"Behind the Orange Curtain" (Crash Classics.; 2007)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn Jr.

For a miniscule moment, the Bulletboys took over the American hard rock scene as exiles from the nearly-forgotten King Kobra featuring Carmine Appice. In many ways, the Bulletboys reflected the mid-to-late era of Van Halen, which obviously attracted the latter band’s renowned producer Ted Templeton to their cause. On more than one occasion, fireball frontman Marq Torien lassoed the wild screeches of David Lee Roth while lacing his own bluesy and whiskey-soaked overtones into the mix, which helped put the Bulletboys on the map. 

A ripping cover of The O Jays’ “For the Love of Money” and the pounding fuck jam “Smooth Up” are the endearment tunes most hairballs of the eighties latch onto, but beyond their self-titled debut album that most people stop at, the Bulletboys coughed up the equally solid "Freakshow" and "Za-Za" albums as they went out of fashion kicking and screaming along the way—Torien especially with his banshee wails.

I caught the Bulletboys and Enuff Z’Nuff together in the late nineties and part of what fascinated me with Torien and his evaporated original lineup was how he was still a blazing bundle of energy in a fur coat and tight slacks, as he hopped about in the air with hazy eyes and a frenetic determination to recapture the vigor of his eighties heyday. It was a hell of a set for a decade after-the-fact, and the same raw craziness of the gig I saw then sounds generally replicated in "Behind the Orange Curtain."

"Behind the Orange Curtain" is a live document of the Bulletboys that may only contain one-fourth of the original inception in the form of Marq Torien, but his recruits in this ensemble -- guitarist Tommy Pittman, Jimmy Nelson on bass and drummer Pete Newman -- all put in a respectable effort (they’re particularly good on “Toy” and “Walls”). Torien still exhibits some of the same vocal sparkle in many spots like on “Hang on St. Christopher,” “Hell On My Heels” and “Shoot the Preacher.” Unfortunately, he sounds mostly bored throughout “When Pigs Fly,” one of my favorite Bulletboys tunes (and ironically enough, the same song Torien jumped around to enthusiastically like he had something to prove when I caught them). Also, there are moments where time is making its presence known—particularly on “Smooth Up,” where it’s sadly obvious the entire band is trying desperately to summon enough musical Viagra to impel its proper thrust. Mostly it sounds constipated instead of alluring as it’s intended to be. 

Regardless, "Behind the Orange Curtain" is a mostly entertaining listen that reminds us that the Bulletboys weren’t just an eighties flash-in-the-pan.

For more information, check out http://www.bulletboysrecords.com

"Za Za" (Warner Bros.; 1993)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I listen to a lot of music doing reviews for RoughEdge.com and, although I had heard of the Bulletboys, I did not know much about them. 

So I decide to check out their "Za Za" and my ears prick up. This shit features lots of different kinds of music: heavy 80s type rock'n'roll, power ballads, campy hair rock and some shit I can't even begin to describe. The CD was entertaining at first but I must admit that, after hearing the entire project, there was some of it I really did not care for. Overall, however, I have to say this is a very strong recording and extremely well done.

Now I have to go back and listen to the band's other material as well!

Bulletboys: Marq Torien - vocals; Mike Sweda (ex King Kobra) - guitar; Lonnie Vincent - bass; Jimmy D'Anda - drums. 

For more information, check out http://www.bulletboysrecords.com

"Bulletboys" (Warner Bros.; 1988)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Marq Torien, who was the ex-lead singer for Ratt, joined with three other hair metal guys and, just after their nails dried, they released this raunchy debut. I had this favorite on cassette and with the T-Tops off my Trans Am I could be heard a block away belting out the vocals to each song.

Often compared to David Lee Roth because of Marq’s often blatant posing, the Bulletboys lived high for a while with this sleazy buffet of songs. MTV helped them get the exposure that hair metal deserved at the time. I think I transferred this release to CD a few years ago when it caught my eye for a buck (sorry guys; you already got my $5.98).

I always kept this release in connection with the 80s party circuit. I loved the screams that Marq let loose, “Smooth Up In Ya” and “Shoot The Preacher Down” were my favorites. The guitar was full force and with enough solos to spill over the top when it came to string bending. Mick Sweda was also the guitar player for King Kobra and Jimmy pounded those skins into dust!

There wasn't a ballad to be found on this disc which helped push it up so that everyone saw it as a shooting star. I liked the bluesy feel that it gave off. Hair metal was all guitar and glam and the Bulletboys slid in a little soul to give their music more notice. I’ll probably keep this disc and play it when I’m 80 just to see my grandkids smile.

The best cuts are the ones that have the most memories attached to them.

Bullet Boys: Marq Torien – vocals; Mick Sweda – guitar; Jimmy D’Anda; Lonnie Vincent – bass.

For more information, check out http://www.bulletboysrecords.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:10 -0400 .