Blog Archives

The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years [Album Review]

MI0003161230

The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
2011, Capitol Records
Originally Released: 1988, Capitol Records
Buy the album at Amazon

1. “Under My Wheels” – Alice Cooper w/ Guns N’ Roses
2. “Bathroom Wall” – Faster Pussycat
3. “Cradle to the Grave” – Motörhead
4. “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide” – Armored Saint
5. “Born to Be Wild” – Lizzy Borden
6. “In My Darkest Hour” – Megadeth
7. “Prophecy” – Queensrÿche
8. “The Brave” – Metal Church
9. “Foaming at the Mouth” – Rigor Mortis
10. “Colleen” – Seduce

Any metal-head worth their weight in steel is well aware of this documentary that was released in 1988. It’s a truly fascinating look at life as rocker in the 1980s. For better or worse, warts and all, it absolutely captures a time and a vibe & scene that can never truly be replicated no matter how “retro” a band may act.

As it stands, the soundtrack to The Decline of the Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years is a solid compilation. Sure, bands like Seduce and Rigor Mortis didn’t stand the test of time but when it comes to the ’80s metal scene, you can’t really argue against the inclusion of bands like Motorhead, Lizzy Borden, Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Guns N’ Roses, Metal Church or even Faster Pussycat. It was all metal one way or another.

The documentary itself was actually what turned me on to Megadeth as they performed “In My Darkest Hour” in the film and it certainly made an impression on me.

The lack of Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Poison, KISS or W.A.S.P. is a bit odd given how their stature and appearances in the documentary but the soundtrack isn’t meant to be all encompassing. If it was, we’d be putting up with having to listen to the likes of London, Tuff and Odin, too. A few tracks either start or end with audio clips from the film.

We could argue for hours over who truly deserves to be included on a compilation of ’80s metal but this soundtrack is just a taste of what that era had to offer and is meant to tie in most closely with bands featured in the documentary. Keep that in mind and what you’ve got is a good collection of ’80s rock & metal that will fit right in with your retro denim vest.

Highlights: “Under My Wheels”, “Bathroom Wall”, “Born to Be Wild”, “In My Darkest Hour”, “Prophecy”

R.I.P. Sammi Curr (1947 – 1986)

tumblr_md0uuhQ9pc1rk5ku4o1_500

Sammi Curr
1947 – 1986

One metal legend that I’ve never really discussed has been “Rock’s Chosen Warrior” — Sammi Curr.  A former student at Lakeridge High School, Sammi’s aspirations went higher than being stuck in his small town. It’s no secret that Sammi was an angry young man growing up. He cared little for authority and used his rebellious nature to propel himself to the top of the heavy metal heap in the mid-1980s. With his dangerous attitude and shock rock antics, he became a rock icon, a living legend, and amassed a large loyal teenage fanbase.

Sammi was a controversial figure during his time. While popular with teenagers, his music, lyrics and stage show were extremely controversial with parents, schools, politicians and members of the religious community. In a time when bands like Megadeth, W.A.S.P. and Motley Crue ruled the airwaves, it was Sammi Curr that felt the wrath of the media and concerned citizens the most.

That’s not to say that Sammi didn’t encourage the controversy though. Ego was another driving factor for Curr. He thrived on the adoration of his young fans and on the hatred of his detractors. Like many rock stars, Sammi wanted the attention and he lived the image of the “bad boy” to its fullest. You can’t drink blood straight from a snake’s mouth onstage and not expect some people to get up in arms about it.

Spending the majority of his music career signed to Waste City Records, some of Curr’s most loved (and despised) songs are “Trick or Treat”, “Fuck With Fire”, “Burn in Metal” and “Torture’s Too Kind”. It was in those last three songs that he used the technique of backmasking. Whether done for fun and as a gimmick or if there was a more sinister intention there, I don’t know. There are many who will argue either side.

