Just Listening to…RIOT – Restless Breed

Just Listening to…RIOT – Restless Breed

This remastered CD, complete with six spine-piercing bonus tracks, was a gift last summer from the one and only Superdekes.  I never owned any Riot before, and frankly didn’t even know much about the band besides the track “Born in America”.  A young pre-teen LeBrain said, “Who is this band?  They stole their name from Quiet Riot and their song title from Springsteen!”


Deke knew what I was missing and so sent me his remastered Restless Breed with Rhett Forrester on lead vocals.  Riot was right in my wheelhouse.  This is quintessential 80s, riding that fine line between hard rock and heavy metal, but leaning further towards metal.  Solid riffs, memorable tunes, guitars out yer anus!  It’s one of those albums that turns out to be exactly what I liked then, and still like now, even though I missed it for 37 years.  The key, to me, is the powerhouse vocals of Forrester, who was murdered in a carjacking gone wrong in 1994.  What pipes this man had!  He could even make songs about a “Loanshark” sound cool.  “Collecting payments overdue!  Yai-yeah!”  That gets a big “fuck yeah” from me.

I’m spinning Restless Breed for the first time in a couple months.  “Loved By You” was the standout track last time.  This time, it’s still the most obvious “hit” of the bunch.  It’s extended to eight minutes on the bonus CD, called the Riot Live EP.  Although it suffers from repetition, “Loved By You” is an easy song to love.

Thanks for the CD, Deke.  It certainly is Loved By Me!


Side one
1. “Hard Lovin’ Man” (Rhett Forrester, Doug Salomone) – 2:48
2. “C.I.A.” (Forrester) – 3:43
3. “Restless Breed” (Mark Reale) – 5:11
4. “When I Was Young” (Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs, John Weider, Barry Jenkins, Danny McCulloch) – 3:25
5. “Loanshark” (Reale, Forrester, Kip Leming) – 4:10

Side two
1. “Loved by You” (Rick Ventura) – 5:37
2. “Over to You” (Ventura) – 3:42
3. “Showdown” (Reale) – 3:49
4. “Dream Away” (Ventura) – 3:43
5. “Violent Crimes” (Leming, Forrester) – 2:30

2016 CD edition bonus tracks
11. “Hard Lovin’ Man” – 3:09
12. “Showdown” – 4:30
13. “Loved by You” – 8:02
14. “Loanshark” – 5:27
15. “Restless Breed” – 5:11
16. “Swords and Tequila” – 3:57

#689.5: A Tribute to Superdekes [VIDEO BLOG]

A Coda to #689:  Fuck iTunes

#689: “F*** iTunes” [VIDEO BLOG]

GETTING MORE TALE #689: “F*** iTunes”


Once again, here is something that came about due to a conversation with Superdekes over at Arena Rock.  In his review for Bon Jovi’s iTunes exclusive live album Inside Out, Deke said:

Inside Out is an iTunes only live release, which is kinda cool in a way to make guys like Ladano scoff at the no physical product tag! 

He’s right and I scoffed right away.

In jest, I made this video below.  I like to call it “Fuck iTunes”.  Everything is meant in good fun.  Enjoy the video.


REVIEW: Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie (2014)

A Christmas gift from the great DEKE!  This one made his Top Five of 2014 list (at #3) and came highly recommended.  Let’s do this!

folderRIVAL SONS – Great Western Valkyrie (2014 Earache)

From Long Beach, California, here are the Rival Sons!  They have come to save hard rock.  Gene Simmons is a fan, so let’s check ’em out.  Great Western Valkyrie is their fourth album, but until last year I’d never heard of them.

Rival Sons are groove.  They are old fashioned.  I hear early influences from as far and wide as Sammy Hagar and soul rock.  “Electric Man” exemplifies this.  If the guitar player were the flashy type, you could mistake this for a new Chickenfoot composition.  Radio loves this kind of song right now.  It has vibes of the Trews and Royal Blood; the groove of bands like Death From Above 1969 but with a bluesy singing voice.  They apply a distortion and reverb to the lead vocal, which does sound cool but strikes me as a bit gimmicky.

I found the second track, “Good Luck” to be a bit dull.  Rival Sons seem to have psychedelic rock influences too, which isn’t really my bag, baby.  “Secret” features singing Jay Buchanan doing his best Robert Plant blues voice, and it’s another ferociously grooving track.  The riff is similar to “High Time” by Leadfoot, and the groove recalls “How Many More Times” from Led Zeppelin I.  “Let me tell you a secret, and I know you’re gonna keep it!” screams Buchanan over a killer bass groove.  Then “Play the Fool” utilizes a simple, stop-and-start rock riff, and a wicked time change.  “Good Things” has a dusky nightclub feel.  This is the song on which I’ll step out and take a pee.  It’s still playing when I get back, because it’s almost six minutes long.

