Posts Tagged ‘Tommy Lee’

2010 was another great year for new albums. Bands from all different genres of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal released good albums this year and I was on the frontlines buying them up as they were released. Of course there were some bad albums too. I bought more new releases, and had more new albums submitted for review, in 2010 than I have any other year that Heavy Metal Addiction has been active so there were bound to be some bad ones in the pile. In previous years, I’ve received a lot of email about my decision to call this the “Worst” albums of the year, some people have thought that it is too negative. My feeling is that no matter if the album is a major disappointment because you were looking forward to it so much, or the album is just plain awful from the packaging, to the production to the performance, then it qualifies under the heading of “Worst”. Of all the albums I picked up some releases were just plain bad, some were huge disappointments, some I just couldn’t stand…..so here is my list of The 5 Worst Albums of 2010:

#1

Methods Of Mayhem – A Public Disservice Announcement (2010): Without a doubt, this is the WORST album I heard in 2010. I tried, I really did, but it was so hard to try and sit through the entire album and I tried at least a half dozen times. I’m all for solo projects, I’m all for experimenting with different styles but when you advertise and market a new album in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal circles then it better have some Hard Rock or Heavy Metal in it! This is Alternative, Nu-Metal and Rap beats all thrown together, with outside contributions from guest musicians and fans, to create a wall of sound that is so just a bunch of noise. This album is 10 years too late and even then that’s a stretch. I never bought this album and I am so glad I didn’t waste my $13, I just feel bad for the guy I borrowed this from because there’s no way this album was worth 13 cents rather than $13. I would even go as far as saying that this album might even be worse than last year’s Worst Album of the Year.

#2

Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010): Big bad Bret is no stranger to the Worst of the Year list because he made the list in 2008 with his last “new album” ROCK MY WORLD (2008). The problem the last time was that Bret advertised ROCK MY WORLD as a “new studio album” and only three songs were actually new with the rest coming from previous Bret solo records. Fast forward two years and Bret is at it again with CUSTOM BUILT! He advertised this album as a “new studio album” but only four songs were actually new with the balance coming from the out of print FREEDOM OF SOUND (2005) and LETTERS FROM DEATH ROW (1998). Add in a cover and a couple alternate mixes/demos and you’ve got a 1/3 of a new album. Is it right to rip-off fans like this? Why not re-release the three real studio albums Bret has done outside of Poison? I understand you want to promote your reality television career but what about the fans? If it wasn’t for Tommy Lee, Bret Michaels would take the top honors this year.

#3

Dark Age – Acedia (2010): This is one of those albums that got released everywhere else in the world in late 2009 but got a North American release in early 2010. Dark Age is a Melodic Death Metal from Germany and one of my goals this year was to open myself up to more of the extreme forms of Metal. The problem with ACEDIA is that it’s very light on the Death Metal and very heavy on the Nu-Metal and Alternative Metal. The comparison I made in my review was Linkin Park…..I’m not and never have been a fan of Linkin Park and their style of whining Rap infused music. This album is ten or eleven years too late to the party, I’m not sure if Dark Age’s previous albums were a lot heavier and more Death Metal but there really isn’t a lot of Metal here to enjoy. I may not be an expert in the Death Metal, or Melodic Death Metal, scenes but I’ve heard enough to know that there is still Heavy Metal in it!

#4

Slash – s/t (2010): This new album from Slash was highly anticipated and highly disappointing, making it a leader for “Worst Album of 2010″ since it’s release. There’s no doubt that Slash is a guitar icon and that he has had a hand in some excellent Hard Rock & Heavy Metal albums with Guns ‘N Roses, Velvet Revolver and Slash’s Snakepit but not everything can turn to gold or platinum. There’s an all-star cast on this album and some of the names are well known in Metal circles: Lemmy, Ozzy, Duff, Izzy and Dave Grohl. Then there are the names well known in Pop circles: Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Kid Rock and Fergie. Fergie? Are you serious? I’m all for Slash experimenting with different musicians and different styles but, when you advertise an new album heavily in Metal magazines and Metal television shows, shouldn’t you put some extra Metal in it? I really wanted to like this album because I really like Slash, especially in GNR and Snakepit, but Fergie? The guy from Maroon 5? I would have rathered Slash make an entire rock record with one singer handling most of the album and adding in the Lemmy, Ozzy and Ian Astbury tunes, I’m sure Myles Kennedy could have done some Rock songs instead of the mid-tempo/ballad types he did here. But Fergie? Really?

