Suzi Quatro: Suzi Quatro

Rating: 90%

Suziquatroalbum.jpgBefore the Runaways, there was Suzi Quatro. The first successful female front woman who played the bass guitar. The debut released in 1973, made Suzi Quatro and her band a force to be reckoned with. Let me say, this record was a smash hit. It was Rock n’ Roll, it was Hard Rock, it was Punk, and yet it was Bluesy. It was an amazing experience to listen to. Let me tell you, this album was far ahead of the times.

Musically, this album just rocks! I love every aspect of the guitars, bass, drums, vocals, and the keyboards.  The music is so damn catchy and enjoyable.  It’s Garage Rock at it’s best. It comes complete with these rich guitar riffs some of which are heavy as hell. It’s not overly complex, but at the same time it isn’t simple. There is a good balance within the rhythm section of every song. There is a certain degree of rawness that gives this album the drive and power that it needs to be one of the best Rock albums.

Suzi Quatro is among one of the most influential female artist of all time. She not only proves to sing, but her bass guitar is amazing. Then you have the lead guitarist and master of the riffs, Len Tuckey. Keeping pace with the timing of it all is drummer Dave Neal. Add the key work of  Alastair McKenzie and you have a Rock n’ Roll and that is very enjoyable to listen or jam too.

So, when I saw this record for sale, I had to grab it. Not only is this a very underrated or forgotten album, but it is also one of the best forgotten albums of the 1970’s.

Track listing:

Side one
“48 Crash” – 3:54
“Glycerine Queen” – 3:47
“Shine My Machine” – 3:49
“Official Suburbian Superman” – 3:05
“I Wanna Be Your Man”  – 3:09
“Primitive Love” – 4:13

Side two
“All Shook Up” – 3:48
“Sticks & Stones” – 3:41
“Skin Tight Skin” – 4:21
“Get Back Mama” – 5:52
“Shakin’ All Over”  – 3:33
“Can the Can” – 3:34

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Come Out and Play: Twisted Sister

Rating: 70%

TwistedSisterComeOutAndPlayAlbumCover.jpg1985, saw the rise of Glam Metal and lot of bands got thrown into that genre. Bands like W.A.S.P. and Twisted Sister were no exception. Now, I will admit, that growing up I had “Stay Hungry” as well as this record. I really enjoyed “Stay Hungry” as I thought it was about as raw as Heavy Metal could be without the commercialism.

A year later, “Come Out and Play” was released. I thought that the music lost much of it’s edge, loosing that rawness that made “Stay Hungry” so good. To me, musically, this album has a more heavy leaning toward Heavy Metal with Pop influences. The sound is very clean and polished. In some spots, I felt that the music was kind of bland, a bit plain and in some cases shapeless. The chorus lines are pretty beefy. I just feel that what you have here is a basic average record from the mid 1980’s.  

The musicianship is good if you’re into Glam Metal. You have one hell of a front man in vocalist Dee Snider. In recent years, I really have come to appreciate him trying to preserve 1980’s Heavy Metal on his radio show. Backing Dee is guitarists Eddie Ojeda & Jay Jay French, bassist Mark Mendoza, and drummer A. J. Pero.  

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Come Out and Play” 4:51
2. “Leader of the Pack” (The Shangri-Las cover) 3:48
3. “You Want What We Got” 3:45
4. “I Believe in Rock ‘n’ Roll” 4:03
5. “The Fire Still Burns” 3:34

Side two
6. “Be Chrool to Your Scuel” (featuring Alice Cooper) 3:53
7. “I Believe in You” 5:23
8. “Out on the Streets” 4:27
9. “Lookin’ Out for #1” 3:07
10. “Kill or Be Killed”

Out of the Cellar: Ratt

Rating: 80%

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Model Tawny Kitaen

1984 was the year that the Glam Metal band Ratt released their debut record. A good friend of mine introduced to me to the band. Although, I wasn’t a fan of the Hair Metal or Glam Metal scene, Ratt was one of those bands that stood out from all of the other bands as they had a distinctive sound and vocal style. When you heard a Ratt song on the radio, you knew right away who it was. That was because of the musicianship itself. 

Musically, this is a guitar power driven band with lots of harmony and catchy melodies. The guitars had some fantastic leads and riffs. That was due to guitarists Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini. The back bone of the band consisted of bassist Juan Croucier and drummer Bobby Blotzer. Stephen Pearcy vocals are very strong and distinctive. The instrumentation is well balanced. Not a bad debut for a band that would take off and become one of the best of several Glam Metal bands. Just proof that, the 1980’s was about big hair, loud music, and partying.  

Track Listing:

Side one
1. “Wanted Man” 3:37
2. “You’re in Trouble” 3:16
3. “Round and Round” 4:22
4. “In Your Direction” 3:30
5. “She Wants Money” 3:04
Side two
6. “Lack of Communication” 3:52
7. “Back for More” 3:42
8. “The Morning After” 3:30
9. “I’m Insane” 2:54
10. “Scene of the Crime” 4:54

Change of Address: Krokus

Rating: 50%

Change_cover.jpgIn 1986, during the rise of Glam and Hair Metal, Krokus released their ninth record. I think that Krokus was more or less trying to jump on the band wagon of the Pop music disguising it as Glam Rock. I don’t think this experiment worked at all.

