1984: Dinos Kostakis, George Velentzas, Thanos Kremidas, Kostas Kiriakidis and Elias Logginidis work on their own material; they do it mostly for fun rather than for any specific plan. Some appearances and concerts is the best they can hope, then.
1985: The story goes on much the same with the difference that the band has made itself known appearing in metal clubs with a solid set that includes songs like: LEAD ME ON, STREET FIGHTER, LADY OF THE NIGHT, BACK TO ZERO, DEAD CITY, QUILTY DREAMS, I’M RUNNING. During a festival in the American College of Athens in Psichiko, they meet GIANNIS KOUTOUVOS, working then for the EMI. The first talks for a possible cooperation take place, some appearances in clubs are booked and Giannis takes on to present their new demo to EMI Greece. At the same time, songs from the demo are played on the radio for the first time.
1986: EMI Greece invite the band to get in the studio and record their material. The contract signed is 1+1 with EMI’s option for the second album. “What do we care? What is important is us recording our album! And EMI is the best we could hope!” the guys thought.
May 1986: Through EMI the band are invited to open the SAXON concert in Athens. It’s the big moment, their first appearance in front of a big audience. “The first thing we cared was not to get booed”, says Elias. “Come down to it we played really well, despite the fact that in the first two songs the quitar didn’t go through the P.A. Luckily, the people really helped us and when at last the quitar could be heard, things got really hot”, Elias remembers. That same summer, July-August 1986 the band was in the studio recording FIRST ATTACK, with only 50 hours time allotted to them. The good thing was that SIERRA was the best recording studio at that time and the bad was that the time was NOT enough In the end, with 20 extra (freebie) hours the LP was recorded but only half of the songs were mixed! It was little after the recording that fate struck; Singer DINOS KOSTAKIS went into coma after a motorcycle accident. A terrible blow just when the band were making their start. But, they had to go on, they could not give up! In September 1986, just after Dino’s terrible accident and before their LP’s first release, Spitfire have their first obligation: A concert in Cyprus. Although shaken by Dino’s condition, they honour their obligation and do the gig with CORNELIUS (Douglas) in the vocals. Cornelius was a welcome help but Spitfire needed a new singer. It was difficult to find a voice like Dinos’. At last the band struck some luck in the face of MIKIS SINGROS. Although actually a blues singer, he had no problem singing hard rock provided he liked the songs. Quite easily after only a few rehearsals they were ready to meet their obligations.
Beginning of 1987: Party in CLUB 22 and LP’s official release attended by the press and people of the music industry. February 1987: Back to Cyprus for a second concert and from the airport straight to Omonia Sq. for an open-air concert in front of 40,000 people. March 1987: Gigs in CLUB 22 and Katerini in Northern Greece. September 1987: Appearance in Corfu in “Whispers” Club. It is there that something started to go seriously wrong. Some of the members, for personal reasons weren’t willing to follow the band around Greece. Things became very difficult between them and the end was inevitable when in a concert in the “Vrachon” theatre, half the members didn’t show up.
In 1989 Elias made an effort to put the band back on stage. The old members had followed separate paths. Costas made the RAW SILK, Thanasis went back to his family. George became a sound engineer and Mikis went back to solo blues singing. Luckily, there were new people willing to work. Elias made a first contact with TAKIS TSAMOUROPOULOS an old acquaintance, singer and guitarist in ALIEN. Together they formed a band of 7 members which unfortunately achieved nothing. After this bass player FOTIS ANAGNOSTOU (“Wolf”) and drummer GEORGE MANIATIS joined the band. SPITFIRE make a new beginning with a concert in CINE MAXIM; Support group are the GLADIATORS, it is sold out, a wild gig and 5 tickets from the police for “excessive noise”! The path is once more set…
1990 RODON: Those who remember know… Great success, great crowd and EMI’s long awaited intervention through Gianni’s Koutouvos, whose tracks they have lost for quite a while. He makes clear that they can not use the name SPITFIRE any more. To avoid legal complications which everybody know take a lot of time and money (which they could not afford!), the band make a necessary but minimal concession; the band’s new name is SPEEDFIRE a name that sounded almost the same. MOLON LAVE records wants to do their next LP. The company’s short budget allows for no luxuries (a good studio) but in the name of their friendship with GEORGE OSMAC (Molon Lave’s owner) they record a LIVE LP with SIERRA MOBILE STUDIO. The sound is a real mess but with no mixing (only the volumes were regulated) they release the “100%LIVE” LP. Appropriately named, wasn’t it?
CONCERTS: Athens, Thessalonika, Kalamata and a season in BOBBY’S BAR in Glyfada. A thoroughly solid set with songs like the oldies: STREET FIGHTER, LEAD ME ON, LADY OF THE NIGHT etc, and the new ones like: FOOL ENOUGH, DANGER IN THE WORLD, WHAT YOU WANT, KID OF ROCK’ N’ ROLL, TEARS etc. The people are with them to stay!
