Cain was a hard rocking Twin Cities band that tried to take on the music industry in the mid-seventies. Their two small label albums were serious hard rock guitar extravaganzas, but with great fun original tunes, raucous lead vocals, and sweet backing vocals. Their influences ranged from the guitar of Deep Purple and Robin Trower, the majesty of Queen, and the vocal harmonies of Styx
Cain's roots went back a number of years. In 1969, the Twin Cities band The Bananas went through some personnel changes. Guitarist Lloyd Forsberg, bassist Dave Elmeer, and keyboardist Al Dworsky brought in Jiggs Lee on vocals and Mike Mlazgar on drums. Jiggs (from the Grasshoppers) and Mike (from Crow!) replaced Jim Offerman and Joe Soucheray. A name change was desired and Lloyd came up with "Cain." Like many local bands, Cain performed at teen clubs and school dances. Eventually, they worked their way up to college shows and started to gain a "heavy" reputation outside of the Twin Cities. Along the way, Mike Mlazgar was replaced by Tom Osfar and Al Dworsky was replaced by Jerry Magee.
Of course, Cain started writing their own material. The popular ballad "Katy" was written by their next keyboardist, Chas Carlson. Their tours took them to neighboring states with gigs in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Carbondale. They worked clubs with other Midwest bands like Styx, Kansas, and Cheap Trick. More personnel changes occurred before they went in to the studio to record their first album in 1975: Tom Osfar was replaced by Kevin DeRemer (from the Everett James Band) and keyboards were dropped from the line-up entirely. Their first hard rocking album was titled "A Pound of Flesh" (a reference to Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice"). It's not known what the band thought of the cover image that ASI Records' marketing department created.
The album's guitar sound brings to mind Richie Blackmore; the main riff of the album's opener "Queen of the Night" is in the same vein as Deep Purple's "Burn." Lloyd's Stratocaster sound ventures into Robin-Trower-land on "Badside." The album features an ode to girlie magazines on "If the Right Don't Get You the Left One Will," a big power ballad with "Katy," and an epic rocker with "All My Life."
They supported the album with tours that took them as far as Texas.
In 1977, the second (and last) album in their ASI contract, "Stinger," was released. This album was just as hard rocking as the first, but the song writing really advanced. The Queen influences come out strong on "Welcome to the Dance" and the title track "Stinger" (which was a big live favorite when Jiggs broke out the burning book!). The album's Big Power Ballad was "The Minstrel Song."
A third album was only half completed in 1978 when disco and other pressures took its toll on the group. Dave and Jiggs left the group, while Lloyd and Kevin continued on as Cain for another year before calling it quits.
Info By Kevin Anderson:
Jiggs Lee - vocals, percussion
Dave Elmeer - bass, acoustic, keyboards
Lloyd Forsberg - electric guitar
Kevin DeRemer - drums