Second single and video from CONDITION CRITICAL…..my favorite song from the album. Best part is the end of the guitar solo…..
Archive for January, 2007
First single and video from CONDITION CRITICAL. I like how Kevin combines David Lee Roth’s on stage moves with Rod Stewart’s.
Quiet Riot – Condition Critical (1984, CBS/Pasha)
- Sign Of The Times
- Mama Weer All Crazee Now
- Party All Night
- Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet
- Winners Take All
- Condition Critical
- Scream And Shout
- Red Alert
- Bad Boy
- (We Were) Born To Rock
Kevin DuBrow – Vocals
Carlos Cavazo – Guitars
Rudy Sarzo – Bass
Frankie Banali – Drums
Total Time – 44:01
If the first album sold 4 million, then the second will do the same if you follow the same formula. Makes sense. That’s exactly what the band and producer Spencer Proffer do: follow the same formula and try to make a carbon copy of METAL HEALTH. By 1984, Quiet Riot is one of the more successful bands but there is stiffer competition from newer bands (Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Ratt, Dokken, W.A.S.P.) and stalwarts from Europe (Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Scorpions). Add a little ego and some addictive stimulants and you have a band ripe for the “sophomore jinx”.
Opener ‘Sign Of The Times’ is sing-a-long, big chorus, big guitar tune. Great way to open the album by getting the listener with a catchy hook. “We’re the sign of the times, havin’ fun ain’t no crime…” And to a teenage rocker, that’s all you needed to hear to identify with this new anthem.
If covering Slade with ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ broke the band, then covering Slade again should make this album a smash success…..right? ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ is a great song, I admit to liking it better than ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’. Very catchy, a “raise your fist and sing-a-long” song. More big choruses, catchy as hell riffs, and a blazing guitar solo. This was the first single, perfect for MTV and radio, but haven’t we heard this before?
‘Party All Night’…..the title says it all. Again, another very catchy anthem that delivers the goods. Perfect early ’80s theme, it was always about the party. The second single from the album, again tailor made for MTV and radio, but it somehow fell short like ‘Mama’. Without a doubt, this is my favorite song on the album and is still a concert favorite.
I can deal with ‘Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet’, it’s another catchy party rocker but a notch below the rest, almost at filler stage. Four songs in a row like that is a little too much right away, nothing really breaking it up until the album’s ballad: ’Winners Take All’. Similar to ‘Thunderbird’ from METAL HEALTH in the sense that it’s one of the better songs on the album and it’s a change of pace from the party anthems.
The title track is a mid-paced stomper that reaks of filler. ‘Scream And Shout’ reminds me of a cross between Judas Priest and/or the Scorpions with Kevin singing. I really like this one, it’s got that chugging guitar and would be even better if Quiet Riot had a second guitarist. ‘Red Alert’, ‘Bad Boy’, and ‘(We Were) Born To Rock’ all come up short, definitely not the best material on the album.
So did following the METAL HEALTH formula work? Not really, this album sold just over 1 million units, which must have been a huge disappointment, and the tour was subject to poor attendance and a huge budget. Overall, CONDITION CRITICAL is a good album, not a great one. Half the songs are great, the other half are throwaways. Best songs here are ‘Sign Of The Times’, ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’, ‘Party All Night’, ‘Winners Take All’ and ‘Scream And Shout’. ‘Stomp Your Hands….’ gets a pass because it’s catchy but it’s still a cut below. A little more effort and less of a cookie-cutter approach would have helped.
W.A.S.P. – Still Not Black Enough (1995, Castle)
- Still Not Black Enough
- Somebody To Love
- Black Forever
- Scared To Death
- Goodbye America
- Keep Holding On
- Rock And Roll To Death
- I Can’t
- No Way Out Of Here
U.S. bonus tracks:
- Skinwalker (replaces ‘Breathe’ from the European release)
- One Tribe
- Tie Your Mother Down
- Whole Lotta Rosie
Blackie Lawless – Lead & Background Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Sitar, Piano, Organ & Synthesizers
Frankie Banali – Drums
Bob Kulick – Lead Guitar
Stet Howland – Percussion (on ‘Scared To Death’)
Mark Josephson – Electric Violin
Tracey Whitney – Background Vocals
K.C. Calloway – Background Vocals
Total Time (European) - 38:30
Total Time (U.S.) – 51:23
By the end of 1989, W.A.S.P. as a band was all but a one man show, the Blackie Lawless show. After lead guitarist Chris Holmes left the band in the Summer of ’89, Blackie Lawless effectively began his solo career. Due to contractual obligations, THE CRIMSON IDOL (1992) was released under the W.A.S.P. moniker. That album was all Blackie with hired guns Frankie Banali (drummer-Quiet Riot) and Bob Kulick (guitarist) helping out. Fast forward to 1995, Lawless creates another solo album with Banali and Kulick, STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH. Due to label and fan expectations, the album is released under the W.A.S.P. name also.