In October 1986, Sammi petitioned to play a free concert at his old high school’s Halloween dance. He was denied this opportunity by the PTA and died just days before Halloween, under mysterious circumstances, in a hotel fire.

Sammi’s final album was to be called Songs in the Key of Death but it has never been released to the public in its entirety. The demos were set to debut on a local radio station in Sammi’s hometown at midnight on Halloween (per Sammi’s request) in 1986 but there was a malfunction with the broadcast. The demos have since gone missing.

Sammi Curr lived fast and died young. Perhaps for someone him, there was no other way.

“You cannot legislate morality, or music, or people’s minds… or we’ll bring you down, man!” – Sammi Curr

Alice Cooper – Zipper Catches Skin [Review]

zipper

Alice Cooper – Zipper Catches Skin
1982, Warner Bros. Records

1. “Zorro’s Ascent”
2. “Make That Money (Scrooge’s Song)”
3. “I Am The Future”
4. “No Baloney Homosapiens”
5. “Adaptable (Anything for You)”
6. “I Like Girls”
7. “Remarkably Insincere”
8. “Tag, You’re It”
9. “I Better Be Good”
10. “I’m Alive (That Was the Day My Dead Pet Returned to Save My Life)”

Musicians:
Alice Cooper – Vocals, Synthesizer
Dick Wagner – Guitar
John Nitzinger – Guitar
Mike Pinera – Guitar
Billy Steele – Guitar
Erik Scott – Bass
Jan Uvena – Drums, Percussion
Duane Hitchings – Synthesizer, Guitar

Produced by Alice Cooper & Erik Scott

Another “lost” album from Alice. “Lost” as in he doesn’t remember writing or recording it due to all of the heavy drinking he was doing at the time. Alice continues to try to find his footing in a world where new wave and punk were driving musical forces and adapts his music accordingly.

That oddball Alice Cooper humor is at least back with this album. You can only imagine how silly some of these songs are by the titles alone: “Remarkably Insincere”, “Zorro’s Ascent” (a tune that a lot of people seem to like but it’s complete filler to my ears), “I Like Girls”, “No Baloney Homosapiens” and the one that sounds the most like a Weird Al Yankovic song, in terms of song title and music —  “I’m Alive (That Was the Day My Dead Pet Returned to Save My Life)”.

This album is probably just as good/just as bad as Special Forces with “I Am the Future” being my favorite track here. That song seems to combine Alice’s ’70s soft rock ballad style with synthesizers into a somewhat haunting tune that reminds me of music from Dawn of the Dead or The Warriors. This song made it’s way onto a movie soundtrack of its own — Class of 1984.

The other standouts are “Make That Money” (which features some nice guitar work), “No Baloney Homosapiens” (which is about aliens coming to earth) and the slasher movie-inspired “Tag, You’re It”.

A fairly forgettable effort all around though. Fortunately, Alice would begin to get back on track creatively with his next release, 1983’s creepy DaDa.

Highlights: “Make That Money (Scrooge’s Song)”, “I Am the Future”, “No Baloney Homosapiens”, “Remarkably Insincere”, “Tag, You’re It”

facebook.com/alicecooper
alicecooper.com

Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 [Review]

51r8mP4notL

Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986
2013, Eagle Rock Entertainment/Niji Productions

Disc 1
1. Draco Ignis
2. King of Rock and Roll
3. Like the Beat of a Heart
4. Don’t Talk to Strangers
5. Hungry for Heaven
6. Medley: The Last in Line/Children of the Sea/Holy Diver
7. Drum Solo
8. Heaven and Hell
9. Keyboard Solo
10. Guitar Solo

Disc 2
1. Sacred Heart
2. Medley: Rock ‘n’ Roll Children/Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll/Man on the Silver Mountain
3. Time to Burn
4. Stand Up and Shout
5. Rainbow in the Dark
6. We Rock

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Craig Goldy – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 is Dio’s 5th live album and the second to be released posthumously. As becoming common with live releases (and I think this is a cool idea), not only does is this 1986 concert at the Philadelphia Spectrum presented in audio form but it is also available on DVD and Blu-ray. Truth be told, this show was released on VHS and DVD years ago but those versions were edited down to 60 minutes. Here, you get the entire concert. This is the first time the concert has ever been released as an album.

