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"ROCKAHOLIC" Reviews - Page 8
Review # 3
Page 8 of 8
Spandex, acid washed jeans, eye liner, earrings, teased hair with lots of aqua net. The 80s were a fun decade us guys! Most critics write off the 80s as a decade of fads and that includes fashion and music. I will admit that a lot of bands that were around during that era just seemed to disappear into oblivion. The true talent did manage to rise to the top and withstood the test of time. Take Warrant for instance.
Warrant Official Website
Warrant burst onto the scene in 1988 with their debut album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich and became an overnight sensation. Five good looking and talented guys gave us such power ballads as “Heaven” and “Sometimes She Cries” and took MTV plus the “hair band” world by storm. They followed that up with an even bigger album Cherry Pie and seemed to be on top of the world.
Oh yeah, then that thing called “grunge” came along and the industry turned their back on the “hair bands” and developed a love affair for Seattle’s latest import. Warrant went through a lot of personnel and label changes, but they kept right on doing what they loved: rocking hard.
Fast forward to 2011 and a rejuvenated and hungry Warrant are back with what may well be their best CD since the days of Cherry Pie. Rockaholic marks a new chapter in the continuing saga of this band who once rode the top of Billboard’s album and singles charts and the top of MTV’s video countdown. They have a new lead singer, a new record label and a new found focus that can certainly be heard in their music. I recently got the chance to speak with the band’s founder and guitarist Erik Turner about all the crazy happenings in land of Warrant.
RMN Hey Erik, thanks again for taking the time to speak with me. There’s a good buzz being generated by the anticipation of your new CD Rockaholic. Can you tell me a little bit about the recording of it?
Well, it was about two years ago when we demoed our first song which was “Dusty’s Revenge” and it went really well. So, we decided to keep writing and build on that. At that time, Jerry was really spearheading the writing of the material and Robert would fly down to work on vocals. It was a slow, two year process, but it was really seeming to come together. Then, Robert suggested working with (producer) Keith Olsen who had done the second Lynch Mob CD. We had a couple of meetings with Keith and hashed everything out and worked our deal out with him. Then, we had to finish working out our deal with our new label Frontiers. We’re really happy with how the album turned out and the initial reactions that we are hearing. I mean, that’s our baby; you don’t want anyone telling you that your baby is ugly!
RMN Speaking of Robert, how did you guys end up getting him in the band?
Well, Robert actually went out on the road with us on the Dog Eat Dog tour when he was in Lynch Mob. We became friends and through the years we would run into him here and there. Joey ran into him a couple years back at Rocklahoma and things just kind of happened from there. We talked to him about joining the band and we all got together to practice. We were in a small 20x20 rehearsal hall and the first song we did with him was “Down Boys” and we couldn’t hear him. Then, we did “I Saw Red” and of course it is a softer song and we weren’t playing as loud and his voice just rang out and I got goose bumps. I thought, WOW! There was a vibe or some sort of chemical reaction or whatever, but we knew he was the one.
RMN The new CD is really diverse in its format. You have some songs like “Sex Ain’t Love” that has that traditional Warrant sound, “The Last Straw” which flat out rocks hard and “Home” which is like a lost 80s power ballad. It’s diverse, but it all fits together really well. Is there anything on it that really stands out to you? Is there a song or two that you are particularly proud of?
Well, I personally spear headed the effort to get “Life’s a Song” released as the first single and video. I just thought that it was a really strong song and that it would be an awesome token of appreciation to all those fans that have followed us throughout the years. It’s like looking back through a scrapbook. I think we really captured some magic on this song. It sounds like it could have been an out take from Cherry Pie. It’s like a blast from the past.
RMN You started Warrant back in 1984 and Jerry (Dixon) and you have been on this crazy ride for its entire twenty seven year run. How do you guys manage to keep it going?
I guess have always looked forward. You know, if we stepped in a pile of dog crap then we just wiped our shoes off and ask ourselves what the best solution is. That regardless of whether it is about a song, a band mate or a manager. Yesterday’s gone and we have to do what we have to do today. We’ve been pretty lucky though, it has been mostly good times for us along the way.
RMN What’s your proudest Warrant moment…..so far?
Wow, there have been so many of them. I mean, although we never got to the superstar level of a Bon Jovi or a Motley Crue, but there have been so many great times and experiences. The funny thing is half of them I don’t even remember
RMN Warrant is known for some of the biggest power ballads of the 80s and this new album has a few great ones on it too. How do you feel about that term today?
I fell pretty lucky to have them. It’s great because they break up the set and changes the rhythm of where you’re going. A lot of guys may not admit to liking them, but when they are in the backseat of their car with a hot chick, they LOVE power ballads!
