Playing first with Iron Maiden and then Samson prior launching his own band, Barry Graham Purkis (AKA Thunderstick) has been a legendary part of the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) scene since the late 70s.
Following a stint in an early line up of Iron Maiden, Barry changed places (and drum stools) with Clive Burr – with Clive going to Maiden and Barry going to Samson. Feeling that most drummers were somewhat overlooked in bands, Barry decided to create the definitive `faceless` drummer: Thunderstick was born. Playing from inside a cage from which he would eventually break out and terrorising the front of the audience., The masked Thunderstick became the iconic ‘face’ of the newly emerging ‘New Wave Of British Heavy Metal’ movement, appearing on the front cover of the music paper ‘Sounds’ a ‘must read’ of the time for all rock fans.. On the lookout for a new vocalist he and Paul Samson came across an unknown singer playing a pub gig and asked if he would be interested in joining the band to record a second album and to tour to promote it. The singer….? A very young Bruce Dickinson…
With Dickinson Samson enjoyed chart success, the 1980 album Head On reaching the UK top 40. The band went on to record a third album with that line-up until Thunderstick quit. In search of a more theatrical presentation Thunderstick the band was born. Consisting of two guitars, bass and female vocals an EP Feel Like Rock ‘n’ Roll? was released in 1983, followed by a full-length album Beauty and the Beasts in 1984.. Still trying raise the band’s profile both Barry and his then partner and band’s vocalist Jodee Valentine moved to the USA in 1985. The major deal they sought though didn’t materialise so coming back to the UK in 1986 another incarnation of the band was put together doing a production deal with a studio that they regularly used recording a number of songs under the title of ‘Don’t touch I’ll scream. Unfortunately the songs never saw release. Barry decided to call it a day in 1987 and folded the band. Once again he was called back into the ranks of Samson for a few reunion dates playing Japan the USA and London. Albums of the Japanese shows and The London show were recorded and released. After which he continued writing, recording and playing as well as working on production for other artists. In June 2005 Classic Rock magazine listed Thunderstick in their ‘50 Greatest Drummers in Rock’. In April 2009 Barry played the Keep It True festival in Germany with a reunion of various NWOBHM artists, marking a return of the Thunderstick persona. Shortly after an American label showed interest in releasing the early material, so Barry set to work re-mastering all of the band’s early work available for the first time in digital format it was released as ‘Echoes From The Analogue Asylum’ . There was however, no plans to form another Thunderstick line-up to promote it. That was until Barry received sad news. Former lead vocalist Jodee Valentine had tragically died following a five-year battle with early onset Alzheimers …There was quite a back catalogue of material that had been played live and had been recorded as the ‘Don’t touch I’ll scream’ sessions. It was time to re-record these songs all done in Jodee’s memory. A brand new album Something Wicked This Way Comes was released in July 2017 to positive reviews worldwide. It included tracks that Jodee had performed live but had never been officially released, coupled with three tracks written especially for the album. The positive reviews it had received pushed Barry to once more put a new Thunderstick band together to perform shows. This was for the first time a band would play live in more than three decades. Live gigs – including dates at the legendary Leo’s Red Lion, A New Day festival Hard Rock Hell and The British Steel festival in France followed. The French gig was recorded and a subsequent live album entitled ‘Something Wicked This Way Came’, Thunderstick Live In France released in 2020 on Roulette Records followed. To enthusiastic acclaim. Now a Roulette Media artist an eagerly-anticipated follow-up album is being recorded scheduled for release in Spring 2021.
The full Thunderstick band line-up is:
Vocals – Raven Blackwing
Raven started her career as a solo artist over a decade ago working many small venues across her native Kent. Enigmatic performances and unforgettable vocals soon attracted enquiries from rock bands nationwide. She guested with a few performing rock covers, none came close though in helping her realise her calling. She was made for theatrical rock. Performances with Thunderstick have been hypnotic. Once you see her you won’t forget her. The Raven has most definitely landed.
Drums – Barry Graham Purkis aka Thunderstick
Barry Graham Purkis’s alter ego Thunderstick became the icon of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene in the 1980’s. Playing with both Iron Maiden and Samson until forming his eponymously named band. A songwriter, lyricist, arranger and producer in his own right he has led Thunderstick through almost four decades. The first performer to experiment with anonymity of ‘Mask Rock’ now inhabited by many others such as Slipknot & Ghost. He is a true original.
Bass – Rex Thunderbolt
Another familiar face on the Kent music scene, bass-player Rex has been a core part of the reborn Thunderstick band since 2017, playing on the well-received album Something Wicked This Way Comes as well as all the live gigs played when Thunderstick returned to the stage. He is the foundation upon which everyone in the band relies on, orchestrating the stage show by example. A consummate performer.
Guitar – Vinny Konrad
Picking up a guitar for the first time to jam to Jimi Hendrix, Vinny formed a local covers band which quickly progressed into something a little heavier than the blues he had been influenced by when first learning to play. Vinny got his break in 2010 with cult NWOBHM/Doom band Pagan Altar. After touring with them for three years and a short stint in Sacrilege, Vinny formed his own band Desolate Pathway prior to joining Thunderstick.
Guitar – Mantra
Has always had a love for Rock & metal. He first started playing guitar at the age of 15 forming a band with school friends named ‘Kobra’ playing their own interpretations of Metallica and Megadeth. In 2009 he joined the Academy of Contemporary Music to study commercial music and it’s many genres .He started writing and recording his own compositions. In 2013 he obtained a Masters Degree in Composition after writing recording and producing his own solo album ‘Light of the Diamond’ released under the name of Shadow Mantra. His considerable knowledge of rock and metal is expressed in his playing style and ability. His contribution to the power and dynamics of the Thunderstick sound is considerable.