In an era of SteveForTheDeaf taking aim at increasingly easy targets I may as well come clean. We’re going to go through all of this again. Yes SteveForTheDeaf will be shutting up shop once more. This was supposed to be a month long return to kill sometime during lock down… Last year. I wrote my reviews of my favourite 30 tracks of 2020 well ahead of time. Then I couldn’t contain myself and started posting in October before year end with a blitz of stuff about Black Sabbath and concerns Ozzy might die. I fully accept I will never use that ticket to see Double O and Priest tour now. I’m not sure I’d want to at this stage.
So I said the Aerosmith theme week was the easiest to write. Then I did 2001 as a loose excuse to post Sum 41 and American Hi-Fi without shame. If I’m going out blazing, doing all the reruns, obvious massive mega tunes that we’re always missing and righting the wrongs then there’s a certain Cat in a certain Hat who deserves his own groove. Slash Man. He’s on so many SFTD posts already because to my ear he’s the perfect rock and roll guitar player. I know others will favour Page (sure), Young (no arguments), Knopfler (skillful no doubt, but for me a little restrained) and Clapton (Racist piece of human garbage). Then there’s the guys who seem to only play guitar to show off Bonamassa, Vai, Stevie Ray, Malmsteen. Not rock and roll in my grubby little opinion. They’re maestros for sure. Closer to virtuoso than cohesive band players. Great musicians but not the stuff that turns my planet on it’s axis.
Slash though, like Charlie Watts serves the song he’s playing first. The difference is Charlie kept time as a drummer and never over stepped. Brilliantly so. He knew the power of knowing but not always showing. Slash plays the song (for sure) but he has a sound. No he has many sounds. He has a feel. A song can be Slashed up for many an act. In the next week (who starts a theme week on a Thursday? Well, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere) we’ll cover guest spots on other peoples records, his solo output, his OG band and we’ll start right here. His OTHER big band. Velvet Revolver were a B.I.G big deal when they dropped Contraband (that’s the name of the album! I’m not dredging up scandal from the tabloids).
Sucker Train Blues is the opening track from the debut album by the biggest ‘Supergroup’ of the 21st century. Basically most of Guns N’ Roses and the singer from Stone Temple Pilots (sorry Dave Kushner, I know you were there too, but fair?).
Axl may have ploughed his own cornrows after firing everyone and hiring a guy who played in a chicken shack or one wore a beer crate on his head (or something) but the first VR album is a monster of rock. Sucker Train kicks things off in style but it’s no exaggeration to say the whole album rips. It’s got urgent massive, riff laden heavy metal in the vein of GNR at their most massive (the UYI era) and some post grunge down tuning. Scott Weiland had an awesome voice. My personal favourite STP record was that second album, Purple. The way his gravelly voice could hold an almost baritone melody melded so classically with the churning guitars. The same is true of Contraband. He can soar and sing high when called for. Fall To Pieces is a hit single fit for the ages. It’s Slither and Set Me Free, Do It For The Kids and Big Machine that really add the heft. I’ll go to bat for their second album too. Libertad has some top drawer heavy rock on it.
This band were great. As much as Duff and Matt and Scott (and Dave, sorry Dave) were big name players. The world really saw them as Slash’s new band. When you see him step up and play the solo on Sucker Train Blues you can totally see why. It’s a real tragedy what happened to Scott. More VR albums would have been welcome. The hole he left in STP was filled as we all know by his most famous fan for a short time until he too succumbed to the void. Slash is still with us. Against all odds the man known as Saul Hudson on paper is still adding to his expansive discography 35 years since welcoming us to his jungle.
Let’s go deep up river. One rule. Never get off the boat.
Bottom line. All Hallows Eve is the last post on this here site. Good news bad news. Keeping up has involved more hours than it did before. I used to have months of posts pre-written because I spent time in waiting rooms, airport lounges and crappy hotel rooms. Now that I only really leave the house to go to work. It’s getting in the way. So I’m knocking it on the head.
I promise you this though. Just like last time. All the songs posted from now on will be top drawer irrefutable classics. No more “new release check this out” hipster pretense. We’re going big then going home. There will be 12 album reviews at the start of Octobber. The best of 2021. In the eyes of Mr SFTD. That’s me!
Then the 21 greatest songs of all time (that haven’t been posted already)…