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Great White – 30 Years: Live from the Sunset Strip [Review]

GREAT WHITE 30th COVER

Great White – 30 Years: Live from the Sunset Strip
2013, Frontiers Records

1. Desert Moon
2. Lady Red Light
3. Face The Day
4. House Of Broken Love
5. Save Your Love
6. Mista Bone
7. The Big Goodbye
8. Back To The Rhythm
9. Rock Me
10. Can’t Shake It
11. Once Bitten Twice Shy

Band:
Terry Ilous – Vocals
Mark Kendall – Guitar
Michael Lardie – Guitar, Keyboards
Scott Snyder – Bass
Audie Desbrow – Drums

Producer: Great White

Recorded at L.A.’s legendary Key Club on March 22, 2012, this is the band’s fourth, fifth or sixth live album..? Who knows! Hey, I can’t keep up with all of their live releases because a number of them have been repackaged & re-titled over the years. I do know that this is Great White’s first live offering featuring former XYZ singer Terry Ilous as the frontman.

This is basically a live greatest hits. Though I’m a little surprised that they included “Back to the Rhythm” from 2007’s Back to the Rhythm album but didn’t include anything from 2009’s Rising. I would’ve assumed that they would have focused on their ’80s/early ’90s material entirely anyway. The absence of Elation material is somewhat understandable because that album wasn’t released until May 2012.

Although Jack Russell was much missed on Elation, I think Terry does a great job handling some of the band’s classics in a live setting. I still pick up that Jack Russell/Steven Tyler vibe from his vocals and while Jack Russell will always be THE voice of Great White, I can’t knock Terry Ilous’ abilities at all. With the departure of Jack Russell, I think Terry was a great choice for lead singer and 30 Years: Live from the Sunset Strip further proves it.

The production on this album isn’t great but it’s fine considering the budget probably was pretty tight. I’ve heard a lot worse. The crowd seems a bit low-key at times but I guess you can chalk that up to the production and the fact that it’s a club audience.

And say what you will about Terry Ilous, the band is on fire. Sometimes you hear a band live and they don’t come close to replicating the work they did in the studio but Great White is a real band that cut their teeth playing dives & bars in the early years. They’ve got the chops to back up what they put on tape.

Although I’m generally not a fan of live albums, 30 Years is a good snapshot of the Terry Ilous-front Great White.

http://greatwhiterocks.com/
http://www.facebook.com/GreatWhiteOfficial

Buy the album at Amazon.com

Great White – Elation (Album Review)

Great White – Elation
2012, Frontiers Records

1. (I’ve Got) Something For You … 4:31
2. Feelin’ So Much Better … 5:04
3. Love Train … 4:46
4. Heart Of A Man … 4:37
5. Hard To Say Goodbye … 5:19
6. Resolution … 5:18
7. Shotgun Willie’s … 5:07
8. Promise Land … 5:59
9. Lowdown … 5:56
10. Just For Tonight … 4:44
11. Love Is Enough … 6:05
12. Complicated … 4:16

Band:
Terry Ilous – Vocals
Mark Kendall – Guitar
Michael Lardie – Guitar, Keyboards
Scott Snyder – Bass
Audie Desbrow – Drums

Producer: Michael Lardie

There is one ingredient that’s missing from this album and it’s a very noticeable ingredient. Jack Russell, one of my favorite rock vocalists, is no longer a member of Great White. Well, he’s not a member of this particular version at least. Long story short, Russell now has a band called “Jack Russell’s Great White” while Great White has acquired the services of XYZ singer Terry Ilous.

It’s another L.A. Guns situation. We’ve got two bands using the same name, playing the same songs to the same niche audience and taking shots at each other in the press. Hopefully this won’t go on for too long because unlike the L.A. Guns situation, lawyers are involved and it would be nice for Russell and Great White to put this ugly incident behind them.

As far as I’m concerned this band that has just released Elation is the real Great White. I’d love and would prefer Jack back in the band, I have nothing against Russell, I’m actually looking forward to any new music his new group can put out but this is the deal real just like I think the Phil Lewis version of L.A. Guns is the only legit version of LAG. Time will tell which band is superior but I’ll be judging that based on new material only.

So, yeah, Russell is out, Ilous is in and the difference is quite noticeable. That’s nothing against Ilous though. Terry is a great singer and has done a fine job no matter what band he’s in. XYZ has some great tunes but I will admit it’s hard to accept Great White without hearing Jack Russell. There are times when he’s doing his best to sound like Russell but on other songs he comes across like Jeff Keith from Tesla. Ilous is good on Elation, he’s just no Jack Russell.

