Pist.On (also spelled Pist*On, Pist-On, PistOn, and Piston) is a heavy metal band out of Brooklyn, New York. The band released two albums in the 1990s.
Formed around the core duo of Henry Font (vocals, guitars) and Val.Ium (bass, backing vocals), the band released two demos in the early 1990s, the second of which, Urine the Money
, was produced by Josh Silver
of Type O Negative
. The band's friendship with Type O Negative (also based out of Brooklyn) brought them both help and scorn in subsequent years.
In 1996 the band, now rounded out by Paul Poulos (guitars, backing vocals) and Danny "Jam" Kavadlo (drums), released their first full-length album, Number One, to critical acclaim in both the United States and Europe. Subsequent tours with Type O Negative and Marilyn Manson helped improve the band's notoriety. Within a year, they moved from the independent Mayhem/Fierce record label to a major label, Atlantic Records. Also around this time, Poulos and Kavaldo both left the band.
New members Burton Gans (guitars) and Jeff McManus (drums) joined in time to see an Atlantic rerelease of Number One
with new photos, artwork, and, perhaps most obvious of all, spelling; the band's name shifted from "Pist.On" to the "friendlier" spelling "PistOn". The removal of the "." led to criticism that the band had "sold out
". Under the guise of their new name and label, the band again toured exhaustively. During this time, drummer Jeff McManus was forced into a brief respite for medical reasons, with Johnny Kelly of Type O Negative
Pist.on's debut album, successful on its face, had been picked up and rereleased by a major label, the band had deep friendships and histories with well-known acts such as Type O Negative
, Marilyn Manson
, the The Misfits
, and Queensrÿche
, and had energetic new blood in the form of two members. However, the promises and possibilities of this era never panned out, and after a handful of tours and negative reviews, the band was unceremoniously dropped by Atlantic.
1999 saw the release of the band's second album, $ell.Out
, again through Mayhem Records
. The record was described as rife with crooked and spiteful poking
at the music industry, the band's former label, the press, and the band itself. The album met with lukewarm reviews and sales, and breakup rumors swirled.
After the band's second release, drummer Jeff McManus departed from the band, returning briefly to record a 3-song independent Saves
EP in the spring of 2001. Despite the optimism brought on by Saves
, the core duo of Pist.On broke apart in late August 2001 when bassist Val Ium decided to leave the band as well. Though still not officially broken up, the Pist.On has not released any new material as a band since, although several band members including Henry Font and Jeff McManus have released recordings independently.
Solo projects in the 2000s
- Henry Font
- Jeff McManus
- Weekends with Dan (released the single Anna Rexia in 2006 which received acclaim in several punk rock publications)
- http://www.myspace.com/pistonnyc - official MySpace page, run by Val.Ium
- http://www.pistonline.com - an unofficial resource on the band
- http://www.pistarmy.com - a collection of Pist.On fans the world over
- http://www.tattudelady.com - ex-bassist Val.Ium's personal website
- http://www.paulpoulos.com - former guitarist Paul Poulos' website