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Whereas tracks like 'Color Me Fire', 'Hammered' "I Can't Fight You' and 'Rise' are snapped to welded frames built to support the weightiest of riffs, the band isn't afraid to show their southern rock and indeed, closet country affections, especially come 'You Are The One', which finds Ryan's powerful, whiskey-soaked throat leading the band through a simple, blue collar hard rocker that has radio written all over it. "That one speaks to my roots of liking really singable melodic rock, something with a hook. It's a little pretty but who cares? I want the girls to like the band just as much as the boys do. Whereas 'Rise' is letting the people who loved our first record know that we're still true to ourselves and that we are still that kind of rock 'n' roll. It's the sister song to our first record."
It is the chemistry of all these distinct sounds that make Hair Of The Dog an enigma, a force that somehow got plunked here in the year 2000, while living and breathing a strict diet of timeless rock 'n' roll that is now all of a sudden classic, Boot citing records like Toys In The Attic or Van Halen I as grails worth aspiring toward. But throughout the bulk of Rise, there's also a tug toward "roots" music, the band indeed hailing from the likes of Michigan, Kansas and Nashville, with drummer Mike Dupke learning his trade at Indiana University and even getting to tour as percussionist with John Mellencamp as well as drum a track on the man's Dance Naked album. And the guitars cut a swath straight to the heart of the matter, pure hookable power chords that again, recall Kiss or Ted Nugent, but also Mountain and James Gang. Wrapping it up is Ryan's blues-deep vocals, which have few parallels in rock, perhaps Little Caesar's Ron Young or even Joe Cocker coming to mind, even a little Jim Dandy. Check out 'I Can't Fight You' and you can hear rock's fifty year heritage at work, Ryan nailing the vocal, the track in fact being the first vocal recorded for the album, Ryan revealing that, "that's probably my favorite vocal on the album. You can tell that some girl really put a number on me (laughs)."
One track on the record that is sure to get people talking is a cover of an obscure Kiss composition from The Elder called 'I'. John explains the strange choice. "Well, if there is one common thread for this band, it's Kiss. We used to close our shows with big Kiss songs, but those songs have been covered to death. So we pick a bit of a rare one and made it a little more current and heavier, and then we put in little bits and pieces of other Kiss songs near the end. We thought it would be a good opportunity to let people hear a song that might have gotten lost. It's also just a tribute to a band we really love."
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