Mark Copeland: Vocals | Jim Mills: Bass guitar, Vocals | Frank Kowalski: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals | Steve Cox: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric) | Mike Lewis: Drums

Genre: Metal | Hardcore

No shows scheduled | Post a show |


Inception: San Diego, 1981

Influences: Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, the Cult, Iron Maiden


Sanctuary was a heavy metal cover band, extant for around 18 months in the early 1980s. “There wasn’t a bunch of great local clubs playing hard rock/metal like there is today,” says singer Mark Copeland. “We played a bunch of east county parties, as well as North Park Theater and Lakeside Hall, which hosted harder rock bands.”

“However, our favorite place to play was our little practice warehouse on Vernon Way in El Cajon. It was in an industrial area, and those of us under 21 could drink there without a fake ID. We threw many Friday and Saturday night parties there until all hours, and we all became experts at patching drywall caused by beer bottles, fists, heads, etc. The landlord finally kicked us out after he figured out that the reason all of the air conditioning units kept frying was that they were pissed on hundreds of times.”

In 1981, says Copeland, “We were lucky to get $100 per gig, when they weren’t trying to pay us in beer. The big place to play was an under-21 club called Straighta Head Sound on El Cajon Boulevard, where we watched Jake E. Lee play before he joined up with Ozzy and Robbin Crosby before he joined Ratt.”

Guitarist Steve Cox recalls, “I hadn’t even [had sex] yet, but I eventually shacked up with a band slut until 1988. From what I remember, if you were cute, struck a good pose, and had blow, you were in.” Cox later played with Psychotic Waltz and Suicide Doors.

The five original members regrouped in March 2010 to play a 30-year reunion show at Fannie's in Spring Valley. Copeland and Cox were rejoined by bassist Jim Mills (of Southbound Jonny), singer-guitarist Frank Kowalski (Verge of Distortion), and drummer Mike Lewis (Ironworks).

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