New York’s best kept secret, Reckless, hits back with a second and, until today, unreleased album that was recorded in the early 1990´s. Originally slotted for a release by Geffen Records the project fell through for different reasons and what we have here is the pre-production recordings released to the public for the very first time. This band should not be confused with either the Canadian or the Swedish bands going by the same name.
Reckless formed in West Harrison, New York in 1986 by bass player Gary Kriss and lead vocalist Chris Cintron. With some guidance from J.J. French and Mark Mendoza (of Twisted Sister fame) they found guitarist Bob Gam and drummer B. Smith in Florida. After playing some shows in the New York area and with a fresh batch of demos recorded they caught the attention of manager Phil Carson (the man responsible for signing Twisted Sister to Atlantic) and the Atlantic Records company.
A deal was struck with Warner subsidiary Valentino records. Together they recorded the fantastic debut album called No Frills which was released in 1987 and produced by Mark Mendoza and J.J. French. No Frills was an incredible melodic hard rock album that brings to mind bands like White Lion, Dokken or the incredible and Seattle’s own Fifth Angel. With the blistering guitar riffs from Gam matched by the powerful and crystal clear vocals from Cintron this album stood out from the rest of the hair metal pack. With the fresh, crisp and polished production created by French/Mendoza and a pack of killer songs with hooks galore No Frills was really one of the best albums rocketed out of the late 1980´s melodic hard rock scene in the US. Being a bit more polished and melodic than your ordinary Sunset Strip band this was still hair metal heaven. So if you haven´t heard it you should pick up a copy and it is available at most well-sorted record stores/online shops.
So, why was this album not a huge hit around 1987? Being released on a small Warner Bros. subsidiary label called Valentino, the album never got the promotion and marketing it deserved. With huge songs like “Deadly Game”, “Wild In The Streets” and “Voices In The Night” this album still gets regular spins in my CD-player and I-phone.
The band lost their record contract and the band members started to pursue their own interests, moving on. Vocalist Chris Cintron later auditioned for the vacant spot in Dream Theater after Charlie Dominici had left the band, the spot eventually going to James LaBrie. He sang on the Images & Words Demos that was released in 2004 as part of the Dream Theater official bootleg series. Later he formed the flamenco duo Los Cintron with his brother Rafael Cintron. Bob Gam moved back to Florida and played with cover band KGB Band. Tragedy struck when the guitar slinger was killed (RIP) in a motorcycle accident in early 2000´s when his bike struck a deer one morning. He died from the injuries he sustained in the collision. A great blow to all the fans wishing for a reunion.
Gary Kriss formed a new version of Reckless to keep the momentum going. He recruited former High Risk and Under The Gun vocalist Lee Anderson and also Jeff Speede and Ronni Jude to make the new incarnation of Reckless complete. The band now started to record demos for a proposed second album. Due to a lot of things and a changing music climate with grunge ruling the waves the album was never released and the band broke up.
In 2008, the band reformed in the wake of No Frills being issued on CD for the first time and being scheduled for an appearance at the Rocklahoma rock festival. Bad luck struck again and a tornado destroyed the outdoor stage before they could perform at Rocklahoma. The re-formed band featured former Killers and Drive, She Said guitarist Ray DiTone, Gary Kriss, Chris Cintron and drummer Joseph Cosentino. They also re-recorded a song from the No Frills album called “Voices In The Night” which is the closing track on Disorderly Conduct.
Chris (a.k.a Cristobal) Cintron is now a singer/songwriter residing in the New York area and he is also part of the Flamenco duo Los Cintron (a.k.a The Cintron Brothers).
In January 2015 it was finally time to release the shelved album upon the unsuspecting public. That is very much thanks to Sam McCaislin and his Las Vegas-based label Retrospect Records digging out all sorts of forgotten gems from the vaults. Thanks for bringing this important part of the Reckless history out in the light! Let´s hope this release can be a start to the in 2008 reformed Reckless recording a full new album worth of new songs.
Special thanks to Jason Bakken for providing some vital information on the Reckless history!
Track By Track Comments
The albums starts off in style with “Looks Like Hell” which is a huge hair metal anthem very much in the vein of early Mötley Crue. Both Anderson’s gritty vocals and the production reminds me of Mötley Crue on “Too Fast For Love”. The song has a nice groove and a great chorus with the whole band joining in on the gang vocals. Definitely one of the strongest songs on the album! If you are into hair you will get your mouth full listening to this album. Second song, “Shame On You”, starts off with a nice effect on the guitar and continues in a sleazy vibe with a huge hook in the vein of early Skid Row, Mötley Crue, Beau Nasty with some Guns n´ Roses sleaze thrown in for good measure. A great song. The album continues with “High School Girls” which starts off with a great driving riff which leads into a groovy chorus with Gary Kriss’ pumping bass in the background. A nice stick towards the end adds more value.
Next up is “Honky Tonk Woman” which is a kind of slow rocker and in my opinion one of the weaker songs on the album. It´s still a great rock song though but is followed by the heavy and grooving “Ball Of Confusion” . I am caught toe-tapping without realizing it at first. Some heavy guitar riffing and a thumping bass line from Kriss makes this a great song though not featuring any of the previously mentioned “gang vocals” on the chorus. It´s a song with some clear blues influences in the style of Salty Dog or a sleazy Tora Tora. This continues on in the song “Sin City” which is a song very similar in the arrangements and the song structure. Then it is the time for the album’s ballad “Don´t Walk Away” which is a great song getting much heavier for the chorus. I can hear a lot of Poison or Pretty Boy Floyd vibes running through the song and I really mean that in a very positive way because this is a fantastic song! It is followed by the fast sleaze rocker “Juicy Lucy” which is a straight ahead rocker with a lot of rock n roll influences shining through. Then we’re at track no 9 which is called “Angelica”, a heavy song with some interesting guitar riffs and a bluesy and groovy bassline again from Kriss. The chorus has Andersson stretching his vocal chords to the limit.
The album rounds off with a bonus track recorded by the reformed line-up that was slotted to play the Rocklahoma rock festival in 2008. The overall sound quality and production is of course much better on this song. It shows the band has really got what it takes to compete with the best in the 2000´s. This track was of course originally on the superb No Frills album. Chris Cintron really shines on this track with a great vocal performance and the tight band backing him in the best possible way. This track only leaves me yearning for more and I start to wonder why this was the only track recorded. Time to get out of retirement guys!
At first I didn´t know what to think about this album. It represents such a great change in style compared to the No Frills album. With almost a completely new band (only bass man Gary Kriss remaining) this album is much more an album filled with sleazy, glammy hair metal compared to the very melodic and clean debut album. I still think No Frills is superior compared to Disorderly Conduct, but that is because I think it is an instant classic. I´ve spun Disorderly Conduct close to ten times and at first I did not like it so much but its growing on me for every time I listen to it. The obvious link between these two albums is the strong songwriting skills of Gary Kriss.
There are some really strong songs on the album and Anderson’s gritty and rough vocal style fit the songs and the production perfectly. The re-recorded “Voices In The Night” raises the value of this release even further. One has to take into account that this was a pre-production recording done in the early 1990’s and it leaves you wondering how the hell the record company could pass on this great offering! I guess that what the grunge wave did to all 80´s bands in the early 1990´s, great bands or not, they were all treated the same way. I would give this album a rating of 7.5 out of 10 and I can certainly strongly recommend it to everybody and especially fans of Mötley Crue, early Skid Row, Warrant, Trixter, Poison, Pretty Boy Floyd and Salty Dog. Just surf on to www.retrospectrecords.com and grab your copy. Crank it to 10 and get your hair flying!