Frankenstein 3000’s latest, “The Blunt Truth,” is a hot blast of fun! Hear it live June 1 at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch.
In 30 years of rockin’ with great bands, Keith Roth never has gotten enough credit as a songwriter. I hereby declare that his clever use of wordplay and snarky wit add a touch of Elvis Costello and Graham Parker to his punk-fueled hard rock band Frankenstein 3000’s new LP, The Blunt Truth. Frequent intelligent observations go well with the band’s vintage blend inspired by David Bowie, The Stooges, MC5, Aerosmith, The New York Dolls, Kiss, The Dictators, The Ramones, Cheap Trick, Monster Magnet and Guns N’ Roses.
From the Latin-tinged opening hoot of “Second Time Around” to the closing standout “One More Time,” the 11-song collection on the Roth-founded Main Man Records offers a good time that rattles the spine and tickles the mind. “One More Time” is a particularly enjoyable blast that combines Toys in the Attic-era Aerosmith with “Detroit Rock City”-like Kiss funneled through Cheap Trick.
Other highlights of F3K’s ninth studio album include:
• “Heroine,” a violent, drug referenced, Monster Magnet-like scorcher that has fun scrambling the imagery of the title with the similarly-sounding opioid.
• “N.Y.C.,” a New York Dolls-inspired salute to the Big Apple, the City that Never Sleeps (or closes), complete with shout-outs to Broadway, The Yankees and much more.
• “Give It All Away,” a Kiss-meets-MC5- like rocker with a fat guitar solo by Derrick Hawkins that turns James Burton’s chicken pickin’ into a tube-crunching chicken strut.
• “Feelin’ Alright Once More,” a swampy, acoustic-driven blues-rocker with nice rhythmic and slide solos by special guests Punky Meadows and his guitarist Danny Anniello reminiscent of Guns N’ Roses’ “I Used to Love Her.”
“Feelin’ Alright” also features guest performances by all-star session/touring bassist Kenny Aaronson (Bob Dylan, Joan Jett, The Yardbirds) and Monster Magnet/The Atomic Bitchwax/Cycle of Pain drummer Bob Pantella, who recorded the LP at his Freakshop Studio. The song also sports one of those great Roth lyrics: “Get over the trip of fame. The warranty don’t apply. Rust keeps getting softer, and the veins are galvanized.”
However, the best track on The Blunt Truth is an inspired cover of “You’re One,” Merge recording act Imperial Teen’s rousing reflection on shattered rock ‘n’ roll dreams. In vocalist-guitarist Roth’s hands as producer, the Iggy Pop-like tune features fantastic female backing vocals and a sensational counterharmony by Main Man label mates Kingston & GreyStarr, plus Ava Perrina, drummer Pete Perrina’s 15-year-old daughter. Their sweetness, alongside Roth’s gruff vox, is delicious.
I hope Kingston & GreyStarr and Frankenstein 3000 join forces on stage when they celebrate Main Man’s 20th anniversary on June 1 at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch with Soraia, Toxic Future Now, and Street Walking Cheetahs. That spectacular counterharmony will make the evening even more special.
Bob Makin is the reporter for MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at email@example.com. And like Makin Waves at facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.