Sometimes a band full of talented musicians is pulled apart by opportunities too substantial to deny, no matter how much promise and critical acclaim they garner with their debut album. Such was the case with the Riverdogs in 1991, when they made the difficult decisions to move forward in different directions.
After the release of the Riverdogs’ self-titled debut album in 1990, guitarist Vivian Campbell signed on with Def Leppard, while bassist Nick Brophy went on to become a multi-platinum engineer and producer.
The band, in various forms, released two more records to a lukewarm response before reuniting in 2003 for some demos and reunion shows. They finally released another album of material in 2011 that again received lukewarm response and very little press. Understandably the lads were consumed with said opportunities that took their focus away back in 1991.
Never say never. The band was sidetracked only temporarily, and by temporarily I mean 27 years before the time was right and they had something more to say to the world artistically.
Original members, Rob Lamothe (vocals, guitars), Nick Brophy (bass, vocals) and Vivian Campbell (lead guitar), along with long-time drummer Marc Danzeisen, reunited to record their fifth album, California, released by Frontiers Records on July 7th.
To call Riverdogs a hard rock band on their debut release may have been a stretch. I understood, given Vivian Campbell‘s past, they wanted to build off of that reputation, but they were for sure a song-oriented, guitar-driven, Rock and Roll band.
So now it’s 2017 and as individuals the Riverdogs have solid careers on their own and obviously 27 more years of maturity and experience to draw from. They’ve put together a pretty good windows down, summer drive up the coast record, which lends itself to the album title, California. My favorite tracks off the record are “The Revolution Starts Tonight,” “Catalina,” and “American Dream.”
Overall, this album feels a bit more raw and powerful, at least as far as the guitars are concerned. The album jumps out of the gate with the anthemic “American Dream” and “The Revolution Starts Tonight” before settling into a bluesy groove with “Something Inside,” the third track on the album.
Vivian’s playing continues to be stellar throughout. The album is full of well-written songs like “You’re Too Rock and Roll” and “Welcome To The New Disaster” that are dynamic in tempo and feel. And for sure the album has its hard rock moments such as “Searching For A Signal” and “Catalina.”
If you are a fan of the Riverdogs’ debut album, I see no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy this opus as well. Find yourself a sunny day, a car with the windows and top down, and crank it up.
As always get up, get out, and support live and recorded rock and roll music.
Leave me a message and tell me what you think about this record.
Keep rock alive!!