Calgary

REVIEW: Twisted Sister – Love Is For Suckers (1987)

Bought in 1997 at an unknown HMV store in Calgary Alberta, on import, for like $25.  For Aaron’s take on this CD, click here!

TS_0001TWISTED SISTER – Love Is For Suckers (1987 Atlantic, Spitfire reissue)

If the year was 1987, I would have given this CD 5/5 stars easily. When it came out in the summer of ’87 I was really into it. My best friend Bob and I used to play it all the time during that long hot summer, we had all the lyrics memorized. Unfortunately this album has not aged well, certainly not compared to their classic early albums.

One problem with the record is that it’s not actually by the band Twisted Sister! Even as a kid I wondered why people with names like “Reb Beach” or “Kip Winger” were listed in the credits. That’s because Love is For Suckers was written and recorded as the first Dee Snider solo album. Record company pressure forced Dee to release this as the next Twisted Sister album, even though no Twisted members appear on it (aside from new drummer Joey Franco). This only hastened the breakup of Twisted Sister in October of that year.

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The album is produced by Beau Hill, a guy also known for Warrant and Winger albums (that’s why Reb and Kip are on here). Beau Hill is one of my least favourite metal producers of all time. He over-produces, uses too many samples, and glosses everything up. As such I find most of his albums pretty hard to listen to today. On Love is For Suckers, all the drums are samples and you sure can tell by that awkward gated sound, and identical snare hits.

Like when we used to climb the rope in gym class

As an 80’s glam metal album, the songs are not that bad. “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” could have been a Twisted Sister song with its themes of rebellion and youth angst. “Hot Love”, the first single, was the song that got me to buy this album. A catchy pop-rocker with irrestible guitars courtesy of maestro Reb Beach, “Hot Love” was as commercial as it gets. Other standout songs included “Me And the Boys”, which was our theme song that summer. “I Want This Night (To Last Forever)” was a Van Hagar sounding pop-rocker with another great chorus. I think, if anything, Love is For Suckers sounds mostly like 5150-era Van Hagar, but with gang vocals and way more glossed up.

Love is For Suckers was reissued a while ago with 4 bonus tracks, demos from these sessions that fit right into the sound of the album. They’re just not as good. “Statuatory Date” for example suffers from extremely bad lyrics.  One of them, “If That’s What You Want” is an early version of an album song, in this case “Me And the Boys”.  Consider looking into these 4 bonus tracks when you’re choosing to purchase Love is For Suckers.

As an added little “insult to injury” following this album’s failure, producer Beau Hill took Dee Snider’s scream from one song, “I Want This Night (To Last Forever)”, and used it as the opening scream on Warrant’s smash hit album Cherry Pie.  Uncredited! I’m sure 99.9% of Warrant fans assume it’s Jani Lane.

If this album description sounds good to you, check it out. You may enjoy it as much as I did all those years ago.  For me, the years have not been kind.

2.5/5 stars

More TWISTED SISTER at mikeladano.com:

TWISTED SISTER – Live at the Marquee (2011 Rhino Handmade)
TWISTED SISTER – Stay Hungry (25th Anniversary Edition)
TWISTED SISTER – Under The Blade (1985 remix)
TWISTED SISTER – “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (1984 Atlantic single)

Part 245: Metal in my Ears

RECORD STORE TALES Part 245:  Metal in my Ears

and bonus “Shit LeBrain’s Dad Says”

Even though ear piercings on men at the record store were against our backwards “body piercing policy”, I thought for years about getting my ears pierced.  Thought about it, never really did anything about it.  This inaction went way back, even in highschool I just never got my ears pieced.  I came close on summer holidays after graduation.  Today, My Favourite Aunt still blames me for the day my cousin came home with his ear pierced.  It happened like this…

Bob, myself, cousin

Bob, myself, cousin – 1991

Summer holidays ’91, my cousin was visiting from Calgary, Alberta.  By coincidence, my friend Bob had decided to spend a few days at our cottage with the whole family, which was cool by me.   Bob was like family.  My cousin liked to be active.  He was never the type to sit quietly.  Or do anything quietly.

He kept telling us that wanted to get his ear pierced.  We decided, “Hey, why don’t we all drive into town, and the three of us get our ears pierced?”  We found a hair salon on Queen Street in Kincardine, Ontario called The Clan that did ears (gun-style).  Somehow, on the way there, Bob chickened out.  He said, “You know, I’m starting my new job next week.  I don’t think I want to go in there with an earring on my first day.”

“Are you…what are you saying?” I asked.

“I’m not getting it done.  You can get yours, but I can’t go to a new job like that.”  Bob was standing firm.

Feeling my backbone melt away, I said, “I’m not doing it either.”

“WHAT?!” Bob and my cousin both said in unison.  “You’re chickening out?”

“I’m not chickening out!” I protested.  “We all agreed to do it.  If Bob’s not doing it I don’t have to either.”

My resilient cousin said, “I’m still doing it.”  True to his word, he did.  The crap hit the fan when we got back to the cottage.  Why was he the only one with his ear pierced?  The questions came fast and furious.  I was accused of  “tricking him” and “suckering him in”.  But I didn’t trick anyone.

I simply chickened out.

I still thought about getting an ear piercing, on and off, but the point was moot since the record store did not allow piercings on men.  Obviously this policy couldn’t stand forever or they’d never be able to hire anybody.  Finally after much petitioning and complaining by many, the day came when they changed their policies regarding earrings on men.

I knew the only person who would still give me a hard time about an earring would be my dad.  Sometimes people would ask me, “Why don’t you get an ear piercing?” and I’d usually respond, “Because my dad’s retired and I don’t want to give him a heart attack.”

My friend Shannon promised to help me to soften the blow.  She accompanied me to Tora Tattoo in Waterloo, where the young lady there (Shelley) pierced both lobes with 10 gauge rings.  I was pretty happy with the results.  My dad was not.  Upon entering the house, his only words to me were:

“I sure hope those things come out!”

No dad, I had them solder them in.  Jesus Murphy!

Part 163: Hockey

Hockey season has begun!  Enjoy this Record Store Tale….

flames

RECORD STORE TALES Part 163:  Hockey

The date:  May 14, 2004

The location:  My store

The characters:  Store employee Matt, and a really dumb kid who claimed to be 20 years old, selling used discs.

The NHL playoffs were in full swing.  Oftentimes, when you’re selling used CDs, it takes time to go through them all and assign values to them.  Customers like to make small talk during this time.  In Canada, small talk often amounts to hockey talk.  According to my journal, the conversation unfolded as below.

Dumb Kid Who Says He’s 20: “Who are you cheering for in hockey?”

Matt: “Calgary.”

DKWSH20: “Calgary? What for, why aren’t you cheering for someone Canadian?”

Matt: “Calgary IS in Canada.”

DKWSH20: “It is?”

Matt: “Yes.”

DKWSH20: “Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve looked at a map.”