Thursday, May 1, 2014

Classic Albums: Boss - Step On It

Step On It is the sole LP from Australian hard rocker band Boss. Released in 1984 by RCA, this album fits in nicely with other glam metal rockers of the era like Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Skid Row. This album is filled with steady bass and drums (think AC/DC), shredding metal guitar solos filled with palm mutes and harmonic squeals, all capped off with whaling screechy 80’s metal singing at its finest (enter the scene of Mark Wahlberg on Rock Star…. Stand Up and Shout!!!).

Boss consisted of Craig Csongrady on vocals, Kevin Pratt and Pete Sutcliffe on guitars, Scott Ginn on bass, and Joe Tatts on drums (sort of…. more on that later).

What first grabbed me about this album was the cover: A woman’s leg shown in black heels (with a bitchin’ anklet) stepping on a flying V guitar while sitting on a motorcycle. How could this not be good? They even do it one better on the inner sleeve, now with the guitar wedged between her legs and the motorcycle. 

It’s an overall solid album filled with some great party songs. Not role model music by any means (sex, drugs, RnR), but it’s classic mid 80’s cheesy rock. As much as I like it, there is one debatable item mentioned often online that almost ruins this album for me. The rumour is that a drum machine was used for this album rather than Joe Tatts on drums (whom just joined prior to the release, or was sick during recording - both stories exist). As a musician, I’m better without drum machine in rock. I’m a fan of electronic, industrial, and hip hop, and appreciate music from a CPU as an art of its own, but there is nothing artsy about this method. It just seems like a lazy way out of a minor setback. These drums beats are so steady and simple than any decent drummer could have easily performed. I will give them one thing though, it is a decent sounding drum machine, but was highly unnecessary. Plus, if you are going to use a drum machine, perhaps you should stay away from the long boring drum fills with no other instruments playing like they did in Free Wheelin’. IF somehow it was Tatts on drums, he is the most consistent drummer I have ever heard. Every cymbal is hit with the exact same precision and intensity, and his timing is PERFECT!

Regardless of the drum machine debate, I’m happy to add this LP to my collection. As much as I hate drum machines in this fashion, the rest is good enough that it keeps it strong (and this is saying a lot). This album has never officially been re-released on CD, so you will have to keep your eyes peeled for a vinyl copy. A few bootleg editions do exist which get decent reviews in regards to sound quality, but if you want the real deal, vinyl is the way to go (then again, when is it not?). Boss broke up after this album with Csongrady and Pratt moving on to form BB Steal.

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