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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

Duff McKagan’s Loaded – The Taking

Duff McKagan’s Loaded – The Taking (2011, Armoury Records)

1. “Lords of Abaddon” … 3:25
2. “Executioner’s Song” … 3:36
3. “Dead Skin” … 3:20
4. “We Win” … 4:04
5. “Easier Lying” … 4:05
6. “She’s An Anchor” … 3:22
7. “Indian Summer” … 4:22
8. “Wrecking Ball” … 3:27
9. “King of the World” … 3:24
10. “Cocaine” … 4:14
11. “Your Name” … 3:18
12. “Follow Me to Hell” … 3:39

Band:
Duff McKagan – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Mike Squires – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jeff Rouse – Bass, Backing Vocals
Isaac Carpenter – Drums, Percussion

Producer: Terry Date

The follow up to 2009’s Sick is an improvement in my book although it is the same mix of radio rock, metal, alternative rock, punk and rock/pop. I wasn’t extremely impressed by Sick but I guess I’m at the point where I’ll support any of the core GNR members just as long as they physically get their music out there (sorry, Izzy, not messing with iTunes).

A number of songs on the album remind me of the Foo Fighters. “We Win” is certainly an anthem that could’ve been written by Grohl & Co. and it’s done well being licensed out for use by MLB and ESPN. “Indian Summer” sounds like one of FF’s more easy going moments. There are also some true metal moments like “Executioner’s Song” (something I could imagine from Death Magnetic),  But of course with Duff’s roots being in punk, those influences shine through on a songs like “Follow Me to Hell” and “King of the World”.

I’ve found myself really enjoying this album the more I’ve listened to it but personally I would love for Duff to go back to a Believe In Me/Guns ‘N Roses sound. The closest he comes to doing that is on the swaggering “Cocaine” (original song, not a cover) .

All told, The Taking is a pretty good album and in the absence of working together in some fashion I’m perfectly fine with Duff & Slash release solo material.

Highlights: “Lords of Abaddon”, “Dead Skin”, “We Win”, “Easier Lying”, “She’s An Anchor”, “Indian Summer”, “King of the World”, “Cocaine”

http://duff-loaded.com/
http://www.facebook.com/DuffLoaded

Buy ‘The Taking’ at Amazon.com!

Gunfire 76 – Casualties & Tragedies

Gunfire 76 – Casualties & Tragedies (2009, Wednesday 13, LLC)

1. “Let’s Kill The Hero” … 2:51
2. “Casualties And Tragedies” … 3:31
3. “Nothing’s All I Need” … 3:18
4. “Los Angel-Less” … 4:26
5. “Rocket To Nowhere” … 3:55
6. “Something For The Suffering” … 4:24
7. “One More Reason To Hate You” … 3:52
8. “Tell You Like It Is” … 3:40
9. “What Did You Expect” … 3:47
10. “Back To The Gutter” … 3:35
11. “Get Me Through The Night”  … 5:16

Band:
Wednesday 13 – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Roman Surman – Guitar
Jamie Hoover – Bass, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Jason West – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Ziad – Saxophone (“Back To The Gutter”)

Producer: Wednesday 13

I recently came across Gunfire 76 because they were one of Amazon.com’s recommendations while I was viewing another artist’s album page. I’ve started to discover many cool bands based on their recommends! The band is one of a seemingly endless number of side projects for Wednesday 13 (what’s his main project?). I never got into Murderdolls so I wasn’t sure if this was gonna be something for me. I click on the samples, thought they were pretty cool and ordered myself a copy.

On their MySpace page, Gunfire 76 cites New York Dolls, KISS, Deadboys and The Stooges as what they sound like and all of that is true and can be said for most projects Wednesday 13 is involved with but there’s a twist this time. Instead of the trashy horror punk Wednesday usually plays this album is glam rock meets classic rock meets punk rock. Lyrically, the album is a lot different too and while some song lyrics feature some of the signature angst from Mr. 13, there’s no B-grade horror movie lyrics to be found.

The whole album is just so catchy. Listen to “Los Angel-Less”, “Something For The Suffering”, “One More Reason To Hate You”, “Back To The Gutter” (love the saxophone!) and “Get Me Through The Night” and try to get those songs out of your head. A song like “Get Me Through The Night” comes off like a great lost ’70s glam rock classic, I can hear Starz or Angel playing something like this or even Alice Cooper while “Tell You Like It Is” gives me a KISS vibe circa Rock and Roll Over.