#5

Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila (2010): I really debated adding this album in because I did hear some other albums that could have qualified but TATTOOS & TEQUILA was a major disappointment. Vince had all the cards lined up: a summer tour coming with Motley Crue on Ozzfest, the album was being released on Nikki Sixx’s label, solid producers and a great backing band. This had the potential to be a really good album on par with the latest albums from Vince’s main band Motley Crue. The problem is that there was no effort. Vince has “Bret Michaels Syndrome” (BMS): let’s hype a new record as a “new studio album” and then give the fans only a couple new originals. Granted, Vince didn’t re-release previously recorded material like big Bret but how hard is it to go in and sing some well known cover tunes? I read all the press and hype and it went from “a brand new studio album” to “an album of songs that influenced me”…..let’s call it what it is, a quick cash grab! I bought it, I listened to it, I was fully disappointed especially when the two originals were really good. Then again, Vince didn’t have a hand in the writing so where’s the effort?

Methods Of Mayhem – A Public Disservice Announcement (2010, Roadrunner/Loud & Proud)

  1. Drunk Uncle Pete
  2. Time Bomb
  3. Louder
  4. Fight Song
  5. Blame
  6. Two Ways
  7. Take Me Off The Ledge
  8. Only One
  9. All I Wanna Do
  10. Back To Before
  11. Party Instructions

Band Lineup:
Tommy Lee – vocals, guitar, drums
John “J3″ Allen III – guitar, vocals
Will Hunt – drums, percussion
Kai Marcus – guitar, backing vocals
Marty O’Brien – bass
DJ Aero – turntables

Additional Musicians:
Scott Humphrey – synthesizer, piano, backing vocals
Phil X – guitar
Chris Chaney – bass
Deryck Whibley – guitar
Chad Kroeger – backing vocals
Sonny Moore – synthesizer
Chino Moreno – vocals
James Kottak – vocals
Deadmau5 – electronics
Sofi Toufa – vocals
Marcus Davis – vocals
Steven McSwain – backing vocals

Producers: Scott Humphrey & Tommy Lee

Country: USA

Total Time = 43:06

Tommy Lee
Loud & Proud Records

Methods Of Mayhem is Tommy Lee’s side band outside of Motley Crue. Way back in 1999, Tommy quit the Crue and, shortly after his stint in jail for spousal abuse, formed Methods Of Mayhem to give himself a new creative outlet. The band got some serious publicity and a platinum debut from Tommy’s name, his celebrity status, the racy video for the first single ‘Get Naked’ and a touring slot on Ozzfest 2000. I had read all the press releases and reviews and, as a card-carrying Metalhead, I couldn’t get behind Tommy’s Nu-Metal and Rap Metal style with Methods and I especially despised his collaborator, rapper TiLo. I was in attendance at Ozzfest 2000 in Mansfield, MA and I heard all the boos and laughter as Tommy strapped on a guitar and rapped along with TiLo. Requests for Motley Crue songs and the generic “You suck!” comments (a lot of those came from me) were responded to by Tommy by throwing the middle finger. I will never forget the overwhelming boos that the band received at the conclusion of their set and I wondered just how far the mighty Crue drummer had fallen. Fast forward to 2010 and Tommy has since rejoined Motley Crue, starred in various reality TV shows and managed to release two solo albums under his own name…..now we get a new Methods Of Mayhem album, A PUBLIC DISSERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.

Before I get into the review, let me explain why I was interested in this album. I’m sitting in my seat at Ozzfest 2010 (10 years after Methods got booed off the stage) and the screens keep running commercials hyping this new Methods record to the point of absurdity. There were street team members from the label or PR firm handing out postcard ads to the concert goers and it just seemed like this new album was everywhere a full month before it’s release…..the hype machine in full force! So I’m sitting there at Ozzfest and I’m thinking to myself, “Maybe this album won’t be as bad as the first one.” and “Maybe it’s worth a shot.”. Now I hadn’t heard a piece of music from the album but I did check out the press releases and it seemed that Tommy decided to open the creative door to anyone with an Internet connection and a desire to make music. Producer Scott Humphrey and Tommy offered fans and musicians from around the world to submit material to a specific website and, after listening to over 10,000 submissions, parts of selected submissions were added to Tommy’s writing to create the songs for the album. It sounded like an interesting concept but also threw a red flag in my head because it screamed “laziness” to me. How about just writing your own songs? Why collaborate with fans? Then again, I’m not a musician so how do I know about the creative process? I gave Tommy the benefit of the doubt. So the album comes out mid-September and I’m in the record store debating dropping the $12 for the CD and I decide to wait. Lucky for me, a friend of mine didn’t wait and I was able to borrow his copy.

