The history of Tacoma’s underground metal: Taist of Iron

The Tacoma underground metal scene has had an astounding evolution over the last three decades and began with bands such as Taist Of Iron. Established in 1982 by Wylum Pearson, Taist Of Iron was formed when Pearson saw local band Ruz Skullen perform at the Midland Hall and decided to ask front-woman Lorraine Gill if she would be interested in joining a group he was putting together. Already committed to her current band, Gill declined Pearson’s offer and decided to continue with her current act. Not long after Pearson’s approached Gill, two members from Ruz Skullen decided to leave the band. Lorraine Gill and bass player Mark Glade decided to join Wylum Pearson in Taist Of Iron.

Taist of Iron practiced regularly in the Temple Theater, hosting their own private parties and events in their practice space and playing shows at Midland Hall. Unlike playing shows nowadays, metal bands back in the ‘80s had to rent out their own halls, build their own stages and rig their own sound, and lighting. More recently, that stuff is already there because venues already have it ready to go.

Taist of Iron’s album, “Resurrection,” bebuted in 1984.

According to ex-guitar player Wylum Pearson, “It was a tougher world back then. What a kid can do today and how fast they can develop as musicians is completely different from years ago. We had to learn everything by ear. We had to do everything ourselves and it always cost so much money for us. If we could have played on a stage like there is today for free, it would have been incredible.”

If you wanted to make an impression on your crowd, you had to take things a step further.

Vocalist Lorraine Gill explains, “I was really into the theatrics of metal. There was one time where I was lowered from the ceiling down to the stage in a coffin. I was chained to the drum riser at another one of our concerts. There was another time where I was almost squished from a cast iron metal fence that was made for our show that night.”

Taist Of Iron was influenced by various artists such as Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. They often covered these bands and snuck in their original material. This led to the recording their first EP, which was never officially released and was kept as a demo. After playing together as a band for a while, Taist Of Iron decided to refine their sound and go into the studio. By doing this they came out with their first studio release “Resurrection” in 1984. It was all business from there and the band wanted to make it big. Upon releasing Resurrection, Taist of Iron sent out on tour driving down to California in hopes of fufilling their dream of making it big by getting signed to a major label and put out on a national tour. Touring life is tough, especially when you have a band living completely out of a tour van. In 1986, due to strain on the band from the road, Taist Of Iron decided to go their separate ways.

Taist Of Iron has been reformed and you can see them for yourselves to experience what ‘80s heavy metal music is really like. Check out their Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/taistofiron

2 Comments
  1. What about the one-two punch of Taist of Iron and Blind Ambition. These two band helped define the hard rock/metal scene of Tacoma in the early 80’s….

  2. I would just like to mention the other two bands that contributed to TOI’s original line up. The first one is Griffin Mark Bakke played in this band and shared the guitar dutys with Pearson. Bakke left the band sometime after the first year but rejoined in 2010 when we reformed the Band although he lives over 2000 mile away we still consider him a member and has an open invite to join us on stage when ever he is able to make the trip. Alexis was Bill Pearsons band before TOI he was the singer and Jeff Massey was the drummer of course Bill put down the mic and picked up his guitar and Jeff Massey was the original Drummer.
    There were many othe bands in the scene around this time im not even going to try to name them its been along time and my memory is not that good. MCG.TOI.

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