Tag Archives: george lynch

The REAL Top 10 Hair Metal Bands aka screw you Loudwire

 

I love music lists.

I know they are mainly designed just to infuriate readers who will then hopefully share the link and generate clicks. Still, I love them. Especially when they are horribly wrong. One of the recent ones that fit this criteria is from Loudwire. The just released the 10 Best Hair Metal Bands. I expected this to be off since everyone that works at Loudwire probably weren’t born when this genre was at the top

So in another excuse to take someone else’s idea and write something about, here is the actual 10 Best Hair Metal Bands.

Let’s get one thing out of the way, I loathe the moniker “hair metal”. It was a term thought up by music writers that had come into power with the grunge/alt rock wave. It was their not so clever way to diminish and invalidate the genre that they didn’t like. In all genre’s of music there were great bands and then the waves after of horrible imitators.

Also, let’s loosely define what “hair metal” is. For me I say it is hard rock with a commercial sensibility. A buddy came up with the term “hard pop” and I think that’s fair. There has to be either a dreamboat of a lead singer or a shred meister on guitar. Lyrics should have a bit of a blue streak to them. Power ballads are not a must but extremely encouraged.

Anyway, here is the list from Loudwire.

10. Dokken
9. Whitesnake
8. Cinderella
7. Poison
6. Ratt
5. Skid Row
4. W.A.S.P.
3. Twisted Sister
2. Def Leppard
1. Mötley Crüe

The list as a whole is not bad but there are a couple big mistakes. Two of them should not be on it. W.A.S.P. is not a hair metal band. They were more shock rock and traditional metal, even though they did dip their toes in the hair metal pond with the excellent power ballad “Forever Free”.

The other band that shouldn’t be on the list is Twisted Sister. Being honest, they are a glorified one hit wonder. While Stay Hungry is an excellent album the rest of their output is “eh”. Not to undercut the impact of Stay Hungry, more specifically the videos. However, one good album does not warrant being on this list.

If you listen to the Hair Nation channel on Sirius XM you will hear several acts that are not Hair Metal. Tesla is just a straight up rock band. Queensryche are a metal band that just had a big power ballad. Scorpions were extremely popular in the 70’s beforehand.

The other band I am removing is Poison. While they were an extremely popular act. One that you could argue are the poster boys for the genre, they just aren’t as good as the others.

10-Def Leppard-There is no denying how awesome their first 4 LP’s are. I listened to High N Dry the other day and it is still a mother trucker. So good. The reason I have them this low is because how they have distanced themselves from the genre and fanbase that loved them. In hindsight, it may have been a smart move since they are still playing big shows. However, I’d argue that it is because they were one of the biggest acts of that time.

9-White Lion-Pretty boy lead singer

Shredding guitar god

Huge power ballad √

While they did have three keys to this genre, they were also a really good band. 4 solid albums is nothing to sneeze at. As a whole they hold up better than one would think. Plus, I love their cover of Radar Love. Lastly, the fact that after the band broke up, guitarist Vito Bratta just said “fuck it!!” and left the music industry is bad ass.

8-Warrant-There are several bands that were severely harmed by their biggest hit. Extreme and Saigon Kick were so different than the songs they became known for. While “Cherry Pie” was a big hit and a popular video, it became an anchor for the band. It’s a shame because they were so much more. I remember driving and listening to Z-Rock, anyone remember that? I heard this heavy yet catchy song that blew my mind. When the DJ said it was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Warrant I was dumbfounded. Previously, they were just a band that was there but that song changed my mind. Then they released the acoustic version of “I Saw Red” and was all in. But the “Cherry Pie” video with all it’s over the top cliché was the perfect touchstone for naysayers. Unfortunate because the band never got a fair chance withtheir follow-up Dog Eat Dog an oustanding album. Even their “grunge” album Ultraphobic is good. Plus, the two albums they have recorded with new singer Robert Mason hold their own with the catalog.

7-Cinderella-This is another band that is wrongfully pigeon-holed. When you look at the cover of their first album, they are totally glammed out. Because of that I think they are thought of as a Poison clone when they are clearly not. The sound is a lot heavier than one thinks. Tom Keifer’s voice is one of the more unique ones plus being a fantastic songwriter too. Cinderella really made a leap from Night Songs to Long Cold Winter. Heartbreak Station was a slip though. Keifer’s throat problems have hurt the band more than once tour-wise hindering their growth. Every time they seemed poise to have a comeback and do something big it ended up not happening. Plus, they made the most awesome commercial for a chili dog stand..

