American Head Charge

Infobox musical artist
Name = American Head Charge

Img_capt =
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Background = group_or_band
Alias = Head Charge, AHC
Origin = Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Genre = Metalcore
Industrial metal
Nu metalcite web|last=Sharpe-Young|first=Garry|title=MusicMight Biography|url=|accessdate=2008-10-03]
Years_active = 1997 – Present
Label = American Recordings DRT Entertainment, Nitrus
Associated_acts =
URL = [] []
Current_members = Cameron Heacock Chad Hanks Benji Hellberg Karma Singh Cheema Justin Fowler Dane Tuders
Past_members = Bryan Ottoson (Deceased) Anthony Burke Chris Emery Jamie White Aaron Zilch Dave Rogers Peter Harmon Wayne Kile

American Head Charge (often referred to as Head Charge or abbreviated AHC) is a metal band from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA, earning nominations at the "Kerrang! Awards" on two occasions.

The band's sound has often been described as an "intense hybrid of the US Chicagoan industrial band Ministry and Iowan metallers Slipknot".Fact|date=October 2008



The genesis of the band name

Early incarnations of the band sported the monikers Flux, Gestapo Pussy Ranch, and Warsaw Ghetto Pussy, although these were shortlived. The name Flux was already adopted by another band and so was dropped due to fear from copyright infringement and libel, while the latter names were abandoned within a period of six months so as not to alienate prospective label interest. "I'm a fan of 3-word names", Hanks reflected in a December 2001 Livewire interview. In reference to the current band moniker, he confessed; "It means nothing. No meaning by it. Pretty much that purpose right there." Although sometimes speculated that their name was taken from Adrian Sherwood's famous dub label On-U Sound act African Head Charge, which was formed in the early 1980s, it is in fact a coincidence. Chad Hanks remarked in an interview before they were signed that "It turns out that there is actually a band called African Head Charge; its so hard to be original these days."

The release of "Trepanation"

After settling on the name American Head Charge, the band made their debut on the underground fringes of the industrial metal scene with their 1999 album "Trepanation". The personnel on this album saw Heacock and Hanks (now respectively rechristened Martin Cock and Banks) joined by guitarist David Rogers, Justin Fowler on keyboards and samples and Chris Emery on drums.

Further exposure came through two track offerings to Dwell Records tribute albums, namely in homage to industrial bands Ministry and Marilyn Manson respectively.

Second guitarist Wayne Kile and keyboard player Aaron Zilch joined the quintets ranks during mid/late 1999.

After performing at a support showcase featuring System of a Down in Des Moines, Iowa during August 1999., Head Charge made a record deal with American Recordings.

"The War of Art"

Recording information

After the local success of Trepanation and the band's signing to American Recordings in 2000, AHC moved to Los Angeles to begin work on their second album with producer Rick Rubin at the helm, living and recording at the infamous Rubin-owned Houdini Mansion. "The War of Art", released August 28th, 2001, sold over 12,000 copies in the United States in it's first week. However, like many "heavy" bands at the time, sales of the album suffered soon after the 9/11 attacks.


American Head Charge, commencing a live schedule in support of their major label debut, began their professional touring experience on Ozzy Osbourne's 2001 Ozzfest, playing 3rd on the "Second Stage" for the entire tour. They then snagged a slot upon the "Pledge of Allegiance" festival tour, headlined by bands like Slipknot, Mudvayne, Rammstein and System of a Down. Guitarist Dave Rogers marked their concluding show of this tour in New Jersey by wholly playing the concert performance naked; this led to his subsequent arrest after the performance. In December 2001, the band co-supported Slayer alongside Ohio metalcore band Chimaira for the first two months of the American "God Hates Us All" tour. Following shows were headlined by Kittie, hardcore punk band Biohazard, and Texan stoner rockers Speedealer, preceding a 4 month Scandinavian/European/UK/Japanese tour headlined by Slipknot. Additional bands they've toured with include Coal Chamber, Ministry, Gravity Kills, Hatebreed, Static-X, Mudvayne, and Otep.

Guitarist Wayne Kile departed from the industrial outfit in early April 2002, paving the way for the induction of former Black Flood Diesel guitarist Bryan Ottoson to undertake the open position. Just 24 hours after getting the offer to join the band, Ottoson flew to Los Angeles and duly marked his inclusion to the band participating in the filming of the music video "Just So You Know".

"The Feeding"

After a two year hiatus, drugs had taken control of much of the band. According to AHC's MySpace article, three members of the band had become chemically dependent, with two of them going back into rehab. Guitarist Bryan Ottoson even stated that the band looked so doomed that he was almost checked into a mental institution for fear of suicide.

