Dangerous Toys

Here Comes Trouble
The Texas band Dangerous Toys saw its humble beginning in the form of a band named Scratch which featured guitarist Scott Dalhover and bassist/vocalist Mike Watson. The band managed to do a few shows before they eventually called it quits.

Dalhover and Watson then hooked up with female vocalist Terry Melancon and drummer Mark Geary to form Onyxx (which was Melancon's stage name). Rhythm guitarist Tim Trembly was added and the bands line-up was set. The band played a lot of covers (Ozzy, Dokken, Van Halen) and some original songs which were penned by Dalhover and Watson, with Melancon adding the lyrics. Watson also provided some of the lead vocals for the band.

In 1987 the band and Melancon went their separate ways and the boys started looking for a singer for a new band. In October Trembly called friend and local talent Jason McMaster and asked if he'd fill in for awhile. McMaster's thought it would be a nice change of pace from his current band of five years, the underground metal act Watchtower, and wanted to help out so he accepted.

Texas born McMaster had played bass in a couple of bands in his hometown of Corpus Christi, the most noteworthy being the mostly covers act Rampage. In 1981 he moved to Austin where he met drummer Mike Soliz and formed the band Fallen Angel. They recruited guitarists Daryl Cruise and David Garza but couldn't find a vocalist. Out of frustration McMaster and Soliz ended up sharing the vocal duties. Fallen Angel was also a mostly covers band that performed songs by Krokus, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Rush and AC/DC among others. In 1982 McMaster was looking for a new guitarist for Fallen Angel when he spotted an advert for the band WatchTower on the bulletin board at Ray Henning’s Heart of Texas Music. He called the number on the card and talked with the band's guitarist Billy White. McMaster would end up at the band's rehearsal the next day where he met bassist Doug Keyser and drummer Rick Colaluca. The band started warming up but the singer, Travis Allen, was a no show. The band asked McMaster if he wanted to fill in for the absent vocalist and he obliged. Within a week he was the new frontman for WatchTower. The line-up of McMaster, White, Keyser and Colaluca would release the 1985 album 'Energetic Disassembly' on Zombo Records. Billy White left in 1986 and was replaced by ex-San Antonio Slayer guitarist Ron Jarzombek. The band was working on material for a second release when McMaster was asked to help out Trembly and company. Watchtower opened shows for the likes of Anthrax, Helstar, King Diamond, Yngwie Malmsteen, Trouble, Stryper and Exciter. (Mike Soliz took over for McMaster in WatchTower for parts of 1988 and 1989)

With McMaster onboard the band called Jim Ramsey to set up a date for their first show together; Ramsey was the booking agent for the Austin club The Back Room. When asked for the name of their band Mark Geary informed Ramsey they didn't have a name yet. While still on the phone the boys started rattling off names and one that came up was Bad Boys Make Dangerous Toys. After a brief process of elimination the band chose Dangerous Toys as their new moniker.

The band did nothing but covers at first but original songs quickly found their way into their sets and a good fan base was established. In no time at all the band found themselves being courted by the Los Angeles management company TAP/KO Entertainment, whose clients included Y&T, Keel and Leatherwolf. Julie Hillin, a friend of the band, had a friend who was interning at Tapko so she decided to send in a live recording of Dangerous Toys. The friend in turn got the tape into the hands of the man who ran Tapko, Tim Heyne. A short time later the band signed on to do the South by Southwest Festival as a favor to Jim Ramsey & The Back Room, who were hosting the event (this was before SXSW got big). When the band came offstage they were approached by Celine Arnbeck of SBK publishing, who expressed a real interest in the band. Dangerous Toys had her contact Heyne and the two, working together, soon had five major labels trying to ink the band. In the end the band would sign to Columbia Records.

Dangerous Toys headed out to L.A. to record at Sound City Recording with producer Max Norman. During rehearsals Trembly and the band would split on friendly terms. While recording the album the band flew out friend Danny Aaron to audition for the vacant guitar spot. Aaron was a member of the Texas band E.T.A., along with McMaster, drummer Chris Dieger and bassist Ron Kinard. Even though Aaron appears in the photo on the bands first album he didn't play on the record as Dalhover handled all the guitar parts.

