“I moved for the music, weather, cars, and girls,” said Knightmare II vocalist Dennis “Rotten Rod” Carlock of his relocation from the small town of Hillsboro, Illinois to Los Angeles in October 1982. Carlock had hopes of playing lead guitar in a band and immersing himself in the already burgeoning glam scene that dominated the Sunset Strip in the early 1980s. “I was a guitar player when I moved out, but by that time in L.A. everyone was an Eddie Van Halen clone and just blew me out of the water,” Carlock recalled. “So I put down the guitar to focus on finding a group of musicians that could back me up as a front man.”
By the summer of 1983, Knightmare were booked into Gazzarri’s on the Strip and Anaheim’s Woodstock Theater, playing alongside Aquanet hopefuls Vengeance, Striker, White Lie, Le Andro, Chamber Maid and Industrial Disease. “At that time everyone was impatient and desperate to find the next big thing,” Carlock said, “If you were in a band that hadn’t taken off within the first six months, everyone would start jumping ship.” It was this restlessness that lead to numerous lineup changes over the next few years, leading to the dissolution of Knightmare and a new incarnation of the band sporting double Roman numerals in early 1984.
Two attempts at recording were made that year. The first took place at Hit City West in L.A—which four years prior hosted young and hungry Mötley Crüe making their album debut Too Fast For Love. That session yielded Carlock and guitarist Van Simmons’ originals “Razor Love” and “Crack The Whip.” A few months later the nightmare continued at Present Time Recording Studio in North Hollywood, resulting in “Promise Land,” “Cold Reception,” and “Goin’ Insane,” all co-written with a pre-Warrant Joey Allen. An entire year passed before Knightmare II’s debut EP Death Do Us Part came out on Rotten Rod’s own Raucous Records. The handmade flyer promoting its release notes that this is “Psychotic Metal For All You ‘Nightstalkers.”
The decade’s balance saw numerous line-up changes, but no new numerals. The band shared green rooms with the likes of Overkill, Witch, and Leatherwolf, and headline gigs at The Whisky and Troubadour were a hesher’s heaven. Before their eventual demise in 1989, Knightmare II issued a string of singles, a bat-shaped 10”, a hockey mask-shaped picture disc, and appeared on New Renaissance’s seminal Metal Madness and California's Best Metal compilations. Their lone full length—1988’s The Edge of Knight—was issued on David Thomas’s Masque label, and closed with a song called “See You In Hell,” which years later soundtracked MTV’s hit animated show, Beavis And Butthead.
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