Inductee Biography for DEAD HOT WORKSHOP
|Dead Hot Workshop got its name in a dream. Lead vocalist and lyricist Brent Babb told his bandmates that he dreamed he was in a heavy metal band by that name, with all the hair, pyrotechnics and onstage bombast.
The band started in 1988, when Babb and guitarist Steve Larson got together to play. Babb, a strong lyricist who also had a knack for melody, had multi-layered stories to tell. The initial lineup included bass player Brian Griffith and drummer Scott Palmer. By the next year, Curtis Grippe had replaced Palmer in the lineup and he’s been the drummer ever since.
Grippe also happened to be the manager of the Sun Club at the time, where Dead Hot Workshop opened for groups like Firehose and the Gin Blossoms. The band also often played Long Wong’s on Mill Avenue and developed its reputation as the Tempe scene was gaining national exposure.
They independently released their first album, “White House,” in 1989, but it was touring, which they started to do in 1990, that gave them access to a national audience.
They toured with a van and trailer up and down the West Coast, including Seattle and San Francisco, and made stops at South by Southwest, as well. In 1992, Bill Graham Management signed them after they performed in San Francisco. It wasn’t long before major labels came calling.
A day after a big gig with the Gin Blossoms at Mesa Amphitheatre, they found out that label representatives had come to that show to check them out, and they soon signed with a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. The band had been working independently on “River Otis,” which the label released as an EP in 1994, and then the band released ”1001,” its first full-length album for the label in 1995.
The label didn’t last, but Dead Hot Workshop did. Dead Hot has been an independent band since that mid-1990s heyday, releasing several albums along the way, writing and recording new songs, and playing around the Valley.
Kylie Babb, Brent’s younger brother stepped in when Larson left, and Thomas Laufenberg became the bass player when Griffith left in 2005. Dead Hot Workshop keeps living the dream that Brent Babb had. Even without the trappings of a metal band, it definitely has earned its spot in the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame.