Resurrected San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans FORBIDDEN have shared professionally filmed video of their first European show, which took place on August 11 at the Alcatraz festival in Kortrijk, Belgium.
The new FORBIDDEN lineup — consisting of Craig Locicero (guitar),Matt Camacho (bass) and Steve Smyth (guitar),alongside the group’s latest additions, Norman Skinner (vocals) and Chris Kontos (drums) — made its live debut at a “secret” show on July 16 at Baltic Kiss in Richmond, California under the TWISTED INTO EVIL banner.
FORBIDDEN will support DEATH ANGEL at two Christmas shows on December 21 and December 22 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.
When FORBIDDEN‘s “rebirth” was first announced in April, Locicero said in a statement: “First off, I did NOT see this coming. When FORBIDDEN quietly disbanded the second time in 2012, I figured it was over. While I always apply the ‘never say never’ mantra to my life, Russ (Anderson, vocals) made it clear that he was completely finished with touring. My wingman and main dude from the conception of FORBIDDEN EVIL, Russ was my mentor and the guy who bought me beer when I was 15! I couldn’t imagine FORBIDDEN without him, so I had little hope of a future with FORBIDDEN. Today Russ is happily retired and living the sober life. I have nothing but love for that and him. Everyone needs to respect his wishes like we do.
“So then ….. fast forward 11 years after our last show, Bay Area vocal talent Norman Skinner walks in to help us rehearse and sing a few thrash classics for the BAY AREA INTERTHRASHIONAL set at Dynamo MetalFest 2022. WHAMMO! That’s when it all happened by accident. Truly. Then it happens AGAIN when Norman sings ‘Chalice Of Blood’ onstage alongside WARBRINGER at the one Bay Area show of BAY AREA INTERTHRASHIONAL. Holy fuck! We will go into detail thoroughly in the upcoming weeks. It’s an amazing and organic progression story to tell.
“I now can announce that alongside my brothers Matt Camacho (bass) and Steve Smyth (guitar) we are officially introducing Norman Skinner (vocals) and Chris Kontos (drums) to the FORBIDDEN family. As far as Kontos goes, he’s well known as one of the Bay’s very best and most respected drummers. Chris‘s work in MACHINE HEAD and ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT alone are legendary. Historically he’s sat behind the kit in with EXODUS, DEATH ANGEL, and TESTAMENT to name few. I’ve been lucky enough to play music with Chris in the past and present as well most recently with punk legends THE BONELESS ONES. We work amazingly well together and have remained great friends for over 30 years. In a long line of amazing drummers… Bostaph, Jacobs, Hoglan, Hernandez and Horn… Kontos is the perfect fit for FORBIDDEN. Having 5 people all moving the same direction with enthusiasm and positivity. It’s all I’ve ever wanted with FORBIDDEN. Making the seemingly impossible, possible.
“This is not a reunion, it’s a rebirth.”
Originally founded in 1985 as FORBIDDEN EVIL by Anderson, guitarists Locicero and Robb Flynn, basses John Tegio and drummer Jim Pittman, the quintet started playing house parties and Bay Area clubs such as the legendary Ruthie’s Inn soon after. After a couple of lineup changes (Paul Bostaph on drums and Matt Camacho on bass) in ’86, the band quickly rose through the ranks of Bay Area thrash to gain a massive following and worldwide notoriety. In 1986, the band added Glen Alvelais as the second guitarist. It was this lineup that cemented itself into the Bay Area scene and soon after recorded 1988 release “Forbidden Evil” for Combat Records, changing the band’s name to simply FORBIDDEN. In May of ’89 while on a European tour with SACRED REICH, FORBIDDEN made their first appearance at the legendary Dynamo Open Air in Eindhoven, Netherlands. It was here that FORBIDDEN made their European mark and recorded the “Raw Evil” EP. The band returned Stateside and replaced Alvelais with Tim Calvert. Calvert was a missing ingredient that brought the band closer together as a team. They continued to tour the U.S. first with EXODUS and then again with SACRED REICH with Calvert on second guitar. The band went on to release “Twisted Into Form” in 1990, “Distortion” in 1994 and “Green” in 1996. However, the band, having gone though many lineup changes, disbanded in 1997.
In 2008 Craig being inspired at a screening of the movie “Get Thrashed”, called the other members of the band and suggested getting back on stage to see if they could reignite the FORBIDDEN machine. With Anderson, Locicero, Camacho back in the mix along with new additions Glen Alvelais and Gene Hoglan they played two sold-out DEATH ANGEL shows in San Francisco. Steve Smyth came into the mix in place of Alvelais and Mark Hernandez took Hoglan‘s place. The band then released “Omega Wave”, the fifth in the catalog and went on a U.S. tour with OVERKILL. European festivals were next but afterwards Hernandez had to walk away due to personal reasons leading to a tour cancelation. Sasha Horn was the answer to fill the drummer’s spot.
After playing “Bonded By Baloff” with EXODUS and one Bay Area show, FORBIDDEN embarked for Chile to play the Metal Fest in Santiago. It was on this flight back home that Russ informed the band that he couldn’t tour anymore because of the physical toll it was taking on him. With that, the band dissolved once again for 11 years.
Fast forward to 2023. The once improbable and impossible happened. FORBIDDEN is reforming with new blood. Locicero, Camacho and Smyth remain from the “Omega Wave” lineup.
New vocalist Norman Skinner has taken the elite position that belonged to Russ Anderson. Norman shocked everyone who witnessed his performance of “Chalice Of Blood” with Los Angeles thrashers WARBRINGER accompanying him as the band. It was undeniable to all in attendance. Norman grew up in the Bay Area. His first thrash metal show was seeing FORBIDDEN at the Omni. Russ would point to Norman at shows and call him “Little Russ” on the mic. It could ONLY be Norman Skinner that fronts the band.