I watched the DVD a few years ago. It’s quite an enjoyable show and features Dio at the peak of his powers and flashy theatrics. Lasers, smoke and Dio fighting Denzil the dragon… what more could you want ?! Plus, I’ve always had a really soft spot for the Sacred Heart album, which the band was touring behind at the time. That’s probably my favorite disc from this band.

This is a great live performance. Most of the hits you’d want to hear from Dio are presented: “Rainbow in the Dark”, “We Rock”, “Sacred Heart”, “Heaven and Hell” and then there are three medleys to satiate the Black Sabbath and Rainbow fans even more.

Finding The Sacred Heart catches Dio going through a hair metal phase but it’s still a great release and features one of the better line-ups for the band. Well worth seeking out, as is this show in video form.

Highlights: “King of Rock and Roll”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “The Last In Line/Children of the Sea/Holy Diver”, “Sacred Heart”, “Stand Up and Shout”, “We Rock”

http://www.ronniejamesdio.com
http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Buy the Blu-ray at Amazon.com
Buy the CD at Amazon.com

Steel Panther – Balls Out

Steel Panther – Balls Out (2011, Universal Republic Records)

1. “In The Future” … 1:28
2. “Supersonic Sex Machine” … 3:10
3. “Just Like Tiger Woods” … 3:41
4. “17 Girls In A Row” … 3:41
5. “If You Really, Really Love Me” … 2:25
6. “It Won’t Suck Itself” … 2:54
7. “Tomorrow Night” … 2:58
8. “Why Can’t You Trust Me” … 4:01
9. “That’s What Girls Are For” … 3:59
10. “Gold-Digging Whore” … 3:55
11. “I Like Drugs” … 4:19
12. “Critter” … 3:38
13. “Let Me Come In” … 3:30
14. “Weenie Ride” … 4:20

Band:
Michael Starr – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Satchel – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Lexxi Foxxx – Bass, Backing Vocals
Stix Zadinia – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Chad Kroger – Vocals (“It Won’t Suck Itself”)
Dane Cook – Spoken Words (“In The Future”)

Producer: Jay Ruston

The mighty Steel Panther has returned with another round of heavy metal parody. What’s great about these guys is that while they certainly have the glam-metal mimbo image down pat, these guys can actually get pretty heavy when they want to. Just check out “Death To All But Metal” from Feel The Steel or this album’s “Supersonic Sex Machine” (which apes Judas Priest’s “Rapid Fire” quite well). As far as musicianship goes, these guys are no joke.

There’s a bit of a trade-off with this album in comparison to Feel The Steel. FTS had funnier songs (“Asian Girl”, “Death To All But Metal”, “Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin'”, “Community Property”) but I think overall Balls Out is a much more consistent listen. And this is coming from someone who LOVED Feel The Steel! I’m not sure if the joke has played itself out or what, maybe it’s a case of “been there, done that” but I wasn’t as entertained by the lyrics this time.

Don’t get me wrong, the lyrics are humorous and still a big part of Steel Panther’s charm. They are, after all, a parody and you get the overly sexist lyrics that belittle women (seventeen women if you believe Michael’s tale in “17 Girls in a Row”) with references to anal sex, oral sex, gold diggers, “weenie rides”, drugs and masturbation while asking important questions like “Why can’t you trust me?”

Musically, their style hasn’t changed a bit. It’s glam, it’s hard rock, it’s heavy metal! Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Warrant, Poison, Ratt, etc. are still the main influences and Satchel gets to show off just how much of a monster he is with his guitar. There’s some filler such as “Weenie Ride” and “I Like Drugs” but overall this is a very strong rock/metal release that puts it near the top of the pack for 2011.

