The one hit wonder. It's a term that's been around for some time. Bands of a certain style and their labels push and hope for a hit to spark their sales and their career. If they get a hit that helps, but if they never get another hit then they might be left with the above label. I knew that I wanted to do a Lesser of two evils on this so I just had to come up with contestants. Right away Autograph came to mind for their one hit "Turn up the radio". Autograph rose quickly as they formed one year, the next they were opening for Van Halen and then signed to RCA. The debut "Sign in please" came out and they had a hit single shortly after that. Unfortunately one hit doesn't always mean the band is on easy street. Autograph did two more albums in the 80's with less success and no hit singles before calling it quits by the end of the decade. The problem here was I struggled to think of another one hit wonder. I mentioned it to my friend Bob Vinyl and he said "what about KIX?". The reason I hadn't thought about KIX was probably because they are from my area so the radio stations would play two or three songs from each of their albums. However they only had one real high charting hit which was "Don't close your eyes". KIX travelled a different road from Autograph, a slower road in some ways. It took them three years to get signed, but it was with a major. Their debut came out in 1981 and they followed with releases in 1983 and 1985. They sold enough to stay on the label, but still a rather minimally know band except for here in the mid-Atlantic area. Then on their forth release "Blow my fuse" in 1988 they finally had a hit. Indeed it helped them finally get some national attention, but it didn't exactly catapult their career. They had some more releases and then went their separate ways in the 90's, but still get together for a few shows every year. Enough on the history lesson lets check these two albums out and see what we have.Autograph-Sign in please
Kix-Blow my fuse
Steve "Plunk" Plunkett for Autograph taking on Steve Whiteman for KIX. Plunkett has a horrible nickname reminiscent of Bobby "the blotz" Blotzer from Ratt, but he's not a bad singer. Somewhere between David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar at times. He handles the material alright, but he also has a tendency to glide and not push enough. Steve Whiteman has a nasal often robotic voice. Yet it's distinct and it's the one part of KIX that set them apart. Much like Stephen Peacry of Ratt he's not a great out and out singer, but his voice helps to define his band and give them at least a little personality. Plunkett tows the line, but is a little faceless in his performance.
Point to KIX
The Autograph pair is Steve Lynch and Steve "Plunk" Plunkett taking on Ronnie "10/10" Younkins and Brian "Damage" Forsythe. What in the world was going on with all the idiotic nicknames? They must have been drunk when they thought those up. Anyway Autograph's guitars are basic and somewhere between hard rock and AOR. They benefit from decent production, but get covered by too much keyboards at times. KIX became more AC/DC on this album and it's like early 80's AC/DC which is neither creative or entertaining. These two guys with the limp nicknames are still no Angus Young. The tone is bland and the riffs are predictable.
Point to AutographRhythm sectionAutograph has Randy Rand bass and Keni "Richetti" Richards on drums going against Donnie Purnell on bass and Jimmy "Choclate" Chalfant on drums. These guys must not have any good friends because friends don't let friends use ridiculously stupid nicknames. Anyways, as you probably know you can't really hear the bass on either album. No surprise there so it looks like it is up to the drummers. Jimmy Chalfant at times sounds like he just playing one long drum beat and they just stuck three or four songs around it. Seriously he's playing the same dried out parts several times over. Keni Richards is bland too, but the production helps and he does mix things up some. So....Point to AutographOriginality/Production
Autograph sound a little like Sammy Hagar at times. KIX sound like second rate AC/DC at times and occasionally they sound like they did on their earlier albums for whatever that is worth. The production on Autograph made the mistake of putting the keyboards too much in the foreground at times. However everything sounds well enough. The production on the KIX album was done by Tom Werman who among others did "Shout at the devil" (amazing) and "Girls, girls, girls" (stinko). The production is unfortunately closer to that of the forth Motley Crue album. Which means it's high on gloss and low on substance. It's far too thin on most of the instruments.
Point to AutographIt's not that these bands don't rock. Well, actually I guess it's that they do not rock enough for my liking. These two bands are a little better than some of the other acts that have been on here before. The problems with Autograph are too much keyboards, the guitars don't make themselves known enough and the band plays it very safe. On the plus side they are fairly tight and the production helps. KIX struggle because they copy a known band plus they lack energy and fire. I was almost ready to call this one a tie. Then I thought that since these bands were picked for being one hit wonders that I would let the hits serve as a tiebreaker. "Turn up the radio" isn't nearly as good as I once thought. However when I hear "Don't close your eyes" I want to turn off the radio.Point to AutographSo Autograph take it 4-1. Going into this one I thought KIX would take it. The more I listened to their album the less I liked it.**I'll be back soon with another one of these.
Who rocks more?
Labels: Autograph, KIX, Lesser of two evils