demos
This particular Forgotten Gem is going to be a little different. For one thing Salem, Ohio's R.U. Deadly were never able to secure a record contract. The band, which was active from 1987 to 1998, released three demos ("Burial at Sea" in 1990, "Into the Light" in 1992 and "R.U. Deadly" in 1995) and shared the stage with such acts as Manowar, LA Guns, Bruce Dickinson (solo tour), Chastain, Blue Oyster Cult, Slaughter, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, Noisy Mama, and Pat Travers. Despite a sizable cult following and positive press this four-piece remained unsigned. While a reunion did take place in November of 2006 (it was a benefit concert with all proceeds going to offset the costs incurred with the murder of Shaun Maloy's son Damian) for now it looks as if the band is more or less on hold. Especially since the band members themselves are spread across the country according to their old Myspace page. Below I will post a link where you can preview and download these demos yourself. So, why choose to cover an unsigned band? Why was the band never able to achieve greater success despite playing out frequently and shopping their demo to any and every label known to mankind? Well, for that first question the answer is quite simple. R.U. Deadly were made up of four guys who obviously love metal first and foremost. The band (who I believe I actually saw live at least once back in the blur I call my younger days) was made up of the same four guys throughout their decade-long run. R.U. Deadly included vocalist Shaun Maloy, guitarist Rick Wright, bassist Mike "Metal Pete" McCollum and drummer Rich "Mad Max" McIe. They played killer power metal/thrash along the lines of (early) Death Angel, Exodus, Omen, Heathen, Metal Church, early Testament and Chemikill (who incidentally bassist Mike "Metal Pete" McCollum played live with at least once) that was played with an equal amount of intensity and skill. This U.S. steel band, whose influences were "Savatage, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Alice Cooper, Pantera, Metallica, Metal Church, Trouble, and metal in all it's forms...." managed to sell some 2000+ tapes by themselves plus t-shirts and other forms of merchandise. Not band for a band that never managed to attract major label interest. Which brings us back to the question of why exactly did major labels (or even independent labels for that matter) miss what was almost certainly a sure-thing? They had a built in fan club and band stability throughout a whole decade('87-'97). Not many bands can claim that right? The songs are just cool. That's right. They are just cool slabs of power/thrash with catchy riffs and sweet lead guitar work. These four guys knew how to write fun heavy metal. All I can think is that they were either not thrash enough for labels who wanted the next Metallica or Slayer or two heavy for a band to be in the era of grunge. Thankfully the demos are all well-produced so there is (more or less) a full-length album's worth of great tunes sure to please U.S. metal fans. With good bands like this just waiting to be rediscovered I'm glad we have places like Strappado's Rare And Obscure Metal site.