Hailing from Huntington Beach, California, TSOL (True Sounds Of Liberty) was a hardcore punk band formed in 1979.
In 1981 the band released the TSOL EP and Dance With Me, their first full-length record for the Frontier label. They later signed to independent label Alternative Tentacles, for which they released the Weathered Statues EP and the Beneath The Shadows album which featured Greg Kuehn playing keyboards.
Around this period their style switched further with a huge resulting backlash from fans of the time.
The band was heckled mercilessly while touring for their change in music. Jack Grisham and Todd Barnes were so disgusted with the reaction that they left the band.
Joe Wood (vocals) and Mitch Dean (drums) joined and the new lineup released four albums: Change Today? (1984), Revenge (1986) Hit and Run (1987) and Strange Love (1990).
All four albums featured a polished style, with Hit and Run even making it onto the Billboard charts.
Guitarist Ron Emory left the band in 1988 during the recording of their blues-metal album LP Strange Love, leaving bassist Mike Roche as the sole remaining original member. Marshall Rohner joined to replace Emory and Roche was fired shortly before the album’s release.
He signed over rights to the TSOL name and trademark to Joe Wood and Mitch Dean leaving the band with no original members and essentially becoming a metal band.
Meanwhile, the original members began playing shows under the name TSOL, featuring the band’s early punk material (often playing the same cities on the same nights as the “other” TSOL).
In 1999, the original members fought with Joe Wood for rights to the TSOL name and won.
Drummer Todd Barnes died of a brain aneurysm in December 1999, at the age of 34. The remaining members recruited drummer Jay O’Brien and released the Anticop single (2001) and the albums Disappear (2001) and Divided We Stand (2003).
In November 2006, the band announced they were breaking up, releasing the posthumous live album Live from Long Beach. Their hiatus was short-lived, however, as they returned to perform local shows in late 2007.
Today, Beneath The Shadows is acclaimed by fans and critics as an achievement in punk and New Wave experimentation and while Dance With Me remains the favourite of most people, it is Beneath The Shadows that makes TSOL more than just another hardcore band.