Alice Cooper, Carmine Appice, David Michael-Philips, Eugene B Sims, Eugeology, Johnny Rod, Jon Lowder, Kick Axe, King Kobra, Kix, Marcie Free, Mick Sweda, Pasha Records, Quiet Riot, Ready to Strike, Spencer Proffer, That Metal Show, Tia Carrere, W.A.S.P., Yngwie Malmsteen
Last week’s selection was a bit weird for me. I liked it okay, but didn’t love it. That’s fine, it happens. Of course, Jon and Eugene are behind. They’ll catch up, probably. But, more of the Eugeology train…
#17 – Ready to Strike by King Kobra.
All I ever knew of this band was the promo pics of Carmine Appice, in his cheesy tiger-striped spandex bodysuit and fu-manchu mustache, advertising either drums, cymbals or sticks. I thought it looked silly, even though I was into stuff like that. Something about Carmine that always made me not like him. I really don’t know what that is because when he was on That Metal Show he seemed like a genuinely cool guy. Anywhat!
This came up and I wondered why I hadn’t ever thought to listen to it. I guess it just wasn’t something I necessarily wanted to hear. That happens and preconceived notions are, sometimes, very restrictive. So, I kranked this up (see what I did there?) and let it fly. I thought I was listening to some Yngwie Malmsteen or something because of all the chiming synths and Gothic sounds. That, on its own, isn’t like Eugene, but on the whole, I have to think of the Alice Cooper, Kix and Kick Axe that he likes and, well, okay, it makes sense. I have been surprised by some of the poppy-happy albums that he puts on this list, though. Not disappointed in that, but surprised.
Carmine does a good job on the album. The guitar work on this album, that of David Michael-Philips and Mick Sweda, is at times really flashy. However, it’s all classy and not gratuitous. I really like the guitars’ tone on this album. It’s meaty and beefy and fills the whole album with sonic fullness. A then-unknown Johnny Rod (he later got some recognition with W.A.S.P.) does some sweet bass runs and glissando and holds that bottom end, deep. Musically this album is solid. But, as usual in these Eugeology albums, for me, the real highlight lies in the vocals.
Marcie Free (then she was known as Mark) has a phenomenal voice! It’s depth ranges from near-glass-shattering highs to ear-rattling power to heart-breaking emotion. She picks just the right attribute to use in each performance. The only part I didn’t like from her was this crazy falsetto thing in one of the songs. I have gone back and now I can’t find it, but it’s not that important. She makes this album great. Spencer Proffer (and Carmine) do a nice on the production, too. It’s full and bombastic. What you’d expect from 1985, I’d say.
Some of my favorite songs on Ready to Strike are “Hunger” (written by Kick Axe – no wonder Eug likes this), “Dancing With Desire,” “Second Thoughts.” My absolute fave on the album is “Tough Guys.” It is awesome. There are a couple of songs that I don’t care for and I can’t put my finger on what they are. Those would be “Shake Up” and “Attention.” Well, I know what bothers me about “Shake Up.” Those lyrics are that whole “fist in the air/live for rock and roll” mess. I don’t like that. “Attention,” I guess, sounds like “Walk Like An Egyptian” on speed and then they switch to Tia Carrere’s version of “Ballroom Blitz.” I don’t know why I don’t like those, but I don’t. Two of the songs were co-written by Kick Axe, the aforementioned “Hunger” and “Piece of the Rock.” Spencer Proffer (Pasha Records – think Quiet Riot) is all over the song-writing credits, too. And someone that is named H. Banger, which to me, sounds like a pen name for someone. I’m pretty sure the “H” stands for Head. I find nothing on this person in my searches.
All-in-all, it’s a great album with but a few clunkers. I’d say that’s still a good thing. I want to read E & J’s takes on it. I may hear from them around Father’s Day on this one. I also want to hear from you, Dear Reader. What do you know/think of this album? I look forward to responses. What’s next, Eug?
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Don’t ask why… Cause we all know that tough guys don’t cry. The world’s greatest lie is that all of us tough guys don’t cry” – “Tough Guys” (King Kobra/Banger/Proffer)