Tremonton is a very small community in northern Utah and, in the mid-1970s, it was home to just fewer than 2,500 people. Out of that small community came a very talented progressive rock band called PALACE, which was formed in 1976 by guitarist Clayton Austin at the age of 16. Clayton recruited vocalist Kyle Hardman and drummer Barry Carter who were both 14 years old at the time. The band then searched for a bassist. At their young age in a small town, there wasn’t a lot of musicians to choose from, but they were able to bring on Darrin Kerr, a jazz bassist willing to try progressive hard rock. The band played live in a school assembly and started to gain many young fans. Darrin didn’t last too long in the band, and the band picked up Mark Wheatley to take over on bass. Mark was a fun bassist, and the band played several live shows over the next few years. Mark eventually left the band to focus on other endeavors.
In the early part of 1980, the band asked their friend, Jed Bradshaw, who was into progressive rock, to pick up the bass and join PALACE. It didn’t take long for Jed to come up to speed and the band started to playout live once again. As the band’s popularity grew, so did the distractions. Kyle had to ask his childhood friend, Barry, to leave the band when girls and partying become more important than the band itself. PALACE went through several drummers before they found Tracy Nielson (ESSEXX, BAD BOYS, ALL SOULS AVENUE, RELOADED) in the fall of 1982. He was impressed with the band after checking them out at the local clubs in Logan, Utah. Tracy blended very quickly with the guys and the band started to build some real chemistry. The band played several shows over the next few years from Wyoming to Nevada.
In the summer of 1985, the band decided to move out to Los Angeles to get more exposure and to seek a record deal. Kyle had just landed a significant job offer which left him with a decision to make—chase a career as a Rockstar or settle down with a nice job. Kyle decided to part ways with PALACE and focus on the guaranteed career. The band picked up Rex Miller on vocals, but that was short-lived. Then the band reached out to Scott Perez (SHADOW) to front the band, but as fate would have it, the band would soon be out another singer. At this time, there was an outstanding drummer in the Salt Lake Valley named Chris Boudreaux (THE TAKE, BOUDREAUX, HAIL MARY, RESTLESS BREED) who had just shifted to frontman in a band called “THE TAKE” and his stage presence was unmatched. Chris honed his stage presence as a DJ at several popular clubs in Salt Lake such as “The Broadway” and “Club Xenon.” Chris had also made a great name for himself and was backed by a successful management team which included Lenard McMillian and Ezio Valentini. Chris’s popularity brought him into contact with promoter John Verner (SKYLARK, AMBROSIA, LOIS LANE) and it was John who reached out to the guys from PALACE to tell them about Chris Boudreaux. He felt the guys from PALACE would be a good fit with Chris as they all had great drive and tremendous talent. The guys from PALACE were tired of going through singers and wanted to cement a great vocalist and felt it was worth the 150-mile round trip several times a week to Salt Lake to secure the likes of dynamic frontman Chris Boudreaux. The band was used to playing progressive songs, while Chris favored radio-friendly songs with catchy choruses that can get a crowd moving. The band decided to compile the several musical components together and form their new band called SOLDIER.
In late spring of 1986, SOLDIER revamped a few PALACE songs, including “The Cells Are Locked,” “Future,” and “Life,” as well as a few songs that Chris brought in, including “My Window,” “Michelle,” and “Without Love.” The band took those six songs, with the newly written song “Slipping Apart,” into Audio Vision Studio and laid down the tracks. Clayton, however, was still set on heading west to Los Angeles to try and make it on the larger stage. The proposed location change left Chris with some major decisions to make as Chris had just bought a house for him and his wife in Utah. Chris also had a very successful entertainment career going as a partner at Club Xenon. Chris knew that the talent and drive that he saw in the band SOLDIER was the most he had seen in a band that he had been involved with up to that point. He was confident in Clayton’s aspirations and was all in. The band first stopped in Las Vegas for six months where they picked up a second guitarist in Brian Kirby (ALLIANCE, THE TURNING POINT BAND, THE TRANCEPLANTS, DRASTIC MEASURES). The band traveled back and forth from Nevada and Utah as they finished up the mastering process on their newly recorded songs. The band completed six of the songs and put them on their debut release, “My Window.” The cassette sold quite well in Utah and Nevada.
The band headed further west to Los Angeles and the famous Sunset Strip to see if they could build on their success. Tracy then decided to move back to Utah where he joined the band ESSEXX, who had just recently changed their name from STRYDER. Brian reached out to his old bandmate Randy Kantor (ALLIANCE, RANSOM) to take over on drums. Randy played several live shows but was seeking to play in a Christian-based band. Randy left the band and eventually became the drummer for the female-fronted Christian Rock band RANSOM. The band was on the hunt again for another drummer. SOLDIER put out an ad looking for a drummer and received a response from the very talented drummer, Tod Burr (DJ LUST, ROCKNEE, THE GLORY BAYONETTE, SUBSTANCE D, TUFF, PRETTY BOY FLOYD, MERLE JAGGER, SHAMELESS), who had just departed the band NINJA. SOLDIER played all over Hollywood, especially up and down the Sunset Strip. The band frequented Gazzarris, The Troubadour, FM Station, The Roxy, and The Whisky a Go Go. The band practiced in the garage of the home where most of the band members were living at the time and one night got a knock at the door from the LAPD who were called out due to a neighbor’s complaint about the noise. The band had done a lot of soundproofing in the garage to avoid this very thing. The police stood out in the street and had the band continue to practice. The police determined that the traffic going by was louder than the band and dismissed the complaint.
The band started to get more label attention, but there began to be some contention between Chris, who wanted to keep things melodic and radio friendly, and Jed and Clayton who wanted to focus a little more on their progressive roots. Tod wasn’t getting the best vibe with the increasing contention and decided to leave the band and join ROCKNEE. The band recruited new drummer, Christopher Augustine, who went by the name CAB. SOLDIER still practiced several nights a week, but the creative differences continued to drive a wedge in the band. Chris Boudreaux parted ways with SOLDIER and went on to form the band BOUDREAUX.
SOLDIER ended up parting ways with CAB and brought in new drummer, Bobby Biggs. Clayton and Jed decided to trade off on lead vocal duties and keep the band SOLDIER moving forward. The band continued to play as many gigs as they could land and continued to bring out the large crowds. SOLDIER once again entered the studio to lay down a few more tracks. The band continued to gain momentum, but they soon lost another drummer. The band picked up Marshall Woodson to jump behind the kit. SOLDIER continued writing songs and entered the studio to record the rest of the seventeen songs that became the band’s second release called “Say When” (1993). The band distributed the “Say When” CD over the next year and a half, but once Marshall had some family issues come up that caused his departure from the band, SOLDIER decided to call it quits.
Brian Kirby and Chris Boudreaux got together in 1995 and recorded some of the unreleased SOLDIER songs at Chris’s C.B. Studios. Some of these songs were crowd favorites from the Sunset Strip days in Los Angeles. The members of SOLDIER got together with Metallic Blue Records and decided to re-issue the “My Window” album (which was previously only available on cassette). They also added the never- before-mixed song, “Life,” that came from those original recording sessions in Utah as well as the five tracks from the C.B. Studio session in Las Vegas. The band is excited to finally have these recordings pressed to CD for all their old and new fans to enjoy.