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40FT. RINGO – Funny Thing

40Ft. Ringo – Funny Thing (2003, Atenzia Records)

1. “Anyway”… 2:41
2. “Wired” … 3:31
3. “Inside Your Head” … 2:38
4. “Big Fat Smile” … 3:25
5. “Origami Mommy” … 4:26
6. “Book Of Virtues” … 3:52
7. “Be My Fix” …
8. “A Freak Like You” … 3:01
9. “Unbroken” … 3:14
10. “Miss You Blue” … 4:00
11. “Anti-Zero” … 3:15
12. “Fanatic” … 3:25
13. “Tough” … 3:07

Steve Brown – Vocals, Guitar
Maz – Guitar
P.J. Farley – Bass
Brian Gabriel – Drums

Producer: Steve Brown & P.J. Farley

Early last decade, I had a great affinity for modern power pop/hard rock music. I loved the music that was being put out by Marvelous 3, Tsar, American Hi-Fi, Zebrahead and 40Ft. Ringo. I’ve been familiar with most of this album for nearly 8 years now (I think most of it “leaked” much earlier than the album’s release) but it was only recently I finally snatched up a used copy on for only a few bucks.

Much like Marvelous 3, 40Ft. Ringo has a hair metal connection — both Steve Brown and P.J. Farley are members of New Jersey hair rockers Trixter. I’m not too familiar with Trixter’s work, they came along as the scene was dying and never got glowing reviews so I haven’t bothered to sample much other than their singles.

As for this album, it’s an infectious rock & power pop album complete with a bit of the punk pop sound that was popular about the time this album was released (Blink-182, SR-71, Eve 6… Why all the numbers ?!?). There’s so many great radio-ready songs on this album. While this is an indie release that I’m sure had an extremely limited marketing budget, I’m also certain the fact that half the band was from a “hair band” didn’t help them at all. It’s sad but that’s just the way mainstream entertainment industry operates.

It’s great to finally have this album in my collection as I hadn’t heard these songs in years and still remembered most of them!

Highlights: “Anyway”, “Inside Your Head”, “Big Fat Smile”, “Origami Mommy”, “Book Of Virtues”, “Be My Fix”, “Anti-Zero”, “Tough”

BUTCH WALKER – Left of Self-Centered

Butch Walker – Left of Self-Centered (2002, Arista Records)

Track List:
1. “Rock Vocal Power” … 1:56
2. “My Way” … 4:00
3. “Suburbia” … 4:07
4. “Trouble” … 3:58
5. “Alicia Amnesia” … 3:42
6. “Sober” … 3:20
7. “Into the Black” … 3:38
8. “Get Down” … 4:03
9. “Far Away from Close” … 3:52
10. “Diary of a San Fernando Sexx Star” … 3:39
11. “If (Jeannie’s Song)” … 4:53
12. “Take Tomorrow (One Day at a Time)” … 4:30
13. — … 14:58
14. “Get Stupid with You”…  4:58

Butch Walker – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Keyboard

Additional Musicians:
Nikki Sixx – Bass
Greg Lee – Bass
Kenny Cresswell – Drums, Backing Vocals
Mitch “Slug” McLee – Drums
Jim Ebert – Moog Synthesizer, Keyboard
Matt Mahaffey – Keyboard, Scratching
Chrystina Lloree – Backing Vocals
Peter Searcy – Cello
Harold Sellers – Congas

Produced by: Butch Walker, Jim Ebert, Matt Mahaffey

With a career only spanning three albums (though I’m forever holding out hope a we’ll get a reunion and a fourth release someday), Marvelous 3 became one of my favorite bands and produced one of my favorite albums with ReadySexGo. Marvelous 3 called it quits in 2001 and front man/songwriter Butch Walker surfaced in 2002 with this, his very first solo release.

