Thursday, June 04, 2009


It's solo album hell again with surprisingly two solo albums where neither is a vocalist. We have former Angel keyboardist Greg Giuffria's band taking on Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens with his first solo effort. Giuffria came from a time when keyboards were thought to be cool. Wait, abundant keyboards like those were never cool no matter what some suit at MCA may have thought. They should have known better. Stevens was a fine guitarist with Idol and many fans were excited to see what he could do with more control. The answer was not much because the effort seems minimal on his album. Let's slice these turkeys up and see what's in there.



Steve Stevens-Atomic Playboys

Vocals-David Glen Eisley is up for Giuffria taking on Perry McCarty plus Steve Stevens handled vocals on one track. Eisley sounds like he's trying to be Sammy Hagar. That's not the highest goal in the world. However Eisley just struggles to convey any real personality and his consistency level is sketchy at best. Not out of tune, but he doesn't help the material and it needed help. McCarty shows up and tries, but the material is sub-par. Although I can hear that he is trying and he never really hits any clunkers.

Point to Steve Stevens

Guitars-Craig Goldy is up for Giuffria and he takes on Steve Stevens. I liked Goldy when he was in Dio, but here he is clearly in the background and just allowed to sprinkle out a few specks of flash. It's few and far between and by the time it does happen I am already in my "who cares at this point?" mood. Stevens' style of course affects the whole album because it his album. The biggest problem with his release is that he never seemed sure of what he wanted this album to be. The result is a very uneven album with a few promising rock bits and then a whole of filler and clutter. However, he has a few moments and not just a few notes per song.
Point to Steve Stevens

Rhythm section-For Giuffria it is Alan Krigger on drums and Chuck Wright on bass against Steve Stevens on bass and Thommy Price on drums. Giuffria is bad AOR with the keyboard player being in charge so the rhythm section is perhaps even more invisible than on a bad hard rock album. Stevens has his name on the album so that may be a factor as to why we actually get to hear bass work a little on the album. Price isn't stellar, but the drum sound is fair enough.

Point to Steve Stevens

Originality/production-When Greg Giuffria was in Angel they were second or third rate 70's hard rock. Being as this was the 80's I guess Greg heard Journey, Foreigner and the like so he decided to plop out some AOR. Unfortunately this is a lot of fluff without the melodies and catchiness that made up good AOR (yes, I do believe there is such a thing). Steve Stevens' album isn't as formulaic, but it's not all that good either. Some of the ideas are different, but they don't work out so well. The production work on Giuffria is typical of the time which means it's very slick but doesn't convey much in the way of substance. The production for Steve Stevens is good enough as it tries to help and certainly doesn't hurt the album.

Point to Steve Stevens

Who rocks more?-Giuffria and his band were obviously much more focused on aiming for a hit than they were on making a rock album or even a likable album. This is bloated bubblegum with very little redeeming values. Now with that said, I still think Steve Stevens' album was more of a disappointment. Angel were not that good so I didn't expect their keyboard player to create a masterpiece, but Stevens was a good player with Billy Idol and his best songs here were a cover and a couple of very typical hard rock efforts. His ideas were scattered and the results the same. Shame on him. However he is going to win by default or because he did about three songs that didn't make me gag.
Point to Steve Stevens

Well, it's a sweep, but that doesn't mean Steve Stevens should get off the hook for his album either. Giuffria played a style that had a following 25 years ago, but it's a bland and poofy attempt at AOR. Steve Stevens showed that he needed to just go back and back up other people if that was the best he could do on his own. Even the H.R. Giger cover doesn't help a whole lot.

***I'll have another match-up out next month.

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Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I heard more than enough of that Giuffria album when I recorded it for you. I remember Atomic Playboys being a disappointment, because, as you said, it didn't have much direction. However, that's better than an entirely bad direction like Giuffria, so I'm not surprised Stevens won.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always liked the Stevens album. He's a great player.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Stevens was a gimme. His latest solo album is very good, actually. Nice guy, too, a great interview.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Giuffria album is much, much better. I'm not saying it's a masterpiece, just a masterpiece compared to the Atomic Playboys thing which, by the way, is un-listenable. And to correct you, there was a time when over the top keyboards were a good thing. I guess you're just too young to know this?

4:01 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

anonymous- I wasn't aware that age allowed one to have bad taste, but each to his own.

5:02 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Just for the record, Metal Mark is pretty old...

5:17 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Bob-Sure, but you are married to someone who is even older than I am.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Nice Mark! To quote Led Zeppelin "Your time is gonna come." If I am not mistaken, that time is in oh say exactly one month from this coming Wednesday!

8:03 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Linda-I don't worry about birthdays and I have the comfort of always knowing that at least you and Ray are older than I am.

3:02 AM  

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