was founded in 1980. They are one of the early San Francisco Thrash Heavy Metal bands. The original line-up included the iconic Cliff Burton-bass guitar, and singer Donny Hillier. The band quickly became well known throughout California, playing legendary venues like The Stone, Bill Graham’s Wolfgang’s, The Whisky-A-Go-Go, and The Troubadour. The first track TRAUMA ever recorded, “Such a Shame”, was included on Metal Blade Records, Metal Massacre II album in 1982.
TRAUMA changed personnel at the time of Cliff Burton’s departure to Metallica. Kris Gustofson - drums, joined the band. In 1984, TRAUMA recorded the Scratch and Scream album for Shrapnel Records. The album received many excellent reviews from primarily American and European Heavy Metal magazines. Trauma played at all the Major venues in the Bay Area and abroad with bands like Slayer, Exodus, Saxon and many other Metal bands. The Scratch and Scream album has long been considered a classic Heavy Metal collector’s item. In response to renewed interest about the album, Shrapnel Records re-mastered and re-released Scratch and Scream in October 2013. The Re issue of Scratch and Scream has gained a significant amount of new listeners, Primarily in European countries since its release and a major amount of positive reviews that turned into numerous interviews for the band.
TRAUMA reformed with a new lineup in 2013 with the re release of Scratch and Scream. The band performed many shows in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. TRAUMA travelled to Germany in July 2014, to appear at the Headbangers Open Air Festival, playing with Tygers of Pan Tang, Anvil, Grand Magus, Riot and many others and also played some shows in Hamburg. In 2014, TRAUMA signed a world-wide contract with German record label, Pure Steel Records. Their new album, Rapture and Wrath was released on February 27, 2015. The band released a video of one of the new songs, “When I Die”, in February 2015. The album and video has received significant media attention. Many reviews and interviews can be found on various social media sites. Trauma is currently writing material for a new album and is in the process of securing live touring dates.
Many of TRAUMA’s hits include “ Such a Shame”, “ The Day all Hell Broke Loose”, “ Woman be Gone” With the release of Rapture and Wrath , Trauma has gained worldwide recognition thru many interviews , press releases along with rave review’s, airplay and touring opportunities. Trauma’s music is available worldwide.
TRAUMA - current lineup
Donny Hillier - vocals
Kris Gustofson - drums
Marcel Eaton- bass guitar.
Trauma is currently writing new material for another record. No title as of yet. This record is going to be heavier,faster paced and powerful. We hope that Trauma fans will dig it. We will keep you posted!!!
American power metallers Trauma announced this week that guitarist Jeff Jones (founding member of the metal rock act St. Elmo's Fire) as the new replacement for axe wielding guitar player Kurt Fry. The departure of the thrash metaller was due to the guitarist wanting to pursue other musical interest.
Trauma is known for their contribution to the Metal Massacre-sampler and the release of their 1984 debut album, Scratch And Scream, which was remastered and re-released last year with Shrapnel Records. Now, after three decades, the band from California have decided to give it another go with their latest release Rapture And Wrath to include a sold out limited edition of 200 black copies with printed insert on vinyl through Pure Steel Records.
"Trauma has returned to deliver more face-melting heavy metal unto the hungry masses and having Jeff Jones onboard is going help us by adding some new dimensions to our sound and overall vibe," says drummer and co-founder Kris Gustofson. "Recent rehearsals have been sounding awesome! So, with that being said he is our new guy in the band as of this week. He is an awesome guitarist and songwriter too"...
Trauma's Scratch And Scream recording in its entirety has been added Spotify and added to Pandora. The station is Trauma Radio.
Donny Hillier - vocals
Jeff Jones - guitars
Steve Robello - bass
Kris Gustofson - drums
Go on the web for all Trauma news...
Trauma | Scratch and Scream
by Alissa Ordabai
- Senior Columnist –
Here is one of the best releases of 2013: an old obscure record by a little-known metal band with some even more obscure bonus tracks featuring Cliff Burton. The band is Trauma – one of Bay Area thrash pioneers of the early 80s, and Scratch and Scream was their only album released in 1984. After sustaining a cult underground status for almost 30 years, it now gets a new lease on life thanks to Shrapnel now reissuing it as a CD for the first time in the US. What adds to the buzz are three bonus tracks with Cliff Burton on the bass, recorded when he still played in Trauma before defecting to Metallica.