The bands debut 'Dangerous Toys' was released in 1989. Evil clown mascot Bill Z. Bubb was featured on the cover, as he would be on all the bands releases. The singles "Teas'n, Pleas'n" and "Scared" (the bands tribute to Alice Cooper) were radio hits and would see heavy rotation on MTV. The band hit the road doing club dates at first and then from an October 11th show in Austin to a Thanksgiving day show in Hollywood did arena shows with Tora Tora and headliners L.A. Guns. They then took a few days to collaborate with Desmond Child on the song "Demon Bell (The Ballad Of Horace Pinker)" for the soundtrack to the horror movie 'Shocker'. In December they went to the UK for some shows with The Almighty and headliners Faster Pussycat. On New Years Eve the band hopped on a tour with Bonham and headliners The Cult in Long Beach, California. Between dates, while in the New York area, they did some one-offs with Bonham as well.

In 1991 the band released their sophomore effort 'Hellacious Acres'. The singles "Line 'Em Up" and "Gimme No Lip" got extensive radio airplay and the videos again did well on MTV. A third single and video was released in the UK for the track "Sticks And Stones". The record featured a cover of the Bad Company classic "Feel Like Makin' Love" and backing vocals from members of Junkyard, Sea Hags and Rhino Bucket. The band landed the opening slot on the Operation Rock N' Roll tour with Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, Motorhead and Metal Church. After the tour concluded Columbia Records pulled the plug on promotion for the band and eventually Dangerous Toys were dropped by the label.

In 1992 Danny Aaron left Dangerous Toys and vanished from the world of music. After leaving the group he would go back to school and get a degree in electronics, move to San Antonio, find a good job, get married (divorced in late 90's) and have two children.

After Aaron's departure the band took a short break to re-group. In 1993 guitarist Kevin Fowler (Rumbletrain) was brought in for what was dubbed the 'No Brains Tour'. The band did close to 150 dates in nine months, touring right up to year's end.

After the tour with Dangerous Toys Kevin Fowler would go on to form his own band Thunderfoot, which released one album in 1995's 'Southern Discomfort'. He then crossed over to country music and released five albums; 2000's 'One for the Road' and 'Beer, Bait and Ammo', 2002's 'High on the Hog' and 'Live at Billy Bob's Texas' and 2004's 'Loose, Loud & Crazy'. McMaster provided backing vocals and played percussion for the 'High on the Hog' release, which was produced by Darren Fleming.

The band decided to add a permanent guitarist for the next record and added ex-Dirty Looks guitarist Paul Lidel in January of 1994. They were soon signed to Texas based DMZ Records and released the 1994 'Pissed' record. Just a few weeks before the tour was to start bassist Mike Watson left the band due to burn-out. Ex-Salty Dog bassist Michael Hannon was brought in for the 'Get Pissed Tour', which would see the band do over 200 dates in 94-95.

Michael Hannon went on to form Hilljack and release one self-titled record in 1997. Hilljack evolved into American Dog and have several releases of their own.

Dangerous Toys then took a short break and went to work on album number four. The band had no bass player and didn't want to go through the hassle of auditions so McMaster took over the role. 'The R*tist 4*merly Known As Dangerous Toys' was released in 1995, once again on DMZ. The band's sound changed on this record, going from Texas stomp rock to a more modern sound, but the energy level of the music remained high. Once again they hit the road and along the way did some one-offs with Bang Tango, L.A. Guns and the Bulletboys. The bands label folded and the future of Dangerous Toys was put on hold.

McMaster stayed busy, as he always has, playing in a number of bands as he would provide bass for Union Underground shows, guitar for Terminal 46 shows and he joined Godzilla Motor Company in 1997. GMC featured McMaster-bass/vocals, Bobby Landgraf-guitar, Ben Burton-drums and Chris Conley-guitar. As he got more involved with GMC he would be forced to quit the other bands. The band has no official releases but a six song demo made available at shows sold well.

Paul Lidel formed 20 lb. Buzz in 1998 with ex-Train Face drummer Bruce Rivers and bassist Scott Ross. The band released one self-titled record in 1999. The group stopped playing as 20 lb. Buzz in 2001 but has evolved several times and was most recently a covers act named Buzz.

