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Drug Under – Forgive and Forget (Review)

Drug Under – Forgive and Forget (2012, Down Boy Records)

1.  Forgive and Forget
2. I Need To See
3. Borrowed Time
3. Never Again
5. Echoes
6. Down
7. Change My Ways
8. All The Lies
9. It’s Over

Band:
Romero – Vocals
Eric Greenwall – Guitars
Pat Searcy – Guitars
Aaron Greenwall – Bass
Mike Crisler – Drums

Producer: Mark Obermeyer, Jerry Dixon & Erik Turner

Never judge a book (or album) by its cover! When this Denver, CO.-based band was first brought to my attention, going by the cover art and knowing that the label is owned and operated by Warrant’s Jerry Dixon & Erik Turner, I assumed Drug Under was going to be the type of hard rock act that drew heavily on ’80s influences. Not so. They are a modern hard rock/metal act that fits right in with the rest of the bands on active rock radio these days.

I can’t say this type of rock that features an alternative influence and crunchy guitars is a favorite of mine but Drug Under has their moments where they really shine. “I Need To See” and “Never Again” have the most commercial appeal, I think, and are my favorites. Very cool songs that should be on radio. “Forgive and Forget”, “Borrowed Time” & “Echoes” all have enough of a hard driving edge to keep those that just want to bang their heads satisfied. “All The Lies” and “It’s Over” are of particular interest to me. There’s some nice melodies in the melancholy moments of both of these rockers that show potential for this band to write some great ballads later down the line.

Forgive and Forget is an album sure to appeal to fans of the modern rock/metal scene and ’90s rock/metal. While I am not going to say that Drug Under knocked it out of the park on this release, it’s still an enjoyable listen that shows this is a talented band that has a bright future.

Highlights: “I Need To See”, “Never Again”, “Change My Ways”, “All The Lies”, “It’s Over”

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Drug-Under/195374577146023

Buy ‘Forgive And Forget’ at Amazon.com

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The Metal Excess Awards: 2011 Edition

Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.

2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

Best E.P./Single
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.

1. Sixx:A.M. – 7
2. Black Veil Brides – Rebels
3. Who Cares – Out of My Mind / Holy Water
4. Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder!
5. The Last Vegas – The Other Side E.P.

Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.

1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com

Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.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.

Warrant – Rockaholic

Warrant – Rockaholic (2011, Frontiers Records)

1. Sex Ain’t Love … 3:57
2. Innocence Gone … 3:40
3. Snake … 3:44
4. Dusty’s Revenge … 4:26
5. Home … 3:28
6. What Love Can Do … 4:19
7. Life’s A Song … 4:10
8. Show Must Go On … 2:48
9. Cocaine Freight Train … 3:04
10. Found Forever … 4:15
11. Candy Man … 4:05
12. Sunshine … 3:54
13. Tears In The City … 3:35
14. The Last Straw … 4:14

Band:
Robert Mason – Lead Vocals
Erik Turner – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jerry Dixon – Bass, Backing Vocals
Joey Allen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steven Sweet – Drums, Backing Vocals

Producer: Keith Olsen

So there’s a new Warrant album and yet again Jani Lane is missing. Jani briefly rejoined the band in 2008 (sending Jaime St. James back to Black ‘N Blue) but now Big Cock/ex-Lynch Mob vocalist Robert Mason has been with them for the last four years playing live shows and finally that relationship has paid off in the form of a studio album.

The loose rock ‘n’ roll feel from 2006’s Born Again has been polished up on Rockaholic but like that album, it doesn’t really sound all that much like Warrant. This is not an album I think the band would have or could have written with Jani. That isn’t a knock on Jani Lane, the band or Robert Mason. It’s just different chemistry. Janie was a great thoughtful lyricist who excelled at ballads, with Robert Mason the band just wants to rock. They don’t try to repeat the past and make an “eighties album” or “Warrant-sounding” songs with one exception: I felt a bit of an old school Warrant vibe on “Life’s A Song”.