6-Dokken-It’s funny researching all these bands, it seems like 4 albums in and it goes off the rails. Same with Dokken but I get why they broke up, Don is kind of an ass and George is no saint himself. The band has an interesting backstory in that Don essentially joined George’s band yet somehow they ended up using Don’s last name. In between all the ego clashes and silliness, they released some essential albums. Great mix of a commercial sound with a heaviness to it. Plus Lynch was a monster player. Even their comeback album Dysfunctional is good. It was originally released in Japan simply titled Dokken. It sold so well that Elektra in the States picked it up, added some songs and remixed it. Get the original Japanese version as it sounds more like classic Dokken while the US version tries to make them sound alternative. It still sold over 300k copies which is amazing at that time. Since then been a lot of misses and drama. The Erase the Slate album with Reb Beach on guitar is severely overlooked. I think most of the criticism of the band nowadays is because of the band fighting than the music. Shame.

5-RATT-It has always amazed me how overlooked RATT are. I don’t know if it’s because they were one of the first bands to break through but they have a fantastic catalog. The 5 studio albums have at least 2 hits per. That doesn’t even include their EP with “You Think You’re Tough” arguably their best song. They never had the big power ballad that others did but I kind of respect them for not forcing one. Warren DeMartini was the requisite guitar hero and he’s still held on high regard. Bonus points for their comeback album Infestation being so good it holds its own. The legal fighting over who holds the band name has not helped the bands profile though.

4-Whitesnake-Now some may wonder how I can include Whitesnake here when I left off the Scorpions since both bands were active in the 70’s. One, it’s my list. Two, Whitesnake was basically a blues band until John Sykes joined the band and guitar driven, stripper anthems emerged. I have always said if there is a Stripping Hall Of Fame, Whitesnake should be in there. The amount of dollar bills that went flying because songs from the ’87 album came on is innumerable. The album before it, Slide It In is often overlooked and is the blueprint for ‘87. While the videos of Tawne Kittaen and multiple Jaguars looks silly, the songs still hold up after all these years. The lyrics are dripping with sexual innuendo that became passe, listening to them now they just seem fun. A deep dive is the import album Starker in Tokyo, an acoustic album with just Dave and Adrian Vandenberg. The last two releases Good To Be Bad and Forevermore should not be overlooked.

3-Skid Row-Rolling Stone magazine once declared Sebastian Bach as the last genetically engineered front man. While it has been decades since they wrote that I still thinks it holds true. He was like David Lee Roth with an anger streak. He’s tall and good looking with unbelievable pipes and he knows it. They had the huge power ballad but they were able to not be defined by it. Amazingly they got heavier as they went along. Seeing the video for “Slave To The Grind” after being bombarded by “ I Will Remember You” the previous year was like seeing a color TV the first time. You have to remember on this album they took Pantera out as their opener. After that came Subhuman Race, released in 1995 and is one of the greatest albums that most people never heard. I understand some will say I have them too high since they ostensibly had only 3 albums and most only heard of two.

They need to revisit the catalog.

2-Motley Crüe– It’s tempting to put this band at number one just because of their autobiography The Dirt. Seriously, that book is a degenerate bible. And I mean that in a good way. Nonetheless, the band’s music is pretty legendary. They ended on Dr. Feelgood, their biggest album which is highly unusual. Motley seemed to go up a rung on every album while changing their look and style. Even weirder they changed the logo every album too. No one has ever done that. They sounded so raw on Too Fast For Love that it’s almost punk. It’s a shame Elektra cleaned it up the mix, that’s why you should try to find the original copy on Leathur Records . I don’t know if it’s a demerit but for me their best album is Motley Crue the one without Vince Neil. John Corabi added so much as a singer and lyricist it’s a shame we didn’t get to hear more. Still there are hits after hits on the Neil ones. Look at the setlist for the retirement shows and there are at least a half dozen songs they could’ve added. I know I should take off points for their obvious “going through the motions” retirement tour. Tommy’s drum kit messing up on the last show was an unfortunate yet fitting coda for them.

1-Winger-OK. I know people are calling me names after seeing I have Winger at number 1. I don’t care. I think they are the best band of this genre. Forget about the videos of Kip dancing around and concentrate on the music. Incredibly well crafted hard rock. They were the perfect package. The band are all incredibly competent musicians. Kip studied classical music before playing with Alice Cooper where he met guitarist/keyboardist Paul Taylor. Reb Beach had been a sought after session guitarist and drummer Rod Morgenstein played with the Dixie Dregs. Plus they had the songs. Their MTV popularity was what killed them when Beavis and Butthead came in to popularity. A real shame because they had just released Pull, a truly great album. If given a chance I think people would see the growth they always accused the band of not being capable of. Winger broke up but got back together for IV. After that was Karma and lastly Better Days Comin‘. The band has figured out a schedule to work around everyone’s solo stuff and get back together and make great music. That freedom allows the band to relax and just be themselves. They don’t seem to run from their history like others. Time has passed and on and the line “She’s Only Seventeen” gets changed to “She’s Only 43” at shows nowadays. It’s perfectly pays homage to the song while acknowledging that everyone has gotten older. Older but still having fun.