Tom Mathers (owner of Perris Record) and Daren Fleming (DT's soundman for R*tist tour) suggested that Lidel and McMaster make a record in the vein of Circus Of Power, Motorhead, Dirty Looks, AC/DC, for release as a one-off special recording. So the two formed Broken Teeth in 1999 and released 'Broken Teeth' on Perris Records. The band for the recording was McMaster-vocals, Lidel-guitars, Joe-E Young-guitars, Willy Yung-bass and 20 lb. Buzz drummer Bruce Rivers. Actually Joe-E Young and Willy Yung are phantom players as they were the bands spoof on AC/DC's Young brothers. McMaster supplied the bass with Lidel playing all guitars on the record. Daren Fleming served as the albums producer. The album started selling well and the band became a touring act with the addition of Dangerous Toys bassist Mike Watson and ex-Pariah guitarist Jared Tuten.

Also in 1999, Deadline/Cleopatra Records released the first live Dangerous Toys album, 'Vitamins & Crash Helmets Tour - Live'. The first seven tracks were recorded by Westwood One, at the Orpheum Theater, in Boston MA, on November 4, 1989. The rest of the album was recorded at various stages of the bands career. The record also features the unreleased track "Dangerous Toys".

Mark Geary hooked up with vocalist/guitarist Cole Stanfield to form Proof of Life in 2000. At first it was just to do some recording together, as they recorded an EP in 2000, but they were having so much fun they decided to form a band and do some shows. They added Geary's Dangerous Toys bandmate Mike Watson on bass and guitarist Duncan Isenhower and would record a second EP in 2002.

In 2000 McMaster reunited with his old band WatchTower for the German 'Bang Your Head Festival', which included performances by the Scorpions, Krokus, Saxon, Virgin Steele and Exciter among others.

Dangerous Toys went to Tokyo, Japan in 2001 for three sold out shows. The band filmed the shows and have the video available on their website.

Scott Dalhover formed Monster Rodd in 2002 with vocalist Michael Smith, bassist Mike Campion and a revolving door of drummers. The band has no official releases but have done some studio work. Dalhover has also done some guns for hire studio work for a few name bands. At the present time he is working on some solo material.

Broken Teeth released their second album 'Guilty Pleasure' on Killingbird Records in 2002. The line-up remained McMaster, Lidel, Rivers, Watson and Tuten.

Deadline/Cleopatra Records released a best of Dangerous Toys in 2004 titled 'The Ultimate Dangerous Toys - Sleaze Metal Kings from Texas'. The band never endorsed the release and were not exactly happy with the record's cover art. Also the song "Cure The Sane" is listed as "Cure The Lane".

McMaster has provided vocals for several Tribute records, including: 1996's Spacewalk: A Tribute to Ace Frehley (Snowblind, Cold Gin), 2000's A Tribute To Def Leppard: Leppardmania (Let It Go) 2001's Aerosmithsonian: A Tribute to Aerosmith (Get the Lead Out, Last Child/also played bass on the record) 2001's Fire Woman: A Tribute To The Cult (King Contrary Man, Peace Dog/American Dog w/Jason McMaster) 2002's Bon Appetite: A Tribute to Bon Scott Years of AC/DC (Highway to Hell) and 2003's A Tribute To Van Halen: Best Of Both Worlds (Shy Boy).

In late 2004 Broken Teeth released the live record 'Blood On The Radio' on Perris/Killingbird Records. The record features the new track "Bonfire".

McMaster would provide vocals on five tracks of the 2004 Spastic Ink record 'Ink Compatible', the record is WatchTower guitarist Ron Jarzombek's project. The year would also see McMaster once again fronting WatchTower as they headlined the 'Headway Festival' in Amsterdam with other progressive and alternative rock and metal bands. The band, with McMaster, is also writing material for a new release.

Dangerous Toys are alive and well and still do the occasional show when the member's busy schedules permits. They presently have no plans to make a new record, but who knows what the future holds.

Danny Aaron has recently reappeared on the music scene as guitarist for the R&B outfit Kristal & Silver And The Secret Code Band.

In 2017 DT's got their third studio disc "Pissed" reissued & remastered by the EMP Label Group (Megadeth bassist David Ellefson's label). In December the band played the "Hair Metal Holiday" show in Dallas, Texas with Ace Frehley, Dokken, L.A. Guns, Enuff Z'nuff, Graham Bonnet Band and the Supernova Remnant.

In 2018 the band will be on "The Monsters of Rock Cruise" with Pretty Maids, Doro, Lita Ford, L.A. Guns, Thunder, Loudness, Junkyard, Rough Cutt, Winger, Raven, London Quireboys, Madam X, Atomic Punks and Mitch Malloy.

Links:
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Dangerous Toys @ Reverb Nation