As for the music itself… It sounds like Great White to me. I know there were some complaints about Rising (which I liked a lot) being too laid back but I don’t think there should be too many complaints about Elation being soft. I felt Back to the Rhythm had some subtle modern moments but Elation gets back to basics with the band’s signature bluesy hard rock Led Zep-influenced sound. Yeah, there are some laid back moments, some slow burners, but that’s always been the Great White way. It’s not like they are playing acoustic rock.

In comparison to the last two albums, I place Elation slightly below Back to the Rhythm and on par with Rising, but this is coming from a guy who enjoyed both of those albums and doesn’t think Great White has ever released a bad record.

Sure, if Russell sang on this album it would’ve given Elation more impact but I think any Great White fan that truly listens to this album with an open mind will find it to be an enjoyable effort. Russell is so identifiable as the voice of Great White, I know having another singer in the band is a tough pill to swallow. This is not a classic, killer release but it is very good and it proves to me that the band is capable enough serve the Great White legacy well even without Jack Russell.

Highlights: “Feelin’ So Much Better”, “Love Train”, “Heart of A Man”, “Shotgun Willie’s”, “Promise Land”, “Love Is Enough”

http://www.greatwhiterocks.com
http://www.facebook.com/GreatWhiteOfficial

Buy the album at Amazon.com

The Top 10 Albums of 2009

It was pretty tough for me to come up with a top ten for this year. There were so many good releases in 2009, but only a handful of them were special so I changed my mind quite a bit when coming up with this list. 2009 seemed to be the year of the “grower”. Meaning, many albums on this list (and many others that I liked that didn’t make this list), didn’t grab me at first but upon repeated listening, I started to appreciate them.

Overall, 2009 was another good year for rock and metal even if it wasn’t the star-studded affair that 2008 was (Crue, Metallica, AC/DC, GNR, Priest, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper… WOW!). Anyway, most veteran acts with new releases continued to deliver and newer acts stepped up to release quality music as well.

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GREAT WHITE – Hooked

Great White – Hooked (1991, Capitol Records)

1. “Call It Rock N’ Roll” … 3:57
2. “Original Queen of Sheba” … 4:39
3. “Cold Hearted Lovin'” … 4:20
4. “Can’t Shake It” … 4:45
5. “Lovin’ Kind” … 4:46
6. “Heartbreaker” … 6:45
7. “Congo Square” … 6:58
8. “South Bay Cities” … 5:26
9. “Desert Moon” … 4:32
10. “Afterglow” … 5:50

Band:
Jack Russell – Vocals
Mark Kendall – Guitar
Michael Lardie – Guitar, Keyboards
Tony Montana – Bass
Audie Desbrow – Drums

Produced by: Alan Niven and Michael Lardie

Great White is one of those bands that has been cranking out solid albums for decades now, I haven’t heard a “bad” release from them yet. When you buy a Great White album, you have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to get because the band doesn’t change up their sound too much, other than some albums having more of a mellow vibe than others. It all still sounds like Great White though.

This album in particular is one of their mellow releases, it doesn’t get as loud as Once Bitten… or …Twice Shy did, but there’s nothing here to complain about either. It’s a solid and respectable album, but its a low-key effort that I think is surpassed even by the band’s output from the 2000s.

This was the last high-ranking album from the band. It debuted on the U.S. charts at #18 and eventually went gold, whereas …Twice Shy was double platinum. It’s easy to say “Oh, well, it was 1991, grunge was taking over, that’s why it didn’t do so well”, but the album was released in January ’91, nine months before Nirvana destroyed the hair metal genre.

It was the lack of powerful single that damaged the band more than a changing musical climate. The band tried to replicate the success of their “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” cover with “Call It Rock N’ Roll”, but the chart-busting magic wasn’t there this time around and there’s nothing here on the level of “Rock Me”, “Save Your Love” or “The Angel Song” either.

