Overlooked & Underrated:
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
The Forgotten Chapters of Rock & Metal …
Part II - Hard Rock/Glam Metal
Has been a few months now, since Part I of this article was published. As promised, a few of the bands named in the previous article made their way into this specifically curated new batch of ten albums. Same rules applied here as well: the featured efforts were either underrated or just plainly overlooked, at the time of their release, due to the circumstances already discussed in Part I. Many of the albums presented here were just one offs, with no followups, with most of these bands being forced by circumstances to fade into the unknown. Some of these albums were released thirty years ago, a time when the internet was still in its initial development stages, and information sources were: fellow music enthusiast, print publications, or content dedicated radio and TV programs. Unfortunately, being sparse to begin with, most details surrounding these releases got lost with passing of time. Only four out of the ten albums are available on a streaming platform (Spotify), the rest are uploads to YouTube made by fans. Judging by the enthusiastic comments, found on the internet, this genre of music still has a pretty large audience. My friend KB and I agree that this style of rock/metal was as mainstream as any other genre of music in the late 1980s & early 1990s. Yet, so quickly discarded and ridiculed by some, in the years since. Most music proves to be timeless, so if you're hearing any of these for the first time, or re-discovering a forgotten gem - please enjoy the music!
"Dirty But Well Dressed"1989, WTG
Produced by then-hot melodic rock producer Beau Hill (well regarded after his multi-platinum work with Ratt and Warrant), "Dirty But Well Dressed", the first and only album by Beau Nasty was released in 1989 to good reception. However, the album went mostly overlooked at that time, in large part because the scene was flooded by the likes of bands such as Poison, playing a mediocre style of glam metal that was heavily promoted by the labels. After a couple of low profile tours opening for acts like Loverboy and Love/Hate, Beau Nasty quietly dissolved as the 1990s emerged. Fronted by vocalist Mark Anthony Fretz, the band featured: Brian Young and George Bernhardt on guitars, Doug Baker on bass, and Mike Terrana on drums. The album produced two singles, "Paradise In The Sand" and (a cover of Leiber & Stoller song) "Love Potion #9", and also a music video for "Shake It" was filmed. Full album here.
"McQueen Street" 1991, SBK
Formed in 1987 and originally known as "Klass", the Montgomery, Alabama outfit playing mostly covers, was well known on the southeast rock clubs circuit. In 1990 the band changed its name to McQueen Street (a street name in their home town, where the recording studio was located), and got signed by SBK, a division of EMI. The band's debut album, titled "McQueen Street", released in 1991, was produced by Tom Werman with additional production on one track from Billy Idol's guitarist Steve Stevens, who also played guitar on the album. Jeff Scott Soto also contributed to vocals. Two songs, "Money" and "My Religion" had music videos that were played on MTV's Headbangers Ball. The band consisted of Derek Welsh on lead vocals, Richard Hatcher on bass, Michael Powers on guitar, and Derek's brother Chris Welsh on drums. The band was dropped by their label, due to the grunge movement, before the already recorded sophomore album was set to be released. McQueen Street disbanded in 1993. Derek Welsh self-released the second McQueen Street album ("2") in 2003 after acquiring the rights from EMI. Full album here.
"Tainted Angel" 1991, Charisma
SouthGang was a Los Angeles based hard rock outfit. The band was composed of lead vocalist Jesse Harte, guitarist Butch Walker, bassist Jayce Fincher, and drummer Mitch "Slug" McLee, and was active in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band's original name was Byte the Bullet, which was changed to SouthGang before they released their first album, "Tainted Angel". They remain best remembered for their 1991 single (and album title track) "Tainted Angel", which received some MTV airplay, especially during Headbangers Ball. The album executive producer was Desmond Child whom also contributed heavily to the songwriting process. Autograph's Steve Plunkett also made a minor contribution. SouthGang disbanded in 1993, after a sophomore effort, "Group Therapy" was released in 1992. Full album here.
"No Respect" 1989, Island Records
Lead vocalist Davy Vain had initially began his career as a record producer, producing Death Angel's debut album "The Ultra-Violence". He went on to record a demo with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett in 1986. After that he added guitarists Jamie Scott (Dylana Nova) and Danny West, bassist Ashley Mitchell and drummer Tom Rickard, to the lineup. In that formation Vain, hailing from San Francisco Bay Area, California, signed with Island Records in 1988, before releasing their debut album, "No Respect" the following year, in 1989. Recorded with producer Paul Northfield, the debut album peaked at #154 on the Billboard 200. Critically, the album was also well received, and the band was featured on the covers of both Kerrang! and BAM. In support of the album, Vain toured the US while they also supported Skid Row on their tour of the UK. To date, the band have released seven studio albums and remains active. Full album here. Also on Spotify.