Highlights: “Supersonic Sex Machine”, “Just Like Tiger Woods”, “17 Girls In A Row”, “It Won’t Suck Itself”, “If You Really, Really Love Me”, “Critter”

http://www.steelpantherrocks.com/
http://www.facebook.com/steelpantherkicksass

Buy ‘Balls Out’ at Amazon.com

Jani Lane (1964-2011)

Sadly, late last night Jani Lane, former Warrant lead vocalist & main songwriter, was found dead in a hotel room in Woodland Hills, California. As of this writing, the cause of death had not been determined but a bottle of vodka and prescription pills were found in his room and it’s been said the authorities are treating his death as an accidental overdose. It’s no secret that Jani has been battling his addictions for many years. On more than one occasion it even seemed like he had won the fight only to relapse some time later.

Born John Kennedy Oswald in Akron, Ohio on February 1, 1964, Jani was exposed to music at an early age by his brother Eric who played guitar. At age 4 Jani was an amateur drummer and by the age of 11 he was playing in clubs as “Mitch Dynomite” and drumming for various bands. He continued to do this all throughout high school but soon decided he would rather be a singer and songwriter instead of a drummer. After graduating high school, Jane played in a few bands in Ohio (still drumming) before relocating to Florida in 1983 where after another stint as a drummer he formed the band Plain Jane with future Warrant drummer Steven Sweet.

Lane & Sweet later moved to Los Angeles still using the Plain Jane name and playing the local club circuit until running across Warrant guitarist Erik Turner in 1986 when they were then invited to join the band.

Rightfully or wrongfully, Jani Lane was known as and will always be remembered as “the ‘Cherry Pie’ guy”. At one time, that was a distinction that Jani loathed. He detested the song and hated himself for ever having written it because he knew that he and Warrant had so much more to offer the world than just one song written literally in a matter of minutes at the behest of some music execs. Warrant was not a one-hit wonder. Though “Sometimes She Cries” and “I Saw Red” were radio hits, the band had massive success with the power ballad “Heaven” in 1989 (which actually charted higher than “Cherry Pie” ever did) but it was in 1990 that “Cherry Pie” hit the airwaves and MTV and went on to become one of the essential and best loved songs of its genre and era. Loaded with innuendo, the song and the accompanying music video (featuring Bobbi Brown, model & future wife of Jani’s) helped push Warrant into a bigger spotlight.

With the rise of grunge and the stagnation of the pop-metal scene, Warrant found themselves “only” selling roughly 500,000 copies of 1992’s Dog Eat Dog (compared the double platinum sales of both 1988’s Dirty Rotten Stinking Filthy Rich and 1990’s Cherry Pie album). That’s a feat that I think is pretty impressive considering the musical climate at the time. Funny how in ’92 going gold was considered a disappointment whereas today that’s a success story. Dog Eat Dog was the band’s final major label release and Jani would leave the group in March 1993.

For more than a year the band sat in limbo until Jani returned in the fall of 1994. Faced with a shrinking fan base, a changing culture, music snobs and a lack of interest from the major labels, the band spent the mid ’90s in confusion. They managed to release two studio albums during this time — Ultraphobic (1995) and Belly to Belly (1996) on the independent CMC International label (which for a few years was a safe-haven for ’80s rockers). Both have been unfairly overlooked and while they feature a band perhaps trying too hard to fit in with the times, I still think they are solid efforts and serve as a testament to Jani’s songwriting abilities.

In the late ’90s/early 2000s, hair bands became a nostalgic treat for many people and many summer package tours were being put together and music magazines such as Metal Edge and music channel VH1 were paying slightly more attention to ’80s rockers. Warrant was one of the main bands to reap the towards of this mini-comeback and though they did not release a studio album of new original material during this time (a missed opportunity, in my opinion) they released the live album Warrant Live 86-97 in 1997, Greatest & Latest in 1999 (re-recordings of their biggest hits with a few unreleased tracks) and an album of covers called Under the Influence in 2001. It was also during this time that Jani Lane was working on a solo project called Jabberwocky which has not yet seen the light of day (and now may never) although he did release an unrelated solo album called Back Down to One in 2003.