RMN Are there any plans on putting out a Warrant box set with unreleased tracks and demos?
I don’t know, maybe somewhere down the road. We have a lot of that stuff and when they labels remastered the early CDs, they stuck a few unreleased songs and demos on there. Right now, we are really focusing on the future and this new album. We are hoping to release a live DVD next year with videos, concert footage and backstage stuff.
RMN So, after all these years and all the changes I have to ask you, have the down boys turned into the settled down boys?
Well, somewhat. I mean we still rock as hard as we use to and we still like to party and have a good time, but we just manage to keep our clothes on now!
RMN Well Erik, this has been a treat for me and I appreciate you taking the time to do this. The new CD Rockaholic is amazing and I look forward to seeing you guys out on the road promoting it.
Hey, I appreciate you wanting to interview us. Thanks for all of your support in promoting the new album too. We hope that all the fans go out and buy the new album and come out and see us.
Interview by Johnny Price
Warrant - Rockaholic Album Review
The 80s were a time of big hair and big fun. No band epitomized that better in the latter part of that decade than Warrant. They seemed to have it all. They made us rock with their anthems and we made out to their power ballads. Grunge came along like a huge meteor and wiped out “hair metal” as we knew it. Still, many bands marched on. Warrant had more than their share of bad luck with tours being canceled for various reasons and so many personnel changes that they almost had to wear name badges.
Well my fellow head bangers, Warrant is back stronger than ever and seemed poised to let a whole new generation discover the “down boys”. It’s been five years since their last release Born Again. In that time, we saw the lead singer of that album (Jaime St. James, Black-n-Blue) leave, former lead singer Jani Lane return and then exit and current lead singer Robert Mason enter the picture. They were just a few drumsticks short of having a Spinal Tap moment.
Rockaholic has taken all the great elements that we expect from Warrant and seasoned them with a certain level of maturity. Don’t fret though, even though the “down boys” have become somewhat settled down boys, they still have their raunchy, bad boy side. Take a listen to “Sex Ain’t Love” and “Cocaine Freight Train” and tell me that their horns aren’t showing.
It just wouldn’t be a Warrant album if there weren’t any power ballads on it. One listen of the beautiful ballad “Home” and you will be waiving your lighters high in the air. This song just oozes 80s from beginning to end. I almost thought it was a lost demo from the Cherry Pie sessions. “Tears in the City” is another great ballad, but with more of a modern feel to it than an 80s feel.
“Dusty’s Revenge” is a standout track with a bluesy feel to it in the vain of early Cinderella. On my first listen, I almost felt like it was the accompanying music to a trailer for a western movie. “Life’s a Song” is a great choice for a leadoff single and video. It has that trademark Warrant sound, but it sounds fresh and current. It’s a great song, with great lyrics and a stellar performance by Robert. Oh yeah, it is also complete with a guitar solo. YES! Thank you for bringing back the solo!
Another favorite track of mine is “What Love Can Do”. I think that this song is going to be one that takes on its own life. It’s another great example of being a complete song with great musicianship, great lyrics and a catchy chorus that hooks you in. This may just become a big hit for them, especially if the fans embrace it.So I hear you asking me, “Hey Johnny, we know they have ballads, but can Warrant still rock with the big boys?” Well ladies and gentlemen of the jury; let me present exhibits A, B and C. I have previously mentioned “Sex Ain’t Love” and “Cocaine Freight Train”; both of which showcase the boys in rare form of maximum rock. I would like to add “The Last Straw” to that list and raise my horns high to them for a kick-ass performance that blew me away.
I have been a fan of this band from the start, but I have also been an objective fan too. I believe the band has put out some stellar material and some not so great material in the past. I was cautiously optimistic when I approached this new release. I knew of Robert Mason, but how was his vocal style going to mesh with the sound we expect from the band. Well, I tip my hat to you Mr. Mason for a job well done. Let’s forget about filing someone else’s shoes because you my friend have brought your own new pair of shoes to mark their place in this bands legacy.The rest of the band is playing with a hunger that hasn’t been heard in quite a few years. They seemed to be more focused and driven than ever. I can’t say for certain if the addition of Robert has brought this band closer and tighter together or not, but something has them recharged.
This CD is solid from beginning to end and that is what a band is being forced to do these days with the state that the music industry is in. There has been no “traditional” toured announced yet, but there are spotty dates announced so far with Poison for the summer, plus M3 and Rocklahoma. I cannot wait to hear this new material performed live. There is no cure for being a Rockaholic, but you can point the finger of blame at Warrant for causing it. Let me be the first to say, thank you boys.
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