Highlights: “Call It Rock N’ Roll”, “Can’t Shake It”, “Desert Moon”, “Afterglow”

www.greatwhiterocks.com
www.myspace.com/officialgreatwhite

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

GREAT WHITE – Rising

Great White – Rising (2009, Shrapnel Records)

1. “Situation”
2. “All Or Nothin’”
3. “Don’t Mind”
4. “Shine”
5. “Loveless”
6. “Is It Enough”
7. “Last Chance”
8. “Danger Zone”
9. “Down On The Level”
10. “Only You Can Do”
11. “My Sanctuary”
12. “Let’s Spend The Night Together”

Band:
Jack Russell – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Mark Kendall – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Michael Lardie – Guitar, Keyboard, Mandolin, Sitar, Harmonica, Backing Vocals
Scott Snyder – Bass, Backing Vocals
Audie Desbrow – Drums

Produced by: Michael Lardie

I had heard some rumblings that this album was fairly mellow and thus was disappointing a number of fans. It’s true Rising is not much of a hard rocker, but it doesn’t disappoint me at all. It’s less like Back to the Rhythm and more like Can’t Get There From Here, which is just fine by me because I think that was a great release. You have to face it though, Great White was *never* a heavy band to begin with, they’ve usually produce laid-back melodic rock albums and this one is just another in a long line of them.

There’s not a bad song on this album. This album is enjoyable all the way through and seems like the perfect to release as the weather is getting warmer. The first five tracks are the album’s best and upon first listening to them, I was getting blown away track after track. I’ve always loved Jack Russell’s voice and it hasn’t faltered after all these years. Maybe Jimmy Page should give him a call to get that “We’re Not Led Zeppelin” tour off the ground? =)

Great White just seems to be getting better and better with age. In fact, their last three albums are their best, I think. I expected Rising to be a decent album, but I didn’t expect it to be this good. I can’t imagine this album *not* making my Top 10 for the year.

I also want to point out how cool the album art is. Great White usually has some wonderful artwork, but I’d put this cover right up at the top alongside Can’t Get There From Here‘s Lisa Frank-esque cover.

I ended up ordering this album online after not being able to find it around town. I wasn’t surprised I couldn’t find it, but I’m pretty sure I picked up Back to the Rhythm in town when that was released. The very same day my copy arrived in the mail, I found out Walmart had been carrying it all along! D’oh!

Highlights: “Situation”, “All Or Nothin'”, “Don’t Mind”, “Shine”, “Loveless”, “Down On The Level”, “Only You Can Do”

www.greatwhiterocks.com
www.myspace.com/officialgreatwhite

MONSTERS OF ROCK

Various Artists – Monsters of Rock (1998, Razor & Tie)

Track Listing:
1. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot … 4:51
2. “Once Bitten Twice Shy” – Great White … 5:22
3. “Poison” – Alice Cooper … 4:30
4. “The Final Countdown” – Europe … 5:11
5. “Round and Round” – Ratt … 4:24
6. “Cherry Pie” – Warrant … 3:20
7. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake … 4:35
8. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison … 4:20
9. “Seventeen” – Winger … 4:05
10. “Cult of Personality” – Living Colour … 4:54
11. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Twisted Sister … 3:39
12. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” – Judas Priest … 5:08
13. “Nobody’s Fool” – Cinderella … 4:48
14. “Hold on Loosely” – .38 Special … 4:37
15. “Turn up the Radio” – Autograph … 4:34
16. “Sister Christian” – Night Ranger … 4:56

Ahh… The hair metal compilation that gave rise to all the rest of the imitators and countless sequels from Razor & Tie.

Razor & Tie initially pushed many of their compilations (love songs, country, 80s, etc.) through their 800 number. I remember many of these ads over on cable stations like TBS and WGN. I *think* there was even a 2-disc version of Monsters of Rock that was only available by ordering over the phone.

Anyway, tons of classics here, though I would argue the inclusion of .38 Special, Autograph, Night Ranger and Living Colour (I really hate “Cult of Personality” anyway). You can’t go wrong with these songs. Though I would eventually own all the albums that these songs were taken from, this was a great introduction for me to the genre when, up to that point, I had really only gotten heavy in GNR, Poison and Bon Jovi.

My fondest memory is playing this one constantly when my family moved from Virginia to Florida in June 1998. I had no friends and nowhere to go and this album received CONSTANT play in my room that summer. Also, Monsters of Rock gave me a great “I REMEMBER THAT SONG!” moment with Alice Cooper’s “Poison”. I had totally forgotten about that massive comeback hit for The Coop.

This album pretty much set the standard for pop metal comps and usually knockoff CDs basically just took this tracklisting and hit ‘shuffle’.

