terry kilgore

REVIEW: David Lee Roth – DLR Band (1998)

DLR BAND_0001

DAVID LEE ROTH / DLR BAND: DLR Band (1998 wawazat!!)

In 1998, David Lee Roth was angry. He’d been conned by Van Halen into appearing on the MTV awards with them to promote their new greatest hits, and implying that Dave was back. Dave was not back. Van Halen released the derided Van Halen III with Gary Cherone earlier in ’98, while Dave sat back waiting to unleash the DLR Band.

The DLR Band consisted of Dave himself on vocals, John 5 (yes, the John 5) and Terry Kilgore on guitar, and Ray Luzier on drums. Of course, today John 5 is well known for his work with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, and Ray Luzier is in Korn. Terry Kilgore had been working with Dave since 1994’s Your Filthy Little Mouth. Cover art was simple, a picture of Bettie Page over an American flag and no real indication that this was David Lee Roth. A lot of stores didn’t know either, and filed it under “DLR Band” instead of Roth, guaranteeing lack of sales.

So this was one smokin’ band, and with John 5 on board, a hot guitarist to rival the flaming fingers of St. Eddie. John 5 sounds to me like a cross between Van Halen, Steve Stevens and Tom Morello. For the bluesier sounds on the album, Terry Kilgore’s strat aptly filled the gaps. And that basically sums up the album. It goes from bluesier grooves such as “Lose The Dress (Keep The Shoes)” to space-age fast-paced VH shuffles like “Slam Dunk!” Additional guitar and writing is supplied by Mike Hartman.

IMG_00001056Dave’s not as poetic on the lyrics this time, with “Counter-Blast” being particularly bad. I can’t think of one good song about the internet, and this is no exception. “I’m gonna fax you into the atom age”? “Your page or mine”? Sorry Dave. Stick with what you know. Hot cars, girls, a drink and some philosophy of life.

Highlights for me are many. On the faster, space-age side are “Slam Dunk!”, “Relentless”, and the aforementioned “Counter-Blast” which is great musically. On the groovier, sleezier side are “Wa Wa Zat!!”, “Weekend With The Babysitter”, and “Lose The Dress (Keep The Shoes)”. The album ends with “Black Sand”, an atmospheric sunset-stained journey. But really, there are no lowlights on this album of strong rock songs. No ballads.

The sound of the album is crisp and tight, recorded in just 10 days like the Van Halen albums of old. No gloss, no flourishes, no flashy production except in John 5’s guitars. Where this album differs most from Van Halen classics is Dave’s voice. On the old albums, Dave could hide his voice’s weaknesses behind Mike and Ed’s backing vocals. Here, Dave’s voice is naked, sometimes flat, sometimes sharp, sometimes wheezing.

Having said that, I still recommend DLR band to fans of Roth who love that attitude and hot guitar. However, if you’re expecting the man to sing like he’s 25 again, best to stick to the old albums.

4/5 stars

Advertisements

REVIEW: David Lee Roth – Your Filthy Little Mouth (Japanese import)

DLR FRONT

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!

DLR STICKER

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).