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)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Danger Danger ~ Screw It!

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: hair metal, hard rock, glam rock
Label: Epic
Year: 1991
Home: New York City

Members: Ted Poley ~ vocals

Andy Timmons ~ guitars/b. vocals
Bruno Ravel ~ bass/cello/b. vocals
Steve West ~ drums/b. vocals
Kasey Smith ~ keyboards

Additional: Koen Van Baal ~ programming/strings

Jimmie Haskell ~ strings
Erwin Musper ~ piano/b. vocals
Eddie Conard ~ percussion
Mom Ravel ~ violin
Dad Ravel ~ viola
Todd Confessore, Joss Mennen, Pete Lovell, Ginger Lynn , Denis Arabatzis, Lena Arabatzis, Chris Bello, Cathy Brandow, Castagna, Becky Cogert, Danny Delarue, Anthony DiGirolamo, James Eagan, Lance Elias, Merari Escudero, Amber G., Debbie GAnnelt, Briana Goldman, Karcy H., Kathryn, Heidi Katz, Dianna Kish, Hilary Korte, Veronica Mendoza, Mary Moore, Chris Mullins, Jennifer Mullins, Kelly F. Mullins, Normany Piccolo, Maria Ricci, Serge, Rob Simone, Keith Whitby, George Yates ~ b. vocals

Guests: Nuno Bettencourt, Gary Cherone, Pat Badger ~ b. vocals


Of interest to history buffs is that the original line-up of DD featured vocalist Mike Pont & future Megadeth guitarist Al Pitrelli, who would both quit when their joint writing was getting ignored & form the ill-fated Hotshot that would be courted by Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx as his new management project ... if only Vince Neil didn't need kicking out of the band the project might have materialized instead of landing in the gutter, though by this time Pitrelli was touring the world with Alice Cooper. All remnants of the Pont/Pitrelli days from sound to songs are wiped clean by the time of DD's second album Screw It!, the songwriting & path of the band nearly completely dominated by the creative union of founding members bassist Bruno Ravel & drummer Steve West. Pont/Pitrelli had a gritty underground NYC sound, but Ravel/West was a more polished pretty boy affair of slick guitars & lyrics shallowly focused on girls & parties ... successor frontman Ted Poley's habit of grabbing himself on stage, intentional or not, didn't help matters. Anyone questioning the potential longevity of such shallow music had their skeptism proven right when DD quickly faded into obscurity with the landing of grunge. Though, grunge would in turn pave a path for new types of equally shallow music, so it's trading one pawn with another. Rock & Roll will always be shallow on some level so it's really a matter of just enjoying it & calling it a day with that. DD's self-titled debut might be what made the band famous, with the oversexualized hits "Naughty Naughty" & "Bang Bang", & their flame might have never been rekindled with anything beyond that first parade out the door but Screw It! isn't a bad follow-up. It may not stretch the boundaries of its limited hair metal pallette but it does show a band with potential to grow musically if they're willing ... sadly, later releases would show they were happy to stay where they were & live off the success of that first release. DD's debut had no writing credits by Pont/Pitrelli but there were some songs on it demoed by that early line-up, plus most of the songs were written while still a struggling club band, while Screw It! is a band composing while their hair sprayed locks were gleaming gold in the newly discovered spotlight. Thus, Screw It! is a more cohesive whole than the debut. Following Screw It! Ted Poley & keyboardist Kasey Smith exited, replaced by vocalist Paul Laine while Ravel & West took took to playing all instruments, with occasional guests, & making DD less of a band & more of a vanity project with a static sound. None of the Laine era would ever have much of a commercial impact, so when one thinks of DD it is the debut & Screw It! that comes to mind & it's these two albums that have been touted by current sleaze rock revivalists as Steel Panther as an inspiration. But, one should be honest. There's a reason bands like this DD couldn't compete against Nirvana & grunge while others, for example Metallica & Soundgarden, got bigger. There's only so much sexual posing one can do before fans get restless for something new. Even over a single album it gets a bit tedious unless one is a top-notch songwriter. There are a few standout tracks: "Monkey Business", the obligatory acoustic power ballad "I Still Think About You" that reached MTV, "Crazy Nites" & "Everybody Wants Some" but nothing that is any different from earlier hits "Naughty Naughty" & "Bang Bang". Actually, it's amazing just how easily duplicated the hair metal sound is, as DD sounds like every band on the scene with no real distinct personality. Also, like so many of their peers the desire for a slick commercial sound actually works against the end result. Rock & Roll needs an impromptu feeling to rock & not just pop. Though, the shallow lyrical fair isn't much to work off of. Thus, essentially DD is all about having fun. This is party time music going full-throttle. Of course, Van Halen threw the same party a decade earlier but they knew when to pull back or aim for a target that was above the belt once in a while. DD has no interest in letting the party sink just because all that is left are the party crashers. You can't blame them. They worked hard to get as high as they did & its not their fault that the scene was over before they could prove themselves. There is really one embarressing track that deserves mention. "Yeah, You Want It!" ends the album with electronic beats & rapping right off of a Beastie Boys album. At the time DD probably thought they were cool, particularly as they're singing such lines as "went from L.A. Guns to Enuff Z'Nuff, you party with Poison on the back of their trucks ... Tipper says we're trash". As a bonus track it has merit, but followed by a campfire sing-along doesn't help, while today it just sounds dated. Next time include it as a hidden track. It's an ode to a world of rap long gone & for that is a gutsy inclusion.




No comments:

Post a Comment