The Last Hard Men
Spitfire Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/20/2002
At some point between 1996 and 1997, former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach decided to put together a side project to create a cover version of Alice Cooper's "School's Out" for the movie Scream. Things between Bach and his pseudo-supergroup - Kelley Deal (The Breeders), Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins) and Jimmy Flemion (The Frogs) - supposedly went so well that the group, now called "The Last Hard Men", recorded a whole album.
They needn't have bothered. The Last Hard Men is an album which has supposedly been tied up in the red tape of major labels. Obviously someone at some major label knew that their career would be over if this hit the market like so much bird shit on a car windshield.
Sounding very much like an offshoot project of The Breeders (or even The Pixies at times), Bach and crew take several musical genres, throw them together in a Mixmaster known as the band, and produce a final product which is about as appetizing as latex paint. Without a definite idea where these songs should go musically, the end result is an absolute mess - so much so that I seriously considered jostling the cribs of my newborn twins just so I wouldn't have to sit through the 53 messy minutes of this disc.
I don't have a problem with Bach not following the same musical style as Skid Row's - frankly, that would have been a poor decision, since it would have seemed like he was trying to ride on the coattails of his earlier success. But The Last Hard Men doesn't have a clear musical vision; one minute, the group is rocking out without a solid anchor in chord structure, the next minute they're doing Zappa-esque tracks which would be novelty in design if they weren't meant to be serious.
Get the picture so far? If only the band had seen the brick wall they were speeding towards. Tracks like "Satan's In The Manger," "Fan Mail" and "If You Want To Rock, Go To The Quarry" either are trying to show the mastery of styles these artists have control over - or they do the greatest injustice to bar bands who struggle every night to get their names out there. Whatever the case, the concepts were half-baked, and the music is barely stomachable, let alone listenable.
Oh - and the covers, which is what this band was gathered together for? Don't bother. Alice Cooper should consider suing for defamation of character for what they've done to "School's Out," while the take on "I Enjoy Being A Girl" is only marginally better.
The Last Hard Men is an impotent collection of fluff which is passed off as cutting-edge music, and it left me flaccid and unable to perform my duties at home. Don't let this happen to you; avoid this turkey.