So there its is. I doubt many, if any, will agree with my list. That’s fine. If you haven’t listened to any of the albums I used to justify a bands rating. I urge you to give it a spin and see if I changes your mind.

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Sweet & Lynch-Only To Rise

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Geez, another project album?

Really?

This one features Michael Sweet of Stryper fame on vocals joined by the magical fingers of guitarist George Lynch. Somehow these two men who have been creating music for most of their lives came up with the name Sweet & Lynch.

Ugh.

That “moniker” does not reek of creative genius for the prospective buyer. Band name aside, the prospect of these two guys working together is intriguing. The last Stryper album was good as was Michael’s subsequent solo offering. The same can be said of George’s latest output. The two Lynch Mob EP’s were terrific and his other project band, KXM, was on many people’s Top 10 lists. Also have to mention that the band is rounded out with the rhythm section of James Lomenzo and Brian Tichy. Two very capable veterans that have played together and with a variety of acts,

One of the main reasons this intrigued me so much was to hear Michael Sweet away from Stryper’s safety net. I was never really a big fan of them. The religious stuff was a bit too heavy handed plus the outfits were just silly. The prospect of him being able to shun those restraints is very appealing.

Sweet & Lynch sound exactly as you might think, a more melodic sounding Lynch Mob. At times it does sound a bit more Stryper-ish. That is heard right from the get go on “The Wish”. It gets a bit slinkier on “Dying Rose” with it’s Lynch Mob sound but Michael’s voice gives it that something extra. His high pitched vocals return on “Recover”. With George’s playing it really hearkens back to the glory days. Now the track that George shows off the most on is “Divine”. The guitar sound is so nasty sounding it’s almost pornographic. Only To Rise ends with the title track, probably my favorite song on the album. Brian Tichy’s double bass drumming really amps it up and makes it one of the heaviest tracks any of the guys has done.

With the pedigree of these two you expect a power ballad. Naturally there are a couple with “Love Stay” being the best. The rhythm section really help and takes a song that could have been very generic into something a lot more interesting. “Me Without You” is a nice one as well, though it seem to echo Dokken’s “Alone Again”.

Purely accidental I’m sure.

Sadly there are a couple of misses here. “Stretch in Numbers” sounds like they never knew which way to take the song. The keyboard is so out front you wonder if George just forgot to play on it. Then there’s “Hero Zero” which has some of the silliest lyrics I’ve heard in a long time. The hero is a zero, he’s just a highwayman. That’s bad. So bad that it ruins what could of been a good song.

It’s a shame that the new release shelf has been flooded with so many of these projects. I think fans may have soured on the gimmick-ness of these “dream projects” and in turn they overlook the ones that are actually good. Sweet & Lynch is one of those good ones with Only To Rise delivering on it’s promise of mixing together Stryper and Dokken into a audibly tasty treat. If you are a fan of either of those bands I recommend Sweet & Lynch wholeheartedly.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-buy it as a used CD

$1.00-streaming it on Spotify

$0-Not worth the drive space

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Top 10 Dokken Songs

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If it’s rockin’ it’s got to be Dokken!

Once again I am using the great podcast Rock An Or Roll as the basis for an article. Greg Renoff returns but this time, he and host BJ are talking about Dokken. I am in agreement with them in feeling that Dokken is a vastly underrated band. I believe they get dismissed for their videos that do not seem to age well. Musically they can be denied. Don Dokken was a master at creating a nice blend of melodic yet heavy rock songs. Plus George Lynch is a monster on guitar. In the podcast they do a nice job of giving a history of the band with some info that I’ve never heard of before. Instead of Don becoming the singer for Exciter, which was George’s band, he somehow convinced them to join him. Supposedly he took the Exciter demo around, which he didn’t sing on, around and got the band a record deal. There is some other cool tidbits that you should listen to the podcast for.
After going album by album they gave their respective Top 10 songs. The songs are from the albums that had the original Dokken line-up. So no Erase The Slate with Reb Beach on guitar that I loved. Greg did include a song from Dysfunctional, the 1995 reunion album that BJ is not too fond of. Also I do need to point out that I did not include “Mr. Scary”. While it is an outstanding bit of playing, it’s an instrumental. Also, the reunion album Dysfunctional was a remix of the Japan import Dokken, that came out a year before. Dokken is vastly superior. One Night Live was another import that was released before Dysfunctional came out over here. When Dokken came out the store I was working in sold about 30 copies. That’s an impressive number considering what was popular at the time plus it cost $30. I do recommend going on eBay and buying a copy.
So here’s my list of the Top 10 Dokken songs.
Honorable Mention: Usually it ticks me off when people do this but since BJ did it, I guess I will too.
From the Beginning-One Night Live– I know there is a version on Dysfunctional but I like this one better. It’s a little more subdued and not as bright as the other. Bonus points for choosing something not so expected.