If anything, I think the album sounds like Lynch Mob. It’s just so hard to wrap my head around anything as being Warrant without Jani on vocals. Luckily, that has deterred NOT me from enjoying Rockaholic. Robert Mason sings his butt off on this album and proves once again why he is one of the best vocalists in rock right now. He doesn’t try to sing like Jani, he’s just being himself and kudos for that! It’s easy to say Mason is the best singer Warrant has ever had.

But how does this album compare to the band’s early releases? Pretty well, I must say. Though I was really looking to this release, I wasn’t sure how it was going to sound and I have to say that the album is great! Anyone who is a fan of ’80s rock/metal will should love this album. It has that whole vibe while still sounding fresh and relevant. You want rockers? You’ve got “Sex Ain’t Love”, the defiant “The Last Straw”, “Show Must Go On”, the fantastic and sex-charged “Cocaine Freight Train” (which I think may be one of my favorite Warrant songs… ever) and the cowboy rocker “Dusty’s Revenge”. You want ballads? There’s “Home” (another real standout), “What Love Can Do”, “Tears In The City” and “Found Forever”.

This is a very well done release from top to bottom. While I certainly have my favorite tracks, I really don’t think there’s any filler on this album. Overall, Warrant sounds even more revitalized and energetic than they did with Born Again and while I don’t think Warrant has really ever turned in a bad album (though maybe they didn’t always go in the direction I would have preferred) Rockaholic is easily the best thing they’ve released since Cherry Pie. We now finally have a recorded document of the Mason era and hopefully this is just the first of many albums they do with him.

Highlights: “Sex Ain’t Love”, “Snake”, “Home”, “What Love Can Do”, “Life’s A Song”, “Cocaine Freight Train”, “Candy Man”, “The Last Straw”

http://warrantrocks.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/WARRANT/125089977508792

Buy ‘Rockaholic’ at Amazon.com!

Monster Madness

Various Artists – Monster Madness (2000, Razor & Tie Music)

1. “Dr. Feelgood” – Motley Crue – 4:51
2. “Unskinny Bop” – Poison – 3:48
3. “I Remember You” – Skid Row – 5:15
4. “Kiss Me Deadly” – Lita Ford – 4:01
5. “I Wanna Rock” – Twisted Sister – 3:04
6. “Silent Lucidity” – Queensryche – 5:49
7. “Epic” – Faith No More – 4:54
8. “Up All Night” – Slaughter – 3:47
10. “Don’t Treat Me Bad” – FireHouse – 3:58
11. “Hole Hearted” – Extreme – 3:40
12. “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” – Quiet Riot – 5:20
13. “In My Dreams” – Dokken – 4:21
14. “Wait” – White Lion – 4:03
15. “Easy Come, Easy Go” – Winger – 4:03
16. “I Saw Red” – Warrant – 3:50
17. “I’ll See You in My Dreams” – Giant – 4:45

Following Razor & Tie’s success with Monsters of Rock and Monster Ballads, here comes Monster Madness! Monster Madness is essentially Monsters of Rock 3 (Monsters of Rock 2 was released a few months before this album) and is certainly superior to MOR 2 (which was already scraping the bottom of the barrel) and is just as good as the original MOR album in my opinion.

I mean, just look at the songs here. “Dr. Feelgood”, “Unskinny Bop”, “I Remember You”, “I Wanna Rock”, “Wait”, “Bang Your Head”, “Hole Hearted”, “Don’t Treat Me Bad”… It’s a hair metal dream! Even the odd inclusion of Queensryche and Faith No More is welcomed because those are killer songs.

The album takes me back to my youth. No, not the ’80s but the year 2000 when I bought this album and my girlfriend at the time loved it because it had Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” on it. I still remember her getting all excited when she heard it for the first time in years.

Just a great “feelgood” album filled with major acts and songs.