GREAT WHITE – Once Bitten…

Great White – Once Bitten… (1987, Capitol Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Lady Red Light” … 4:53
2. “Gonna Getcha” … 4:13
3. “Rock Me” … 7:19
4. “All Over Now” … 4:21
5. “Mistreater” … 5:49
6. “Never Change Heart” … 4:27
7. “Fast Road” … 3:40
8. “On The Edge” … 6:01
9. “Save Your Love” … 5:46

Band:
Jack Russell — Vocals
Mark Kendall — Guitar
Michael Lardie — Guitar, Keyboard
Audie Desbrow — Drums
Lorne Black — Bass

Produced by: Alan Niven, Michael Lardie and Mark Kendall

The first Great White album I owned was Can’t Get There From Here, but of course I had to step back in time and pick this one up years ago. Great White has never been flashy, just solid blues-influenced hard rock and Jack Russell has always been one of my favorite vocalists, so they deliver in their typical style here.

The album is definitely a must own though for “Rock Me” and “Save Your Love” (which are my two favorite Great White songs).

I have to say, I absolutely hate this cover. It (and the girl) look really cheap, she’s not very cute.

Highlights: “Lady Red Light”, “Gonna Getcha”, “Rock Me”, “All Over Now”, “Save Your Love”

www.mistabone.com
www.myspace.com/officialgreatwhite

Great Sleazy Metal Album Covers

This was a post I did awhile back on my Metal Misfit pop culture blog. To this day, that article sees lots of hits, so since I plan on continuing this feature on THIS blog, I figured it’d be nice to post the original here.

Hair metal. Sleaze metal. Glam metal. Pop-metal. Whatever. It was a glorious time to be a young man when this music ruled the airways and MTV. It was nothing but sex, drugs, and rock & roll during this era, and that was just in Corporate America! So imagine, if you will, the hedonism that was explored to its fullest glory by the Gods of Hair. It blows your mind, doesn’t it? Yeah well, they got dibs first.

In rock & roll, you read a book by its cover. The image is every bit as important the music. Hey, the truth hurts. And what was the image of the day? The image of the day was tight clothes, misogynistic lyrics, and flat out debauchery. Music videos sold albums (or if you want to sound like a fancy record exec, you can say they “shifted units”, and if you do say that, you might very well be qualified to write lyrics for some of these bands), as did album covers themselves. So, let’s take a look at some inspired sleazy album covers from the decade of excess…

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GREAT WHITE – Back to the Rhythm

Great White – Back to the Rhythm (2007, Shrapnel Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Back to the Rhythm” – 4:14
2. “Here Goes My Head Again” – 4:30
3. “Take Me Down” – 4:32
4. “Play On” – 3:54
5. “Was It the Night?” – 5:20
6. “I’m Alive” – 5:22
7. “Still Hungry” – 5:02
8. “Standin’ on the Edge” – 4:06
9. “How Far Is Heaven?” – 4:51
10. “Neighborhood” – 4:32
11. “Cold World” – 5:12
12. “Just Yesterday” – 4:40

Band:
Jack Russell – Vocals
Mark Kendall – Guitar
Michael Lardie – Guitar
Sean McNabb – Bass
Audie Desbrow – Drums

Produced by: Michael Lardie

8 years, various personnel changes, band break ups, and the tragic Station Fire. That’s what happened between Back to the Rhythm and Great White’s last effort Can’t Get There from Here. There’s no John Kalodner, no major label, and the band has (mostly) been left to their own devices for writing the songs. The results? A great Great White record that’s even better than the somewhat “calculated” Can’t Get There From Here.

I was pleasantly surprised by this release, the album starts off strong with the title track, which is arguably the best on the album and one of Great White’s best songs as well, IMO. “Play On” sounds like a holdover from Can’t Get There from Here, which isn’t surprising because it was co-written by Jack Blades, who produced and had a heavy hand in writing songs for Can’t Get There from Here. “Was It the Night?” is classic Great White, starting mid-tempo, then rocking out. “Here Goes My Head Again” is very catchy and “Cold World” has a bit of a modern hard rock sound to it and it works.

Jack Russell is one of the best voices to come out the 80s scene, and it’s still strong here. I’m really glad these guys were able to pull themselves back together and weren’t content to be just a nostalgia act playing summer fairs because they’ve still got the juice and this was one of 2007’s best releases.

Highlights: “Back to the Rhythm”, “Here Goes My Head Again”, “Play On”, “Was It the Night?”, “I’m Alive”, “Still Hungry”, “Cold World”, “Just Yesterday”

http://www.mistabone.com/
http://www.myspace.com/officialgreatwhite

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