I like it loud and clear so don’t be shy
give me my music and I’m ready to fly
If it ain’t loud enough I don’t waste my time
’cause mellow rock is just a bloody crime
US Import: Check
Singer with Mohawk: Check
Ex-member of Hanoi Rocks: Check
Trouser tightness of more than 5lbs/sq. inch: Check
At least one band member adopting an orthopaedically ill-advised stance on front cover: Check
Shirt openness of more than 1/3 (averaged out per member): Check
Decent producer: Check
More than 2 things worn around neck on leather thongs (per member): Check
How could I possibly go wrong buying Jetboy Feel the Shake back in January 1990? No-one I knew had heard of them, which meant that surely the album must be a buried treasure, sometimes LPs are just too good for the common herd to embrace. Hmm. Sometimes peeps don’t buy them because they’re just not very good. I remembered this album as having two decent songs on it, that’s rose-tinted spectacles for you!
First track ‘Feel the Shake’ is the best track by far, over a slow strum that gently builds up to a bit of a shouty chorus, singer Mickey Finn sings to us of why he loves rock so much and how Jetboy are the real deal.
Pound it hard make it fast and rip those leads
’cause I ain’t happy till it makes my ears bleed
Vibrations hit me like I’ve never heard
my body’s swayin’ from the very first word
It’s a very good track this one, sounding way different to all the late 80’s LA mulch that was clogging everything up around this time (Jetboy were originally from SF, but relocated), owing more to the more experimental bands lurking around the darkened edges of the strip, than to Warrant. I used to put this on compilations for friends. they’d then ask me to do the LP for them and then they’d ask me if the rest of it was the same band.
The problem is with Feel The Shake is that there’s just no real personality here, none at all. It’s all very competently played, no-one is out of tone or tune, nobody fluffs any chord changes…but I wish they had. The biggest disappointment is singer Mickey Finn, I mean there he is a big guy with a Mohawk and the blandest rock voice of his era, no depth, no soul. All this on a Tom Allom / Ric Browde production too. Play this album and it all starts to warp and merge into one song, apart from the ever-so slightly blues tinged ‘Hometown Blues’*. In fact it occurred to me just now that the whole album sounds like the couple of tracks on Side 2 of Poison’s Open Up And Say … Ahh! that I always skipped.
It’s not terrible, just bland, but to my mind if you’re going to name yourselves after a New York Dolls track, you better be good. Ah well, chalk one up to the common herd.
PS – Guitarist Billy Rowe did eventually surface in 1537 faves American Heartbreak.
PPS – The LP is dedicated to original bassist Todd Crew, who OD’d in Slash’s New York hotel room in 1987, after being sacked by Jetboy a year before Feel The Shake came out. I re-read his account of it again last night (in Slash’s autobiography), which is far more concerned with self-justification than anything else.
*warning: may contain traces of blues, not nuts.