10-”Til The Livin’ End” from Under Lock and Key-This is one of the heaviest songs Dokken ever did. It is borderline metal. Great solo from George and Mick Brown shows what a powerhouse drummer he can be.

9-”Paris Is Burning” from Breaking The Chains-This was a song that was originally done by Exciter but re-recorded by Dokken. Staring off with some shredding from George, it also features some trademark Dokken harmonies.

8-Prisoner from Back For The Attack-In all honesty this is a pedestrian song but what does it for me is that dual guitar hook at the beginning of the song that comes back at the chorus. Those 4 simple notes are irresistible.

7-”Just Got Lucky” from Tooth and Nail– This was one of their bigger songs and I think it showcases all the bands strengths. Great singalong chorus too. Quick aside, this was when George was looking like Limahl from Kajagoogoo.

6-”Long Way Home” from Dokken– The version on the reunion album to clarify. While Dysfunctional is good, the self-titled is better. It was mixed like a Dokken record while Dysfunctional was mixed for a mid-90’s American audience. This song I think is a great representation of the band, just down tuned. Great riff and chorus.

5-”It’s Not Love” from Under Lock and Key– Just like “Prisoner” a simple guitar lick is the hook. I love how it slow builds to the chorus. Another great singalong chorus plus the spoken word section is what clenches it for me.

4-”Burning Like A Flame” from Back For The Attack-Another track that starts slow then kicks it in to high gear. It’s a very commercial sounding song but it’s oh so good.

3-”The Maze” from Dokken– Once again this version is better than the Dysfunctional one. I know it’s strange that I chose this ballad when “Alone Again” is one of their most popular tracks. I think this is a more mature ballad while the others were “obligations”. The acoustic version is pretty solid too.

2-In My Dreams from Under Lock and Key-The harmonies on this track are amazing. Simple, hooky chorus and great playing from George and he shows that you can show virtuosity in the confines of a pop song.

1-”Into The Fire”Tooth and NailTooth and Nail is not the best sounding of their albums. However, I think it’s that sound that I love about this song. It’s not as slick as the other stuff. Once again the harmonies on the chorus are infectious. Again, a great singalong that you cannot help but like. I’ve always loved that little breakdown that comes after the guitar solo.

Just like my Top 10 KISS songs of the 80’s list, this could change if you ask me tomorrow. In fact I’m pretty sure that I will change the order in between finishing the final draft. Dokken is a great band that the wave of Seattle swept away, unfortunately. However, we can still appreciate them by digging out our vinyl, still have mine, and cranking it up. We’ll just forget all the bad hairdo’s George and Don sported and enjoy the tunes.

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Dokken-Broken Bones

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By all accounts Broken Bones will be the last new release to carry the Dokken name. Singer/founder Don Dokken has stated that it is time for him to move on and try something new. The question you have to ask, is this a graceful bow out or the final nail in the coffin.

Not to be wishy washy but it’s a little of both. Broken Bones starts off in classic Dokken style with “Empire”. It has the distinctive sound accompanied with the signature harmonies combine for a track that could have come out during their heyday. Puzzlingly, it is followed by the mid-paced title track and loses any momentum that the album may have had. Thankfully there are three rockers right after that. Highlight of those is the outstanding “Blind”. Song quality aside, it shows that Don has been a very underrated songwriter. He is able to take a well worn subject and eschew the normal cliches that would come with it. For me the standout of the album is “Today”. It is just a tremendous ballad that evokes the unplugged album, One Night Live, they did many moons ago.

There is one aspect that needs to be addressed. Obviously, George Lynch is no longer in the and band. His replacement is Jon Levin and Broken Bones is his third album with Dokken. I think that tenure has paid off as there seems to be a better chemistry than on previous releases. Sometimes his playing does seem to pay homage, aka sound a lot like Mr. Scary, but I guess that is to be expected.

So is this a fitting way to go out? I think so. All in all Broken Bones is a good album, out of the 11 songs there are only a couple are duds .The past couple of Dokken albums have been spotty at best so if this is the final release then they went out well.

That is until the original lineup get back together next summer.

Purely speculation.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

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