Sadly, Under the Influence would be the last album Jani recorded as a member of Warrant. Personal and business matters would force Jani to leave the group for a second time in 2004. After a four-year run with Black N’ Blue vocalist Jaime St. James (where they released Born Again in 2006), Lane returned to the group in January 2008 but by September of that same year he left yet again with both sides agreeing they were better off without each other. Unlike the split in 2004, this final exit seemed to be a bit more amicable. Robert Mason (Big Cock vocalist/ex-Lynch Mob vocalist) would go on to join Warrant, touring with the band and recording the excellent Rockaholic which was released earlier this year.

Outside of Warrant, in the last decade Jani kept busy writing songs for himself & other artists, touring solo, appearing on various tribute albums and even was on a season of VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club. In 2008, a side-project called Saints of the Underground (featuring Lane, Bobby Blotzer, Robbie Crane & Kerri Kelli) released the album Love the Sin, Hate the Sinner which also went unnoticed but was a great mix of ’80s hard rock with a modern feel.

In the summer of 2010, Jani began filling in as vocalist for Great White at live shows while lead singer Jack Russell recovered from surgery. It was during this time that Great White played a show with Warrant and by all accounts everyone was cordial and got along even if the situation was a bit awkward.

There will be much speculation until an official autopsy is released but there is no question that Jani was a very talented man who was held back by his addictions and the fact that he could never completely sober up. After all these years of abuse, it’s really amazing that his voice still held up. Even as late as last year, he was still pulling it off live (though years ago there were times that he would take the stage drunk and stumble and slur his way through shows) and was he personable and entertaining. Just imagine what he could have accomplished without all of the vices.

I’ve always said Jani was the best songwriter from the pop-metal field. Amazing lyricist. His ballads are second-to-none. He could obviously write the fun, brain-dead, sex-fueled song when he wanted to (or was told to) but “Sometimes She Cries”, “I Saw Red”, “Blind Faith”, “Let It Rain” and “Stronger Now” are all fantastic and some of my favorite ballads from ANY band. Those songs show a much deeper, thoughtful side.

Jani was much more than “the ‘Cherry Pie’ guy” to me. I know there are plenty of people who don’t like Warrant. For whatever reason, they seem to be one of the least respected of the major glam-metal bands but just because Jani’s dead I’m not going to sit here and now say that they were a Top 5 of All Time band for me. They weren’t. But I’ve always liked Warrant a lot. They were one of the first glam bands I became a fan of and I have often found hope, inspiration and entertainment in Jani’s lyrics.

Like most of the millions of mourning today, I did not know Jani personally but other than his addictions and the actions caused by them (such as drunk driving), I can’t recall ever really hearing or reading anything negative about him. Sure, egos explode and bands implode but from every interview I’ve read or live clip I’ve seen of the guy, he always came across as a really likable, charming, fun-loving guy who enjoyed performing. It’s heartbreaking to think that his final night on earth was spent with pills and alcohol alone in a hotel room. Obviously, for that situation to occur, there is a bigger, darker story at play but I’ll leave that to his family and close friends to ponder and investigate as it is none of my business. As for myself, I can only say that we lost a great musician much too soon and much too needlessly.

THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL

This Is ’80s Hair Metal (2003, Deadline Records/Cleopatra Records)

Disc One: STUDIO FUELED
1. “Cherry Pie” by Warrant … 3:05
2. “Someone Like You” by Bang Tango … 4:24
3. “Cum on Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot … 4:38
4. “Smooth Up” by Bulletboys … 5:03
5. “Pissed” by Dangerous Toys … 4:10
6. “Sex Action” by L.A. Guns … 3:53
7. “Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz” by Pretty Boy Floyd … 4:07
8. “Bathroom Wall” by Faster Pussycat … 4:58
9. “Little Teaser” by Jetboy … 3:14
10. “Love Removal Machine” by Great White … 4:29
11. “Make It Go Away” by Michael Monroe … 3:01
12. “Tooth & Nail” Lynch Mob … 3:24
13. “Mean Street Machine” by King Kobra … 4:24
14. “River Gold” by Hurricane … 4:04
15. “Black Out” by Love/Hate … 2:56

Disc Two: LIVE & DANGEROUS
1. “Gypsy Road” by Cinderella … 3:39
2. “Kiss Me Deadly” by Lita Ford … 4:21
3. “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)” by Great White … 2:38
4. “One More Reason” by L.A. Guns … 3:49
5. “(You Can Still) Rock in America” by Night Ranger … 5:37
6. “Hollywood” by Junkyard … 2:50
7. “Dressed Up Vamp” by Bang Tango … 4:30
8. “Around Again” by Union … 5:53
9. “Teas’n, Pleas’n” by Dangerous Toys … 4:41
10.  “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” by L.A. Guns … 2:18
11. “Wrathchild” by Paul DiAnno … 2:48
12. “Somebody Save Me” by Cinderella … 2:57
13. “Ramble On” by Great White … 4:36
14. “What You Say” by Saigon Kick … 3:49

Disc Three: POWER BALLADS
1. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Bret Michaels … 4:49
2. “When the Children Cry” by White Lion … 6:17
3. “Headed for a Heartbreak” by Kip Winger … 2:56
4. “Ballad of Jayne” by L.A. Guns … 5:15
5. “House of Pain” by Faster Pussycat … 7:50
6. “Ready for Love” by Great White … 4:40
7. “Sometimes She Cries” by Warrant … 4:38
8. “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (‘Til It’s Gone)” by Cinderella … 5:39
9. “Dream On” by Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen … 4:28
10. “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger … 5:15
11. “Close My Eyes Forever” by Lita Ford … 5:02
12. “Lights” by Tuff … 3:11
13. “Still Lovin’ You” Steve Whiteman & George Lynch … 4:52
14. “Here I Go Again” by Bernie Shaw & Bernie Madsen … 4:01
15. ??? … 3:59

Oddball hair metal compilation that I picked up from FYE shortly after it’s release. I can’t remember how much I paid for it, but I don’t think it was too much. Maybe around $15 or so, which is a good thing because as you can expect from an indie hair metal compilation — these are not the original recordings. In some cases, not even the original artists are used! Ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch and his band Lynch Mob sub for Dokken on “Tooth & Nail”, Bret Michaels stands in for his own band Poison and then there’s the odd inclusion of Great White’s cover of The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine” (this cover has apparently made its way around many a compilations). Another odd bit is that for some reason, Love/Hate’s “Black Out in the Red Room” is now simply called “Black Out”.

Back to the re-recordings, I actually like some of these versions better than the originals (though I think it’s also possible some of these songs were demos). Working on a small budget and stripped of the overproduction that was common in the ’80s, many of these songs sound fresh, raw and energetic compared to the originals. Disc One is nothing but studio recordings and Warrant’s re-recording of “Cherry Pie” is my favorite track and I think I actually like it better than the original version. Not all of Disc One is as enjoyable though– Joe Leste and Marq Torien struggle to hit their notes on “Someone Like You” and “Smooth Up”, respectively. Then there’s the awful industrialized version of “Bathroom Wall”. Look, why does this industrial garbage version of Faster Pussycat keep getting work on these hair compilations? If Taime Downe doesn’t want to represent the music in an accurate manner, I’m sure most hair metal fans would rather Faster Pussycat is not included at all.

Disc Two is nothing but live songs. The quality (and performances) vary greatly. Disc Three is power ballads, re-recordings again, but there’s some live versions as well. On Disc Three, there is a 15th track that I cannot find any info on (my slipcase/jewel case are in storage), but the song definitely does not belong here. I’ve never heard it before and it sounds like some mellow acoustic rock/pop you’d hear on the pop stations. I’m sure there’s some hair metal connection, but sonically, it’s not there. Anyone know the song title and artist?