Wednesday 13 fans probably are already aware of this album but even if you’re not a fan of his usual stuff, anyone who like ’70s rock, glam and punk will really enjoy this one. Looking back, it’s easily one of the best albums of 2009. Nothing but fun from top to bottom… Too bad I didn’t listen to it until 2011!

Highlights: “Let’s Kill The Hero”, “Los Angel-less”, “Something For The Suffering”, “One More Reason To Hate You”, “Tell You Like It Is”, “What Did You Expect”, “Get Me Through The Night”

http://www.myspace.com/gunfire76/

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

BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION – Here Come the Brides

Brides of Destruction – Here Come the Brides (2004, Sanctuary Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Shut the F*ck Up” … 3:03
2. “I Don’t Care” … 3:21
3. “I Got a Gun” … 3:48
4. “2x Dead” … 5:38
5. “Brace Yourself” … 4:04
6. “Natural Born Killers” … 4:31
7. “Life” … 3:32
8. “Revolution” … 4:37
9. “Only Get So Far” … 5:07

Band:
London LeGrand – Lead Vocals
Tracii Guns – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Nikki Sixx – Bass, Backing Vocals
Scot Coogan – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
John Corabi – Rhythm Guitar
Kris Kohls – Drums

Produced by: Steve Bruno

Brides of Destruction were a “supergroup”, which was put together by Nikki Sixx (while Motley Crue took one of their many breaks) and L.A. Guns’ Tracii Gun. Ex-Motley Crue singer John Corabi was recruited to play guitar and nu-metal band Adema’s Kris Kohls was to be the drummer, but both were out of the band by the time of this album’s release.

I remember London LeGrand catching a lot of flack before the album was even released, with some of the more negative rock/metal sites saying he “sucked” and was a horrible singer. Just not hearing that here. The guy’s voice is fitting this music perfectly, which is a blend of 80s hard rock, punk, power pop, and modern hard rock. I love London’s performance on “I Got a Gun”.

The band never took off though, even though they did manage to get an appearance on The Tonight Show. They chose “Shut the F*ck Up” as their lead single, which was a mistake because it was heavily edited for radio and received very little play. The band even chose to play that song on The Tonight Show and it sounded horrible without them being able to utter that four-letter word.

I remember as soon as the album was released, Nikki was crowing about how much more material they had and that they would be releasing ANOTHER album in 2004, but it never happened. Eventually, Motley came calling again and Nikki ditched the band, though they soldiered on without him and released Runaway Brides in 2005.

This album shows a lot of promise though, I don’t think there’s any filler here and I’ve often wondered what the follow-up album would’ve sounded like if Nikki had remained fully involved.

“Only Get So Far” was originally written by Nikki with Faith Hill & Tim McGraw in mind, but that didn’t pan out. And if anyone still has complaints about London’s voice, they should check out that song as well.

Highlights: “Shut the F*ck Up”, “I Got A Gun”, “2x Dead”, “Brace Yourself”, “Life”, “Only Get So Far”

www.myspace.com/bridesofdestruction

MURDERDOLLS – Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls

Murderdolls – Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls (2002, Roadrunner Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Slit My Wrist” … 3:50
2. “Twist My Sister” … 2:06
3. “Dead in Hollywood” … 2:30
4. “Love at First Fright” … 3:07
5. “People Hate Me” … 4:49
6. “She Was a Teenage Zombie” … 3:02
7. “Die My Bride” … 3:14
8. “Graverobbing U.S.A” … 3:21
9. “197666” … 2:19
10. “Dawn of the Dead” … 3:43
11. “Let’s Go to War” … 3:23
12. “Dressed to Depress” … 2:13
13. “Kill Miss America” … 2:27
14. “B-Movie Scream Queen” … 3:49
15. “Motherfucker I Don’t Care” … 2:55

Band:
Wednesday 13 – Lead Vocals, Bass
Tripp Eisen – Guitar
Joey Jordison – Guitar, Bass, Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Matt Sepanic & Joey Jordison

Take the Misfits, KISS, Alice Cooper and a bit of Rob Zombie and the Murderdolls are what you get: a horror punk outfit with a campy B-movie sense of humor and some glam influences. The band initially was a combination of members from Slipknot (Jordison), Static-X (Eisen) and Wednesday 13 who had previously sung for another horror punk band called Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13. Eisen left not too long after recording and in came Eric Griffin (bass), Acey Slade (guitar) and Ben Graves (drums) to complete the band.

