Archive for May 10, 2007

Ontray - C’mon, Taste It

Ontray – C’mon, Taste It! (1988, Purple Quack Records)

  1. What Do You Want?
  2. Back For Round 2
  3. None Of Your Business
  4. You Make Me Feel Like Dancin’
  5. Night
  6. Bad For Me
  7. Black Lace
  8. Go For It
  9. Wastin’ No More Time

Band Lineup:
Steve Gagnon – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Mark DeShong – Bass
Bobby Haan – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Stanley Palmatier – Lead Guitar
Scott Barker – Keyboards
Lance Fountain – Lead Guitar
The Thugs – Backing Vocals

Total Time – 35:56

More information about Ontray from Heavy Harmonies.com 

Who?
Exactly.

Ontray is a Hard Rock/Glam band from Michigan. Outside of that, I know nothing else about the band. The album is self-released and one of the hardest independent CDs to track down. In my ten years on the Internet, I’ve seen this CD fetch as high as over $300 at auction. I’ve also seen copies surface from the band’s own stash and the price plummet to $25. I tracked this CD down on Ebay a few years ago, I believe I paid around $65 for it.

The album is professionally done: the music is competently produced, the booklet is professional…..the cover sucks. What you get on the actual disc is Hard Rock Lite, Lite Glam, and some AOR thrown in the mix. That’s not a bad mix of styles for 1988 but the material is bad.

‘What Do You Want’ starts off with some promise until the chorus, that’s when The Thugs come in. The gang backing vocals destroy the song and make it annoying. Steve Gagnon also has this annoying whining vocal that crops up from time to time. Where are the drums? Sounds like someone is playing coffee cans. I really dig ‘Back For Round 2′. It’s Hard Rock Lite with a catchy chorus and hook. Gagnon leaves the whine aside and The Thugs are held in check. There some life behind the kit as well.

‘None Of Your Business’ is a ballad that seems to drag on forever. I don’t mind the storm effects for mood but I do mind the vocals and The Thugs. Musically, I like the guitar tone on the solos, not much else. ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancin’ is not the disco hit. Too bad because it’s a lot better than this original with the same title. This song tries to Rock hard but it is so weak, there is no crunch, no balls. This sounds like it should be in an early ’80s teen movie. The same formula applies to ‘Night’ but the tempo is slowed a bit. Vocalist Steve Gagnon uses a deeper delivery this time but there is still no power.

‘Bad For Me’ adds a touch of Sleaze to the album. I like the music on this tune, cool main riff and drum intro. Gagnon finally adds some meat to the vocals. Overall, a decent song. Next is a bad song: ‘Black Lace’. This time, Bobby Haan replaces his drum kit with an annoying trash can. That’s what it sounds like! No bass to be heard and the bad vocals are pushed way out front. It sounds like the band was going for a sleazy shuffle type tune but there is no sleaze here. I like the direction of ‘Go For It’, it’s a straight ahead Hard Rock song that sounds like a Night Ranger cast-off but not as good. The chorus sucks and The Thugs make another annoying appearance…..great guitar solo though. Ballad #2, ‘Wastin’ No More Time’, ends the album. It’s a song that sums up how I feel about listening to the record: a waste of time. The vocals are so bad here that all I can do is laugh.

Bottom Line:
This was released on Purple Quack Records, that alone should have sent up the warning signs. This music reminds me of bands you see playing proms in ’80s movies like ‘Just One Of The Guys’. It’s bad, avoid unless it’s cheap and you want a conversation piece due to it’s rarity. I give the band credit for a professional package and two enjoyable songs: ‘Back For Round 2′ and ‘Bad For Me’.