The Story So Far
Cloven Hoof was originally formed in the heart of the West Midlands, England in 1979. The group went through various line up changes until spring 1982 when the band line up consisted of Lee Payne bass guitar, David Potter
vocals, Steve Rounds Lead guitar and Kevin Poutney drums.
The first demo tape the band did together was given the thumbs up from no lesser stars than Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) who took a copy of the tape into national radio one, and Rob Halford (Judas Priest) who got it played on
a radio station in Phoenix Arizona. The station was bombarded with heavy metal callers who wanted to know more about the band. Soon afterwards the group were taken under the wing of ex, Judas Priest manager David Hemmings.
The Opening Ritual a four track mini album was released in the July of 1982, and the EP stayed in the Sounds and Kerrang heavy metal charts for six weeks peaking at number 18. Articles in Kerrang and Noise magazine followed by
Geoff Barton tipping the band for the top in his prestigious “Breaking through in 82 feature,” And play list.
“The image adopted by ourselves during this period was worth noting!” “Because there were 4 band members, I came up with a concept featuring the names Air, Earth, Fire, and Water”. “Outlandish stage costumes were donned
and heavy Kiss- style makeup and masks”. “We wanted to be the band we always wanted to see and hear…Total senses overkill”. In a lot of ways I think we were ahead of our time, because our vision of combining image and music was perfectly suited to the multi media sci-fi games market. And remember we were doing the masks thing years before Slipknot and all the others. I suppose we must of influenced many bands in presenting themselves in a hard rocking theatrical way. But the music always came first!!!
“The project drew huge attention and major labels were queuing up to sign the band, the high chart position was a big help too”. (Lee Payne)
Over in America unbeknownst to us Rob Stradansky was championing the bands cause in his Metal Rendezvous magazine, and college radio stations were airing it on there play lists. A worldwide buzz was growing and international stardom seemed a formality. However bad contract advice and publishing in fighting put paid to a huge recording deal. The untimely death of David Hemmings the bands manager was another terrible blow. An
independent label was the only alternative for Cloven Hoof to once again gather momentum without the support of a major label at the helm.
Undeterred the groups The Opening ritual attained air play on numerous radio stations worldwide, but it was not until Tommy Vance and Geoff Barton played tracks off the Ep on radio one in the UK that the Cloven ones carrier really began to break into a gallop.
1983 saw Cloven Hoof touring throughout the length and breadth of the United kingdom, earning themselves a sizable underground cult following. In the summer of that year the band recorded a four track session for Tommy Vance’s Friday rock show on Radio One and a similar session for Beacon radio for DJ Mike Davies.
On the strength of the bands popularity Neat records signed the outfit to record the album “Cloven Hoof.” The opus notched up sales figures of 24,000 units in 1884 alone, and it became apparent that the bands gigging
activities would have to stretch further a field due to success of sales overseas.
A European tour was organized that year culminating in the Shockwave festival in Genk Belgium. The Dynamo club in Eindhoven Holland was another highlight of the gigs abroad. These venues provided some of the most enthusiastic heavy metal fans the band had experienced. The applause at the end of these sets was astounding.
A Metal Hammer compilation album featured the track “Crack the Whip” from the debut album. Another compilation album entitled Metal Inferno contained ‘The gates of Gehenna’ and “Laying down the Law.” *Many more albums featuring Cloven Hoof are rumoured to exist, so if anyone out there can bring these albums to light we are eager to hear about it. We will feature your name in this section at a later date if you can give us the details.