Hi guys, just a quick note to let you know that House of Hairspray isn't dead, it's just on temporary hiatus.
The reason for this is that in late September I migrated from my native New Zealand to live in the United States (my fiancee is American). We're currently living with family so I don't have the time or space necessary to work on the blog, but hopefully that situation will be changing soon. Until then, rock on!
Friday, September 9, 2016
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #50: WYOMING
Release: Temporal Cadence
Line-up: Kirk Warren (vocals, bass), Rocky Harting (lead guitar), Greg Scott (rhythm guitar), Dale Ortega (drums).
This is the debut (and so far only) album by Full Blown Mosey. Although it was released in 2008 it doesn't have that "modern melodic rock" sound that a lot of 2000s releases have - it sounds like it could very easily have been recorded in 1990.
The band list influences as varied as Black Sabbath, KISS and Rush, and you can actually hear all of that in their sound. On songs like Berserker they sound like melodic heavy metal, while on songs like Crazy Desire and Fast Moving Shadow they have a 1980s KISS hard rock sound. And there's moments of prog rock influences in there, although thankfully not a lot.
Singer Kirk Warren doesn't have the strongest voice, but guitarist Rocky Harting makes up for it with some kickass guitar licks. Sadly drummer Dale Ortega died during the making of the album, which is dedicated to his memory.
Temporal Cadence is a solid low budget indy release and definitely worth checking out!
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #49: WISCONSIN
Release: It Ain't Easy
Line-up: Scott Williams (vocals, guitar), Nick Summers (guitar), Brian Lemay (bass), Rob E Dee (drums)
The band most people compare Dizzy Lane to is Enuff Z'Nuff, mainly due to Scott Williams' voice sounding a lot like Chip Z'Nuff. Overall their sound is a bit glam, a bit sleazy and a whole lot of great hard rock guitar licks. This album won't necessarily blow you away, but it's good stuff and it's as rare as hen's teeth so check it out!
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Release: Climbin' the Walls
Line-up: Brad Divens (vocals, bass), Jay Abbene (guitars), Terry Carter (guitars), Shannon Larkin (drums).
After releasing another album in 1991, Wrathchild America were dropped by Atlantic and subsequently changed their name to Souls at Zero, adopting a heavier and more modern sound for two albums, before folding. After that drummer Shannon Larkin tasted mainstream success with Ugly Kid Joe and Godsmack. Singer Brad Divens (who played guitar on Kix's 1983 album Cool Kids) is now a sound engineer.
Wrathchild America are widely considered a thrash metal band, but on this album they skirt a number of different genres, from hard rock to melodic heavy metal to thrash. Singer Brad Divens has a voice that one moment sounds like Sammy Hagar, the next like James Hetfield and the next like Dee Snider. There's enough variety here to make it enjoyable for fans of hard rock who don't necessarily listen to thrash metal, but if your tastes are varied you'll definitely enjoy it more.
Release: Rock in a Hard Place
Line-up: Les Carlson (vocals), David Zaffiro (guitars), Michael Bloodgood (bass), Mark Welling (drums).
Bloodgood formed in 1985 and released a demo that same year. Full-length albums quickly followed in 1986 and 1987, portraying a distinctly melodic heavy metal sound. But for this, their third album, Bloodgood changed to a more radio-friendly AOR/hard rock sound.
Singer Les Carlsen sounds a lot like Steve Perry, so Journey is the best comparison I can make for Bloodgood. They don't have the standout hits that band did, but this album is definitely a good listen - guitarist David Zaffiro (who later joined fellow Christian rockers Whitecross) shows some good axemanship.
After a further two studio albums and three live releases, Bloodgood called it quits in 1994. However, they got back together in 2006 and released a new album in 2013 called Dangerously Close, which features Stryper's Oz Fox on guitar (replacing Zaffiro).
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #46: VIRGINIA/WASHINGTON D.C.
Line-up: David Glen Eisley (vocals), Craig Goldy (guitars), Chuck Wright (bass), Alan Krigger (drums), Gregg Giuffria (keyboards)
Right from the opening keys of Do Me Right, through to the last track, this debut album is one killer slice of keyboard-oriented AOR/hard rock. Eisley's voice is excellent and perfectly suited to this kind of music, Goldy provides the rocking edge and Gregg Giuffria underpins everything with some of the best AOR keyboards you're ever likely to hear.
The track Call to the Heart, which went to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, is purely and simply one of the great AOR ballads of all time, right up there with any of Journey's best tracks. Lonely in Love is another great ballad.
Giuffria released a second album in 1986, Silk and Steel, minus Craig Goldy. Goldy would later join Dio, while Eisley went on to front Dirty White Boy (you can find their album Bad Reputation here). Gregg Giuffria and Wright (who played on Quiet Riot's Metal Health album) hooked up again in House of Lords, which was essentially a Giuffria spin-off band.
