Thursday, April 2, 2015
ROCK N ROLL REBELS & The SUNSET STRIP: V/A (4CD)
Label: Eonian Records 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Holly, Wood U like 2 experience D 80's Sunset Strip? This 4-disc set. Enuff ztuff 2 mess U up 4 good. Blame these guys 4 the lack of ozone layer. Blame them 4 living where U ought 2 B. Blame them 4 trying 2 B GR8. Whatever U do, don't put the blame on U, blame it on hair metal? How about that for your introduction of this truly hairy-scary box set that features 36 underground acts from the '80s and early '90s LA rock scene and the total of 72 digitally re-mastered, original studio tracks. The 60-page booklet with a look at each band, and the 13-page Rock 'N' Roll Rebels: Sunset Strip Certified narrated by JohnnyX of The Wild and Adam Gifford of Paradise. Impressive.
I know, I know. You're all thinking: who, what, when, where, why? To be perfectly honest. I'm just as bewildered as the vast majority of you. On the one hand, it's the super kool, ambitious, dedicated, life-long project of collecting the sound of 80's sunset wannabees. However, the other hand is constantly thinking about killing bunnies with a blunt dagger. Mixed feelings? I guess you're supposed to think of this as the piece of rock history and capturing the pure and not so innocent era of hair metal. Nothing wrong about that. But (and that's a big but), these acts weren't "good enough" for a recording contract in the first place and time hasn't exactly been kind to some of them.
Don't get me wrong. I like me some sleaze and Eonian Records are out there fighting the good fight. I shouldn't be putting them down for standing up for their belief (go sleaze power!). Perhaps it's simply just the case of quantity vs. quality? I'm obviously jealous since I would love to have been there at the time and experience the 80's/early 90's groove. Hanging out at the Roxy, getting blasted at The Whiskey, doing the metal pose in front of the Troubadour. The smell of hairspray, aqua net, leather and lace. Surely it must have been fun?? But what about the music on these four discs? It's two songs each from the following cult and underground (melodic hard rock) Sunset acts of the 80's and early 90's: Rattlesnake Shake. Alice Be Tokelas. The Wild. LongGone. Hans Naughty. Imagine World Peace. Bad Blood. Cyclone Sound. Hap Hazzard. Charlotte. Lypswitch. Bad Bones. Enticier. Scratch. Hardly Dangerous. Sam Mann and Thee Apes. Mad Reign. The Mimes. Shake City. Blackboard Jungle. Paradise. Hollywood Rose. Taz. Daddy Ray. Children. Shel Shoc. Dallas Dollz. Deaf, Dumb and Blonde. Cold Shot. New Improved God. Agent Zero. Aces & Eights. Rough Justice. Byte the Bullet. Spyder Blue. Charlemagne.
How many did you recognize? Here's my favourite acts and songs: Longgone (fun and groovy stuff). Imagine World Peace (quirky hybrid rock). Bad Blood (Gene Simmons managed them in the late 80's). Cyclone Sound (a real deadringer for groove). Charlotte (already released the great 'Medusa Groove' at Eonian). They have that cool sound 'ala Kingdom Come. Bad Bones (Tangier meet The Cult). Mad Reign (psychedelic rock with just the hint of grunge). Shake City (self-titled cd at Eonian). Blackboard Jungle (really catchy, like a rougher/tougher version of Little Steven). Hollywood Rose (with guitarist Chris Weber of 'Rose' fame, pre-Guns N Roses, the band he was in with Axl and Izzy). Deaf, Dumb & Blonde (great classic US Rock, demo paid for by Geffen Records. They almost made it). Byte The Bullet (they later changed their name to Southgang and released two fine albums).
The Urban@RockUnited.com other Awards of the set. Cutest: Hardly Dangerous (all female-act). Coolest image: Rough Justice (comic book cops characters from Gotham city with edgy vampire overtones. Respect the hairdos! respect the hairdos). Most annoying songs: Sam Mann and Thee Apes. Worst moniker: Hans Naughty (but there's plenty of them). The Blues Brothers goes Sleaze award: The Mimes (kick kick scratch and fight). The 'I need to punch someone' song: Nag-nag-nag with Daddy Ray (horrible). No personality slash originality: Shel Shoc. Worst promo pic: Dallas Dollz. Best moniker: Deaf, Dumb & Blonde (they're at least honest). The 'f**k you I made it' award goes to Dizzy Reed (The Wild). Coolest songs: "This Is Now" by Alice Be Tokelas (the wicked semi-ballad) and "Dead Rock Stars" by New Improved God (Detroit Rock).
Final verdict: The ultimate compilation of unsigned acts of the approx: 1987-1992 Hollywood and Sunset Strip era. Respect the craft and sheer dedication behind the project. It's many years of hard work by its creator and it's a interesting set from a historical point of view. You simply have to take the good with the bad. Far from everything is great and it's a whole lot about first impression and paint (pretty much the story of Hollywood).