DAVID LEE ROTH – Your Filthy Little Mouth (1994 Warner Japanese edition)
I’ll admit it, I like this album a lot, and I have since it came out in ’94. It was, however, a total flop. I will never forget the summer of 1994. Working in a record store for the first time, there was a lonely stack of Your Filthy Little Mouth discs sitting right next to an equally tall stack of Motley Crue self-titled CDs. I don’t think I sold one that entire summer, though not for lack of storeplay. It was the times, and if this album had been released in 1989, I’m sure it would have been a smash hit across multiple radio formats.
By this time, David no longer had a “real” band. Long gone were the days of Vai and Sheehan, and even poor Jason Becker was now gone, struck with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Dave started writing and playing with guitarist Terry Kilgore, and utilized a lot of studio cats on these sessions. Kilgore’s playing — bluesy, stratty and tubey — was lightyears away from the futuristic sounds coming from Planet Vai.
The album skirts multiple genres, which earned Dave equal amounts of praise and derision. We all knew Dave had lots of different T-shirts in his drawer. “She’s My Machine” is a groove rocker, mid-paced and sexy with Dave doing his best Van Halen impression. Other songs, such as “Big Train” explored the fast and speedy side of Dave’s boogie rock. Deeper in, “Cheatin’ Heart Cafe” (an excellent duet with Travis Tritt) and “Hey You Never Know” hang on the outskirts of Nashville quite successfully.
Meanwhile on side two, you get the eclectic reggae and urban sounds of “No Big ‘Ting” and “You’re Breathin’ It”, neither of which work and weaken an otherwise strong collection of songs. “Your Filthy Little Mouth”, the title track, quickens the pace back to where we started. It is a strong rocker with some of Dave’s patented fun and cool lyricism. The album ends on a slower note — Willie Nelson’s “Night Life” (previously covered by Thin Lizzy) and a track called “Sunburn” which recalls “Coconut Grove” from the first EP.
A stupid and terribly unnecessary remix of “You’re Breathin’ It” is a bonus track, and the final song — unless you own the Japanese version (I found mine at a record show in Guelph Ontario), which tacked on a cool blues called “Mississippi Power”. “Mississippi Power” was also available on the “She’s My Machine” 7″ single (which I also bought at a record show in London Ontario many years before that). The Japanese version also had a sticker. Wheee!
Lyrically, Dave was at the top of his game, spinning fun and witty lyrics like never before or since in his entire career. Only Dave could sing, “I got a steel-wheeled radial prophylactic for you, and I ain’t afraid to use it now.” All over the album, you will find double and triple entendre as well as Dave’s personal philophy of life. Are you a passenger, or an engineer? “Whatever gets you to the end of the line”. “Take the traveller and the tourist — the essential difference is, the traveller don’t know where he’s going, and the tourist don’t know where he is!”
When the album flopped, Dave disappeared for a few years and went to Vegas. By 1998 he had snapped up John5 (from Rob Halford’s 2wo), and put together the awesome DLR Band which could rival Van Halen in chops and aggression. Your Filthy Little Mouth stands as an interesting detour on Dave’s road of life.
4/5 stars. Only a couple stinkers (and one useless remix).