WARRANT – Dog Eat Dog

Warrant – Dog Eat Dog (1992, Columbia Records)

1. “Machine Gun” … 3:45
2. “The Hole in My Wall” … 3:30
3. “April 2031” … 5:05
4. “Andy Warhol Was Right” … 3:37
5. “Bonfire” … 4:21
6. “The Bitter Pill” … 4:07
7. “Hollywood (So Far, So Good)” … 3:47
8. “All My Bridges Are Burning” … 3:37
9. “Quicksand” … 3:58
10. “Let It Rain” … 4:16
11. “Inside Out” … 3:40
12. “Sad Theresa” … 3:25

Band:
Jani Lane – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Joey Allen – Guitar
Erik Turner – Guitar
Jerry Dixon – Bass
Steven Sweet – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Scott Humphrey – Keyboards
Ron Feldman & Scott Warren – Piano
Dee Dee Bellson & Yvonne Williams – Backing Vocals (“Let It Rain”)

Producer: Michael Wagener

And this is where Warrant started to get a bit heavier as the ’90s rolled on. Janie & Co. must have seen the writing on the wall by this point with the rise of grunge and tried to develop a tougher sound and image while still not straying too far from the pop-metal that made them so successful. Must’ve worked because while radio didn’t support this album it still managed to go gold. Funny thing, while bands these days would kill to go gold, back then for a multi-platinum act, having a gold album was considered a disappointment, at least as far as the labels were concerned. Sure enough, Warrant found themselves dropped from Columbia after having “only” sold in excess of 500,000 copies of Dog Eat Dog. To me, that’s pretty impressive for a Warrant album in 1992 when Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden and Nirvana were dominating the charts.

Anyway, Dog Eat Dog serves every sale it got because it’s a really strong album. I still prefer the pop-metal of Cherry Pie but the band does a fine job of delivering a similar slice of hair rock with “The Bitter Pill”, “Quicksand”, “Let It Rain”, “All My Bridges Are Burning” while going more metal than they ever had before with “Machine Gun”, “Inside Out”, “Hole In My Wall” and “April 2031”. Meanwhile, I can’t help but think “Hollywood (So Far, So Good)” sounds like a re-working of Jane’s Addiction’s “Jane Says”. Perhaps it should be have called “Jani Says”?

I have to point out the album’s best track — the ballad “Let It Rain”. Before I discovered this album, I discovered this song. I was searching online years ago and found a site that listed every Warrant ballad and thought this song was amazing when I first heard it. Still do. Had this been on Cherry Pie and had it been released as a single, it could’ve been huge. One of the genre’s best ballads but then again that’s almost a formality when it comes to ballads written by Jani!

The photos of the band around this time are pretty funny. All the white spandex and glitter, neon colors and ruffles and what have you are gone. It’s all been replaced by black leather. Jane Lane actually looks A LOT like Dee Snider with the black leather pants, black leather vest, shades and his bleach blond hair pulled back tight in a ponytail. And Joey Allen and Erik Turner look to be doing their best KK Downing and Glenn Tipton impersonations with the leather studded jackets.

The band would stumble for direction over the next decade and then find some redemption with 2006’s Born Again but Dog Eat Dog remains Warrant’s last great album.

Highlights: “Machine Gun”, “The Hole In My Wall”, “Andy Warhol Was Right”, “The Bitter Pill”, “All My Bridges Burning”, “Quicksand”, “Let It Rain”

http://www.warrantweb.net
http://www.myspace.com/warrantband

WARRANT – Belly To Belly: Volume One

Warrant – Belly To Belly: Volume One (1996, CMC International)

1. “In the End (There’s Nothing)” … 3:12
2. “Feels Good” … 2:51
3. “Letter to a Friend” … 4:33
4. “AYM” … 2:50
5. “Indian Giver” … 4:54
6. “Falling Down” … 3:56
7. “Interlude # 1” … 0:11
8. “Solid” … 3:13
9. “All 4 U” … 3:40
10. “Coffee House” … 4:37
11. “Interlude # 2” … 0:18
12. “Vertigo” … 2:36
13. “Room With a View” … 2;59
14. “Nobody Else” … 4:13

Band:
Jani Lane – Vocals
Rick Steier-  Guitar
Erik Turner – Guitar
Jerry Dixon – Bass
Bobby Borg – Drums

Producer: Jerry Dixon, Erik Turner, Jani Lane, Rick Steier and Stefan Neary

This was a weird phase for the band when they tried to blend into the alternative rock scene. I’m not sure how serious of an effort this was but it looks like they even went for a name change wanting to be known as “Warrant 96” because that’s how they are referred to on this album and in the liner notes and I’ve seen sources online list this album that way. With the image makeover and style of music on this disc, they should’ve gone and changed their name completely because being known as Warrant wasn’t doing them any favors at this point.

