When King Kobra started out back in 1985, they were one of those bands we all thought would be the next big thing in melodic metal / hard rock. They had all the ingredients for being so. They were great musicians, had catchy hard rock songs that were commercial enough to reach out to a broader crowd, but still with enough edge to please the hard rockers and, by 1985 standards, they looked cool with the right clothes and enough good-looking guys to attract the female part of the audience. We know today that that didn’t happen. The band was formed by former Vanilla Fudge / Cactus / Rod Stewart drummer Carmine Appice (who co-wrote Rod’s horrible disco hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”…) who was just fresh out a tour with Ozzy Osbourne where he had replaced Tommy Aldridge.
By this point, Carmine had had enough of being a paid backing musician and wanted to start fresh with his own band. Hard rock and metal were about to make it real big by then and Carmine felt the direction the winds were blowing. He had his vision clear and he had his own criteria of how his band would both look and sound. First, they all had to be great players, just like he was. Second, they had to look the part as well. Carmine was friends with Mötley Crüe and he liked the way they were approaching things. He also thought that their look with three black-haired guys and the contrast of the blond singer was really cool, so he decided that King Kobra would be a Mötley Crüe in reverse. Said and done, when he had found the members, Mick Sweda and David Michael Philips (born Henzerling) on guitar, Johnny Rod (born Tumminello) on bass and lead singer Mark Free, they had to dye their hair blonde which made Carmine the only black-haired guy in the band. They also added pink spots in their hair, for some unknown reason.