SANTA CRUZ is a Finnish modern hard rock band formed on the hot summer of 2007 in Helsinki by Archie Kuosmanen and Johnny Parkkonen. With the mutual aspiration of playing their rear ends off and kicking people’s derrieres the two teens shared the same goals and similar same passion for a band to be. Inspired by greats as Skid Row and Guns N' Roses, the name Santa Cruz was chosen as the title of their vision of a perfect hard rock band. In the beginning of the following year, Middy Toivonen joined in to play the bass. A year and a half (and two drummers) later Taz Fagerström was found to man the drum throne permanently, cementing the line-up of the 4-piece band.
Introducing themselves to a larger audience in the semifinal stage of the Finnish nationwide band competition Ääni ja Vimma in 2009, Santa Cruz released two demos in 2008–2009, the latter of which, “Another Rush Of Adrenaline”, received remarkable reviews on the media. Word of mouth about Cruz crew’s explosive stage presence and rabble-rousing shows spread like wildfire, resulting in a lengthy succession of shows (the band played well over a 100 shows while still in demo stage) which in turn established the band as the hardest working men of metal mayhem in Finland.
After dropping a self-released EP of six songs under the title “Anthems for the Young 'n' Restless” and a music video for the title track, the band was already news internationally too. The media attention and an unbroken continuum of hellraising performances had the Finnish hotbed label of music with edge and attitude, Spinefarm Records, lend their ear to the tunes of the Cruz Crew. Eventually in 2012 the band scored a worldwide record deal with the Finnish metal behemoth, and after intensive studio sessions at Hollola and Helsinki, the ass-kicking, 11 track label debut “Screaming For Adrenaline” was unleashed upon the anticipating audience on April 26th, 2013.
As the chant in the debut single “Relentless Renegades” quotes Julius Caesar “We Came, We Saw, We Conquered!,” the album was released to raving reviews and cracked the Top40 on Finnish album chart. The album saw the sound of Santa Cruz truly take flight, assaulting the ears with an explosion of pure adrenaline and attitude in the form of honest Rock ‘n’ Roll, not to mention the virtuoso level of musicianship, especially in the flashy guitar work of Archie & Johnny. The band was aiming high and the Party had now seriously started. Now everyone started to take note.
Said Children Of Bodom guitar God Alexi Laiho of the Cruz boys:
“Never mind that they are young, ‘cuz the matter of the fact is, that Santa Cruz definitely sticks out from all these retro hair metal bands running around nowadays. Not only do they have the attitude and the looks, but most importantly they sure as hell know how to play and the songs along with the awesome guitar playing pretty much makes me wanna bang my head in two pieces when I see them play live. And after all that’s what it’s all about. End of fucking story!!!”
In 2013 the band signed an international booking deal with TKO Agency (Motörhead, Anthrax, Buckcherry etc.) and subsequently played their first three British Tours. The year also saw the fearsome foursome continue their heavy gigging domestically. In addition to complete conquest of Finnish stages big and small, Santa Cruz also paid their first visits to Germany and Belgium supporting their heroes Skid Row.
In between all the touring Santa Cruz somehow also found a way to squeeze in the time to prepare for the recording of their 2nd album. Completing the recordings slow and sweet, meanwhile they took over the Finnish radio waves with their two highly regarded vinyl/digital singles, “We Are the Ones To Fall” and “Wasted And Wounded”, each accompanied by smashing videos by up-and-coming L.A. –based director Ville Juurikkala. And when 2014 came to a close, “We Are the Ones To Fall” was the most aired song of the year on the Finnish nationwide station Radio Rock. Mission complete.
In December 2014 the band did their first North American press trip, which was wrapped up with an amazing acoustic performance at the New York Offices of Spinefarm Records. The band played to a packed room, in front of some of the most influential press and industry heavyweights in the area. The four song acoustic set featured “We Are The Ones To Fall”, “Aiming High”, “Wasted And Wounded” and rounded things out with an emotionally powerful cover version of Led Zeppelin's “Thank You”.
March 2015 will see the release of the band’s eponymous sophomore effort, which further distances the band from the throwback glam metal sound, as they mix their influence of the 80’s and early 90’s hard rock sound with elements of modern rock and metal and put it in their own special blender, ice the mix with blinding energy, stupefying stage show and a healthy dash of bad attitude!
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