"Lancia"1992, Canyon International
Borrowing their lead singer Paul Lancia's last name, Lancia, the Los Angeles band formed in 1990, somehow managed to release their infectious glam metal, self-titled effort in 1992, in the midst of grunge scene fully taking over the airwaves. Besides Paul Lancia, who was initially the lead singer of the band Pair A Dice of the Sunset Strip mid 1980s fame, the band included guitarist Bart Walsh, bassist John Billings and Scott Patterson on drums. Unfortunately, and due to the circumstances their debut effort remained vastly unrecognized and the band ceased to exist shortly after. Full album here.
"Electric Rattlebone" 1991, Mercury
Blackeyed Susan was formed in 1991 by lead singer “Dizzy” Dean Davidson, after leaving Britny Fox due to creative differences. Alongside Dizzy, Erik Levy (bass), Rick Criniti (guitar), Tony Santoro (guitar) and Chris Branco (drums) completed the lineup and the band soon negotiated a contract with Mercury Records. On the bluesy side of hard rock, "Electric Rattlebone" was released in 1991 to positive reactions, delivering with conviction a set of songs that paid respect to the likes of Aerosmith, Humble Pie, Cinderella and the Rolling Stones. A video for the single "None of it Matters" (a song featuring a far east sitar intro) was aired by MTV. Full album here.
"Bareback" 1991, Atlantic
Wild Horses formed in the early 1990s, and originally featured former Buster Brown and Montrose members Johnny Edwards and James Kottak. Kottak's former Kingdom Come bandmate Rick Steier, joined on lead guitar, with Chris Lester handling the bass duties. Shortly before the recording of "Bareback" album, former Shout lead vocalist John Levesque replaced original Wild Horses lead vocalist Johnny Edwards, who left Wild Horses to replace Lou Gramm in the band Foreigner. Bassist Jeff Pilson replaced Chris Lester at some point during the recording process (both are credited). The keyboard parts were performed by Dare frontman, Darren Wharton (ex-Thin Lizzy). The band disbanded shortly after the release of their debut album, to resurface in 2003 with the release of their second album, "Dead Ahead". Full album on Spotify.
SAINTS & SINNERS
"Saints & Sinners" 1992, Aquarius
Saints & Sinners was a short-lived Canadian glam metal outfit, formed in Montreal, Quebec, in 1991 by vocalist Rick Hughes of heavy metal band, Sword. Joining Hughes were guitarist Stephane Dufour, bassist Martin Bolduc, drummer Jeff Salem, and keyboardist Jesse Bradman (formerly of Night Ranger, Aldo Nova, and UFO). The band released one album, "Saints & Sinners" in 1992, produced by legendary Aldo Nova. Yet, another victim of then rising grunge movement, ruining any chance of success, Saints & Sinners called it quits one year later, in 1993. Full album here. Also on Spotify.
"Trouble Tribe" 1990, Crysalis
Hailing from New York, Trouble Tribe released their debut self-titled album in May 1990. It was the only album released by the hard rock band fronted by vocalist Jimmy Driscoll, and featuring Adam Wacht on guitars, Eric Klaastad on bass and Steve Durrell on drums. The dynamic album included the singles “Tattoo” and “Here Comes Trouble”, both with music videos, and a cover of Beatles' "Dear Prudence". Despite the positive reception and grassroots following, the album fail to became a commercial success, therefore the band was soon dropped by their label and disbanded. Full album here. Also on Spotify.
"I, Napoleon" 1991, Geffen
The brainchild of Canadian born vocalist Steve Napoleon (aka Steve Batky), I, Napoleon formed in Los Angeles after the arrival of the classically trained singer and keyboardist, and included bassist Joe Fazio, guitarist Doug Stratton and Dave Imondi on drums. Signed by Geffen, the band released their self-titled album in 1991, containing a clever mix of songs, most with a darker, melodic edge. The album also included an excellent rendition of Canadian singer Luba’s ballad “Everytime I See Your Picture”. However the album failed miserably, mostly due to Geffen cutting all financial support, poor management and without a publishing deal (radio stations or MTV would not get involved), the group was never heard from again. Full album:
© 2019 by Emil Chiru