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VELVET REVOLVER – Libertad

Velvet Revolver – Libertad (2007, RCA Records)

1. “Let It Roll” … 2:32
2. “She Mine” … 3:25
3. “Get Out the Door” … 3:14
4. “She Builds Quick Machines” … 4:04
5. “The Last Fight” … 4:03
6. “Pills, Demons & Etc.” … 2:54
7. “American Man” … 3:56
8. “Mary Mary” … 4:33
9. “Just Sixteen” … 3:59
10. “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” … 3:58
11. “For a Brother” … 3:26
12. “Spay” … 3:06
13. “Gravedancer” … 8:42

Band:
Scott Weiland- Vocals, Keyboards
Slash – Guitar
Dave Kushner – Guitar
Duff McKagan – Bass, Backing Vocals
Matt Sorum – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Brendan O’Brien

The second (and final) Scott Weiland-fronted VR album sounds a lot like his old band Stone Temple Pilots. The band seems to have traded some of the heaviness of Contraband for a bit more melody that showcases Weiland’s voice much better with its diversity. This isn’t surprising though with longtime STP producer Brendan O’Brien producing this record.

The album didn’t fare as well as their debut, as of this writing it hasn’t even gone gold (their debut was 2x platinum), but it’s just as strong. It took some time for Contraband to grow on me, but I immediately loved this album for it’s similarities to STP (“She Builds Quick Machines”, “Pills, Demons & Etc.” and “American Man” sound like they would’ve fit on No. 4). I was surprised and disappointed this album didn’t catch on despite debuting at #5 on Billboard and that Weiland left the band less than a year after this release. I know drugs played a part in that, but I’m sure if the album had been more successful, the group would’ve been more determined to work things out.

There is a hidden song on Track 13. It starts at about 4:43 and is called “Don’t Drop That Dime”.

This is one of only two albums Weiland claims to have recorded sober (STP’s Core being the first).

Highlights: “Let It Roll”, “She Builds Quick Machines”, “The Last Fight”, “Pills, Demons & Etc.”, “American Man”, “Mary Mary”, “For a Brother”

www.velvetrevolver.com
www.myspace.com/velvetrevolver

GUNS N’ ROSES – The Spaghetti Incident?

Guns N’ Roses – The Spaghetti Incident? (1993, Geffen Records)

1. “Since I Don’t Have You” [The Skyliners] … 4:18
2. “New Rose” [The Damned] … 2:38
3. “Down on the Farm” [U.K. Subs] … 3:28
4. “Human Being” [New York Dolls] … 6:48
5. “Raw Power” [The Stooges] … 3:11
6. “Ain’t it Fun” [The Dead Boys] … 5:05
7. “Buick Makane/Big Dumb Sex” [T. Rex/Soundgarden] … 2:39
8. “Hair of the Dog” [Nazareth] … 3:54
9. “Attitude” [The Misfits] … 1:26
10. “Black Leather” [The Professionals] … 4:08
11. “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory” [Johnny Thunders] … 3:35
12. “I Don’t Care About You” [Fear] … 2:17
13. “Look at Your Game, Girl” [Charles Manson] … 2:34

Band:
Axl Rose – Lead Vocals, Keyboard, Kazoo
Slash – Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Duff McKagan – Bass, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitar, Drums
Gilby Clarke – Guitar
Matt Sorum – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Dizzy Reed – Piano, Keyboard, Backing Vocals, Percussion

Additional Musicians:
Michael Monroe – Lead Vocals
Carlos Booy – Guitar
Mike Staggs – Guitar
Richard Duguay – Guitar
Mike Fasano – Percussion
Eddie Huletz, Stu Bailey, Eric Mills, Rikki Ratchman, Blake Stanton – Backing Vocals

Produced by: Guns N’ Roses, Mike Clink, Jim Mitchell

The last album that the so-called “real” Guns N’ Roses would ever record together was a album of covers and thus, in my opinion, a bit of a downer due to the odd collection of songs. It was meant as a placeholder (much like GN’R Lies) to keep the fans satisfied until the next original studio album arrived. Of course, that album, Chinese Democracy, arrived FIFTEEN YEARS later with only Axl & Dizzy making the trip.

