Welcome To The Ball (1991)
"Welcome to the Ball", the band's 2nd Atlantic Records release, is considered by many to be a metal masterpiece! The songs on this album are very strong and the sound of the record is much more aggresive than on the band's previous release. Again it was produced and mixed by Michael Rosen, Geoff Thorpe and myself. We also added newcomer Vincent Wojno as an additional engineer and his attitude and spirit were definitley ingredients in the sound of this album. The video for the song "Children" received mild rotation on MTV's Headbangers Ball in America and Europe. The song's message was a positive one proclaiming that the world we leave behind is the world that our children will have to live in. As the lyric says, 'The children are the heirs'. Carl Albert's vocal intensities on songs like "Abandoned", "Raise Your Hands" and "Mastermind" and on the melodic classics like "Children" and "When Love Comes Down" are completely amazing. I can see him standing at the mic as if it was just yesterday. In my mind and for many fans worldwide, Carl remains one of the greatest vocalists that ever lived. I was so blessed to have known, performed and collaborated with him. "Welcome to the Ball" was nominated for "Outstanding Metal Album" at the 1992 Bay Area Music Awards in San Francisco. The nominees were Vicious Rumors, Metallica and Tesla. This was a shining moment for the band for this meant recognition from our home area for our songwriting and impact on the S.F. Music Scene! Again using Ibanez Guitars and Marshall Amplifiers the guitar sound was fierce! Some of my favorite moments on this record are the solos on "Strange Behavior", "Children" and "Ends of the Earth". This album kicks my ass when I hear it, even now! The guitar solos between Geoff and I on the song "You Only Live Twice" may be one of the sweetest transistions ever. Larry's and Dave's drums and bass were, as always, solid as rock and provided a wonderful musical playground for Carl's vocals and Geoff's and my guitars. This album took us out on the road for our longest tour ever. We were on the road for almost 6 months covering the US twice, hitting parts of Canada and then conquering Europe for our 3rd time, this time with metal legends Savatage. This was one of our most memorable tours. Both bands had a great time, and we became very close. During this tour Vicious Rumors' bus driver fell asleep at the wheel and we crashed on the autobahn doing about 60 miles an hour. The bus flipped over on its side and slid about a quarter mile, stopping just before an enormous guardrail. It's truly a miracle that we all walked away from that one. Savatage came to our rescue and opened their bus to us, and for the rest of the tour we were one big happy family on the road. It was our first time to countries such as Switzerland, Sweden and Spain. I was also able to make a quick and very special trip to Norway where I would visit with one of my greatest friends. That I will never forget! The tour's sold out shows received amazing reviews and the fans were psyched that Savatage and VR were playing together on the same bill. We ended the "Welcome to the Ball" Tour with our first trip to the orient. We headlined 3 sold out shows in Japan, 2 in Tokyo and 1 in Osaka. Vicious Rumors would be forever remembered in Japan, and to this day I recieve emails from our fans there! We were bombarded by fans at the airport, hotels and train stations. They came bearing gifts for all of us, and giant banners welcomed us to their homeland. When I was younger I remember reading about this happening to Kiss and the Beatles. And when it happened to us it was truly amazing to experience!! Japan is an unbelievable country! "Welcome to the Ball" proves to music lovers that aggression, melody and great songs are a winning combination. Many of VR's fans were musicians and this record definitely shows why!!!