Sanctuary is: Warrel Dane (Vocals), Lenny Rutledge (Guitar), Jim Sheppard (Bass) and Dave Budbill (Drums).
Born and raised in the suburbs of Seattle, Rutledge became a fan of hard rock and heavy metal at an early age. Aspiring to one day become like his beloved guitar heroes of the 70s and 80s, providence intervened in support of this aim. Lenny and Sean Blosl, his cousin and future band mate, chanced upon a $100 bill on the floor of a local record store. They both agreed to spend this windfall on an electric guitar and so the first inklings of what ultimately became Sanctuary were born.
As his talents emerged, Rutledge realized that to become successful, one had to think big. He rejected the calls to play in the club scene, choosing instead to focus his energies and natural leadership skills on methodically crafting the best possible band he could. Slowly but surely the pieces came together, and in 1985 the first Sanctuary demos were complete.
The iconic metal act Megadeth came to Seattle later that same year. Not one to take no for an answer and recognizing the potential opportunity, Lenny and a few friends devised a plan to see if they could somehow arrange to meet the members of the band. After the show, they somehow sniffed out Dave Mustaine’s hotel room, and gained entry to the after-party by associating themselves with a couple of attractive female friends. As the night wore on, Dave Mustaine and Lenny found themselves drinking together, when Lenny finally mustered the courage to ask him to give his demo tape a listen. Mustaine reluctantly agreed, but was very impressed with the material and set in motion the series of events leading to the signing of Sanctuary to Epic Records, and the production of the band’s first album, Refuge Denied. The rest, as they say, is history.
World tours in support of Megadeth and other acts followed, with Mustaine and company mentoring the band on the ways and means of life in a metal band on the road. The two bands eventually parted company, and now with time on their hands Sanctuary began in earnest the writing and recording process for their sophomore effort, “Into the Mirror Black.” More touring in support of this album followed in 1990, but pressure from the record label and disagreement among the band members themselves regarding the direction the band should take unfortunately resulted in the band breaking up. Writing of the third album had only just begun, but it was not meant to be. After a physical altercation, Warrel Dane, Jim Sheppard, and newly-acquired guitarist Jeff Loomis left the band to form Nevermore. Sanctuary was officially over and done.
After a brief hiatus, Rutledge then turned his musical attentions to a new band, Undone. A four-song demo was completed, but the group disbanded before achieving any further success. Next came a foray into music production, and Rutledge built a professional studio and performed work on Nevermore’s “Dreaming Neon Black” CD, among others. Life takes its twists and turns, and music for Lenny became more of a hobby than a career for him for a time. By chance he came to pick up a 2006 Taylor 714 CE Fall LTD acoustic guitar. Setting in motion a period of five years or more exploring acoustic guitar through blues, classic rock, even bluegrass and other forms purely for personal enjoyment. This experience greatly broadened and deepened his musical palette.
In 2010, Lenny and Warrel Dane began talking again as friends, and the idea of getting Sanctuary back together arose. For a time, Sanctuary and Nevermore were playing shows together with Dane, Jim Sheppard, and Jeff Loomis pulling double duty. But fate intervened once more with the break-up of Nevermore, which left the future wide open for the members of Sanctuary to turn their full attention to song writing, resulting in the 2014 release of The Year the Sun Died.
Rutledge lives in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains outside of Seattle Washington. In addition to his career as an IT Network Admin and consultant, he operates Metal Camp studios with his wife Kendra and their dog Simon.