Are you familiar with bands like Cinderella, Britny Fox, Tangier and Heaven’s Edge? Ever heard of White Foxx? You will probably say yes to the first question and there is a high probability you will say no to the second. Still, there are a lot of similarites between all these bands which shared musical vision, played the same club circuit and even shared lots members. White Foxx played an important part in Philadelphia’s metal scene in the mid 80s along with the other bands mentioned previously. The band formed originally as Precious Metal in 1982 playing covers and one of the earliest incarnations included Tony Harnell of TNT fame, guitarist Barry DeBenedetta (ex-Waysted), keyboard player Mark Soma, bass player Mike Regina and drummer Craig Soma. Precious Metal played the Philly club circuit for a while but soon went through major line up changes with Harnell and DeBenedetta leaving the band. Guitarist Jeff LaBar (Cinderella) enjoyed a brief spell in the band before replacing Michael Kelly Smith (Britny Fox) in Cinderella. A name change was also imposed and the band rechristened White Foxx mainly because there was an all-female band going by the same name that had landed a major label record deal.
The band finally found a more stable line up centered around bass player Mike Regina, Mark Chasen playing guitar and lead vocal duties, guitarist Jimmy Maropoulos and ex-Cinderella drummer Jim Drneck. With this line up in place White Foxx cut the first 4-song demo tape which gained a fair amount of press with strong and catchy songs, a flashy stage show and a growing army of fans they seemed destined for stardom. Chasen and Maropoulos went on to form the new band Chasen. More turbulent times were ahead however when vocalist Rob Zucchi along with drummer Rick Anthony and guitarist Reggie Wu (later in Heaven’s Edge) joined the band. Reggie had been competing for the position in Cinderella that ultimately went to Jeff LaBar. White Foxx bacame one of the strongest contenders in the Philadelphia metal scene.
In 1987 White Foxx lost Rob Zucchi but the gap was soon filled by rcruition former World War II man Tipa Sparrs, adding second guitarist/keyboardplayer Trucker Michaels and finally guitar wizard Dave Lord filling the gap that Reggie Wu left when he formed Heaven’s Edge with former Network bass player Mark Evans. In 1988 White Foxx signed a production deal with Denny Somach Productions and the puropose was to get the band signed to a major label which would have been the next logical step for the band. The song “Starry Eyes” caught the attention of several labels and some showcases were set up so the record company bosses would get a chance to see the band play live. No deal was ever struck in the end and the band disbanded in 1989. A couple of brief reunions followed in 1992 and 2004 but nothing lasted for very long.
WHITE FOXX – Come Pet The Foxx
So what happened to the collected recorded output White Foxx had produced? The first sign of life was when Las Vegas based label Retrospect Records put out an 8-song self titled album in 2007. This album was made up of songs recorded in 1987 before the production deal was struck with Denny Somach Productions and had Tipa Sparrs on lead vocals. It contained the epic “Beverly Hills”, a song that has been with the band throughout their career and on every album they put out. In 2012 an album called Come Pet The Foxx was issued by Nashville indie label FNA Records which contained 7 songs of which only “Beverly Hills” and “Love is on the Way” had been released before on the Retrospect disc. This was however a different recording of that song and there were three 1985 live songs added as bonus. It contained studio material of older dates where Mark Chasen was handling the lead vocal duties.
What we have here is a European reissue of the 2012 FNA Records release issued as a Dyamond Roxx series limited to only 300 copies by UK label ProgAor Records. This is a series of European relaseses of FNA releases in very limited quatities. It starts with the epic rocker “Beverly Hills” and this is a melodic blast that will hit you straight in the face if you are into 80s style hairmetal or melodic hard rock. A true gem followed by “Hit the Road” which is a mid-tempo rocker. Up next is “It’s So Hard” which is another melodic mid-tempo rocker with an infectious chorus and hit potential. “Love is on the Way” represents another more restrained melodic approach that is bordering on AOR but 100% pure quality. “Reach Out” is a slow rocker that sticks in your mind and never leaves while “Starry Eyes” has heavy chugging guitars and a melodic song melody floating above the intense riffs. This song would probably been a huge hit if it had been released as a single back in 1988. The studio part is rounded out with the obligatry power ballad called “There is a Way”. The album is closed by three old live tracks. These are mainly for die hard fans only due to the poor sound quality.
White Foxx is criminally underrated in my opinion and it is a mystery how these guys never got picked up and signed to a major label in the 1980s. I guess it is down to coincidence and bad luck or even bad management. If you are a fan of Heaven’s Edge, Cinderellla, Tangier, Britny Fox or the 80s metal scene there is no option. Just go out and buy this disc and you won’t be disappointed! Beutifully repackaged by ProgAor this is a true gem. The problem is that when you discover this you will also need to buy the Retrospect album which is equally essential. Just go to retrospectrecords.com and pick up your copy today. 9/10 geeks. Sound quality of these 80s demos is the only reason this is not a full score.