Anyway, Belly To Belly: Volume One (They were planning more of these?) continues the evolution to a alternative sound that the group started with a few songs from 1992’s Dog Eat Dog and fully realized with most of 1995’s Ultraphobic.

Once you get past that this is Warrant, a quintessential hair band playing alternative rock, this is actually a pretty good album. Despite the change in sound and mood, Jani still hadn’t lost his knack for writing great lyrics. He’s one of the best song writers to come out of the pop-metal scene. From what I’ve read, he was going through a divorce at the time of this album and that makes sense when you pay attention to the lyrics, which are probably some of the best he’s ever written. Also, the lyrics were influenced by the band’s rise and fall in the music industry and the changing of the times. It’s easy to feel a connection to these lyrics and understand the pain he must have been going through.

This isn’t really a heavy album but it certainly isn’t “lite metal” of the glam persuasion. On their last two efforts, the band seemed to be getting heavy on a number of songs just for the sake of not coming across as a fluff act but they’ve mellowed a bit on these songs in order to fit the somber, introspective mood.

This is not an album that has any room for pop-metal anthems and Bic-waving ballads but Belly To Belly still turns out more than a handful of quality tunes with some real meaning behind them. Maybe it’s not what people wanted to hear (Warrant fans wanted another Cherry Pie, non-Warrant fans just wanted them to go away), but the album is a success in my book.

Highlights: “In The End (There’s Nothing)”, “Letter To A Friend”, “Indian Giver”, “Falling Down”, “Solid”, “All 4 U”, “Room With A View”

http://www.warrantweb.net
http://www.myspace.com/warrantband

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

WARRANT – Born Again

Warrant – Born Again (2006, Cleopatra Records/Deadline Records)

1. “Devil’s Juice” … 3:28
2. “Dirty Jack” … 4:02
3. “Bourbon County Line” … 3:52
4. “Hell, CA” … 4:20
5. “Angels” … 4:33
6. “Love Strikes Like Lightning” … 3:56
7. “Glimmer” … 3:31
8. “Roller Coaster” … 2:48
9. “Down In Diamonds” … 4:00
10. “Velvet Noose” … 3:01
11. “Roxy” … 3:16
12. “Good Times” … 4:10

Band:
Jaime St. James – Lead Vocals
Joey Allen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Erik Turner – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jerry Dixon – Bass, Backing Vocals
Steven Sweet – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Pat Regan – Keyboards

Produced by: Pat Regan

Ah, Warrant. They just can’t keep it together, can they? Musically, throughout their entire career, they’ve done fine, but as far as keeping the “classic” lineup going (the lineup that gave us the classic hair metal albums Dirty Rotten Stinking Filthy Rich and Cherry Pie), it’s been quite a struggle.

In 2006, the “classic” reunion almost happened. The version of Warrant that enjoyed the most commercial success just missed getting back together. In January of that year, singer Jani Lane left the band and the following month “classic” members Joey Allen and Steven Sweet rejoined. Coincidence? Or conspiracy? I seem to remember some rumors swirling around that the one thing that kept Joey and Steven from ever rejoining the band was the fact that Jani was still in it. So he was out, and in very short order, they were both back in.

Enter former Black ‘n Blue vocalist Jaime St. James and a new album was fast tracked. It was great news to me to know a new Warrant album was coming because with Jani at the helm, despite the fact that he was/is a great songwriter, Warrant seemed content to merely be a nostalgia act and to do hair band package tours in the Summer. They never went fully in on the early 2000s hair metal resurgence and it never made sense to me when they didn’t join in and do a reunion/new album like many of their peers had done. I’m sure Jani’s alcohol problems go a long way in explaining just why it didn’t happen though.