Track 6 is “When the Levee Breaks”…Err, I mean the single “Open My Eyes”.  Sounds suspiciously like Zeppelin there.  You may have heard this one on the radio (I have).  It’s a great track, but undeniably based entirely upon Led Zeppelin.  The echo on the drums is lifted directly from Bonham and there are even acoustic breaks.  Back in the 1980’s there was a band called Kingdom Come that got raked over the coals for copping some Zep influences and milking it, but that’s nothing compared to “Open My Eyes”.  It’s a Zeppelin rip pure and simple!  That’s fine…enough time has passed that nobody cares anymore (plus Zeppelin ripped off everybody else).

“Rich and Poor” slows the pace, bringing us back to the psychedelic 60’s.  If the Doors had a different singer, maybe this is how they would sound.  I don’t particularly like the Doors, so onto the next one, “Belle Starr”. This song goes from fast to slow sections…just when I thought they were givin’ ‘er again, they slowed it down.  I’m just itching for some rock again.  Oh, there it goes!  This track is almost grungy, especially with that rolling bass underneath recalling Soundgarden.  I hear Rush influences too.  I’m not 100% sold on “Belle Starr”.  Not yet, anyway.  Led Zeppelin is all over “Where I’ve Been” too, in an epic quality.  Finally “Destination on Course” closes the album on a distinctly bluesy note.  Singer Buchanan really blows the doors off, and the angelic backing vocals have me forgetting that “LZ” band for a change.  The bluesy guitar solo is icing on the cake — just awesome.  On a track like this, Rival Sons establish their own sound.

Great Western Valkyrie is an album I look forward to checking out more in the future.  I think it has potential.  I know there are bonus tracks on other editions, which I have not investigated.  If I end up liking the band enough, I will check them out.

3.5/5 stars


1. “Electric Man” (Take You to the Sugar Shack) 3:20
2. “Good Luck” (It’s Going to Hurt Right Now) 3:18
3. “Secret” (Just Bring Me a Jar Full of Shine) 4:41
4. “Play the Fool” (The Way That Girls Talk) 3:18
5. “Good Things” (Boy with a Bomb in His Jacket) 5:56
6. “Open My Eyes” (Folding Like a Jack Knife) 3:56
7. “Rich and the Poor” (Her Teeth Bound by Braces) 5:15
8. “Belle Starr” (The Gem Inside Sparkles Yet) 4:35
9. “Where I’ve Been” (The Habit Wasn’t Cheap) 6:18
10. “Destination on Course” (Slipped from the Rail) 7:06

REVIEW: Psycho Circus – Scarred (1993)

This was one of the first, if not the first, discs I bought with my staff discount at the record store!  I wonder if Deke remembers these guys?


PSYCHO CIRCUS – Scarred (Anthem 1993)

20 years ago, Psycho Circus were one of the bands hyped as the “next big thing” out of Canada. They originated in Mississauga, Ontario, just west of Toronto.  They signed with SRO management (Rush, Van Halen, King’s X, Extreme) and producer Terry Brown (also Rush) and released a trendy but still unique goth-rap-funk-metal album called Scarred.  They also released a music video for the excellent “Pulsate”.

These guys were hanging out with old dudes way before Our Lady Peace.

The problem with Psycho Circus is their split personality.  On one hand (roughly half the album) they inhabit this cool, dark land I call Diet Faith No More.  Singer Vince Franchi has the lungs and range to emulate Patton’s style on The Real Thing.  Their cool use of keyboards also reminds me of that band, but without the dementia.  On the other hand, there’s a goofy rap-funk side, which does not appeal to me in the least.  I think funk metal got stale very quickly, and the juvenile lyrics render the rapping limp.  “Acid Monkey Junk”, a song about the testing of cosmetics on animals, is painful at time.  “Monkeys in the ocean and fishes in the trees?”

A M.E.A.T Magazine interview by Karen Bliss, from 1993, reveals that the band had already dropped even more irritating material from their live set.  They name a discarded song called “Picky Purple People” as being particularly notable for its silliness.  Glad I didn’t have to hear that one.


I prefer the Diet Faith No More side of the band: hard, melodic and dark songs like “Thru the Backbone” (which also features rapping in a non-annoying way).  “Pulsate” is easily the best song on the album, demonstrating Franchi’s impressive vocal range and power.  I’m also fond of the angry “I Know”, the haunting “Leave Me Alone”, and the closer “Goodbye”.  The rest of the album is unfortunately skip-worthy and occasionally irritating to me.

There was also a CD single made for “I Know” featuring an exclusive “Psylicone Mix”.  Although I don’t enjoy the remix as much as the album version, it’s notable for being remixed by Brown and the band, not some outsider.  I happened upon this single within my first year at the record store, and it surely must be one of the rarest discs I have.

For half a good album:

2.5/5 stars

M.E.A.T Magazine