Thank goodness for record labels like Rock Candy, because if you clicked on this article you will probably love 90% of the albums that they have to offer. I saw a post on Facebook about their re-release of the 1986 classic Rough Cutt Wants You! on May 11th. This is a seriously great album by a seriously great band.
Rough Cutt were one of the original L.A. glam metal bands getting their start in 1982. A band that boasts having Jake E Lee, Craig Goldy, and Claude Schnell as former members relied on the classic line-up of Paul Shortino, vocals, David Alford, drums, Chris Hager, guitar, Amir Derakh, guitar, and Matt Thorr, bass for Wants You! So what kept a great band like this from breaking it big, I mean they had Ronnie James Dio as a mentor and Wendy Dio as a manger. I think it was an identity issue that they sat between pop/hard rock and heavy/hard rock. As they tried to straddle that fence they never produced that big hit single that would get them in heavy rotation on MTV. That’s a shame because Wants You! is wonderfully produced by heavy hitter Jack Douglas of Cheap Trick and Aerosmith fame.
The album opens up with what can only be described as a thrash song “Rock the USA”. A head banger from start to finish that lets you know they mean business. The groovy, smooth as silk “Bad Reputation” is next and it showcases one of Rough Cutt‘s strengths, Paul Shortino‘s vocals. “Don’t Settle for Less” is the third track and has a great sing along chorus, this song creeps more in a pop direction. “Hot n Heavy” is another song with a great groove to it and loaded with great guitar soloing throughout. Side one closes with the power ballad “Take a Chance”. Not a bad song but a bit broody and all over the place. Side two opens with a straight ahead hard rock song with a thumping beat behind it, “We Like it Loud”. “Double Trouble” is another heavy groove song with tons of swagger which really showcases what a great singer Shortino is. “You Want To Be A Star” is another pop leaning song that will have you singing the chorus by the end. Next is an uptempo gem, “Let’em Talk”. The album closes with “The Night Cries Out(for you)” which is my favorite of the album. An emotionally wrought, dripping with soul ballad that is done to perfection. Paul Shortino‘s vocals are filled with wanton desire and the tastfully soulful guitar playing work in perfect harmony together. It sounds nothing like anything else they had done before, but is a stand out track.
It seems like just yesterday I was putting down my hard earned money for the cassette copy of Wants You! at Streetside Records, certainly not 30 years ago. I think that the album has aged fairly well, and offers a variety of styles, soulful singing, heavy uptempo rockers, and lots of groove and swagger. I recommend the Rock Candy records release because in addition to the remastered album this release also comes with a 3500-word essay and band member interviews about the making of the album. A must have for any Rough Cutt fan or fan of 80’s glam metal.