I think it was one of my friends up in Virginia who suggested this album to me, but I remember one of the local rock stations giving this album some hype as well thanks to the Slipknot connection. As I’ve stated before, punk isn’t a favorite of mine, but like the Misfits, this band pulls in enough humor & B-horror movie lyrics to hold my interest.

The music is good, but the real interesting part is the lyrics. The zombie classic Dawn of the Dead, Twisted Sister and even Dee Snider’s Strangeland horror film all get mentions.

The band was only active for two years before Jordison heard the call of Slipknot once more, though Jordison & Wednesday both claim the Murderdolls will walk the earth again some day.

Highlights: “Slit My Wrists”, “Twist My Sister”, “Love at First Fright”, “Die My Bride”, “Dawn of the Dead”, “B-Movie Scream Queen”

MISFITS – Famous Monsters

Misfits – Famous Monsters (1999, Roadrunner Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Kong at the Gates” … 1:22
2. “The Forbidden Zone” … 2:23
3. “Lost in Space” … 2:27
4. “Dust to Dust” … 2:43
5. “Crawling Eye” … 2:22
6. “Witch Hunt” … 1:31
7. “Scream!” … 2:33
8. “Saturday Night” … 3:28
9. “Pumpkin Head” … 2:16
10. “Scarecrow Man” … 3:10
11. “Die Monster Die” … 2:00
12. “Living Hell” … 2:54
13. “Descending Angel” … 3:46
14. “Them” … 2:43
15. “Fiend Club” … 2:52
16. “Hunting Humans” … 2:06
17. “Helena” … 3:20
18. “Kong Unleashed” … 0:47

Band:
Michale Graves – Vocals
Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein – Guitar
Jerry Only – Bass
Dr. Chud – Drums

Produced by: Daniel Rey & Misfits

Before the Misfits, I didn’t really care much about punk music (I guess I still really don’t, this band seems to be the exception). BUT… I was a huge wrestling fan and they became involved with WCW and a wrestler called Vampiro (who used their “Kong at the Gates” song as his entrance music). Couple that with the fact that a freshmen girl I had an art class with was a huge fan of punk & the Misfits… Well, destiny was calling out for me to get this recently released album.

It’s not too bad, not a favorite album of mine and while I’ve gone back and gotten some of their earlier works, I wouldn’t call the Misfits a favorite of mine, though I do think they have some really great songs here and there.

This album is quite a departure from the Glenn Danzig version of the band. Sure, the punk rock is definitely still there and so is the campiness of it all, but the danger and excitement is gone. In it’s place we get 50s doo wop & rockabilly meets punk rock, which works quite well on a song like “Saturday Night”, which is about as close as a ballad you’ll get from this band.

Props to the band for giving a nod to the great Pumpkin Head movie in, what else, “Pumpkin Head”.

Highlights: “Kong at the Gates”, “The Forbidden Zone”, “Dust to Dust”, “Saturday Night”, “Pumpkin Head”, “Helena”

www.misfits.com
www.myspace.com/themisfits

IRON MAIDEN – Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden [Enhanced Edition] (1998, Sanctuary Records/Metal-Is Records)
Original Release: 1980, Capitol Records

Track Listing:
1. “Prowler” … 3:53
2. “Sanctuary” … 3:13
3. “Remember Tomorrow” … 5:28
4. “Running Free” … 3:16
5. “Phantom of the Opera” … 7:07
6. “Transylvania” [instrumental] … 4:06
7. “Strange World” … 5:42
8. “Charlotte the Harlot” … 4:12
9. “Iron Maiden” … 3:36

Band:
Paul Di’Anno – Lead Vocals
Dave Murray – Guitar
Dennis Stratton – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Harris – Bass, Backing Vocals
Clive Burr – Drums

Produced by: Will Malone

Years ago, I went nuts and snatched up *most* of Maiden’s albums, specifically the 1998 enhanced versions. Before Bruce Dickinson, there was Paul Di’Anno, who brings something totally different to the table than Bruce’s flying vocals do. Paul’s voice is rougher and gritty and it fits the heavy metal played here, which is more punk-influenced than the band’s later progressive sounds.