The press release allusively talks about “progressive metal”, but what we have here sweats and bleeds pure thrash. Although thrash at its tadpole stage where the guitar parts sound like Ritchie Blackmore on steroids and the vocals oscillate between the inspired and the ridiculous. On opener “The Day All Hell Broke Loose” drummer Kris Gustofson lets the drum kit have it like all get out, and everything else bounces off that – the rabid riffing, the breakneck solos, and the howling vocals on top. The dire recording quality and the even more appalling production can’t stop this track from bulldozing you off your feet.
The next piece of lunacy titled “Bringing the House Down” does exactly that, and here you also learn that apart from explosive super-fast chops the band also writes instant-grip songs. Tracks that follow whip out a hodgepodge of raucous mini-gems and some half-cooked ideas. But the heat of high-speed, note-perfect guitar solos parboils even the most underdone songs to punchy tang.
The Burton-featuring tracks turn out a mixed bag too, although production sounds better. “Such a Shame” can’t flaunt much apart from solid bass parts, but wait for the punky number titled “We’re Going Off”. When it steps away from the verse / chorus roundabout into a jam, Burton simply starts a fire. The barn-burning bass solo would sound right at home at an acid house rave: utterly futuristic and riotously fun. And when the guitar occasionally joins Burton in his far-out extrapolations, it baffles you how much a genius bassist can expand a guitarist’s mind.
Closing track “Woman Be Gone” is a Sabbath-esque ballad and would sound unremarkable, if not for the poetic undercurrent of Burton’s bass lines. The inspired dialogue of the bass and the guitar sticks the knife in and turns it as you realise how cruelly we’ve all been robbed when Burton died aged only 24. A latitude from futuristic experiments, to helping invent a new genre, to mystery-steeped lyricism has never been winged with such audacity by a rock bassist ever since.
Genre: Thrash Metal, Punk, Experimental
Michael Overton – guitar
Donny Hillier – vocals
Kris Gustofson – drums
Ross Alexander Merson – guitar
Lucas Advincula – bass
1. The Day All Hell Broke Loose
2. Bringin’ the House Down
3. I Kill for Less
4. Scratch and Scream
5. The Warlock
6. Lay Low
7. In the End
8. We are Watching You
9. The Flight of the Raven
10. Such a Shame (feat. Cliff Burton on bass)
11. We’re Going off (feat. Cliff Burton on bass)
12. Woman be Gone (feat. Cliff Burton on bass)
Label: Shrapnel Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10
Donny Hillier of Trauma talks to Totally Driven Radio
Totally Driven Radio >>>
Donny Hillier of Trauma talks to Totally Driven Radio about Scratch & Scream, Cliff Burton, Metallica, putting Trauma back together & Tons More !!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized on April 30, 2014.
Sweden Rock Magazine Interviews Vocalist Donny Hillier
By Erik Thompson
Their rare debut album ”Scratch and scream” has been reissued. A sequel is being recorded after 30 years. Cliff Burton’s old band Trauma has returned.
– If Cliff were alive he’d wish us the very best of luck, says singer Donny Hillier.
Since the summer of 2013, Trauma consists of singer Donny Hillier, guitarist Kurt Fry, drummer Kris Gustofson (ex-St. Elmo’s Fire) and bassist Marcel Eaton (ex-Serpent & Seraph). Kris Gustofson has Swedish ancestors and Donny Hillier’s wife’s grandmother was Swedish. The latter circumstance is one reason why the singer hopes he gets to visit Sweden when Trauma make their European debut in July 2014. Another reason is, of course, that he’d like to visit the memorial in Dörarp outside of Ljungby where his former bandmate Cliff Burton (1962-1986) perished.
Trauma was formed in San Francisco in 1980. Officially Cliff Burton was in the band until December 1982 when he joined Metallica. He didn’t play on the album ”Scratch and scream” which was released in 1984. Yet Trauma is first and foremost associated with Cliff to this day. Is this a source of bitterness for the other members?
– Not in the slightest, says singer Donny Hillier. Cliff was a friend, both as a member of Trauma and as a member of Metallica. I think I speak on behalf of all of us: we’re fortunate who got to know him and play with him. It didn’t last forever, but it did last for three wonderful years. We were incredibly proud of Cliff until the day he died. He was a very special person, coolness personified. We miss him so very much.
