Cailao ~ Drums
Dave Freeman ~ Keyboards, Synthesizers, Vocals
Paul Hanson ~ Guitar, Vocals
Chris Jacobson ~ Guitar, Vocals
John Ross ~ Drums, Percussion
Brian West ~ Bass, Vocals
Troy Woodsome ~ Vocals
Three friends formed Krakatoa during May 1974 while attending Mercer Island Senior High School. We set the goal of being a truly kick-ass hard-rock band that would rock Seattle like an earthquake.
The name of our band was chosen to convey a sense of our music. We were loud, boasting one of the most powerful PA systems in the Seattle area. Krakatoa, an Indonesian volcano whose explosive eruption was heard for a radius of over 3,000 miles, appropriately reflected the raw power of our sound.
Initial and subsequent personnel are listed below in alphabetical order by last name:
Ernie Cailao (Drums/Percussion);
Dave Freeman (Keyboards/Synthesizers/Vocals);
Paul Hanson (Guitars/Vocals);
Chris Jacobson (Guitars/Vocals);
John Ross (Drums/Percussion);
Brian West (Bass Guitars/Vocals);
Troy Woodsome (Lead Vocals).
As a three-man band we played predominantly lounges. Dave joined us in mid-March 1975, and we continued to play as a cover band with gigs in Washington state and Canada. In September 1975 we switched agencies and joined bands like Rail & Company and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the Unicam fold. This marked our transition from lounges to high schools and colleges.
After playing many consecutive nights in lounges during the summer of 1975, our act was polished and tight. This was clearly evident when we performed at Renton High School on September 6, 1975. We played tunes by Yes, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, Rush, Kiss, Bad Company, etc. We literally stunned the crowd to the point that afterwards we were asked if we had released any records (we subsequently did studio recordings).
During February 1976, Dave Freeman left the band to attend the Columbia School of Broadcasting. Instead of replacing Dave with another keyboardist, we opted for a second guitarist. Chris Jacobson, former guitarist for the group Marilyn, joined us on February 26, 1976 at Lindberg High School and gave us a distinctive two-guitar sound. It has been rumored that the dual guitar playing of Paul Hanson and Chris Jacobson earned Krakatoa the reputation of being the best two-guitar hard-rock band in Seattle during the mid 1970’s.
Former graduates of nearly a hundred local high schools might remember a band that opened with Ted Nugent’s ‘Stranglehold’ and closed with Kiss’s ‘Rock and Roll All Night’. They might remember a band with great guitar riffs and three-part vocal harmonies. And they might remember a band with a monstrous PA system that left their ears stinging. That band was very likely Krakatoa.
After the breakup of the band, Paul Hanson and Brian West moved to southern California to enter the L.A. music scene. Paul not only appeared in Steven Speilberg’s film ‘Back to the Future’ as one of the ‘Pinheads’ (the musical act Michael J. Fox used to audition for his school dance), he also taught Fox how to play guitar. Paul has released multiple solo albums including ‘The Visitor’ and ‘Mind Scanner’. Likewise, Brian was a member of a very successful L.A. lounge act called Fubar, appeared in the film ‘The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization, Part II (The Metal Years)’ and has released several albums. John Ross lives in New England and is a Computing Systems Analyst and a novelist.
If you were a fan of Krakatoa and/or loved the Seattle music scene of the 1970’s, read the ‘Krakatoa Chronicles’ for an intimate and exhaustive look at the band. Got Krakatoa?
John Ross, April 2002 (Updated January 2003, April 2003, June 2013)
I'm one of the founding members of Krakatoa. I have a bio at acrossthesound.com.
I'm back up here in the Northwest and thinking about putting Krakatoa back together, just need a hot drummer and bass player.
Paul Hason, January 2011
Click below to read the
John Ross - Krakatoa
Photo Courtesy of John Ross