If you've never heard this album before, you need to download it right now! 1980s keyboard-oriented AOR doesn't get much better than this!
Monday, September 5, 2016
Release: Eight Oh Eight Four
Line-up: Randy Smith (vocals), Andre Maquera (guitars), Frank Barnes (bass), Gary Spaulding (drums), Charles Hawthorne (keyboards)
In 1987 they won the Rock Search International competition in Canada and throughout the rest of the 80s and 90s 8084 continued to tour North America while working with the likes of Aldo Nova and Richie Valens. They released two more albums in the early 90s and have also put out a couple more in the 2000s. 8084 continue to play together to this day, albeit as a quartet - keyboardist Charles Hawthorne sadly died in a car crash on Christmas Eve 1989 and Smith took over keyboards after that.
This album is excellent pomp rock/AOR in the style of Honeymoon Suite, Journey and Night Ranger. Highly recommended if you like that kind of music!
Release: Love's Dying Wish
Line-up: Tony Harnell (vocals), Magnus Karlsson (guitars), Jonni Lightfoot (bass), John Macaluso (drums).
A side-project of former TNT and (blink and you'll miss it) Skid Row vocalist Tony Harnell, Starbreaker has released two albums so far (the first featuring a different bassist). Joining Harnell and Lightfoot are Harnell's TNT bandmate Macaluso on drums and guitarist Magnus Karlsson, who has worked a lot with Norwegian singer Jorn Lande.
Love's Dying Wish has that typical modern sound - well-polished, lots of harmonies - and unfortunately like a lot of 2000s releases the guitar gets lost in the mix, resulting in some of the songs sounding more akin to Evanesence than classic hair metal. But Harnell is a great singer and there is enough good hard rockin' material here to make it a worthwhile listen.
Sunday, September 4, 2016
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #43: TEXAS
Line-up: Paul "Turk" Henry (vocals), Tony Marsh (guitars), Bruce Adams (guitars), Stacey Shew (bass), Mike Reiner (drums).
|1.||Out On The Street|
|2.||Be What You Want To Be|
|7.||Want Me Love Me|
|8.||(She's So Nice) Long Way Home|
|10.||All The Way|
|11.||On The Radio|
Another self release, this album understandably has sub-par production values. But if you can look past the poor sound quality, you'll find a fairly decent 80s hair metal band. Singer Henry sounds an awful lot like KISS's Paul Stanley, making that band's Animalize/Asylum-era the most obvious comparison, with bits and pieces of Quiet Riot and Twisted Sister in the mix.
Line-up: David Bush (vocals), Ken Kennedy (guitars), Kurt Menck (guitars), Mike Easlo (bass), John Ulinger (drums).
|2.||Nites Are Lonely||05:23|
|3.||We're Gonna Come Gunnin'||03:47|
|4.||Don't Say It's Over||03:58|
|5.||You Can't Rape the Willing||03:44|
The sound quality on this regional release is not great, but the music makes up for it. With driving heavy metal guitars and drums, mixed with melodic vocals, Lust will appeal most to fans of bands like WASP, Riot, Accept and Lizzy Borden.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Release: Thunder From The Mountain
Line-up: Rex Scott (vocals, rhythm guitar), David Moore (lead guitar), Marlin Saner (bass), Tommy Bozung (drums).
1. Who Pulls the Strings 04:27
2. Kick in the Gates 03:18
3. Is It a Crime 05:28
4. Help Me 03:10
5. Thrillseeker 03:17
6. Sold You a Lie 04:23
7. Roll the Rock 03:46
8. Less of Me 04:32
9. He Loves You 03:51
Unfortunately that big break never amounted to much. The story goes that the record label push they were promised instead went to fellow Christian rockers Holy Soldier and soon after Scott left to front the band X-Sinner. By 1992 Zion had called it quits, although they had a reunion in the early 2000s and Retrospect Records released a compilation of old material in 2007.
Whether you're Christian or not, you owe it to yourself to check it out as it's simply awesome melodic hard rock. Their sound reminds me of a mix of Quiet Riot, Sammy Hagar, KISS and Firehouse. Check it out!
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #40: SOUTH CAROLINA
Release: Boys Night Out
Line-up: Don Garrison (vocals), Richie Smith (guitars), Tony Ray (bass), James the Bulldozer (drums).
Mainiax can best be described as traditional heavy metal, but they have enough melodic flourishes to warrant inclusion on this blog. Everything from Deep Purple to Dio and Dokken can be heard in their sound. Singer Garrison shrieks like Rob Halford one moment and sings more melodically the next - his voice isn't super strong but it does the job. What You See Is What You Get is the most "melodic hard rock" of the tracks and as such is my favourite on the album. The Witching Hour is another great song, mixing creepy Addams Family-esque keyboards with a nice guitar riff.
I can't rave about this album but it's a good listen, especially if you're in the mood for some heavy metal to break up your sleaze and glam playlist.
