Beggars & Thieves-We Are The Brokenhearted
Beggars & Thieves are one of those interesting case studies in what happens to a successful band when the musical landscape changes overnight and what was once popular is now shunned by the masses. Beggars & Thieves was formed in NYC in 1989 by singer Louie Merlino and guitarist Ronnie Mancuso. From the start good fortune seemed to shine on the band as it only took them 5 gigs to land a demo deal with the one and only Desmond Child (producer of such acts as Bon Jovi and Aerosmith). With Child on board as well as former Billy Squier/Alice Cooper drummer Bobby Chouinard and Bon Jovi bassist Hugh McDonald the band had a demo that put B&T right in the spotlight for Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun to scoop up. With a critically acclaimed self-titled debut album and a fast rising single (“Beggars & Thieves”) things looked good for the band. Its the same old song and dance though. First the band lost their A&R man and then their management team. The next thing you know B&T left the label that put them on the map and signed with Epic/Sony. The group recorded a solid enough second album in “Look What You Create” but by the time it was released the public had moved on. Grunge was in and anything that looked, smelled or acted like a hair metal band died a sudden death. B&T were put to rest until only just recently when singer Louie Merlino and guitarist Ronnie Mancuso hooked back up. With legendary NYC drummer Thommy Price (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Billy Idol, Scandal) and fellow Blackhearts bassist Enzo Penizzotto joining them the pair unleashed "We Are The Brokenhearted". From the album opener "We Come Undone" onward your treated to top notch melodic rock from a group out to prove they never should have been lumped in with the whole hair metal movement. And truth be told they make a great case for themselves as "We Are The Brokenhearted" is loaded with the kind of timeless melodic hard rock that people can get into. People might want to lump Beggars in with the majority of Frontiers Records AOR radio acts but for my money these guys offer a bit more bang for the buck. Louie Merlino sounds amazing and the lead solos out of Ronnie Mancuso are scorchers. There are tracks like "Innocence" that have plenty of smoking guitar riffs. Modern radio won't understand the appeal but for those of us old enough to appreciate real guitars and bands that crafted catchy rock B&T offer a glimpse at what the world is missing. Then again who cares if stations don't get it. Beggars does and frankly that is what matters most.