This will be the first I have pitted two EPs against one another in this category. These two bands are also likely the most obscure acts to be featured in this segment as well. Antix's EP can be found on eBay at any given time on vinyl for a few bucks. They played on the Sunset Strip scene for at least five years and did a single three years after this EP with a much different line-up. Still not that much is known about them considering how long and where they played plus some of the connections they had. Their EP was produced by Don Dokken and Jeff Pilson plus they were on the label of Great White's manager. Toy Roz also played in the LA area and their album can be found at almost any given time on eBay if you have more money than sense. Far less seems to be known about them except judging by the cover they liked big hair, bad outfits and like Antix believed that misspelling their band name was the key to success. Let's get past the hair spray and spandex and see what other horrors await.
Antix-Get up, get happy (1984)
Toy Roz-s/t (1988)
It's Greg Clewley for Antix taking on Toy Roz vocalist Christopher Brian Kent. Kent like many other LA frontmen of the time believed in the Dave Lee Roth school of names, but unfortunately he believed in the Bret Michaels method of vocals. In fact Kent tries a bit too hard to push with the slightly nasal whining style that dominated much of the Sunset Strip in the second half of the 1980's. His vocals are hit at miss at best and about thirty seconds to each song you will likely be rolling your eyes and "saying I have heard this kind of stuff many times before". The backing vocals actually work slightly better. Clewley does a reasonable job of handling the better songs well and perhaps even elevating the weaker songs just a little. His voice is limited, but smooth enough.
Point to Antix
Jace White is on for Antix going against Randy Giulliani of Toy Roz. Both guys subscribed to the minimal/don't make waves type of guitar of style so much that I was forced to listen to both albums again because I forgot many of the guitar parts after one play. They both deserve to lose points for making me hear these albums again. I was also still left thinking that the guitars on both albums just sit in the background for much of the time. They were never killing my eardrums of horrible noise, but instead they play rather faceless, bland leads which may be worse than noise. The only memory that really stands out was a couple of smooth notes on Giulliani's solos.
Point to Toy Roz
Bassist BJ Norris and drummer Ian Evans from Antix go against bassist Robby Wilson and drummer Robin Combs of Toy Roz. This is usually the section where I have to put my ear to the speakers to figure this one out because glam/hair bands of the day often wanted to hide the rhythm section and most of the time they should have because their guys didn't have clue. This time around it's a little better. Much of that may be due to above average production on both albums. Both drummers have some idea of what rhythm is and they keep it going the best they can. I can hear the bass some on both, but Norris gets a few more chops in and does enough not to make the band regret letting him be heard.
Point to AntixOriginality/Production
As usual originality didn't factor in much with either of these acts because if it did they would not be here in the first place. Antix might be more original, but that doesn't mean that what they did needed to be or should have ever been done. Their sound is scattered as there are a couple of alright hard rock songs and then some poppy sounding tracks that don't sound completely fleshed out. Toy Roz are maybe a little less annoying at times, but even less original. They sound like hard rock of the time with a strong leaning towards Poison and maybe Ratt which isn't going get them a whole lot of respect. The production on both albums is actually quite fine, but
Point to Toy Roz.
Who rocks more?
This was a particularly tough decision and not totally because both bands struggle to rock although that was a factor. Toy Roz manage to be consistent enough to keep the pace going somewhat and never hit a total clunker, but they never manage to get beyond watered down, uninspired glam either. Antix are much more all over the board. They have a song or two that may stink worse than anything on Toy Roz's album, but they have one or two that are are above any of Toy Roz's six songs although it's all lightweight fare. Consistency isn't that important if you are just managing to do just enough that you don't embarrass yourself. Actually the first time I heard Antix was when their song "Daze gone by" was on Hit Parader's "The Wild Bunch" cassette only compilation. I liked that song and it's on this album and it's still above average. There is also another song here that isn't half bad. So...
Point to Antix
Antix scores a 3-2 victory over Toy Roz. Just because these were EPs doesn't mean their rottenness didn't rip at my tastes and senses because they did. In fact is wasn't much better taking on fewer songs. I guess that goes along with the idea that garbage stinks no matter how big the pile. Both bands did show some life here and there. Still it's easy to why neither band got very far. Toy Roz were just trying to imitate what was big in hope that some label would pick them and try to cash it despite their lack of originality. Antix's problem stem more from confusion about musical style. They dress like a hard rock band, they have a few hard rock songs too. Then they had some poppy almost sappy moments and several songs that sound like they recorded them before they actually finished writing them. To make things harder on themselves they called their album "Get up, get happy". That sounds a kid's music CD for three year olds. Of course fans of metal bands of the day like Maiden and Priest would have avoided an album with that title. Even fans of more glam leaning acts in 1984 like Motley Crue and Twisted Sister probably would skipped past this album just because of the title too. I guess Antix didn't get the memo about at least trying to seem cool. The creppy little jester holding their band name might scare people away too. There is an import version of this album with a slightly different band picture, different logo and black rather than blue border. Interesting to note that I wrote a post about Antix a few years ago and it has gotten a number of comments and it gets multiple hits every week. There isn't that much known about them, but apparently a lot of people are interested enough to look them up on the Internet fairly regularly.http://metalmark.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html***I'll be back with another segment of Lesser of two evils.
Labels: 1984, 1988, Antix, Lesser of two evils, Toy Roz