To the music at hand, despite my anticipation for a Warrant album, I wasn’t sure if Born Again was going to be any good at all. As I said above, Jani’s a great writer and he was the lead creative force in the band, but founding members Jerry Dixon and Erik Turner (and St. James to an extent) really stepped up and delivered one of the 2006’s most surprising and pleasant rock albums.

It’s not really retro, the band doesn’t attempt to capture past glories, but it still has a cool old school hard rock feel. The album doesn’t sound outdated, but it doesn’t sound like a lame attempt to sound modern either. It’s a little more dirty, raw and bluesy than anything Warrant has done before. Sounds like a bit of St. James’ Black ‘n Blue influence has worn off on the band.

A good effort from a band that I was ready to write off. There’s definite promise in them post-Lane and that fact would become ever more important after Lane rejoined the group and lasted all of nine months in 2008 when he was ousted again due to alcohol abuse.

I hope Jani really pulls it together, his non-Warrant projects are solid, so I know he’ll at least musically be fine without Warrant but I’m also looking forward to seeing what Dixon & Turner wild do next with ex-Lynch Mob/current Big Cock vocalist Robert Mason up front (Jaime St. James has since reunited Black ‘n Blue).

Highlights: “Devil’s Juice”, “Dirty Jack”, “Bourbon County Line”, “Hell, CA”, “Angels”, “Love Strikes Like Lightning”, “Roxy”

www.warrantweb.net
www.myspace.com/warrantband

WARRANT – Dirty Rotten Stinking Filthy Rich

Warrant – Dirty Rotten Stinking Filthy Rich [Expanded Edition] (2004, Sony Music/Legacy Recordings)
Original Release: 1989, Columbia Records

1. “32 Pennies” … 3:10
2. “Down Boys” … 4:05
3. “Big Talk” … 3:44
4. “Sometimes She Cries” … 4:45
5. “So Damn Pretty (Should Be Against the Law)” … 3:33
6. “D.R.F.S.R.” … 3:19
7. “In the Sticks” … 4:06
8. “Heaven” … 3:57
9. “Ridin’ High” … 3:07
10. “Cold Sweat” … 3:33
BONUS TRACKS
11. “Only a Man” (demo) … 4:22
12. “All Night Long” (demo) … 2:42

Band:
Jani Lane – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Joey Allen – Guitar
Erik Turner – Guitar
Jerry Dixon – Bass
Steven Sweet – Drums

Additional musicians
Beau Hill – Keyboard, Backing Vocals
Bekka Bramlett – Backing Vocals

Produced by: Beau Hill

Pretty impressive debut from Warrant and I had forgotten how strong Jani’s voice was in the early Warrant days. It’s weird though, I was thinking this album came out earlier than ’89 (but to be fair it WAS January 1989).  The album went double platinum thanks to the #2 charting single “Heaven”. Definitely one of the greatest power ballads ever.

Most of the album is really strong, though a few songs are your basic filler: pleasant, but nothing that sticks with you. All of what I consider to be the album’s highlights I had already been familiar with for years, thanks to owning The Best of Warrant.

There’s some chaos swirling around the recording of this album. Number One is that all the music was recorded yet the album’s release date was delayed because Jani couldn’t put the vocals down because had a nervous breakdown after catching his girl in bed with one of his friends. Number Two, the rumor is neither Joey Allen nor Erik Turner played on the album and that it was ex-Streets guitarist Mike Slamer who put the work in.

The album was re-released in 2004 on Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings label (which simultaneously re-released Cherry Pie) featuring two bonus tracks.

Highlights: “32 Pennies”, “Down Boys”, “Big Talk”, “Sometimes She Cries”, “D.R.F.S.R.”, “Heaven”

http://www.warrantweb.net
http://www.myspace.com/warrantband

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