Now when ”Scratch and scream” is finally released on CD, at least Cliff plays on the three bonus tracks.
– Yes, they’re a piece of music history. ”Such a shame” was the first song that Trauma ever recorded, before our manager built his own studio. ”We’re going off” is the well-known jam song with Cliff’s solo. ”Woman be gone” we had to record over and over again because our manager thought that the song deserved it. They sound very different to our style on ”Scratch and scream”. By then we had changed a lot.
”Such a shame” was also the first Trauma song to be released on record, the Metal Blade compilation ”Metal massacre II” (1982). However, the head of the label, Brian Slagel, wouldn’t let you release a whole album. Was that because your Saxon-reminiscent sound at the time was neither related to the glammy Los Angeles scene, nor the aggressive San Francisco scene?
– That’s quite possible. Personally I had a hard rock background and heavy metal was new to me. At the time we had an infamous manager, Tony Van Lit. He was the one who got us that spot on ”Metal massacre II”. We also had him to thank for us getting to play all the famous Los Angeles clubs – the Stone, the Whisky A Go Go, the Troubadour and Bill Graham’s Wolfgang’s. I call him infamous because he charged on like a steamroller and made a few enemies. Trauma became the house-band at Bill Graham’s Wolfgang’s at first, and then we were blacklisted when Tony had a fight with the owner.
But for a while he was beneficiary for your career?
– Yes, it was exciting to have somebody getting us gigs and backing us with money. I think that Tony had seen us play and thought that we had something that he could build on. He was British but had moved to the States to work as a sound engineer. After he became our manager he built his own studio, Skid Row, in Sausalito, Bay Area. Me, Cliff, drummer Dennis Shafer and guitarists Mike Overton and George ”Tiger” Lady spent a lot of time there. We slept on the studio floor and learned how to record properly. It was like Disneyland to us. Tony came from a wealthy family. If we needed money, he wired England. Bam – we had 2000 pounds. We didn’t talk about it that much, but money was never an issue.
That summer in Los Angeles, in 1982, you also recorded the ”Trauma live” video, with the songs ”The warlock”, ”We’re going off” and ”Woman be gone”. What was your reaction when you realized that it would include you sacrificing a woman, with another woman wriggling on a crucifix in the background?
– Basically: ”Come again?” The band had no idea what we were getting into. When we arrived at the studio we were a little confused about the stage decor. There was some sort of debate going on. The women seemed reluctant but the director was persuasive. Tony had obviously spent a lot of money so we agreed to make the video as he had planned it. I don’t think anyone did it happily, rather with a ”oh, what the hell” kind of attitude. My guess is that it was the song ”The warlock” that gave Tony the idea. Apart from that, that occult thing wasn’t us at all. I can’t imagine what Tony was going to use that video for. MTV would never have aired it. Afterwards we decided to part ways with Tony. The video itself remained buried for decades. The director kept the original recording since the pyrotechnics had damaged the studio walls. We weren’t very pleased when he released it as a pay-per-view online in 2003.
Metallica met Cliff for the very first time as you were recording that very video, not as many people think at the Trauma gig at the Troubadour the following night. He later explained his move to Metallica with musical and personal differences. How did you react to him announcing his departure?
– We were surprised and obviously disappointed, but it was Cliff’s call to make. I know one thing for sure: it wasn’t an easy decision for him. He took a long time to make up his mind and when he finally told us you could tell it was hard for him to find the words. Cliff was a founding member of Trauma and he was just as committed as anyone else, the entire time.
It took quite some time for you to get signed. When ”Scratch and scream” finally appeared on Shrapnel in 1984, Trauma sounded decidedly heavier and faster.
– We had experienced some lineup changes, which is always a setback. We finally stabilized with me and Mike, Ross Merson on guitar, Luke Advincula on bass and Kris Gustofson on drums. Our primary focus was to write songs and grow together naturally as a band. I can’t remember who originally introduced us to Mike Varney on Shrapnel. At any rate he was very interested, and a cult figure to us – the man who brought Yngwie Malmsteen to the States. Producer Peter Marino was the singer of Le Mans, the only band that ever had Mike Varney as their personal manager. The studio was located more or less in the country and I remember the recording as being more concentrated than when we recorded separate songs in Tony’s studio.