The album is solid but not in the traditional party-time L.A. vibe that the band was famous for. Blackie writes excellent songs and assembles very talented musicians to interpret his ideas but some of the songs, mostly the slower tracks, show Blackie’s introspective and conceptual style that was the basis of THE CRIMSON IDOL.
Many of the songs sound like vintage W.A.S.P. : ‘Still Not Black Enough’, ‘Black Forever’, ‘Goodbye America’, ‘Rock And Roll To Death’, and ‘Skinwalker’ (from the U.S. version). Any of these songs could have easily fit on albums like THE LAST COMMAND (1985), INSIDE THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS (1986), or THE HEADLESS CHILDREN (1989).
The slower songs sound a little out of place. ‘Scared To Death’ is a superb song, with a great arrangement and accompanying vocals from Tracey Whitney, but it just doesn’t have the W.A.S.P. feel. Same with ‘Keep Holding On’, cool ballad but you don’t really expect a love song from one of Hard Rock’s most notorious frontmen. It’s these songs, along with ‘I Can’t', that point to the different direction Blackie was taking with his solo material.
My only major complaint is with the cover songs. This version of the Jefferson Airplane classic ‘Somebody To Love’ is plain awful. The European release would be that much better if it was dropped and replaced with ‘Skinwalker’ from the U.S. pressing. At least the European press only has one cover tune, the U.S. has three! Queen classic ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ is forgettable but this version of AC/DC’s ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ isn’t that bad, but how can you really screw up an AC/DC song?
So is it a W.A.S.P. album or a Blackie Lawless solo album? A little of both actually. Any material Blackie sings is immeadiately linked with W.A.S.P. and some of the old school vibe is included on half the album. It’s the other half of the album where Lawless creates a more emotional concept that doesn’t fit the band history. It’s a solid album but not a great album, I favor the European version due to the least amount of covers. Favorite songs here: ‘Still Not Black Enough’, ‘Black Forever’, ‘Scared To Death’, ‘Skinwalker’, and ‘Goodbye America’.
Lita Ford – Out For Blood (1983, Mercury/Polygram)
- Out For Blood
- Stay With Me Baby
- Just A Feeling
- Ready, Willing And Able
- Die For Me Only (Black Widow)
- Rock’n Roll Made Me What I Am Today
- If You Can’t Live With It
- On The Run
- Any Way That You Want Me
- I Can’t Stand It
Lita Ford – Guitars & Lead Vocals
Neil Merryweather – Bass
Dusty Watson – Drums
Total Time – 35:22
(No official website available)
Lita Ford’s debut album is an interesting one. We are all familiar with the Lita Ford circa 1988, with the singles ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ and ‘Close My Eyes Forever’ that pushed her to major stardom. This debut is a far cry from the polished Hard Rock Lita put out in the late ’80s to mid-’90s. This album is basic and raw, not uncommon for a first effort in 1983. The production is not good, a very uneven and muddy mix. It lacks cohesion, probably due to the producer who was also the bass player, Neil Merryweather. Lita is a fine guitar player and Dusty Watson delivers a surprisingly superb performance but it is obvious that Merryweather is the weak link. Where’s the bass?
The songs are hit or miss. Some are just bad (‘Any Way That You Want Me’) but there are some real gems here: ‘Out For Blood’, ‘On The Run’, and ‘Just A Feeling’. It’s obvious that this is the building block that Lita will build her career on, the three aformentioned songs being a look into the future sound Lita would create. I’m surprised that ‘Just A Feeling’ wasn’t a big hit single, it’s a great ballad that probably would have definitely been huge three or four years down the line.
Not bad for her first album but it could have been better with a better player on bass, some more guitar layered to enhance the songs, and a better production job. If this was made by a proper band rather than as a solo project, there would be a serious difference. Good, but not great. Best songs: ‘On The Run’ and ‘Just A Feeling’.