What we basically have here is a continuation of the first Methods Of Mayhem album. A PUBLIC DISSERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT is an album full of Nu-Metal, Rap Metal, Alternative Rock and various beats and sound effects that are completely unlistenable. Tommy Lee has simply repeated the same formula as he did 10 years ago with the exception of outside contributions via the Internet. Of course there are also guest musicians, some good and some overrated. I can give credit to having Scorpions drummer James Kottak make a vocal appearance, same with the Chino Moreno from the Deftones, but Chad Kroeger from Nickelback? Deryck Whibley from Sum 41? Kroeger and Nickelback are successful but completely overrated and Whibley is more famous for his failed marriage to fellow Canadian alt-rocker Avril Lavigne than his own band! It just points to the fact that this kind of music and hype is at least 7 or 8 years out of date. At least Tommy listened to the overwhelming boos 10 years ago and got rid of TiLo!

Bottom Line:
Without a doubt the worst album I have heard all year and most likely the hands down favorite for my Worst Album of 2010. I seriously sat in my music room at least 6 or 7 times to give this a serious listen and it was a serious chore. There is nothing on this album even close to Tommy’s music with Motley Crue or even Hard Rock for that matter. Hell, I would even take basic Rock! All there is here is Nu-Metal, etc. and it’s 10 years past the sell by date. I can understand a musician’s right to explore new territory, to expand their musical base, but when you market the album heavily at a Heavy Metal festival like Ozzfest, then you are deceiving the fans. Thank god I didn’t waste my money.

Favorite Songs:
none

Here’s the first single and video from Motley Crue’s new album, SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES…..

‘Saints Of Los Angeles’

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008, Motley Records/Eleven Seven Music)

  1. L.A.M.F.
  2. Face Down In The Dirt
  3. What’s It Gonna Take
  4. Down At The Whiskey
  5. Saints Of Los Angeles
  6. Muther Fucker Of The Year
  7. The Animal In Me
  8. Welcome To The Machine
  9. Just Another Psycho
  10. Chicks = Trouble
  11. This Ain’t A Love Song
  12. White Trash Circus
  13. Goin’ Out Swingin’

Band Lineup:
Vince Neil – Lead Vocals
Nikki Sixx – Bass
Mick Mars – Guitars
Tommy Lee – Drums

Produced by: James Michael, Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba

Total Time = 44:10

Motley Crue official website
Motley Crue MySpace page

It’s been just over 10 years since the original lineup of Motley Crue released a new album of original material.  Has it really been that long since GENERATION SWINE (1997) and the reunion? It seems like the Crue has been very busy in the last decade or so: tours, live CDs & DVDs, a tell-all book (The Dirt) by the band themselves, box sets, greatest hits albums, solo careers and the band even managed to release an album of new material, NEW TATTOO (2000) with the late Randy Castillo on drums instead of Tommy Lee. Get all that? It’s hard to believe that SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES didn’t come sooner, the question is…..was it worth the wait?

I’ve been a Motley Crue fan since around ’82 when I discovered TOO FAST FOR LOVE at a local record store. I have been excited for every new record, every tour, and every move the band has made for the last 26 years. Hell, I even hated the Crue back in ’83 & ’84 when everyone was jumping on the bandwagon because they were the hot new thing…..secretly, and unknown to my friends, I was listening to TOO FAST FOR LOVE and SHOUT AT THE DEVIL at high volume in my bedroom, LOL! These guys were the baddest band in the land when I was growing up and every Hard Rock band was chasing them in terms of success and excess. So I was definitely psyched to hear new music coming from the Motley camp but I wasn’t sure about the concept: an album loosely based on their collective autobiography The Dirt. The book came out in 2001 and that seems like a long time to release an album based on it. Granted there were personal issues between the original band members but these guys have been back together since the Fall of 2004.