Personally, I wouldn’t really say “this is ’80s metal”. Not when there’s so many cover songs (by Great White alone!), re-recordings and original artists are missing. The inclusion of Union alone is enough to strike down that this is a tribute to the ’80s (they didn’t formed until 1997)! Basically, the album is hit-or-miss. It’s an inconsistent three disc set, but despite the shady marketing, I still think this is a decent collection for anyone who is heavily into the hair metal scene. There’s enough gems here to make up for having to dig through the garbage to get to them.

Highlights:
Disc One: “Cherry Pie”, “Pissed”, “Sex Action”, “Love Removal Machine”, “Tooth & Nail”, “Mean Street Machine”
Disc Two: “Gypsy Road”, “(You Can Still) Rock In America”, “Hollywood”, “Ramble On”
Disc Three: “When the Children Cry”, “Ready for Love”, “Dream On”, “Still Lovin’ You”

Buy THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL at Amazon.com

GUNS N’ ROSES – GN’R Lies


Guns N’ Roses – GN’R Lies (1989, Geffen Records)

Tracklisting:
1. “Reckless Life” [3:20]
2. “Nice Boys” [3:03]
3. “Move to the City” [3:42]
4. “Mama Kin” [3:57]
5. “Patience” [5:56]
6. “Used to Love Her” [3:13]
7. “You’re Crazy” [4:10]
8. “One in a Million” [6:10]

Band:
Axl Rose – Vocals
Slash – Guitars
Izzy Stradlin – Guitars
Duff McKagan – Bass
Steven Adler – Drums

Features the infamous “One in a Million” track, which gained Axl and the band tons of negative publicity. I don’t believe the band has ever attempted to play it live (and rightfully so). At this point, I don’t even think Axl will even talk about the song, because he got so tired of having to defend it and himself. It’s actually a really good song musically and one of the best on the album.

I think the public’s reaction was blown out of proportion. If you actually listen to Axl’s explanation, you’ll see what he means in the song. I think he went about the wrong way with how he puts it across in the lyrics, but I understand what he was *trying* to say and I don’t believe he’s racist or homophobic. Besides, the words he used are nothing that you don’t hear in rap songs everyday. The only exception is that a white male said it this time and that’s why, I think, everyone got upset about it.

There’s a stellar version of “You’re Crazy” here, which was originally on Appetite for Destruction, but the acoustic version here is actually the original version of the song (and the superior version as well). And of course, the classic “Patience” is here as well.

GN’R Lies was a decent effort, combining a supposed “live” EP plus four brand new acoustic songs. It’s really only the acoustic songs that stand out to me. The first four tracks are missing something, although “Reckless Life” shows a bit of spark.

Highlights: “Patience”, “Used to Love Her”, “You’re Crazy”, “One in a Million” (yes, I’m going there)

DIRTY LOOKS – Cool from the Wire


Dirty Looks – Cool from the Wire (1988, Atlantic Records)

Track Listing:
1 “Cool from the Wire” (3:34)
2 “It’s Not the Way You Rock” (3:49)
3 “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” (3:22)
4 “Oh Ruby” (4:07)
5 “Tokyo” (3:06)
6 “Wastin’ My Time” (3:32)
7 “Put a Spell on You” (3:49)
8 “No Brains Child” (3:53)
9 “Get It Right” (4:17)
10 “It’s a Bitch” (4:26)
11 “Get Off” (3:26)

Band:
Henrik Ostergaard – Vocals, Guitar
Paul Lidel – Lead Guitar
Jack Pyers – Bass
Gene Barnett – Drums

I haven’t heard ALL of Dirty Looks’ albums (regrettably, Turn of the Screw keeps giving me the slip), but out of what I’ve heard, this is their finest work and I think most DL fans would agree with me. A co-worker tipped me off to this band a few years back, he kept talking about how awesome their album was (he owned it on cassette when it was originally released) and said that “Oh Ruby” was a classic rock track. Well, a quick search at CDUniverse.com and I plunked my money down to order the darn thing. I haven’t regretted it, this is a great album and probably one of my favorites of all-time.

