The band was founded in 1978 in Hagerstown, Maryland as The Shooze, then changed its name to The Generators before eventually settling on Kix. They were considered one of Maryland's top cover bands prior to their signing with Atlantic in 1981. Though considered by many glam metal, the bands pop-metal stylings drew inspiration from bubblegum pop and new wave as well as hard rock.
In 1981, they released their self-titled debut album, Kix, featuring "Atomic Bombs", "Heartache", "Contrary Mary", "The Itch", and "The Kid". "Love at First Sight" instantly became a concert favorite. "Kix Are for Kids" creatively merged the name of the band with two popular cereals of the 1960s and 1970s, Kix (that featured an atomic bomb commercial) and the Trix Rabbit (i.e., "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!"). "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" became the band’s most popular concert song, always with a unique ad-lib performance by lead vocalist Steve Whiteman. With this album, the tongue-in-cheek rock & roll style of Kix was established.
Their 1983 follow-up, Cool Kids, showcased a slightly more commercial side of the band featuring the title song and the single "Body Talk". Somewhat overlooked but a favorite with female fans was the ballad "For Shame".
Kix then partnered up with Ratt and future Warrant producer Beau Hill and in 1985, released the album Midnite Dynamite, featuring a hard rock single by the same name and funk-rock songs "Cold Shower" and "Sex". The album also included the song "Bang Bang Balls of Fire", which was co-written by then-unknown Kip Winger just before he joined Alice Cooper's band.
The band headed west to begin to make a name for themselves in such places as the Sunset Strip, where Mötley Crüe and other glam metal bands rose to stardom. However, while building a name for themselves in L.A. and at a gig opening for fellow rockers Poison at the L.A.'s Country Club, the band thought that much of their stage show had been stolen by that band who, themselves, went on to become one of glam metal's biggest successes.
Kix Band Members
In 1987, lead vocalist Steve Whiteman was one of many musicians heard on Twisted Sister's Love Is for Suckers album. Others included Winger bassist/lead vocalist Kip Winger and guitarist Reb Beach.
Kix went back to the studio to write more songs. In 1988, they released Blow My Fuse, and finally achieved fame as it went platinum. The slow ballad "Don't Close Your Eyes" -- containing anti-suicide lyrics -- led the way and other popular cuts followed. The album featured popular singles "Cold Blood" and "Blow My Fuse" with popular videos showing the band in concert at Hammerjack's. In 1989, the band released Kix, Blow My Fuse, the Videos with their now-popular videos and behind-the-scenes footage. As Kix finally graduated to arenas, they opened for such popular artists as Aerosmith.
Unfortunately, financial disaster happened by way of their original deal with Atlantic. Unbeknownst to them, they had agreed to a contract that gave them relatively nothing. Contract disputes and changes delayed their next album for three years.
The album Hot Wire finally arrived in 1991 with the single, "Girl Money". But it was too late; grunge arrived out of Seattle, replacing hair and glam bands. While on tour in 1992, they made a live album, titled Live at the University of Maryland, College Park. This album, internally referred to as Contractual Obligation Live, was released in 1993. By agreement with Atlantic they were released from their contract with that label. In 1995, the band released their final album Show Business, on CMC records. The album tanked. As Steve Whiteman says, "the music industry started a new party and Kix was not invited." Kix broke-up in 1995, and Hammerjack’s Concert Hall was torn down on June 12, 1997 to make way for a parking lot for the Baltimore Ravens' stadium.
Steve Whiteman would re-emerge as the lead vocalist for local Hagerstown band Funny Money, with whom he continues to work. Jimmy Chalfant has also joined Funny Money as their full-time drummer. Whiteman also teaches voice at The Musician's Institute in Baltimore and Triple R Guitar in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania. Ronnie Younkins moved to L.A. and wrote, recorded and released the album The Slimmer Twins - Lack of Luxury as a collaboration with singer Jeremy L. White in 2000. Back on the east coast he founded The Blues Vultures in 2002, maturing into the lead vocalist and primary songwriter and followed in 2005 with the album The Blues Vultures - Cheap Guitars & Honky Tonk Bars. Brian Forsythe plays in The Snakehandlers and has recently been on tour as the guitar player of Rhino Bucket. Brian can be heard on the Bucket's 2005 release And Then It Got Ugly.
Steve Whiteman, Ronnie Younkins, Brian Forsythe, and Jimmy Chalfant have teamed up a few times a year for the last few years to do Kix reunion shows in the Maryland/Pennsylvannia area that have been very well-received. To date, Donnie Purnell has refused to participate in any of the Kix reunion shows.
Kix rock band