September, 1991- Frank Hart, Jonathan Marshall, Mark Poindexter, and Len Sonnier band themselves together under the name Atomic Opera.

November, 1991- Atomic Opera signs a production deal with Wilde Silas Musicworks (Sam Taylor's company, producer of King's X, Galactic Cowboys, The Awful Truth, Anapurna, Third Day) Wilde Silas hopes to secure a record deal for the band.

December, 1991- Atomic Opera goes into Rampart Recording studio with Sam Taylor and Steve Ames (engineer) to record the first demo. (Songs recorded: For Madmen Only, Daze of Love in Grey, The Meaningless Word, and Feverdream)

 

January, 1992- Atomic Opera goes back to Rampart Recording studio with Sam Taylor and Steve Ames to record four more songs. (Songs: Joyride, December, Spinning, and Rain Parade)

June, 1992- Atomic Opera flies to New York City to play at The Ritz, opening for King's X. It is the only time Atomic Opera & King's X had done a show together (until November 2000 at Numbers in Houston.)

 

September, 1992- Len Sonnier quits Atomic Opera and is replaced by bass tech and good friend of band Jonas Velasco.

 

March, 1993- Derek Shulman (President of Collision Arts, also signed Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Pantera) is invited by Sam Taylor to see the band play at Zelda's in Houston, TX and after a very strange set (The power is cut off by the club mid set, and Ed Fair (future manager) is forcefully removed from the club) he offers them a small "development deal." If the band can come up with some more material that Mr. Shulman likes, he might be interested in signing them to his new label.

April, 1993- Atomic Opera go into Rivendell Recording Studio (Rampart went out of business) with Sam Taylor and Brian Garcia (engineer for King's X, Galactic Cowboys, Velvet Hammer, Precious Death, Toy Subs) to record some of the new tunes. (Paper Tiger, Magic Castle, Rainbow, She's So Blue, Love Knows, Achilles' Heel, Every Moment, What am I Reaching For, and All Fall Down are among the songs recorded)

 

May, 1993- The band submits a demo that they have recorded on an 8-track in their rehearsal room (Songs: Justice, I Know Better, New Dreams, World Without End, Wilde Times, American Atheist Hour, Let Go, I Hear the Rain, and Mountain) After hearing the tapes Derek offers the band a major recording deal on Collision Arts Records to be distributed through Giant Records, which is distributed through Warner Brothers Records, BMG worldwide.

 

July, 1993- Atomic Opera goes into Rivendell Recording studio with Sam Taylor and Steve Ames to begin recording "For Madmen Only." Frank Hart begins working on album art with Allison Smythe (graphic designer). Ryan Birsinger is engineer assistant.

October, 1993- The record "For Madmen Only" is finished, mastered, artwork, everything. The record is to be released at the end of January.

 

January, 1994- Atomic Opera signs a major publishing deal with Warner Chappell.

March, 1994- Atomic Opera and Sam Taylor go to West Texas with Film Xero to film the first video, "Justice." It was played approximently 20 times on MTV. The riff from "Justice" was also used as the opening theme music for MTV news.

 

May, 1994- "For Madmen Only" is finally released. An album release party is held at Fitzgerald's (Upstairs from Zelda's.) "Justice" is the #1 most added single on metal radio the week it is released. It goes to #4 on several charts (FMQB, Hard Report, etc.) 20,000 records are sold on the strength of this single alone (7,000 of them in Japan, where the band had never toured until much later).

 

June, 1994- The band goes into Rivendell Recording studio with Ryan Birsinger to record their version of the CSN&Y Song "Guinnevere," it was to be used as a B-side for Joyride. It was not used. It is cool, though.

July, 1994- Atomic Opera goes on tour with Dio. (These were days of great fun!)

 

August, 1994- Video for "Joyride" is filmed at a sound stage in Dallas, TX while we are on tour. A big political struggle is happening between Derek Shulman and Irving Azoff (at Giant) and it is not a good sign for Atomic Opera. If Shulman loses his deal with Giant, then the record would die.

