Back in 1996 – 1997, Rachel Bolan had a side project with former Saigon Kick drummer Phil Varone called Prunella Scales. The band released their one and only CD, “Dressing Up The Idiot” on the now defunct Mutiny Records. Those of you who immediately associate Rachel Bolan with Skid Row will be surprised with the sound of this record. Prunella Scales sounds nothing like the early 90’s Skid Row with Sebastian Bach. In fact, their sound might have more in common with the later incarnations of Skid Row.
Their sound has a modern hard rock vibe, with a dash of alternative and an occasional punch of metal for good measure. Skid Row producer Michael Wagener helped mix this CD, and the songs flow well as a result. Bolan is not the strongest singer in the world, but he has some very solid musicians backing him up in this band.
The first couple of songs on this CD “Crisp” and “Deadman” show some promise. “Freak Machine” is the most rocking tune on this disc and easily my favorite. The song “When” even has some almost Clapton like guitar moments.
As a whole, this isn’t the strongest batch of songs I have heard, and by the time I get half way through “Dressing Up The Idiot”, I am ready to move onto something else.
In my opinion, this is a CD for Rachel Bolan die hard fans only.
This CD has been out of print for quite some time. You can purchase “Dressing Up The Idiot” for next to nothing at this link.
- Freak Machine
- Fifty Tons of Life
- Don’t Let the Flowers Die
- T.V. is King
- Toms River
- Had To Look
- Talk Myself Down
Prunella Scales is:
Rachel Bolan – Bass, Guitars & Vocals
L. Wood – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Tommy Southard – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Phil Varone – Drums & Backing Vocals
I hesitated picking up the new Skid Row disc, Revolutions Per Minute, as I heard some awful things about it. I listened to the song, Shut Up Baby I Love You from the Classic Rock Magazine Sampler CD and I was surprised that it reminded me of Slave to the Grind era Skid Row.
I tend to be a little more open minded than the average music consumer, so I decided to give this CD a try. I like the first disc, Thickskin with Texas native, Johnny Solinger on vocals, so I figured why not.
If you go into this disc expecting to hear tracks like Youth Gone Wild, or 18 and Life, you will greatly be disappointed. This disc is more of a punk flavored disc than anything remotely similar to Sebastian Bach era Skid Row.
I am including a track by track run down so you can get a better feel for the CD.
Disease is a heavy track that could have easily been a left over from Slave to the Grind. This is a solid track and a crank worthy one at that.
Another Dick In the System is a pretty good rocker. I like this track a lot. You can’t deny the catchiness of this track. This is actually better than the first track.
Pulling My Heart Out From Under Me starts moving in the punk direction. It is a mid tempo number, but its not bad.
When God Can’t Wait is the first track that made me say,”what the fuck?” This sounds like a part punk, part country, part Irish Beer swaying kind of song. This song is just bad.
Thank God Shut Up Baby I Love You was the next track after that last filler crap song. This is one of the better tracks on this disc, and reminds me the most of older Skid Row material.
Strength is a cover of an Alarm track. This is a pretty good song. I do not remember the Alarm version of this song, so I can’t tell if this is faithful to the original track or not. This is one of the better tracks on this disc.
White Trash is in the punk vein. I’m not crazy about the music style, but I like the lyrics of this song.
You Lie is a country rock toungue in cheek sort of track. It is hard to take this track seriously, but I bet they have fun playing this live. (I am wondering if this song is about Baz.) This is one of my least favorite tracks on this disc.
Nothing is a pretty good upbeat rocker. I have listened to this track a few times, and it is growing on me more.
Love is Dead is just ok to me. It isn’t bad, but I couldn’t get into it.
Let it Ride is a punk flavored rock track. I couldn’t really get into this song at all. It was just noise to me. I thought this was a poor way to close this disc out.
If you compare this to Skid Row’s early work, you are probably going to hate this disc. If you can honestly listen without comparing the two, you might get something out of this CD. For me personally, I like Thickskin better than this disc. I don’t like the punk elements, and hope this was temporary insanity for the band. I consider them a hard rock band, not a punk band. At first listen, I did not like this disc at all. I decided to spin it a few more times before reviewing, and listening it at higher volumes. It honestly sounds like quite a few of these songs will translate well live. It just isn’t what Skid Row fans will be expecting. You can hear some of Skid Row’s songs at their myspace page.
Rating: Out of 10
- Another Dick in the System
- Pulling My Heart Out from Under Me
- When God Can Wait
- Shut Up Baby I Love You
- White Trash
- You Lie
- Love is Dead
- Let it Ride
Skid Row is:
Johnny Solinger – lead vocals
Scotti Hill – lead guitar
Dave “The Snake” Sabo – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Rachel Bolan – bass guitar, backing vocals
Dave Gara – drums