Seattle, WA's Heir Apparent was founded in 1984 by guitarist Terry Gorle and issued a pair of groundbreaking albums before disbanding in 1989. The band philosophy is based on an awareness of our evolving scientific reality, with an overarching theme of moving beyond the politics, religion and greed that divide us if we hope to overcome the consequences of mankind's impact on this planet.
The genesis of Heir Apparent began in 1983 when Terry began auditioning vocalists and musicians after writing three songs ("The Servant", "Dragon's Lair", and "Keeper of the Reign") and receiving very positive feedback from Kim Harris, manager of Queensrÿche. Terry recruited bassist Derek Peace and drummer Jim Kovach, reuniting a trio that had last played together in a cover band a few years earlier. During this time they called themselves Sapien.
Derek introduced vocalist Corey Rivers to the project, bringing two songs from their previous band, Helm's Deep ("Hands of Destiny" and "Tear Down the Walls"). During the next 4 months under the name of Nemesis, most of the material that would later end up on the Graceful Inheritance album would be conceived.
In February 1984, Corey Rivers left the band to concentrate on his career, and vocalist Paul Davidson was recruited for the album recordings that had been scheduled for that summer (Terry and Paul had played in a cover band in 1980 under the name Renegade). This is the point at which Terry changed the band name to Heir Apparent.
In June of 1984, due to the demands of Queensrÿche, the management team of Kim and Dianne Harris withdrew from their committment to manage Heir Apparent and finance the album recording at Triad Studios that had been booked for the month of July. So, to maintain momentum and salvage the booking in any way possible, the recording was scaled back to a 5 song demo financed by Terry. Although Heir Apparent soon began receiving local radio play from two of the songs, Jim Kovach left the band to begin his teaching career in August of 1984.
In September of 1984, Ray Schwartz joined as the new drummer. Heir Apparent prepared for gigs and continued to write material to complete a future album. After travelling for two shows with Perennial, the band played its first gig in Seattle, headlining the Moore Theater on December 21, 1984.
In early 1985, with positive reviews on the demo, Terry once again borrowed money from family and friends to finance the recording of the first half of an album. Heir Apparent took a break from recording to perform on live television at Eastern Washington University in April of 1985. The band caught the interest of Black Dragon Records in Paris, France. In October of 1985, Heir Apparent signed with Black Dragon and completed the album. Graceful Inheritance was released in Europe in January of 1986, and with radio play and great reviews, Heir Apparent toured Europe on the Metal Hammer Roadshow in May and June of 1986.
Upon returning from Europe, the band was faced with the reality that without professional management and a US release, they were once again on their own. Derek moved to LA to tour with Savage Grace, and it was time to regroup. In September 1986, Terry brought keyboardist Mike Jackson into the project and the two began writing. In November 1986, Duane Bakke joined as bassist. This new lineup played their one and only concert headlining Seattle's Paramount Theater on New Years' Eve 1986.
In the spring of 1987, with Randy Nelson as bassist, Heir Apparent recorded "Tomorrow Night" and "We, the People". Label interest was once again brewing, and Derek Peace returned to the band. But, with the highs and lows of trying to survive in the music business, Paul Davidson decided to leave the band in April of 1987. With label interest and gigs booked, Heir Apparent was looking for a vocalist.
Steve Benito was recruited as vocalist in May 1987, moving from Portland to Seattle. Steve brought three songs with him ("Alone Again", "Two Hearts", and "Screaming"), and Heir Apparent was on their way once again. Steve recorded new vocals on "Keeper of the Reign" and "We, the People" for a new demo, and the new lineup played their first gig headlining St. Martin's Pavilion on July 4, 1987.
The band continued writing and shopping for a deal for the next year, playing several local gigs. Their break came when they were asked to fill in for Poison as the opener for David Lee Roth in the Seattle Center Coliseum in June of 1988. In October of 1988, Heir Apparent signed a seven album contract with Metal Blade/Capitol Records, and recording began on One Small Voice.
Heir Apparent expanded into progressive metal with the material on One Small Voice. Although the future was bright, tensions surrounding commitment and finances within the band caused a rift that split the group before the album was released in June of 1989.
In 2000, the original musicians (Gorle, Peace, and Schwartz) reunited at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany with guest vocalist Mike Flatters. Terry Gorle reformed Heir Apparent with a new lineup in 2002, comprised of vocalist Bryan Hagan, bassist Bobby Ferkovich, and drummer Clint Clark. In 2003, Peter Orullian became the vocalist, and Op Sakiya was added on keyboards. With Jeff McCormack replacing Clint Clark on drums, the 2004 lineup returned to Europe in 2006 to headline the "Keep It True" VII Festival in Germany along with two concerts in Greece. In January of 2012, the original musicians (Gorle, Peace, and Schwartz) once again reunited with guest vocalist Jeff Carrell, returning to Greece for two shows and on to perform at the Metal Assault II Festival in Würzburg, Germany.
In March of 2015, vocalist Will Shaw joined the Heir Apparent lineup of Gorle, Peace, Schwartz, and Sakiya. The band is currently preparing for several 30th anniversary festival appearances in Europe through 2015-2016, as well as a new album. We are hoping to expand this section of the biography very soon.
Their debut effort, 1986's Graceful Inheritance (featuring singer Paul Davidson, guitarist Terry Gorle, bassist Derek Peace, and drummer Ray Schwartz) remains the highest rated album in the history of Germany's ROCK HARD magazine, rated at 49 of 50 by the editorial staff when released in January of 1986. In 2005, "Graceful Inheritance" was placed at #188 in ROCK HARD's "Best of Rock and Metal - Top 500 albums of all time" hardcover book which catalogs 40 years of rock and metal music history. It is worth noting that this album has never been released in the US...
Critically acclaimed by collectors and a very dedicated fan base, the catalog of Heir Apparent recordings and concert videos has continued to be reissued by various independent record labels in Europe over the past 25 years.