Album sales weren’t as great as one would’ve hoped and there never was a second album. Did that have something to do with Shrapnel’s notoriously non-existent distribution in Europe?
– I really can’t tell how well Shrapnel did what they were supposed to do. The band was pretty inexperienced in business matters. Judging by reviews and fan mail we had done a good job, but we didn’t know how to keep promotion going. A second album was written and we were supposed to record it.
– I’m not really sure how long after the first album was released that the band split up. Kris had moved to Los Angeles and become a session musician. We hired a drummer for a gig in Seattle. It went great but the end was a huge anticlimax. When our tour manager asked the promoter for our fee, he got a gun to his head instead. We had driven 800 miles for nothing. Afterwards that same drummer asked me to join his band Heist. Trauma’s current guitarist Kurt Fry was in that band too. I tried to remain in both bands, but Trauma was less active than Heist. Mike and I were feeling awful about chasing drummers and bassists. Because Luke had quit too. He didn’t say anything, he just disappeared. We called him, and went to his flat, but he was nowhere to be found. If it hadn’t been for that, I don’t think that I would’ve given up Trauma. It took years before I dared get in touch with Mike again. I felt like I had betrayed him, though I think he was ready to give up too at that time.
Do you remember if Trauma still existed when Cliff died in September 1986?
– It must have, because Mike and I came directly from rehearsal when we met Cliff for the last time. That was when he did his final performance with Metallica in San Francisco on August 29th. Both Mike and went to Cliff’s first show with Metallica, and every time they played locally he asked us if we wanted backstage passes.
Why have Trauma reunited now, after all these years?
– This is something that Kris and me, at least, have wanted to do this whole time. We didn’t see one another for many years while he was touring the world with different artists. He was very surprised to meet lots of people who were incredibly excited to hear that he used to be in Trauma. Meanwhile I was singing with miscellaneous local bands without much happening. About once a year Kris called me and said: ”We should really think about reuniting Trauma”. The other members of the ”Scratch and scream” lineup are spread all across California and Nevada. Around 1999 I called Mike and asked if he was ready for it. He said yes, but not much happened after that. Then, about two years ago, Kris had a couple of phone calls from record labels who wanted to re-release ”Scratch and scream”. After the second call, he got in touch with Mike Varney. Mike’s response was basically: ”Hell no – if anyone’s gonna re-release that album it’s gonna be us at Shrapnel”. Then he said: ”I’d like you to bring Trauma back to life. An active live band would be great for sales”. That became the catalyst.
But apart from you and Kris, nobody from the ”Scratch and scream” lineup is in Trauma today. Not even Mike Overton, your former band leader.
– It soon became obvious that not all the old members had the time to commit full time. Luke was in and out again twice. He’s busy with his own band in Sacramento and is happy to have got two chances before we realised that it wasn’t working out. Mike works two day jobs and is also committed to the church, which takes up a lot of his time. He doesn’t like being replaced but at the same time he understands our point of view. The new band debuted live on the 10th of February 2013. It was a tribute gig to Cliff on his birthday. I’d like to correct a mistake of Blabbermouth’s: we did not play any previously unknown material by Cliff. All the new songs we’re playing have been written by Kurt and myself in this last year. I hope that our coming album will be titled ”The long way home”. That’s the title of one of the songs, one of the best in my opinion, and is obviously autobiographical.
Could you comment on the criticism by some people who claim that your reunion is only an attempt to profit from Cliff’s name?
– I’ve seen a few of those comments. Many people have that opinion and that’s OK, I guess. I don’t know what would make them change their minds. How could you possibly reunite Trauma without mentioning that Cliff was part of the band for three years? On the other hand, I don’t understand why he wouldn’t want his old friends, his band, to be successful. If Cliff were alive he’d wish us the very best of luck.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2014.
Trauma Interview on KJAG Radio w/ James Lowe
Another great interview w/ Trauma’s vocalist Donny Hillier on KJAG Radio
Donny talks about the band’s inception, history, and New upcoming CD… You don’t want to miss this!!!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2014.
The Classic Metal Show – Interview with Trauma Vocalist Donnie Hillier
The Classic Metal Show
Interview with Trauma Vocalist Donnie Hillier. Hillier called in to talk about the new release, SCRATCH & SCREAM.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2014.