Kory Clarke wanted to be the Iggy Pop of the '90s. Through his band, Warrior Soul, the Detroit native concocted his own Stooges- and MC5-style blend of political activism and art rock tendencies, gave it a '90s spin, and tried to impart it upon Generation X (the kids, not the band), but they never listened.
Originally a drummer for a number of bands, including Detroit punks L7 (not the all-female L.A. band) and Pennsylvania Southern rockers Raging Slab, Kory Clarke promoted himself to stage front when he founded Warrior Soul with guitarist John Ricco, bassist Pete McLanahan, and drummer Paul Ferguson. Their first album, 1990's Last Decade Dead Century, was a critical sensation, especially in the U.K., where listeners readily embraced the band's political invective and insurrectionist rantings as the next big thing. But while Clarke certainly had the potential to become Generation X's leading mainstream-bashing poet, the metallic hard rock sound he chose as his vehicle ultimately lost out to Nirvana's nihilistic post-punk/alternative style.
Released in 1991, Drugs, God and the New Republic (featuring new drummer Mark Evans) took their anarchist leanings even further, but was significantly inferior on the songwriting front, and not even a nationwide support tour with Queensrÿche (with whom they shared management from the mighty Q Prime agency) helped further their cause. The following year's much improved Salutations From the Ghetto Nation fared no better, and Clarke's interviews became increasingly bitter, focusing on the band's record label, Geffen, whom he accused of ignoring the group's potential. Eventually, Clarke resorted to an all-out war, telling all who would listen that 1993's glaringly average Chill Pill had been botched on purpose in order to fulfill the band's contract. The ploy worked, and by early 1994 Warrior Soul were dropped by Geffen.
A number of lineup changes ensued, beginning with the departure of drummer Evans and the eventual ousting of longtime axeman Ricco, replaced by two guitarists: Chris Moffet and Alexander Arundel (aka X-Factor). Clarke then sought to reinvent Warrior Soul as self-appointed cyberpunks for their fifth album, 1995's Space Age Playboys, released on the independent Futurist label. Unfortunately, the buying public's continued indifference only served to confirm that the band's best days were behind it, and McLanahan and Arundel soon quit the group. Left with no one to blame but himself, Clarke finally disbanded Warrior Soul later that year. A posthumous collection of demos and outtakes entitled Odds and Ends was released in 1996, and Clarke went on to form a new band called Space Age Playboys.
In 2007 Clarke revived the name and, with a new batch of musicians, set out on a tour of the U.K. A live album soon followed, and in 2008 the band released a new studio album titled Chinese Democracy (though they soon retitled it Destroy the War Machine in deference to the Guns N' Roses album of the same name). The band continued to tour sporadically throughout the rest of the decade. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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