- Greg Billings (lead vocals)
- Ronnie Garvin (guitar)
- Tom King (bass)
Originally Named Lynxx and then Romeo before settling on Stranger, the band was discovered by record producer Tom Werman (Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Mötley Crüe). Stranger signed with Epic Records/CBS Records in 1981, and released their debut album on April 18th, 1982. Their self titled first album contained the track "Swamp Woman" which arguably remains their most well known song which, along with the opening track "Jackie's So Bad," received considerable airplay on Florida radio and many other markets throughout the U.S.
The band toured the southeast and became the biggest drawing circuit band ever. Stranger also opened shows nationally for Triumph, Quiet Riot, UFO, Skid Row, Aldo Nova, Eddie Money and many other big name acts of the time. Unfortunately though, Stranger received very little support, promotion, or publicity from their record label in regards to the album.
The group was paid to cease-and-desist while recording their second album for Epic titled Runnin' in the Red, which was par for the course with many rock acts in the early '80s when pop, new wave and post-punk were the darlings of the record companies before hair-metal rock grabbed a foothold; a classic case of the right place at the wrong time.
During the interim period between the contract with Epic and their self produced and released second album No Rules, Stranger toured heavily throughout Florida. Stranger was "a Florida band" and gained a fanatical following throughout Florida. Fans became familiar with the songs on the second album long before its release. Other support and respect would come from the musicians who played with the band. In 1982, touring with Aldo Nova and UFO on the west coast for about five weeks, the rock acts Tesla and Kings X both saw the group and both bands became fans. Tesla actually covered a Stranger song "Jackie's So Bad" in their early days.
Strong songwriting and better production values than their first release, No Rules contained the tracks "Gimmie The Rock," "Mama Mama," "Wrong Side of the Tracks," "We Were Wrong," "Swamp Woman," "Autumn Time Again," "No Rules," "Hit and Run," "3-D," "One More Night," "Alligator Joe" and "Thunder Bay." Stranger was a respected musical force during its time, often associated with more nationally known names such as Pat Travers, Molly Hatchet, Mother's Finest (which they would play at the opening of their live shows) and fellow Tampa band The Outlaws.
Stranger was endorsed by Viking Cases, Peavey Electronics, and developed a loyalty to Tampa music store Paragon. Ronnie Garvin and Tom King were individually endorsed by Dean Markley Strings.
At the end of the decade, they were offered a new deal with Atlantic Records, but refused it after seeing the same dubious contract clauses and pending pitfalls they experienced with their previous contract. Also their previous manager helped put a monkey-wrench in the deal by declaring he still had ownership of management indirectly from the previous contract. Failure to find a major label deal didn't faze them much as the band released a series of self-distributed LP/EP releases on their own Thunderbay label, and produced their own videos over a span of 15 years.
Their next album, No More Dirty Deals, was probably the best mixed album. This album contains the tracks "Let Me Rock 'n Roll," "She's A Dancer," "(This Time) Gonna Love You Baby," "I Know I Tried," "Okeechobee Whiskey," "Runnin In the Red," "No More Dirty Deals," "End of the Line," "Can't Keep a Good Man Down," "Long Gone,".
Stranger followed No More Dirty Deals with a live album, We Be Live,
the first album since their first not to contain Randy Holt on
keyboards. This album contains the tracks "Intro/Bad Bad Day," "Get On
Up," "Mama Mama," "Face To Face," "Shakedown," "She's A Dancer,"
"Okeechobee Whiskey," "Clear Blue Morning," "Wrong Side of the Tracks,"
"I Bark But I Don't Bite," "Gonna Love You Baby," "Play Somethin Good
(Somethin I Can Dance To)," "Thunder Bay," "Dedication to Stevie Ray"
and "Swamp Woman."
Their next album, Angry Dogs, contained the tracks "Take Your Best Shot," "Red Light," "Girl That Bad (Should Never Look So Good)," "I'm The Man You're Looking For," "Play Somethin Good (Something I Can Dance To)," "Poke Salad," "She Just Can't Get Enough," "Never Look Back," "Clear Blue Morning," "Kid Gone Bad" and "#1 With A Bullet." The Stranger catalog has been re-released on retrospect records.
Stranger also licensed and released an album in Japan with Alpha/Brunette Records. This album contained many of their biggest hits and if you can find it you would have a serious collectors item.
In March of 1996, lead singer, Greg Billings, left Stranger and formed Damn The Torpedoes. Though Stranger tried to continue on with a new singer, the band eventually called it quits shortly there after. The fact that the band was able to survive and thrive for what was essentially a self-promoted local/regional club band at that time was no small feat prior to advent of the Internet.
Lead singer Greg Billings and Bassist Tom King are still performing together in the Greg Billings Band.
No More Dirty Deals
We Be Live
Angry Dogs (1995/2005-Thunderbay)
Hit & Run (1996)
Rock Solid (2010)