There’s a sleazy AC/DC vibe going here in the music and especially in Henrik’s vocals. Granted, many bands had that sleazy AC/DC style in the 80s, but this band does it best and doesn’t come off like an AC/DC clone at all. Dirty Looks should’ve been huge in the 80s.

“Oh Ruby” is definitely the highlight of the album for me and is the type of rocker that really gets the blood flowing. I can only imagine how great this song must’ve played in concert, it would’ve been awesome show opener.

Highlights: The whole album. Seriously. It’s that good.

Lowlights: None.

YOUTH GONE WILD: Heavy Metal Hits of the 80’s, Volume 4

YOUTH GONE WILD: HEAVY METAL HITS OF THE 80s, VOLUME 4 (1998, Rhino Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Up All Night” – Slaughter (4:20)
2. “New Thing” – Enuff Z’Nuff (4:23)
3. “10,000 Lovers (In One)” -TNT (2:57)
4. “Walkin’ Shoes” -Tora Tora (4:04)
5. “Walls Come Down” – Every Mother’s Nightmare (5:17)
6. “Naughty Naughty” – Danger Danger (4:54)
7. “Down Boys” – Warrant (4:04)
8. “D’Stroll” – D’Molls (5:53)
9. “Hollywood” – Junkyard (3:01)
10. “Heartbreak Blvd” – Shotgun Messiah (4:20)
11. “Future World” – Pretty Maids (5:21)
12. “Set Me Free” – Heathen (3:48)
13. “The Calling” – Leatherwolf (4:04)
14. “Turn up the Radio” – Autograph (4:37)
15. “Badlands” – Metal Church (7:23)
16. “To Hell With the Devil” – Stryper (4:05)

Rhino’s 80s rock/metal compilation series comes to a close with this fourth volume that was released two years after the first three. 1998 was also the year that the wave of interest in the so-called “80s bands” was starting to rise again and many of the bands documented in this series have since gone on to have reunions, new albums, new tours to varying levels of success (not to mention the new breakups!).

At this point in the series, outside of really big name acts such as Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, KISS, Alice Cooper, Motley Crue, and Guns N Roses a lot of bands had already been covered and it seems Rhino tried to pick up the rest of scraps for Volume 4, giving many bands that were second or even third-tier acts (even at their peak of popularity) a track. So what we have here are bands like D’Molls, Junkyard, Heathen, Pretty Maids, Shotgun Messiah, and Every Mother’s Nightmare that were never very big and what small buzz they did build up was only just as the era was coming to a close.

While this volume may not pack a lot of star power outside of Warrant, Stryper, and Slaughter, that by no means affects the quality here. But I have to admit, I would rank this volume as the weakest of the series.

Overall, I’d say Rhino did a great job with the series, but had some questionable inclusions (Metal Church? King’s X? Sam Kinison?) and exclusions which I have previously stated I think mostly came down to not being able to afford the larger acts. I do believe there were quite a few bands that they still could have afforded to add on such as Kix, XYZ, Black ‘N’ Blue, Sleaze Beez, Trixter, Tuff, Nitro, W.A.S.P., Keel, Dirty Looks, and Babylon A.D. (just to name a few). And not in the least, Rhino certainly should have secured Skid Row a place here if they were going to name the series YOUTH GONE WILD. That’d be a no-brainer to me.

Highlights: “Up All Night”, “New Thing”, “Naughty Naughty”, “Down Boys”, “Hollywood”, “Turn Up the Radio”, “To Hell with the Devil”

Lowlights: “Badlands” by Metal Church. Not because it’s a bad song, but because it just doesn’t belong here.

%d bloggers like this: