Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Le Mans ~ Le Mans (aka debut)



(No official website.)
Style: hard rock, glam
Label: Song Haus Music
Year: 1986
Home: San Francisco, California (disbanded)

Members: Derek Frigo ~ guitar
Johnny Johnson ~ guitars/keyboards/b. vocals
Peter Marrino ~ vocals
Brett Bloomfield ~ bass
Kenny Stavropoulos ~ drums


Dokken, Def Leppard & Bon Jovi are the first well-known bands that come to mind listening to Le Mans, named after the world's oldest sports car race. Sadly, in the opposite situation when thinking of Dokken or the others Le Mans is not a band that comes to mind, as their San Francisco radio friendly hair metal sound should be far more well-known than it is or was. Albeit, that might be the problem ... their self-titled second album is so radio friendly & so run of the mill in terms of their peers that there really wasn't anything unique about this band to propel them into the spotlight regardless of how memorable their hooks are or great their composing skills. There lots of well-known 80's bands who are more famous than Le Mans but far less interesting who only got on the charts because of a single hit song. Le Mans just never had their hit single. Le Mans was in the right place at the right time with the right music but just didn't have the luck. While today their sound is so dated that they have become a historical remnant of lost musical days. But, there's something in lost days & there's a reason glam/hair metal in its prime became a near national identity as much as the hippie era, considering the number of musical movements that have come & gone without becoming a national movement. Many of the bands that last beyond the 80's were the thrashers & metal bands that had never achieved the levels of success that their hair rock peers did & so had little to lose & still a lot they could gain. Le Mans is anything but heavy & raw. The playing is great, frontman Marrino has a great voice that doesn't fall into the falsetto habit, the songs are memorable & it's incredibly well-polished with all the 80's trademark solos, ballads & even little keyboard flourishes. The songs also cry out to the youth with such lyrics as "don't wanna work to make a living just wanna rock till I die" from "Don't Wanna Work". Le Mans are nothing unique, totally cock rock 80's but the music is fun, which is essentially what the 80's music scene was about. Whether it was Madonna, Boy George, Talking Heads or Le Mans, it was an era of fun that was lost. This obscure release is well worth hunting up for those who would prefer to pretend that bands are still making music this much fun, while shredding is what you do to a guitar & not to paper, something many contemporary supposeldy lead guitarists have yet to discern. Marrino would later find some modest success with Megadeth's Marty Friedman in guitarist Jason Becker's Cacophony project whould would also feature Le Mans drummer Kenny Stravropoulos on their second album.


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