Stadium rocking superstar Richie Sambora is, for some reason, attempting crossover success in the vegan-chorizo taco world of Los Angeles indie rock.
After getting clean and sober and renewing his relationships with the women in his life, the Bon Jovi guitarist decided to “start at the bottom of the barrel” as he told us in May and go all indie and shit with Silver Lake's Dangerbird Records. A mutual friendship with Dangerbird's Jeff Castelaz and an association with his Pablove Foundation charity got him on the label's roster.
That album, Aftermath of the Lowdown, landed digitally yesterday ahead of its September 25th physical release and we gave it a spin.
From the get go, the album swag is suspect — Dangerbird is offering the physical album in precious metal option levels. Shit, at $200, the platinum package alone (which includes a hand-sewn leather book) could feed one indie freak-folk musician for months, and that's including beer.
Without getting too much deeper into the emotional tourism of his “slumming it” and the shoddy ethics therein, let's talk rock. Sadly, bromidic imitation rock that has been wrestled from Billboard's mid-90s alternative charts.
Here's our brief track-by-track:
1. Burn That Candle Down
… something smells like Soundgarden.
2. Every Home Leads Home to You
You, being Toad the Wet Sprocket.
3. Taking a Chance on the Wind
Non-alcoholic-whiskey-soaked wind. Someone call Bob Seeger's lawyers, they might have a case here.
Nowadays, we thought no one listened to Dishwalla.
5. Weathering the Storm
The storm we hear is a Category 5 prog / cock rock ballad. A veritable Styx hurricane wrapped in a Night Ranger tornado, buffeted by Warrant-force gales.
6. Sugar Daddy
Daddy's going to revive and impersonate a Stone Temple Pilots deep cut from 1993.
7. I'll Always Walk Beside You
It's just that Counting Crows' Adam Duritz will always be walking behind us, if that's cool with you.
8. Seven Years Gone
Seven years since the last, earnest, chuckle-free utterance of the word Hoobastank. Can you believe it?
9. Learning How to Fly With A Broken Wing
… is even harder if you've been rolling around in a Puddle of Mudd all day.
10. You Can Only Get So High
… when you're this sober.
Oh shit, there's that power-ballad monsoon-icane again.
Sambora's been through some shit and clearly given his all for this record. But, the laughable nods to “indie” credibility need to stop at the source.
For Sambora to actually become the burgeoning indie artist he's pantomiming right now, he needs to do the following:
1. Surgically remove from his memory every commercial rock radio song between 1992 and 1999.
2. Get in a time machine and convince his younger self not to join a band that ends up selling out stadiums around the globe for the next thirty years.
3. It would help, given that all of the above are nearly impossible, if he took a nod from legitimately underfed independent artists and played some legit local spaces — we're thinking a small tour of Echo Country Outpost, Pehrspace and Human Resources. We'd pay up to $7 to see that. Maybe $10.