In the summer of 1991 Elias finds out that Takis and Fotis are making money working in Rhodes using the band’s name without anyone else’s knowledge and permission. There is no excuse; Elias furious “sacks” them in an interview in METAL HAMMER. SPEEDFIRE-THE END. SPITFIRE don’t hold with traitors… 1993 Elias finds new members; the first is the “old” Spitfire member: Thanasis Kremidas in the bass. After Thanasis, the band is joined by GEORGE ASPIOTIS (keyboards and fan of the original Spitfire), a new singer ALEX BALAKAKIS and LAMBIS KASTANAS in the drums. They start rehearsing in George’s SPLASH studio and within a few months they finish their demo in the PRAXIS studio in Nea Smirni. The demo comprises of new songs like: SET ME FREE, MASTER OF MY HEART, LONELY LIE etc.
A little while later, Thanasis leaves the band and MAKIS KOLLIAS takes his place in the bass. They appear in Athens, Pireas, Kalamata, Loutraki and other places around Greece and they hold a season in the legendary WING pub in Nea Smirni. Wild times, sold out gigs every time the band played. Round the same time they appear in the GATE CLUB and the PARANOID.
Dec 1995: COSTAS MAKRIKOSTAS takes Makis’ place in the bass and the band is called to open IRON MAIDEN’S concert in Peristeri stadium. A landmark-what is there more to say?
They continue appearing for a second season in WING. In 1996 IRON MAIDEN honour the band by inviting them to open for one more time their concerts in Athens and Thessalonika. It is obvious that they are doing really well but as it happens, this is exactly the point when problems begin… Contact between the members is stretching thin as some are in it only to fulfill personal ambitions. Things are not slow to surface, things that make enemies of old friends. The band slows down and the countdown begins… One more effort brings PANOS DEDES (vocals), George Maniatis (drums) and MICHAEL PERANTINOS (guitars) in the band. They record a demo in ROCK PALAIS studio with songs like the oldy DANGER IN THE WORLD and some new like the KING OF THE MOUNTAIN and the ballad I’M READY. One and only appearance in the Opera Club in Glyfada follows that. Despite the comings and goings the fans still hold fast and prove it once again.
The “mobility” continues with Panos and George leaving due to professional obligations. This time Alex returns and brings the guitarist TASOS GRIPEOS. Meanwhile, Elias reaches an agreement with drummer MARK CROSS. They start rehearsing some new material: WHY ME, ICARUS, MANY LIES and the old I’M READY. They record a demo on Mark’s studio and do some appearances in clubs all around Athens and a real hot open concert in Argos; supporting is a local group, the POWERSTORM of Kostas Fallieros, a Spitfire fan and Elias’ cousin! After that, Mark leaves for Germany to join the METALLIUM and later on the HELLOWEEN.
1999: One last appearance in AN Club with George Karahalios in the drums and then… nothing! The band goes into “hibernation” until the summer of 2002 when new members arrive and a new chapter begins.
SPTITFIRE STORY-PART B
On 7-6-2006 the band makes a reunion appearance in Gagarin Club. The lineup is: ELIAS LOGGINIDES-guitars, ALEX BALAKAKIS-vocals, PANOS HATZIIOANNIDES-guitars, GUS MACRICOSTAS-bass and MARK CROSS-drums.
In 2007 Spitfire start recording “DIE FIGHTING” in their studio. The album is released by EMOTION ART in April 2009.
Following the release of their album, the band opens for SCORPIONS in Athens (6-7-09, at Karaiskaki Stadium) and Larissa (8-7-09, at Alkazar Stadium). Their new lineup is: ELIAS LOGGINIDES and PANOS HATZIIOANNIDES-guitars, ALEX BALAKAKIS-vocals, NIKOS MICHALAKAKOS-bass, KOSTIS TSOUBRIS-keyboards, MANOS MATSOS-drums.
2010 finds Spitfire on the road for a long awaited by their fans tour:
23-1-10: AN CLUB (Athens)
27-2-10: LEGACY (Ioannina)
6-3-10: STAGE CLUB (Larissa)
24-4-10: STONE BAR (Patra)
6-8-10: CHANIA ROCK FESTIVAL (Chania) alongside WASP and GOBLIN.
18-9-10: HARLEY BAR (Thessalonica)
28-10-10: KYTTARO (Athens) with MARAUDER, CRUSH, CRIMSON FIRE.
With new member NIKOS MIHALAS on keyboards they open for SAXON on 7-4-11 in FUZZ CLUB (Athens), a reunion with the band they made their debut appearance 25 years before. That is the last appearance of the band with their usual lineup. Shortly after that, singer ALEX BALAKAKIS has to move to the UK and two more members leave Spitfire: drummer MANOS MATSOS and keyboardist NIKOS MIHALAS. The band undergoes a reform and almost a year (of hard work) later, they are ready to open for Y&T, on 15-9-12. Current lineup is:
WE ARE STILL ROCKIN….