Steeler was an early 1980s American heavy metal band best known for featuring Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen upon his arrival in the United States. The band was founded in 1981 in Nashville, Tennessee by vocalist Ron Keel and released a sole album on Shrapnel Records in 1983 before morphing into Keel.
The original Steeler line-up comprised Ron Keel on vocals and rhythm guitar, Michael Dunigan on lead guitar, Bobby Eva on drums, and Tim Morrison on bass which soon moved from Nashville to Los Angeles, CA. In 1982, they released the “Cold Day in Hell” b/w “Take Her Down” 7″ single and contributed “Cold Day In Hell” to the first edition of the legendary Metal Massacre compilation which also featured Metallica, Ratt, and Malice.
Eva left the band after a short while and was replaced by drummer Mark Edwards. Morrison and Dunigan would soon exit as well and were replaced by bassist Rik Fox, an original member of W.A.S.P., who was recruited after he had placed an ad in Music Connection magazine’s classifieds, and 19-year-old Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen, who arrived in February 1983, thanks to the efforts of Mike Varney and Edwards to secure a work visa. The classic Steeler line-up was now complete but musical differences quickly arose between Malmsteen and the rest of the band. According to Fox, “At first, it wasn’t working because Yngwie saw fit to insult Ron to his face by requesting to make the songs a little less simple and a little more complex to come up to his playing standards. We couldn’t believe what we were hearing from this “new” guy! We kept auditioning other guitarists right in front of him because we all lived together in a piss-poor environment of several gutted-out, roach-infested storefronts, laughingly dubbed ‘The Steeler Mansion’. Eventually, Yngwie came around and said, “Okay, I’ll play the game your way.”
Signed to Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records label, the band proceeded to record their eponymous debut album at Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, CA, north of San Francisco.