There’s a strong punk influence on the album (I bet Duff was in heaven), but punk rock has never really been a favorite genre of mine. The real standout is the album’s opener, The Skyliners’ “Since I Don’t Have You”, which itself was kind of an odd choice for an cover album made up of mostly punk bands (and Charles Manson).

The parallels to GN’R Lies continue as Axl made sure to put another controversial track on the record (although it is unlisted on the album’s track listing) — “Look at Your Game, Girl”. It was written by Charles Manson. Supposedly, the rest of the band protested, but as usual, they folded to the demands of Axl who insisted this song be included. The only GNR members to perform on the track were Axl & Dizzy. Surprise surprise!

Anyway, this album is more of a curiosity than anything essential. Sad note for the old school GNR to end on.

Highlights: “Since I Don’t Have You”, “Ain’t It Fun”, “Hair of the Dog”, “Attitude”, “I Don’t Care About You”

www.gunsnroses.com
www.myspace.com/gunsnroses

VELVET REVOLVER – Contraband

Velvet Revolver – Contraband (2004, RCA Records)

1. “Sucker Train Blues” … 4:28
2. “Do It for the Kids” … 3:56
3. “Big Machine” … 4:26
4. “Illegal i Song” … 4:18
5. “Spectacle” … 3:42
6. “Fall to Pieces” … 4:35
7. “Headspace” … 3:43
8. “Superhuman” … 4:16
9. “Set Me Free” … 4:08
10. “You Got No Right” … 5:35
11. “Slither” … 4:08
12. “Dirty Little Thing” … 3:58
13. “Loving the Alien” … 5:49

Band:
Scott Weiland – Vocals
Slash – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dave Kushner – Guitar
Duff McKagan – Bass, Backing Vocals
Matt Sorum – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Douglas Grean – Keyboard

Produced by: Velvet Revolver, Josh Abraham, Douglas Grean, Nick Raskulinecz

I was slightly disappointed when this album came out, which I’m sure stemmed from my extremely high expectations. 3/5 of Guns ‘N Roses (Slash, Duff, Matt) + Stone Temple Pilots (my favorite alternative band) singer Scott Weiland sounded like it could’ve been one of the best hard rock releases of the decade.

I don’t quite think the album is that good, but it’s certainly a well-done release with very little filler and it was nice to hear songs like “Slither”, “Set Me Free” and “Fall to Pieces” on the radio besides the usual nu-metal/post-grunge garbage. If you’re looking for something as ferocious as Appetite for Destruction or any of the blues-influenced GNR hard rock, you’re not gonna find it here (though I suppose “Slither” comes close). If anything, Contraband is a mix of modern alternative rock and the melodies of Stone Temple Pilots (“Loving the Alien” could’ve easily been on a STP album). It’s an album well worth exploring.

The album was released with three different color sleeves: red, white and black. I picked up the black version.

Highlight: “Sucker Train Blues”, “Do It for the Kids”, “Big Machine”, “Illegal i Song”, “Fall to Pieces”, “Set Me Free”, “You Got No Right”, “Slither”, “Dirty Little Thing”, “Loving the Alien”

www.velvetrevolver.com
www.myspace.com/velvetrevolver

Trimming The Fat: GNR’s Use Your Illusion I & II

In an attempt to add content to this blog besides reviews, I’ve come up with a new feature. The premise? I take a double album, double release, etc., cut out the filler and present it as one wholesome, satisfying release. Welcome to the inaugural edition of…

TRIMMING THE FAT

Guns N’ RosesUse Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II are both very good releases, but were mired in filler. This is to be expected when you release 30 songs at once though.

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