Musically, this album has it moments, but it’s rather shapeless and can be a tad bit bland. There is no drive to it. Words can not describe the opening Pop sounding drum intro to the entire album with song number one. After the band comes in, it’s almost as if I was listening to the soundtrack of “Top Gun.” So, Krokus fans beware, this album is a Pop Rock mixed with Glam Rock album from start to finish. Lot’s of keyboards effects and ballads.

The musicianship for being what the music is, is good. I will admit that. Marc Storace’s vocals are good. The riffs are a bit weak, but the guitars of Fernando von Arb and Mark Kohler is OK. The rest of the rhythm section consisting of bassist Tommy Keiser and drummer Jeff Klaven provides the necessary tempo and melody to make this album work. 

Track listing:

Side one

“Now (All Through the Night)” – 4:23
“Hot Shot City” – 3:48
“School’s Out” (Alice Cooper) – 3:16
“Let This Love Begin” – 5:02
“Burning Up the Night”  – 3:46

Side two

“Say Goodbye” – 5:18
“World on Fire” – 6:12
“Hard Luck Hero” – 4:12
“Long Way from Home” – 5:06

Vixen: Vixen

Rating: 85%

R-2005870-1371458879-8701.jpeg.jpgI remember when Vixen released their debut in 1988. I must admit, I thought Vixen was a good band. They proved that girls could rock as hard as dudes. So, when I caught wind of this band in one of the Heavy Metal magazines, I was like “Damn!” The music of Vixen, although, was along the lines of Glam/Hair Metal, I thought was a good band.

The musicianship of lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist Janet Gardner, lead guitarist Jan Kuehnemund, bassist Share Pedersen, and drummer Roxy Petrucci was outstanding. Janet Gardner’s vocals were amazing. She had and still has the range. Jan Kuehnemund provides some killer riffs as well as some kick ass leads. The drumming and bass are good as well.

Musically, the overall sound was crisp and clean. It was very polished and at times could even have a strong Pop sound to the music. “I Want You To Rock Me” and “Cryin'” are good examples of that.  “Edge Of A Broken Heart” by Richard Marx was made popular by the band. Other songs put in mind of the Runaways or early Lita Ford. Also, some of the songs have a ballad structure. Most of the songs are based upon a much mid level tempo. Other songs are built around more of a Hard Rock structure than Heavy Metal.

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So, if you like 1980’s Heavy Metal or Hard Rock, Vixen may be a good band for you to check out. I can honestly say, Vixen is one of those underrated bands and I am glad to see that the band, for the most part, is still performing.

Track listing:

Edge Of A Broken Heart 4:22
I Want You To Rock Me 3:28
Cryin’ 3:32
American Dream 4:17
Desperate 4:17
One Night Alone 3:48
Hell Raisers 4:25
Love Made Me 3:16
Waiting 3:09
Cruisin’ 4:23

Invasion Of Your Privacy: Ratt

Rating: 80%

RattInvasionI hated most of the Hair Metal bands of the 1980’s as I thought the style and music was basically fake and full of posers. But some of the bands did stick out to me that were decent, including Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, L.A. Guns, and yes, Ratt…or at least this album. And by the way, the cover model is Playboy mate, Marianne Gravatte. 

This second album by Ratt is pretty good. It has plenty of good moments, even the semi-ballad “Closer to My Heart” is OK. Even though, I hated most of those love ballads by these Hair/Glam bands. The album has a nice flow to it, some good melodies, riffs, and yes, the classic Hair Metal style leads and solos.

The musicianship isn’t bad at all. Stephen Pearcy’s raspy vocal style is what sets this band apart from those others. There is no one that could even come close to sounding like him. Then you have the duel shock of guitars by Robbin Crosby and Warren DeMartini, who throw out the mighty riffs and leads. Surprisingly, Juan Croucier bass is right there and is clearly heard as he sets the timing right along with drummer Bobby Blotzer. 

The album opens with the killer song “You’re in Love.” To me, this song should have been a number one hit, as it is nothing more than pure Heavy Metal. “Lay It Down” is more or less one of those songs, even though it charted, was more of the same style as the rest of the Hair Metal bands. But, it’s not a bad song, just isn’t what I thought would have been a charter. In fact the majority of this album follows the same style as “Lay It Down.” There is some filler, but that is expected. “Between the Eyes” to me is another song that I don’t understand why it charted, to me that is a filler song as is “What You Give Is What You Get.” But hey, this is what those crazy long haired fist throwers wanted and that is what they got. All and all, this album is a well done album. I was lucky enough to get this as a teenager on vinyl for like .25c at a pawnshop when CD was getting to be popular.

Track listing:

1. “You’re in Love” 3:12
2. “Never Use Love”  3:54
3. “Lay It Down” 3:23
4. “Give It All”3:19
5. “Closer to My Heart” 4:30
Side two
6. “Between the Eyes” 3:54
7. “What You Give Is What You Get” 3:47
8. “Got Me on the Line” 3:04
9. “You Should Know by Now” 3:29
10. “Dangerous but Worth the Risk” 3:30