REVIEW: Impellitteri – Stand In Line (1988)

3000th POST!

IMPELLITTERI – Stand In Line (1988 Relativity)

There was a time when I’d buy any “supergroup” with members that I knew.  Impellitteri had three:  Graham Bonnet (Rainbow – vocals), Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot – bass) and Pat Torpey (Mr. Big – drums).  This release on Relativity records is basically a showcase for guitarist Chris Impellitteri, and unfortunately that’s exactly what it sounds like.  In the credits, Chris states “I promise that my guitar solos will only get faster”.  That should tell you everything you need to know about Stand in Line.

Sounding indistinguishable from an Yngwie album, the title track goes first.  It boasts some pretty mean Graham Bonnet vocals, but the song sounds exactly like Malmsteen to a “tee”.  And it’s one of the best songs.  The star is actually Pat Torpey (rest in peace, rock soldier) who rarely got to drum so heavy.

A couple misguided covers don’t do this album any favours.  The new version of “Since You Been Gone” metalizes the Rainbow original, and it can’t stand up under the weight.  (Interesting note:  this track features Randy Rand from Autograph on bass.)  It’s too stiff, too schooled, too…supergroup-y.  Same with “Over the Rainbow”, which has some beautiful runs, but is otherwise overplayed.  Squealing solos don’t compensate for Ritchie Blackmore, or a tight band.

Highlights:  “Stand In Line”, “Tonight I Fly”.
Turds:  “White and Perfect”, a song about colonialism!

Credit where it’s due:  Chuck Wright plays some unison lines in sync with Chris Impellitteri, showing off abilities that he doesn’t often exploit.  Likewise with Pat Torpey.  Unfortunately Stand in Line is too generic (if you can call “Yngwie” an actual genre), and there’s already one neo-classical shredder on the top of the pile.  Impellitteri spices his playing up with some Van Halen-esque tricks, but all I can hear is Yngwie, and you will too, right down to the production.  Most of the pleasure derived from this album is courtesy of Graham Bonnet, but chances are you already own this if you’re a Bonnet obsessive-compulsive!

2/5 stars

Side note:  This CD was salvaged by me, as it had been close to ruined by a house fire!  Somebody sold me his stinky CD collection, many of which were scorched.  The smell (burned paper and plastic) was unholy. This was one of the lesser-destroyed albums, but you can still see some browning on the top edge of the inside cover, where the smoke and heat got to it. With a lot of effort and gentle cleaning products, I eliminated of the smell and most of the stains.


Part 186: The Van Halen Tin

RECORD STORE TALES Part 186:  The Van Halen Tin

March 17, 1998.  The wait was over – Van Halen 3 was out!

Van Halen’s 3 was kind of like The Phantom Menace for me:  I was really excited about it, so much that it clouded my judgement of the music.  I wanted new Van Halen so bad I would have taken just about anything I guess.  Just like I would take Phantom Menace the following year.  T-Rev, always the level-headed one, questioned whether I was enjoying the album more simply because of the absurd money that I had paid for it.

I paid $45 for the “collector’s tin”.  I was hoping for bonus tracks, but there was nothing like that.  A pick, a tin, some paper stuff, a sticker.  It was still pretty cool to look at, and collectible.

I was living with T-Rev at the time.  I was and still am very “OCD” about my CD collection.  I don’t lend discs out anymore for example.  Back then and today I am very fussy about the condition of the album.

A day or two after Van Halen came out, our buddy Neil came by to play N64 and have a beer.  I was working the night shift that night, so I didn’t get in until after 9.  When I came in, I played some N64 with Neil and headed off to bed.

The next day I woke up and wanted to play the new Van Halen.  I grabbed it off my CD tower, and noticed something…not right.  A fingerprint!  On the tin!  I could see it!  But it wasn’t mine!  Before I filed it, I distinctly remember wiping the tin.  It had no fingerprints!

When T-Rev got up I asked him, “Hey, I know you wouldn’t have done it, you know me too well, but did Neil happen to look at my Van Halen 3 yesterday?”

T-Rev grinned and asked how I knew.  I explained the fingerprint.

“The funny thing,” said T-Rev, “is that I told Neil you were going to notice if he touched it!  He didn’t believe me!”

Trevor assured me that Neil was very careful with it, and didn’t touch the CD itself, etc. etc.  We couldn’t help laughing at the fact that I did notice.  That’s the OCD!  I had a lot invested in that Van Halen disc, emotionally and monetarily.

Listening to it today with fresh ears, it’s not the disaster that some (cough cough Craig Fee cough) think it is.  But it’s certainly not worthy of the praise that I gave it back in ’98.  If it were an Extreme album, it wouldn’t be the best Extreme album.  As a Van Halen album, well…