Forgotten Gem: Ript-Ript Digital Re-Release
IODA/SONY via Dark Star Records 2011
I'm going to let you in on one of the best kept secrets in rock and roll. In 1991 a bunch of hard rock musicians broke into the studios where Guns N' Roses were recording Use Your Illusion I & II. After stealing some of the better leftover tracks they recruited Axl's illegitimate younger brother Ian Serrano to sing for them. Ian as it turns out had been given up for adoption years earlier and had been raised by the members of Kiss on their touring bus. The album was hastily recorded over a month's time during which the band lived and breathed the rock and roll lifestyle. Released in 1992 it quickly sold over 15,000 copies before lawyers for G N' R stepped in and destroyed every known copy except for one which was stolen by the group.The band was forced to disband and the album would have been lost forever if not for Dark Star Records! Obviously the above story is made up except for the fact that this lost gem did sell over 15,000 copies and the band did break up before stardom could find them. Ript were from Rockford, Illinios and tore up the local club scene in the late 80s and early 90s. The band released their s/t album in 1992 and should have been the next big thing. Indeed vocalist Ian Serrano does sound a lot like Axl as the band tears things up with the opener "This Is Your Brain On Rock N' Roll". Guitarists Mike Nelson and PK Ripper lay down some of the tastiest hard rock licks this side of G N' R and L.A. Guns. With it's catchy chorus this song just screams eighties rock. "Skull Storm" is gritty bar room hard rock with enough pissed off energy to knock Axl's socks off. Now as far as their next song let me start off by saying that there are three songs I've always wanted to see done up heavy metal style. They are "One Less Set Of Footsteps" by Jim Croce, "Solitary Man" by Neil Diamond and finally "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis. Ript's cover of the Elvis classic is a fun one. Not classic or anything but a real fun tune. "Prelude" had me thinking about the beginning of the Accused's cover of "I'd Love To Change The World". "Nicole" is a beautiful ballad reminding me a tad of L.A. Gun's "Ballad Of Jane". Another lost song that should have been a huge hit on 90's radio. "Can't Take Away Our Rock N' Roll" and "She Loves It Loud" are monster rock tunes the likes of Motley Crue or Ratt. "Spit On It" is a sleazy little number that would have fit perfectly on Appetite For Destruction. "Vomit" reminded me of a slowed down more rock oriented Alice In Chains. Love the guitar solos throughout it. Special props should also be given to drummer Wally Houck and bass player Greg Utley who keep the group grounded. Simply put a great rhythm section makes or breaks a band and these two work their butts off on this killer album. "I Don't Like You" is obviously not a love song. It is another slap in the face rock number as is the punkish "Huh?" which packs enough anger and F-Bombs to make a drunk Charlie Sheen seem downright tame. It puts Ugly Kid Joe's "Everything About You" to shame. This s/t release is the reason I do Forgotten Gems. Until about 2 weeks ago I had never heard of Ript. And now that I have I can't stop playing their album. My only regret is that this is a digital only re-release. I wish Dark Star Records would have put this out on CD with a nice booklet covering the groups history with lyrics and pictures. As is it is very hard to find any information about the band. I did e-mail Dark Star Records about doing an interview with the band so if the record label (or the band members themselves) is reading this please contact me. In the meantime you can grab this lost masterpiece of hard rock through digital retailers such as Itunes.