 

October, 1994- The Dio tour ends. Atomic Opera flies to Providence, RI for a big radio station birthday party (HJY.) It is inevitable that Giant will drop all of Derek Shulman's projects (Atomic Opera is the only one that was released out of his 14 other projects.)

 

December, 1994- While Collision Arts is waiting to go under, Atomic Opera goes on a tour (Self financed) of small clubs around the country.

 

January, 1994- Collision Arts dies.

 

March, 1994- Atomic Opera returns to Houston and begins writing more material to demo and shop for a new record label.

April/ May, 1994- Atomic Opera shoots two videos as part of their demo (Hammer, and God of Hate.) Many songs are also recorded at Frank's home studio. (A Girl With Rain, Down, Stop My Heart, Silence, Feverdream 2, Whatever, I Don't Know, Suck, Deaf, Moving, These Days, Stop The Rain, Make a God, Breathing, Hide, and a few more)

 

July, 1994- The band separates from their long time producer/ mentor/ friend, Sam Taylor. They continued to hope, and were working very hard to stay together and make music.

 

August, 1994- July, 1996- Over 100 new songs are written, but it becomes hard to keep morale up. A couple of small independent record companies try to make a deal with the band, but nothing becomes of it.

August, 1996- Jonathan Marshall and Jonas Velasco quit the band to take serious day jobs. They are replaced by Kemper Crabb.

 

March, 1996- Frank goes into Rivendell Recording studio with Ryan Birsinger and Jerry Gaskill to record drums tracks for a new record. All of the songs that eventually become "Penguin Dust" are recorded .. except for "WaterGrave."

 

June, 1997- "Penguin Dust" tracks are finally recorded. Frank recorded all bass, guitars, cellos, vocals, Kemper's Mandolin, and sound FX at his home studio. Ryan Birsinger is very helpful in engineering during the final vocal sessions. The tracks are to be transferred from the hard drive to the Galactic Cowboy's 24 track ADAT machines to be mixed. Alan Doss will mix with Ryan & Frank assisting the mix. It takes two weeks. Mark Poindexter re-records all drums tracks due to a technical problem.

July, 1997- The CDs arrive at the Cornerstone Music Festival in Illinois, and are made available for the first time. The band hopes to get distribution for the album, and tour.

 

October, 1997 - HM Video Magazine Volume 4 features a segment on Atomic Opera. It includes interview footage of Frank, Kemper, and Ryan, as well as the videos "Hammer," and "God of Hate."

 

November, 1997 - John Simmons joins band and replaces Mark Poindexter on drums. (John is the former drummer for Toy Subs, From Now On, and other notable Houston Bands.) Ryan Birsinger joins the band as bass player.

September, 1998 - Atomic Opera is invited to Japan for a 12 day tour. They will play Tokyo, Canal City, and the Aspecta Fire Beat Festival in March, 1999. Frank's wife Kim and Kemper's Wife Jen also go along. We had a wonderful time and the shows were a blast.

 

January, 1999 - Metal Blade Records sign Atomic Opera to a two record deal. They first will be titled "Gospel Cola" and the recording will begin in February at Frank's Digital Penguin Studio. (The band wishes to publicly thank Ty Tabor for his help in making this deal a little sweeter.) We use the advance money for the album to build a studio in Frank's house.

 

January, 1999 - Atomic Opera releases "Alpha & Oranges" through the fanclub. It is a ten song CD of previously unreleased out takes. Massive Groove Productions assists in manufacturing of the first thousand.

January, 2000 - Gospel Cola is in the ... Can. Metal Blade will release the new Atomic Opera Album in April. The 19th in Christian Music Stores through Diamante, and the 25th Through RED to the mainstream market.

March, 2000 - Gunter Ford at World Management hears the new CD and LOVES it ... He is soon the new manager of Atomic Opera

 



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