Like most Motley Crue albums after SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (1983), SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES has some really good songs and some filler but the good definitely outweighs the bad. ‘L.A.M.F.’ starts the album off and it’s a spoken word intro by Vince Neil akin to ‘In The Beginning’ from SHOUT. I’m not sure if this intro is really needed and I find it rather annoying so I hit the skip button. ‘Face Down In The Dirt’ is pretty cool and has that trashy vibe to start things off on a high note while ‘What’s It Gonna Take’ slows down slightly and hits a nice groove. My favorite song is ‘Down At The Whiskey’, it has that sound that screams vintage melodic Motley and it has an infectious chorus. What I hear most in this song is Tommy Lee’s inspired drumming (listen to those cymbals crash!) and Mick Mars’ guitar playing, I think that Mick turns in the best performance of all the members on the whole album. More inspired playing from Mr. Mars on the lead single ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’…..sounds a little like ‘Wild Side’ & ‘Dr. Feelgood’ doesn’t it? Comparisons aside, this is probably the best track on the album despite my favorite being ‘Down At The Whiskey’. Motley Crue has always put their best songs forward as singles and videos and ‘Saints’ is no exception…..it has that big sounding chorus thanks to the guest singers (and labelmates/touring partners) and Mick turns in one hell of a performance. I watched the press conference live on TV and when they played ‘Saints’ live, Mick went from basically a cripple to fluid motion almost instantly. Great song, I bet it comes off well in concert.

‘Muther Fucker Of The Year’ starts off the filler. It’s an annoying song with juvenile lyrics, it just seems so unnecessary to have the profanity but this is the Crue so they do it. The first ballad is ‘The Animal In Me’ and is has that whiney Vince vocal that just sounds depressed. It kind of reminds me of ‘If I Die Tomorrow’ from the hits package RED, WHITE, & CRUE (2005), it has that sad vibe but it’s good. One glance at the tracklisting and I was afraid that the band added a Pink Floyd cover to the record with ‘Welcome To The Machine’ but it’s thankfully a gritty, punky original that rocks up like some of the songs did on TOO FAST FOR LOVE. The guitar solo on this song is particularly good and it just makes me respect Mick Mars that much more. Another cool tune is ‘Just Another Psycho’ that has the catchy hook to get me singing along with Vince and there’s a cool bass line from Nikki Sixx that just follows along with the drums to provide the groove. I could do without ‘Chicks = Trouble’, another filler tune for me. Think they’re talking from Tommy Lee’s perspective on this one? Or Vince’s? Or Nikki’s?

A little drum intro starts ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’ and it sounds similar to ‘Primal Scream’ (from DECADE OF DECADENCE) at times, it’s an OK song. ‘White Trash Circus’ has some decent drum beats but the song bores me with it’s chanty singing and dumb lyrics, just awful! ‘Goin’ Out Swingin’ was added to the album late in the game, I think right after the press conference, to add a little punch (forgive the pun) to end the album. The song is uptempo and has some decent guitar lines but it’s repetitve with the title in the lyrics…..I have to give it a “thumbs up” though after the last three duds.

Just a few words here about the package, concept, production and performance….. I like the black and white concept the band is using, it’s basic and gives the band that street look. I’m not cracking on the guy’s medical condition but Mick Mars just looks like one scary bastard! All the promo shots I’ve seen depict Mick as this mysterious, leather-clad, grim reaper type…..very cool. The songwriting tells the sleazy story of the sex, the drugs, the triumph and tragedy of being in one of the most notorious bands in Rock. I can remember different chapters of Motley history on each song…..Nikki is normally the main songwriter and he had a long history to draw inspiration from, I’ll bet everyone contributed much like they did on the book. Production is 2008 modern but you can hear some old school Crue in some of the songs but also some Sixx AM in there too. Obviously, the production assistance Nikki and the band had from James Michael & DJ Ashba (Nikki’s Sixx AM bandmates) had some influence on the sound, it’s sounds great though and is crystal clear. Performance of the album goes to Mick Mars for his inspired guitar playing despite the Ankylosing spondylitis that is ravaging his body. Second place goes to Vince Neil who sounds pretty good on the mic.

Bottom Line:
I’ve been playing this non-stop since I bought the album and I think it’s a pretty solid record. Like I said before, all Crue albums after the first two have filler but the good songs outweigh the bad. It may not be the next SHOUT AT THE DEVIL or DR. FEELGOOD but I would say that the band has come back with a good album with some great songs and a lot of attitude. Let’s just hope that the Crue won’t wait another 10 years to release a follow-up!

Favorite Songs: ‘Down At The Whiskey’, ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’, ‘The Animal In Me’, ‘Welcome To The Machine’