I was going through a few old mags today. This one takes me back to April 1993, Nuno Bettencourt and Brian May are on the cover and the magazine is “Guitar For The Practicing Musician”.
And reading reviews with the benefit of hindsight is always interesting.
In this case, its “Native Tongue” from Poison.
Here is the word for word review in italics by Vic Garbarini on page 150.
PERFORMANCE: Chliched and confused.
HOT SPOTS: “Bring It Home”, “Fire And Ice”
BOTTOM LINE: New axeman Kotzen breathes some life into faltering popsters
CC DeVille era Poison may have been nothing but ultra-light L.A pop-metal posing as glam and looking for a good time but they had one saving grace – they were fun.
Deville claims he wrote most of their catchiest material and his departure last year left the band without their linchpin just as the Seatle crew set off the alternative revolution. That left bands like Warrant and Poison sounding more marginal than ever.
“Native Tongue”, Poison’s first post DeVille effort, is a mixed blessing at best. The good news is that guitarist Richie Kotzen, when he manages to avoud the usual post-Eddie cliches, plays with a fluid volatility in the Jimi/Eddie/Randy tradition that lends desperately needed weight to the sound.
Unfortunately Bret Michaels posturing vocalsmake Joe Isuzu sound deeply sincer, whole the band’s cliched progressions and by the numbers choruses tend to disspiate Kotzen’s fiery eloquence. But when they hand the new guitarist the reins, as on the crunch’n’funk of “Bring It Home”, the band sounds fresh and renewed.
Who the fuck is Joe Isuzu?
That was the question I had after reading this review because I was buying this album regardless of whatever the review said.
I have Google today, but back in 93, all i had was this magazine and his name. So Google tells me that he’s a fictional salesman in a series of ads for Isuzu. In the ads, Joe Isuzu is a pathological liar who makes outrageous claims about the cars.
While Brett looked the pretty boy, he did have a blues soul voice and Kotzen’s blues rock playing definitely gets Michaels into gear on this album.
1993 reviews had a bias against 80s bands and were very unkind to 80’s artists known as glam metallers or hair metallers.
Case in point is the gospel influenced “Stand”. If U2 released it, the review would be glowing but Poison released it and its cliched.
This album is a must listen for any Poison fan. And since I’m a fan of Kotzen, and a fan coming into this album, his playing is excellent and I rate this album as one of the best guitar albums of that year.
This band didnt survive past this album and while Poison sold a lot of albums in the 90’s via their “Greatest Hits” release, they would be a shadow of their former glory, even after CC DeVille returned.
Make sure you check out the Hot Spots tracks first as I 100 percent agree, they are the best and then explore the rest.