Rock n Roll Rebels & the Sunset Strip is quite the impressive accomplishment. Actually, outside of those Time Life collections of greatest hits, I don't think anything like this has been attempted like this before. At least not for this music scene. Stephen Craig of Eonian Records and JohnnyX of The Wild have dug through the basements and closets of 36 Sunset Strip bands to introduce you to bands that never quite had the success of a Poison or Guns N Roses. In this sense, this mammoth four disc collection is not a greatest hits collection. It's more of the greatest, or the best, of the rest.
Every band gets a two song shot, for a total of 72 songs at nearly five hours of music. Most every song here was previously unreleased and intended to sway a label for a contract. If you're familiar with Eonian Records' previous releases you may recognize some of the bands like Rattlesnake Shake, Charlemagne or Charlotte (Medusa Groove is a personal favorite). Check out the Rock n Roll Rebels & the Sunset Strip product page at Eonian Records for a complete list of all bands and songs. You can also sample some of the songs.
I'm not going to make the impossible attempt to speak to every band and song, but rather make some general observations. First, the songs arrive with varying degrees of quality depending upon the source material. Yet with some audio restoration and re-mastering, most everything sounds pretty good. Second, as for "that" sound, everything about the bands and the music is instantly recognizable: this is classic Eighties melodic hard rock and heavy metal from the crazy heyday of the Sunset Strip. Check your hair spray, spandex, and torn jeans. The music roars with bravado and groove, lots of melody, catchy choruses, and burning guitar solos. Some bands went for the snotty punk angst side, others for balls to the walls hard rock, others for a more bluesy style. Even the gals gets some representation from the all female band Hardly Dangerous, an act, if recollection serves, is still performing (although the recordings here are a bit challenging).
Third, this menagerie is well-packaged. There's a lengthy narration of the times from JohnnyX and Adam Gifford (Paradise) which sways between history and personal reminiscence. But the best parts are the band pages complete with pictures where you learn of the band name origins, their musical influences and approach to their own tunes, and recordings, if any, they made. Actually, some of the band names are rather humorous. Imagine World Peace. Sam Mann and Thee Apes. Deaf, Dumb, and Blonde. New Improved God. And, my favorite, The Mimes, which made me immediately think of that scene in This Is Spinal Tap where Billy Crystal admonishes his coworker, "Come on get moving. Mime is money."
The bottom line here is rather simple: in the muck and mire of Hollywood's underbelly, there were a lot of talented musicians and bands simply wanting to be heard. Some really good, maybe some not so much. Now, here's your chance to give them a voice and an ear to their music. If you were there back in the day, maybe not necessarily on the Strip, but digging the rock and groove of that sound, this collection will entertain and overwhelm. Now, put on that sleeveless denim jacket with the band patches (if it still fits) and buy Rock n Roll Rebels & the Sunset Strip. Quite recommended.
In the muck and mire of Hollywood's underbelly, there were a lot of talented musicians and bands simply wanting to be heard, but never made it. Some really good, maybe some not so much. Now, here's your chance to give them a voice and an ear to their music. If you were there back in the day, maybe not necessarily on the Strip, but digging the rock and groove of that sound, this collection will entertain.
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