Stress was originally formed in 1983 by bassist Josquin des Pres and singer/guitarist Mike Thomas. The secondary guitar position was manned by Tim Nicholson until 1985, when he was replaced by Rough Cutt's Jimmy Crespo, who'd been Aerosmith's temporary guitarist while Joe Perry was estranged from that band. Various drummers came and went throughout the group’s history, including Leroy “Lee” Vega, formerly of Assassin.
Above photo shows the lineup of Lee Vega, Mike Thomas, and Josquin Des Pres, shot at Beverly Keane’s studio on Goldfinch in Hillcrest. “It was pre Jimmy Josquin,” recalls Vega. “Tim Nicholson just left and we were searching for a new guitarist.”
“We were so cute,” laughs Des Pres. “No wonder all the girls liked us...we would starve ourselves for this look!”
Stress earned regular bookings at high profile L.A. clubs like Madame Wong’s, FM Station, and the Troubadour, and their shows were attended by Sunset Strip scenesters like Billy Sheehan, Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge of Whitesnake, and Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking female guitarist Jennifer Batten.
However, the band never managed to attract major label attention, even after moving toward power pop in 1987, and the lack of success contributed to their eventual breakup in 1989.
Deep Shag Records’ catalog includes a Stress compilation featuring recordings from the band’s entire career, covering the years 1983 through 1987. Also available is Stress’ 1984 album Killing Me Night and Day, reissued in its entirety and including unreleased studio tracks featuring their later guitarist Jimmy Crespo, and a cover of the Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind.”
Singer-guitarist Mike Thomas passed away at the age of 65 in early 2022.