Long Stick Goes Boom: Live From Da House of Rust
The End Records, 2014
Perhaps one of the most underappreciated bands in hard rock, Krokus consistently produces quality fresh music embracing a heritage largely ignored by other bands that came to prominence in the 1980s. With seventeen studio albums now behind them, each better than the last and 2013’s Dirty Dynamite one of the best of any band that year, Krokus refuses to rest on past accomplishments. The latest offering to ravenous metal fans is Long Stick Goes Boom: Live From Da House of Rust. While I generally do not like live albums, Krokus does it right with a mixture of old and new, purposely avoiding some of those moderate hits that have already been heard on other live releases.
History has not been erased; the title track comes from 1982’s One Vice at a Time, and there are four tracks from the 1980 Metal Rendez-Vous. However, all but one of the band’s moderate hits are absent: “Midnite Maniac,” “Stayed Awake All Night,” and “Eat the Rich.” Only “Screaming in the Night” makes the cut. In place of the more well known songs are recent cuts, including two full songs from Dirty Dynamite and another two worked into a medley with “Rock City.” 2010’s Hoodoo is represented by “Hoodoo Woman,” as is the title track from 2006’s Hellraiser. It is refreshing to see a band continue to play songs from recent releases, even when not actively promoting those records anymore.
This is the way it should be done. No, Krokus doesn’t have a plethora of hits like Motley Crue or Poison, but all the same the band does not feel the need to use even their minor hits as crutches as they grow older. Krokus continues to make new quality music, something that the Crue struggles with and Poison refuses to do. Krokus is living for today and for tomorrow, while other bands from the era are content to live in the past, robbing fans of the pleasure of hearing something new in the present.
Long Stick Goes Boom: Live From Da House of Rust is a record that should be purchased by die-hard fans of hard rock, and enjoyed at maximum volume. Marc Storace scatters a few curse words here and there, but not as many as you would hear from Bret Michaels or Vince Neil on a live album. The production of the album is perfect, and the performance by the band is spot-on. Vocally, Storace still brings it. One could complain about the songs that are omitted, but that defeats the purpose of continuing to make music in the twenty-first century, especially since those songs are available or prior live releases. Long Stick Goes Boom: Live From Da House of Rust is a perfect addition to the Krokus discography.
1. Long Stick Goes Boom
2. Hallelujah Rock ‘n’ Roll
3. Go Baby Go
4. American Woman
5. Tokyo Nights
7. Rock City / Better Than Sex / Dog Song
8. Screaming In The Night
10. Bedside Radio
11. Easy Rocker
13. Live For The Action
14. Hoodoo Woman
Whether you enjoy classic, modern, or independent rock, 2013 was a great year for music. Several “best of” lists have been posted around the internet already, but it’s time for The Writer’s Journey to weigh in with our list and a brief sentence about each. And away we go…
10. Brandon Reeves – A Decent Melody. A fantastic independent release from a Georgia-based blues artist, Reeves’ album is much better than decent.
9. Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt. The kings of the nineties rule again with a throwback to the seventies.
8. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2. Part 1 is good, but Part 2 will go down as a historically great record.
7. Stryper – No More Hell to Pay. The Yellow and Black Attack is back with soaring vocals and squealing guitar solos, a fantastic hair metal album.
6. J Roddy Walston & The Business – Essential Tremors. Another throwback rock band with hints of Aerosmith and the Black Crowes.
5. Black Sabbath – 13. Ozzy, Iommi, and Butler recaptured the magic of the band’s beginnings and reached No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 charts.
4. Newsted – Heavy Metal Music. It’s heavy and it’s loud and it’s everything you would expect from a former member of Metallica.
3. Krokus – Dirty Dynamite. Full of catchy hooks, but the best song might be the Beatles cover “Help,” arranged as a hair metal ballad.
2. Twenty One Pilots – Vessel. Modern rock at its finest, and they really rock out with a ukulele on “House of Gold.”
1. Death On Two Wheels – Death On Two Wheels. Traditional hard rock sound with more authenticity than anyone else out there.
Here are some other “Best of 2013” lists around the web…
- Bring Back Glam! (contributor Brian Carvell)
- Bring Back Glam! (contributor Christian Graus)
- Loudwire (according to Megadeth)
- Loudwire (rock albums)
- Loudwire (metal albums)
- Matt Tauber
- Ultimate Classic Rock
- Vocals On Top
- Vocals On Top (contributor Danny R. Phillips)
- Vocals On Top (contributor Matthew Coman)
Cover songs are a dime a dozen, and most of them can be thrown away pretty easily. Either they are so poorly performed, pale in comparison to the original, or are so faithful to the original to make them unnecessary. But when done well, cover songs can be thrilling. Think about Jimi Hendrix covering Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower.” Completely different arrangement and delivery, making it almost unrecognizable but still unforgettable.
A good recent example is this Krokus song from the new album, Dirty Dynamite. Listen to it carefully…do you recognize it at all?
So who did Krokus cover? Who was the original artist for this song?
That’s the Beatles, folks. They took that classic pop song and turned it into a sticky sweet 1980s ballad, complete with a crying guitar solo. I absolutely love Krokus’ version of this song.
How about Reggie Watts’ version of “Panama”…which is really nothing like the Van Halen song at all, but still pretty interesting.
Have you ever thought, “I wonder what ‘Stairway To Heaven’ would sound like if it had been performed by the Doors instead of Led Zeppelin?” Wonder no more, my friends…
Alex Skolnick, guitarist for metal band Testament, also has a jazz band that covers heavy metal songs. Check out “War Pigs” below:
If jazz isn’t your thing, how about flamenco guitar? Benjamin Woods did an album called Flametal of cover songs, like Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark At The Moon”…
One more for this post, and then we’ll turn it over to the comments section…The Byrds singing “Friday,” a song originally written and recorded but never released by Bob Dylan. The song was made popular a few years ago by Rebecca Black.
So now it’s up to you…tell me some of your favorite offbeat cover songs in the comments, with a YouTube link if you can find one!
The End Records, 2013
This is the best AC/DC album that AC/DC never released. That was the first thought that ran through my mind as I listened to Dirty Dynamite for the second time last week. Marc Storace’s voice sounds like a cross between Bon Scott and Brian Johnson, and it is on full display on this record.
The album opener, “Rock n’ Roll Hallelujah,” is easily the best song on Dirty Dynamite, a sing-along arena rocker that would have fit in perfectly with any 1980s AC/DC release. “Go Baby Go” brings to mind “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” with a very similar vocal delivery during the verse. The title track almost sounds like Brian Johnson singing with Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band, but the full-on AC/DC vibe returns with “Let The Good Times Roll.”
The most surprising song on this record is “Help,” a cover of the Beatles classic…but you wouldn’t know it if the vocals were stripped away. The song is completely rearranged into a monster ballad, and the guitar work on the track is simply phenomenal. Storace sounds a bit strained here, but in this style it works.
If you are looking for a 2013 release that takes you back to the heyday of hard rock, Krokus’ Dirty Dynamite should be the next album you buy.
See the video for “Dirty Dynamite” below:
1. Hallelujah Rock n’ Roll
2. Go Baby Go
3. Rattlesnake Rumble
4. Dirty Dynamite
5. Let The Good Times Roll
7. Better Than Sex
8. Dög Song
9. Yellow Mary
10. Bailout Blues
11. Live Ma Life
12. Hardrocking Man