Release: 100 Proof
Line-up: John E Wilde (vocals, rhythm guitar), Mike "Gunslinger" Green (lead guitar), Double D (bass), Andy K (drums).
100 Proof is BST's third album and it's full of the kind of music you'd expect to hear playing in a dive bar with a line-up of Harleys parked outside. The lyrics are predictably about women (Takes My Breath Away), drinking (Tequila) or being rebellious (Rebel Revolution). Their sound is tight though and the production is good, so if you dig this kind of music I recommend checking it out.
Monday, August 29, 2016
Release: Playin' to Win
Line-up: Dave Stradling (vocals), George Smith (guitars), Rob Lombardi (bass), Walt Kaye (drums).
April Fool was formed out of the ashes of a band called World War 3, which among their members had included both "Dizzy" Dean Davidson and Johnny Dee, who of course would later form Britny Fox. After a number of line-up changes, April Fool recorded a four-track EP in 1988 and began building a strong following in the clubs of the tri-state area. In 1989 they went into the studio to record this, their only full-length album, and things really seemed to be looking good for the band.
This is where Britny Fox comes back into the picture. Later in 1989 Dizzy Dean quit that band and April Fool singer Dave Stradling saw an opportunity to become Britny Fox's new vocalist. He quit April Fool to audition for them, but of course that gig went to Tommy Paris, aka Don Jillson from Jillson. April Fool brought in a new singer but never really regained their momentum and, coupled with the changing music landscape, called it quits in the early 90s.
This is the 2014 reissue of the original cassette-only Playin' to Win with two bonus tracks from the 1988 EP. It's good stuff - glammy hard rock in the vein of Poison and Warrant. If you've never heard this band you need to check them out!
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #37: OREGON
Release: Without Love
Line-up: Jaime St James (vocals), Tommy Thayer (guitars), Jef Warner (guitars), Patrick Young (bass), Pete Holmes (drums)
The sound on Without Love is definitely quite poppy. Lyrics were never Black 'n Blue's strongpoint, but who cares because they're all about partying and having fun. I liken their overall sound on this album to what Trixter did in the early 90s - lightweight catchy melodic hard rock.
Highly recommended if you need a pick-me-up, because you can't help but smile as you listen to this album.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #36: OKLAHOMA
Release: Abusement Park
Line-up: Rachal Rose (vocals), Kyle St Clair (guitars), Stephan Lauren (guitars), Leslie Kane Blak (bass), DD Rose (drums).
It's a shame because like I said, they are talented. Their sound is straight up Sunset Strip sleaze, mixing the likes of Poison, Faster Pussycat and Motley Crue. It's fast, it's full of attitude and singer Rachal Rose has that sleazy rasp to his voice. Definitely recommended for fans of the aforementioned bands and all other LA sleaze metal.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #35: OHIO
Release: Bad Love for Sale
Line-up: Doug Savage (vocals), Steve Dematteo (lead guitar, keyboards), Dave Maraffa (rhythm guitar), Don Ritterer (bass), Mike Hauger (drums).
Love Gunn's sound mixes the likes of Cinderella, Bon Jovi and early Def Leppard. Singer Doug Savage's voice is raspy and raw, like Def Lep's Joe Elliot mixed with Dizzy Dean from Britny Fox, but won't be to everyone's liking as it misses the mark at times. Interestingly he loses the rasp for the last track, Too Late, which is a ballad.
The members of Love Gunn have stayed active in the Ohio music scene through the years, with Doug Savage playing with the bands Evil X and Pink Velvet Krush and Steve Dematteo with Bone Tonic and The Godz (not the New York band).
This slice of rare small-town hair metal should be a welcome addition to any collection.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
50 STATES OF HARD ROCK #34: NORTH DAKOTA
Release: Hollywood Trix
Line-up: Gary Smith (vocals), Nate Woolsey (guitars), Bill Crawford (guitars), Jason Forsberg (bass), Ross Cariveau (drums).
On this (as far as I know their only album) Hollywood Trix do their best impersonation of the big LA bands of the time - Motley Crue, Ratt, LA Guns, Guns 'N Roses etc. While they don't reach the level of any of those outfits, it's still pretty good stuff, especially if you're a fan of sleazy glam metal and are looking for a new band to listen to.
Release: Blind Taxi
Line-up: Rod Honeycutt (vocals), Chris Manley (guitars), Larry Tobias (guitars), Chuck Lilly (bass), Brian Hall (keyboards), Bert Voswinkel (drums)
Blind Taxi's sound can best be described as AOR or melodic hard rock, mixing keyboards and harmonies with the odd rockin' guitar solo. They don't have the pomp of a lot of 80s AOR acts, preferring a straight-ahead rock approach - more Loverboy than Styx.
There's nothing here that'll blow you away, but it's a solid indy release. The best track is I Still Want You.