Pretty Maids is a NWOBHM inspired heavy metal band formed in Horsens, Denmark, by Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer in 1981. Their sound can defined something between Europe and Helloween.
Over the years Pretty Maids have sold thousands of records, but have never broken through in a major way. They have supported such well known acts as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Saxon, and were also featured at the 1987 German version of Monsters of Rock where Metallica headlined along with Deep Purple.
As of 2006 Pretty Maids are still active, and are currently recording a new album, scheduled to be released in the autumn.
Pretty Maids have been making music for over 20 years. Formed in 1981 by friends Ken Hammer and Ronnie Atkins, they were initially a cover band but soon started writing their own material and a self-financed demo resulted in a deal with the English record label Bullet Records.
In 1983 Bullet Records released a six track EP, and further recognition was fuelled by great reaction to their UK tour the same year. Inevitably the band outgrew their label, and in 1984 signed to CBS Records, who re-released their self titled debut EP.
Their 1984 debut album Red, Hot and Heavy was a success, and the band really hit their stride with 1987's Future World which was recorded in New York with renowned producer Eddie Kramer. This was the album that saw the band define their sound, with typically aggressive rockers alongside more commercial, melodic moments.
The 1990 Follow up Jump The Gun, was produced by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, offered more of the same catchy riffs. The record label had put in all efforts to break the charts worldwide with this record, but it never took off. Whether it was lack of hits, marketing or simply another hair metal victim of grunge music we will never know, but the record didn't live up to expectations. The band more or less broke up after the lack of success with this record, leaving only founding members Ron Atkins and Ken Hammer.
They would however not quit, so they recruited drummer Michael Fast and bass player Kenn Jackson, and went on to record Sin-Decade in 1992. The album produced the hit single Please Don't Leave Me - a [[John Sykes]/[Phil Lynott]] cover which opened the band up to an even wider audience.
The band did very well in Japan in the first half of the 90s and founded large fanbase over there. The asian audience has a special craving for Pretty Maids' ballads and more soft repertoire.
In 1995 however, the band really surprised the fans and critics by releasing the storming Scream. This was an altogether heavier and guitar-lead approach which gained numerous plaudits and saw the band release their first live album, Screamin' Live.
The follow up Spooked, released in '97, was regarded by many as an instant classic, maintaining the energy and heaviness of Scream whilst still capturing the quintessential melody that is Pretty Maids.
1999's Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Overdoing, whilst certainly having an overdone album title, also produced one of the songs of the year with Hell On High Heels, an absolute monster of commercial, hard driving rock.
In the Year 2000 the Danish heavy rockers released the album Carpe Diem. A touch more melodic than their previous offerings - a fact that hasn't gone down too well with certain factions of their fan-base, but this is still a classic album which has all the Pretty Maids trademarks in abundance.
In 2002, after the WTC attacks, Pretty Maids released their latest album Planet Panic which was a trip back to the heavier sides of their catalogue.
In 2003 their management company Rock On went bankrupt due to some very unwise business moves in September 2002. This left Pretty Maids in a very bad financial situation and also left them with a lot of legal problems as well as lot of business and copyright mess.
Lead guitarist Ken Hammer was struck by a heart attack on December 6th 2003. He has recovered completely and has been on stage numerous times since the incident.
As of July 2005 the drummer since 1991, Michael Fast, decided to leave before the recording of an upcoming album - an album that was originally intended to be released in 2005, but the initial recordings have now been postponed to 2006. In April 2006 new drummer Allan Tschicaja (Royal Hunt, Kingdome Come) was announced as Michael Fast's replacement.
Pretty Maids have on various occasions mentioned the following bands as some of their influences:
* Thin Lizzy
* Led Zeppelin
* Deep Purple
Over the years they have recorded cover songs from many of these infuences, including their most famous hit to date: A 1992 cover of John Sykes' ballad Please Don't Leave Me.
Swedish heavy metal band Hammerfall have recorded a cover of Pretty Maids' Back to Back from the 1984 album Red, Hot and Heavy.
* Ronnie Atkins (Paul Christensen) lead vocals (1981 - present)
* Ken Hammer (Kenneth Hansen) guitar (1981 - present) White Mountain
* Kenn Jackson (Kenn Lund Jacobsen) bass (1991 - present)
* Allan Tschicaja drums (2006 - present) Royal Hunt, Kingdome Come
Former band members
* John Darrow (Johnny Møller) bass (1981 - 1984)
* Phil More (Henrik Andersen) drums (1981 - 1990)
* Alan Owen (Allan Nielsen) keyboards (1981 - 1990 Still plays the keyboards on most records)
* Pete Collins (Jan Piete) guitar (1982 - 1986)
* Rick Hanson (Kim Hansen) guitar (1983 - 1984)
* Allan Delong (Allan Jensen) bass (1984 - 1990)
* Ricky Marx (Henrik Mark) guitar (1988 - 1991)
* Michael Fast drums (1991 - 2005)
* Dominic Galekeyboards (1992, 1995, 1998, 1999) The Shout
Temporary members - mostly live support
* Benny Petersen guitar (1984) Mercyful Fate, White Lion
* Angel Schleifer (Chris Gerhard) guitar (1987) Bonfire
* Henrik Hilssonkeyboards (1993)
* Jan Møllerkeyboards (1997, 2001 - 2004)
* Jørgen Thorupkeyboards (2000) Shu-Bi-Dua
* René Shades (René Sehic) guitar (2004) Mike Tramp
* Jacob Troutner keyboards (2004)
Guests on records
* Billy Cross guitar (1984)
* Phil Hart (Knud Lindhardt) background vocals (1987 - present)
* Graham Bonnet background vocals (1987) Rainbow
* Ian Paice drums (1990) Deep Purple
* Roger Glover bass (1990) Deep Purple
* Freddy George Jensen harp (1990)
* Ian Gillan vocals (1992) Deep Purple
* Ivan Pedersen background vocals (1992 - 1995)
* 1984 Red, Hot and Heavy (album)
* 1987 Future World (album)
* 1990 Jump The Gun (album) released as Lethal Heros in America
* 1992 Sin-Decade (album)
* 1993 Stripped (acoustic album)
* 1994 Scream (album) not released in Europe until 1995
* 1997 Spooked (album)
* 1999 Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Overdoing (album)
* 2000 Carpe Diem (album)
* 2002 Planet Panic (album)
* 2006 TBA (album)
* 1983 Pretty Maids (EP) released on Bullet Records
* 1984 Pretty Maids (EP) re-released on CBS
* 1990 In Santa's Claws (Christmas EP)
* 1992 Offside (acoustic EP)
* 1999 Massacre Classix Shape Edition (EP) limited edition logo-shaped disc
* 1995 Screamin' Live (live compilation)
* 1998 The Best Of: Back To Back (compilation)
* 1999 First Cuts And Then Some (compilation of early and rare material)
* 2003 Alive At Least (live compilation)