By Bob Nalbandian

Metal Blade

Good, solid, hard-hitting rock 'n' roll! The former Lizzy Borden cast reinvent their sound and style to a much more simplistic yet modern brand of good ole foot-stompin' hard rock. Combining the '70s glam of bands like Slade and Sweet to late '70's era punk ala Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash with a strong hint of Hanoi Rocks, Starwood is bringing back Hollywood gutter-rock! Again, this is nothing that hasn't been recreated a number of times before, but Starwood certainly have the edge on other 70's throw-backs like The Vines and The Strokes who neither have the talent nor the proficiency to back them up. Starwood more than make up for their lack of originality with high-potency guitar rock backed by a charismatic attitude, solid musicianship and great vocal harmonies from Lizzy. Lyrically, and often times musically, the songs take you back to the early '80s when rock and New Wave collided with the stylistic and creative sounds of The Talking Heads, Joe Jackson, The Plimsols, and The Cars but with a much harder edge. The lyrics are fun and melodies are catchy although at times overly poppy, but it somehow seems to work well. Starwood certainly can deliver the goods and with the right marketing and promotion, Metal Blade could very well have another success story [ala Goo Goo Dolls] on their hands.


Who would have thought that after all these years of well-deserved DuBrow-bashing I would actually find myself writing a good review on Quiet Riot. Either rock'n'roll is at an all-time low or I actually feel sorry for that poor bastard who's gone from recording one of the best-selling hard rock records of all-time to playing at nudist colonies in order to make a buck! Deadline Records actually dubs this album Quiet Riot Live & Rare Volume1, as if there's a second volume's worth of 'live & rare' material on the horizon. All jokes aside, this is actually a solid, rockin' live album - something that is indeed a rarity these days. The disc opens with DuBrow stirring up the audience in a sing-a-long frenzy before entering into "Let's Get Crazy" [reminds me of Steve Marriott on the intro to "I'm Ready" on Humble Pie's live Performance album] and I gotta tell ya, the band as well as the crowd really rocks on this. Keep in mind the live tracks were recorded during the bands 1984 Condition Critical tour, when they were at their peak. Despite writing some of the cheesiest rock anthems this side of Twisted Sister, there's no question that this band delivered live, and this CD is proof. Longtime drummer Frankie Banali did an excellent job on the production-live and raw, with very few overdubs. Carlos Cavazo shreds and his guitar tone is simply awesome, definitely underrated, this man has been wielding away on the axe since the late '70s with his former band Snow, who along with Van Halen were once considered one of Hollywood's quintessential hard rock bands. Banali and Rudy Sarzo also perform excellently and provide one helluva rhythm section and DuBrow is at his best, strong and energetic vocals that aren't near as annoying as I once thought. Perhaps it's the fact that I just critiqued three death metal albums prior to doing this review giving me this new-found appreciation for DuBrow...who really knows, but there's no denying that this man has one set of powerful lungs! Other notable live tracks include "Run For Cover," "Metal Health," and the Slade classic "Cum On Feel The Noize." The CD also features the three "rare" bonus tracks; "Thunder Bird," "Love's A Bitch," and the original recording of "Let's Get Crazy." These tracks were taken from the 1981 DuBrow demo tape [the original Quiet Riot split up after Randy Rhoads and Rudy Sarzo went on to join Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard Of Ozz, so DuBrow and Binali carried on with bassist Chuck Wright and guitarist Bob Steffan under the moniker "DuBrow" before reforming Quiet Riot again in '82 with Cavazo and Sarzo]. The sound quality of these three tracks is surprisingly good considering they're from the original demo and are far more melodic than the latter Quiet Riot tracks. The 'power-ballad' [long before they were even called power-ballads] "Thunderbird" features a great piano melody and impressive vocals from DuBrow. A surprisingly impressive and well-executed package from Deadline, I advise you check this out.

Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 11 Page 4