It’s very much a continuation of what Marvelous 3 had been doing with the great blend of glam, punk, pop and hard rock. Nothing but giant hooks and huge choruses. If M3 had stuck around and followed ReadySexGo with a new album, I can’t imagine it sounding much different than this. Unfortunately, Left of Self-Centered would be the last in-your-face hard rock/pop release by Butch Walker, I guess he’d rather write & produce those types of songs for other artists (Avril Lavigne, Lit, Fall Out Boy, Katy Perry, Pink) than himself because his albums since have been a bit more emo, mellow and acoustic than I would like.

Butch certainly does have a way with words and  great sense of humor. I like how the lyrics flow together and the next line plays off the previous one. The lyrics are almost as enjoyable as the music itself.

“My Way” was the song during the opening credits of the awful Jason Lee/Tom Green movie ‘Stealing Harvard’, if I’m not mistaken.

“Get Stupid with You” is a “hidden” asTrack 14. Track 13 is nearly 15 minutes of silence.

Highlights: “My Way”, “Suburbia”, “Trouble”, “Alicia Amnesia”, “Sober”, “Into the Black”, “Get Down”, “If (Jeannie’s Song)”

MARVELOUS 3 – ReadySexGo

Marvelous 3 – ReadySexGo (2000, Elektra Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Little Head” … 3:19
2. “Grant Park” … 3:42
3. “Get Over” … 3:57
4. “Sugarbuzz” … 3:40
5. “Supernatural Blonde” … 3:11
6. “Radio Tokyo” … 5:14
7. “Cold as Hell” … 3:10
8. “Beautiful” … 4:04
9. “I’m Losing You” … 3:18
10. “This Time” … 3:13
11. “Better off Alone” … 2:46
12. “I Could Change” … 3:29
13. “Cigarette Lighter Love Song” … 5:06
14. [Credits] … 10:00

Butch Walker – Vocals, Guitar
Jayce Fincher – Bass
Doug Mitchell (aka – Mitch “Slug” McLee) – Drums

Produced by: Butch Walker

The third and final album from the awesome Marvelous 3 (all three members were former members of the hair band SouthGang). Despite having a hit in ’99, with “Freak of the Week”, I had never heard of the band until this album was about to come out and Metal Sludge was hyping it up and did an interview with Butch Walker. I picked it up and it instantly became one of my favorite albums and still is. Everything song is a great sing-along anthem and why this album didn’t go platinum 7x over and Marvelous 3 aren’t still together is a reflection on just how screwed up the music industry has been for the past decade (or more). Sadly, even with the solid buzz of their previous album, Hey! Album, ReadySexGo only managed to scrape the bottom of the Billboard 200 peaking at #196. >=(

The lyrics are absolutely great, very witty and funny. A great play on words throughout and Butch Walker wrote the whole album by himself, except for “Cigarette Lighter Love Song”, which he co-wrote with David Bowie. Every song is extremely catchy, perfect for radio, and a great blend of hard rock, hair/glam metal, pop, and punk pop.

Even though I believe (as does the band) that Elektra dropped the ball with this release, I think “Sugar Buzz” was a poor choice as a lead single. Even though it’s good, it’s actually the lesser of all the songs here. I do remember it receiving a bit of airplay on the local rock station though… for about a week. The band broke up less than a year after this album’s release.

At the end of “Radio Tokyo”, there’s a great phone message from Nikki Sixx to the band… “Fuck! Your fucking band is bad-ass. Call me! Fuck! I’m blown away, man. That second song knocked my dick in the dirt. Bye.” =D

Butch has gone on to be a successful producer/songwriter for other artists such as Avril Lavigne, Bowling for Soup, Pink, Lindsay Lohan, Simple Plan, Sevendust, The Donnas, Pete Yorn, The Academy Is…, American Hi-Fi, All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boy and SR-71. He also releases albums under his own name.

Highlights: “Grant Park”, “Get Over”, “Radio Tokyo”, “Cold As Hell”, “Beautiful”, “I’m Losing You”, “Better off Alone”, “Cigarette Lighter Love Song” (Inactive fan site, but the best I could find!)

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