Bruce is THE Maiden singer, but Paul does a fine job and this is still a classic in Maiden’s catalog.

The enhanced version features some cool stuff once you pop it in your PC: music videos, album art, lyrics, tour dates for the specific album… All kinds of neat stuff.

Highlights: “Prowler”, “Remember Tomorrow”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Transylvania”, “Charlotte the Harlot”

www.ironmaiden.com
www.myspace.com/ironmaiden
www.pauldianno.com
www.myspace.com/diannothebeast

DUFF MCKAGAN – Believe In Me

Duff McKagan – Believe In Me (1993, Geffen Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Believe in Me” … 3:23
2. “I Love You” … 4:14
3. “Man in the Meadow” … 4:50
4. “(Fucked up) Beyond Belief” … 3:29
5. “Could It Be You” … 3:08
6. “Just Not There” … 3:34
7. “Punk Rock Song” … 1:37
8. “The Majority” … 3:10
9. “10 Years” … 4:29
10. “Swamp Song” … 3:04
11. “Trouble” … 3:12
12. “Fuck You” … 3:24
13. “Lonely Tonite” … 3:03

Band:
Duff McKagan – Vocals, Background Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer, Piano, Drums

Additional Musicians (*deep breath*):
Billy Nasty – Harmony Vocals
Bobbie Brown-Lane – Background Vocals on “Believe In Me”
Dizzy Reed – Background Vocals, Piano, Farfisa Organ
Doc – Vocals on “Fuck You”
Gilby Clarke – Background Vocals, Guitar on “10 Years”
Jeff Beck – Guitar on “Swamp Song” and “(Fucked Up) Beyond Belief”
Joie Mastrokolos – Background Vocals on “Swamp Song” and “Fuck You”
Lenny Kravitz – Vocals on “The Majority”
Matt Sorum – Drums on “(Fucked Up) Beyond Belief”
Rob Affuso – Drums on “Fuck You”
Sebastian Bach – Vocals on “Trouble”
Slam – Background Vocals on “Trouble”
Slash – Guitar on “Believe In Me” and “Just Not There”
Snake – Guitar on “Lonely Tonite” and “Trouble”
Suicide Horns – Horns on “Lonely Tonite”
Ted Andreadis – Organ, Clavinet
West Arkeen – Guitar on “Fuck You”, “Man in the Meadow” and “Swamp Song”

Produced by: Duff McKagan & Jim Mitchell

Whenever there was some GNR downtime, Duff would hop into whatever studio was available to write and record his own stuff. Believe In Me is the result of those spare time sessions and it’s a great album. I found it really cheap about 10 years ago in the used section of the ridiculousy overpriced Turtles Music (probably why that chain isn’t around anymore) and have cherished it ever since.

GNR turned in the weird The Spaghetti Incident? cover album in ’93, but Duff turned in something that same year that is pretty close to something of a Use Your Illusion III. Minus the epic and grandiose songs of Axl, this is pretty much a GNR sounding album circa early 90s. All the then-current Gunners performed on the album (except Axl, of course) and a few other high profile artists helped out as well like Jeff Beck, Lenny Kravitz, and Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach and Rob Affuso. Heck, even Jani Lane’s girl made a guest appearance!

Lenny Kravitz particuarly does a great job on “The Majority”. Just listen to his opening “YEEEEAAAH!!!!” and tell me that’s not awesome. Sebastian Bach brings it as well when he channels Axl on “Trouble”. I even like the rap-rock song “Fuck You” with rapper Doc “from the Mob”, whoever that is. But the rest is all Duff, bringing that his punk style of singing over GNR quality tunes.

A definite must for GNR fans as it doesn’t stray too far from that tree.

Highlights: “Believe in Me”, “(Fucked Up) Beyond Belief”, “Could It Be You”, “Just Not There”, “The Majority”, “Swamp Song”, “Trouble”, “Fuck You”, “Lonely Tonite”

Duff has no personal site or MySpace that I could find (looks like there’s a few dummy MySpace accounts though), so I recommend these sites to see what he’s up to these days in Velvet Revolver and his side project, Loaded:

www.velvetrevolver.com
www.myspace.com/velvetrevolver
www.duff-loaded.com
www.myspace.com/loadedlamf

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