Jolly Good Bozos


I never cared for Quiet Riot’s Slade mimicry. The band always sounded too stiff and technologically American for a snob like me. Not enough of an evening of shepherd’s pie with Noddy and the rugby hooligans in them. Though that explains, perhaps, why Slade never sold here, but their songs of screaming hard rock—when strained of the essence of jolly good horse-manure-filled limey fellow by Kevin Dubrow and company—did pass muster the second time around.

Unexpectedly, then, I’m pleasantly surprised by Quiet Riot’s Guilty Pleasures. By happy accident, Slade’s grimy dancehall is captured perfectly, not in a cover, but in one of Quiet Riot’s tunes, “Rock the House.” Its lyrics are true-blue ’80s SoCal panty-sniffing metal band, but the song’s heart is one and the same with the three-minute raves of Slade’s old “Get Down and Get With It” and “Know Who You Are.”

Indeed, I wouldn’t have the gumption to coat myself in Vaseline and gobble beta-carotene pellets until I’m a gleaming orange for the sake of a photo-ready tan at 47, but Dubrow’s welcome to it. Someone has to be the George Hamilton of metal, and when he sings lines like “There’ll be grinnin’ in your linen” and “Never change, stay the same” repeatedly, a degree of admiration emerges for the stubbornly accomplished bozo-ness of it all. Guilty Pleasures also contains some warm piracy of Page- Plant. Plus one song, “Street Fighter,” in which guitarist Carlos Cavazo sounds as tersely snazzy as his name.