Here Comes Trouble


In Effect Records, 1990 › wiki › Scatterbrain_(band)

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Time for a quick show of hands here. How many of you have heard of Scatterbrain?

Okay, you eight people can put your hands down now.

Rising from the ashes of Ludichrist, Scatterbrain was a band that was far ahead of its time. Merging the worlds of funk, hard rock, classic rock, Spike Jones and - egads! - classical, Scatterbrain were a band that you had to hear to believe. (I went one better, and had the good fortune to meet them prior to a show in Chicago. Their soundcheck proved they were one incredibly tight musical group.)

Their high-water mark remains their 1990 debut album Here Comes Trouble. To this day, this remains one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal albums I've ever had the pleasure of listening to, and I count my advance copy of the tape, signed by the entire band, as one of my prized possessions.


The group - vocalist Tommy Christ, guitarists Glenn Cummings and Paul Nieder, bassist Guy Brogna and drummer Mike Boyko - break out of the traditional gloom-and-doom style of heavy metal, and decide to do something unique: they had fun with the music. Who else would deliver a cover of Cheech & Chong's "Earache My Eye" that both stayed close to the bone of the original and gave it a Red Hot Chili Peppers-type flavor? Who else would write a song called "I'm With Stupid," a wonderful little ditty about waking up one morning to discover you had grown a second head? Who else would take a song like "Down With The Ship (Slight Return)" and throw in snippets of about a dozen classic rock and metal landmark tracks? (See if you can recognize all the references; many of them aren't that hard to identify.)

Add to the mix a more serious side to the band, one that dared to look at censorship ("Goodbye Freedom, Hello Mom"), matter-of-factness ("That's That") and even throw in a little Mozart to the mix ("Sonata #3"). I mean, who else could get away with such a hodge-podge, and put together one kick-ass album?

In a sense, Scatterbrain was destined to fail because of this. Here Comes Trouble is an album that definitely puts a smile on your face, but it challenges you to listen closely to what's being said in the songs, even when they're nothing more than a lampoon of '80s life ("Don't Call Me Dude") or a bizarre poem set to a jazz beat ("Drunken Milkman"). Most people didn't get it... and that's too damn bad.

The fact is, Scatterbrain were an incredibly tight musical outfit, and Christ could have easily become the Frank Zappa of the metal scene. His songwriting ability was incredible, as these tracks show. Why they didn't become famous is beyond me. Maybe they shouldn't have made the jump to a major label after the critical success of Here Comes Trouble; Elektra dropped them after one release, Scamboogery. I don't have the answers; if I did, this band would still be around today and selling millions of records.

Even after almost a decade, Here Comes Trouble remains an incredible album that begs not only for your attention, but to be super-glued into your CD player or tape deck. You could not blame Christ and crew for trying to reach for the stars; in fact, after listening to this album, don't be surprised if you find yourself wishing that they had succeeded.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of In Effect Records, and is used for informational purposes only.