Buried Treasure – Rockhead

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Most of you are probably aware of Bob Rock. The Canadian record producer that has worked on albums such as “Dr. Feelgood”, “Slippery When Wet”, Metallica’s “Black” album and of course his big screen role in Metallica’s “Some Kind of Monster” movie.

Not exactly a shabby resume. Certainly most of the albums Bob Rock has worked on would never  be considered for a “Buried Treasure” column, except for maybe one. 1992’s Rockhead album by the band of the same name is this week’s buried treasure from my CD collection.

Bob formed his own band up in Vancouver, Canada in 1991 and produced their debut album. Comprised of Bob Rock on guitar, Chris Taylor on drums, James Koch on bass, John Webster on keyboards and Steve Jack on lead vocals. Rockhead is a straight ahead melodic hard rock album that is very much at home with the sounds of Bon Jovi and Cinderella. In fact the band toured the album as Bon Jovi’s support act for much of 1993.

Opening the album is Bed of Roses (not a cover of the Bon Jovi ballad) the song is a groovy little rocker with solid guitar and some killer piano thrown in.  Rockhead’s vocalist Steve Jack has some serious chops with just enough rasp, he really was the real deal and I am surprised he didn’t end up a household name, at least in metal circles.

It goes without saying that the production on this album is absolutely outstanding with every nuance heard from the piano accents to the lush background vocals. Like many albums of the genre, its a mix of “dude” pleasing rockers “Heartland” and “Hells Backdoor”,  “chick” pleasing ballads “Death Do Us Part” and some mid-tempo stuff “Warchild” to round things out. Overall it’s a solid album, performed by a great band, that certainly deserved more attention than it got.

As I listened to the album I couldn’t help but think that if Bob had given these tunes over to Bon Jovi, this could have been an absolute monster of an album. Also the fact that 92 was the death knell for melodic metal, I suppose even if Bon Jovi did release it, it would have struggled but at least it would have been better than “Keep the Faith”

Heartland by Rockhead

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