The remains of the band, with a couple new faces, pulled together and started writing and recording. During the demo process, "The War of Art" producer and American Recordings label owner Rick Rubin became increasingly elusive, and the band subsequently asked to be let out of their recording contract. Rubin respected their request without any legal squables. The band's producer on "The Feeding" was "The War of Art's" engineer Greg Fidelman. AHC recorded for four months, feeling this was by far their most disciplined record to date. "The Feeding" was released on February 15, 2005. "The Feeding" only spawned one radio and video single: "Loyalty".

Death of guitarist Bryan Ottoson

Guitarist Bryan Ottoson died at the age of 27 in the middle of an early 2005 tour conducted with the bands Mudvayne, Life of Agony, and Bloodsimple in tow. The musician's body was found lying on a sleeping bunk on the band's tour bus in North Charleston, South Carolina, where the group was scheduled to perform at the Plex club.

According to North Charleston police documents, scene investigators concluded the guitarist's death was the result of an accidental prescription drug overdose [] Police discovered a pill bottle of "numerous amounts of prescription medicine" in Ottoson's bunk. Ottoson had been battling severe strep throat with prescribed penicillin, and he was also given an unnamed pain medication. It was also stated that his overdose was purely accidental.

Band members informed police they last saw Ottoson alive around 4 a.m. on April 18, 2005, as they went to sleep before leaving Jessup, Maryland. Ottoson had consumed "a large amount of alcohol at a bar" in Jessup that evening, according to police documents. This statement is reported as inaccurate by bassist/co-founder Chad Hanks: "Bryan, myself, and our tech D-Rock walked to the bar just before last call, and we were stone cold sober. We all had two shots of vodka and one beer each. No more. No less. If 3 drinks is a 'large amount of alcohol', then apparently my mother is a raging alcoholic."

Police were called to the scene around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday; Ottoson was deceased by this time. Hanks and Cheema remarked to police that "Ottoson was a heavy sleeper, and it was not uncommon for him to sleep late before a concert."

First DVD and recording a new album

On 3 April 2007 American Head Charge released their first ever DVD, Can't Stop the Machine through Nitrus Records. Along with it came a 10 track CD with live and unreleased songs, including a remix of "The War of Art" single "Just So You Know".

As of July 6, 2007, having completed a 2 month U.S. tour behind "Can't Stop the Machine" the band are currently in Minneapolis working on their 3rd studio album. No date has been announced for the release as of yet. [Released through Nitrus Records, reported by [] ; last accessed January 20th, 2007.]

Band members


*Cameron Heacock - Vocals (1996 - present)
*Chad Hanks (Banks) - Bass (1996 - present)
*Justin Fowler - Keyboards (2000 - present)
*Karma Singh Cheema - Guitar (2004-2005, 2007 - present)
*Benji Hellberg - Guitar (2005 - present)
*Dane Tuders - Drums (February 2006 - present)


* Bryan Ottoson - Guitar (April 2002 - April 19, 2005) (Deceased)
* Dave Rogers - Guitar (1996 - 2003)
* Aaron Zilch - Electronics (mid/late 1999 - January 2003)
* Wayne Kile - Guitar (mid/late 1999 - April 2002)
* Chris Emery - Keyboards (1996 - 2000), Drums (2000 - February 2006)
* Peter Harmon - Drums (1997 - 2000)
* Nicolas Quijano - Guitar (2006 European Occupation Tour)
* Anthony Burke - Guitar (fill-in 2006)
* Jamie White - Keyboards, back-up vocals (1996; never recorded with AHC, but played live)



* "Trepanation" (July 18, 1999) Independent
* "The War of Art" (August 28, 2001) American Recordings
* " Just So You Know" (EP) American Recordings
* " The Feeding" (February 15, 2005) DRT Entertainment/Nitrus
* "Can't Stop the Machine" (DVD/CD) (April 3, 2007) Nitrus

Music videos

Compilation appearances

*Only Way Out (4:13)
*All Too Comfortable (4:33)
*17 (3:55)
*Run away from me (3:55)
*Real Life (3:53) - Released on the "Just So You Know" Single
*Im Not Dead Yet (3:55)
*Tighten The Line (4:14)
*Soft (4:07)
*Smiles And Pretenses (5:07) version 1
*Trained (5:00)
*One Big Female Neurosis (5:40)
*Filth Pig (8:16) - Ministry Cover from "Devilswork: A Tribute To Ministry"
*Pourn (2:44)
*Irresponsible Hate Anthem (3:55) - Marilyn Manson Cover from "Anthems Of Rust And Decay: A Tribute To Marilyn Manson"


External links

* [ Official site]
* [ MySpace site]
* [ Chad Hanks radio interviews]
* [ Music Videos]

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