By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Thursday, June 27, 2002 @ 10:03 AM
Review from: www.knac.com
Halleluiah!!! The bad boys from down under are back in action after all these years
and have never sounded better. Yes folks, the mighty Rose Tattoo have delivered the
reunion album to beat all reunion albums with their latest platter Pain, a 16 track
hard rock testament to the fact that some bands actually do get better with age and
that nice boys do not, in fact, play rock ní roll.
Lead by original members Angry Anderson (vocals) and Pete Wells (slide guitar), the
illustrated men of Rose Tattoo return with a vengeance after giving fans a taste
with last yearís 25 To Life double live opus (recorded at their triumphant Wacken gig)
and a handful of incendiary live shows. Pain not only delivers on the promise of those
appearances but it delivers the goods in full.
For those of you who donít know shit, Rose Tattoo was an Australian band outta the
Ď70s that played AC/DC-style blues rock sped up to punk rock tempos and sauced in
sleazy slide guitar. Housed by the gravel-throated wail of pint sized powerhouse
Anderson (a cross between a pissed off Rod Stewart and Paul Rogers on biker crank) and
the fiery guitar strut of Wells, the band released three epic albums (their self-titled
debut, Assault & Battery, Scarred For Life), one so-so affair (Southern Stars), and
one crappy Ď80s effort (Beats From A Single Drum).
At that time, they were huge in their homeland but never really broke through in the
States. However, several of their classics have been covered over the years and their
rep has grown to cult hero status. Even the most casual hard rock fans know Guns Ní Rosesí
cover of Nice Boys Donít Play Rock ní Roll or the many covers of Rock Ní Roll Outlaw
recorded by Nashville Pussy and Keel among others). Some may even remember Anderson from
his role in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome or as a charitable variety show celebrity in his
Well, now itís time to get to know the Tatts all over again with their 2002 entry into
the rock ní roll history books! From the opening howl of Black Magic to the closing
barroom brawler One More Drink With The Boys, this album takes listeners straight back to
vintage Tatts -- monster riffs that would make Angus proud, blood curdling blues-soaked
screams and vocal histrionics, working class tales of struggle, drinkiní songs for the
common man, and rock so hard itíll cause blood clots.
The album is a mix of neck breaking up tempo rockers (No Mercy, 17 Stitches, Satanís Eyes,
etc) and some choice mid-tempo headbangers (House of Pain, Hard Rockiní Man, the title
track, etc) and every tune is a winner. Check the bruising Stir Crazy or the ass kicking
The Devil Does It Well to see if these guys are back in top form and you will surely come
to the same conclusion I did, no one does it better.
The big difference between the Tatts and their Aussie mentors AC/DC in 2002? Brian
Johnson lost his vocal firepower a decade ago, while Anderson still sounds like heís
in his 20ís and has something to prove. The man is an absolute beast on the mic, with
pipes that hit the highs and lows with ease, and a scream that rattle cages for miles.
He oozes charisma and tells stories with conviction and purpose. Generally he sings about
the struggles of life and the fun of blowiní off some steam at the pub with the boys, but
he does so with an eye for detail and a penchant for personalized characters.
He spills his life story out on the pavement on 17 Stitches and describes his relationship
with his hard as nails father and the lessons he was forced to learn at an early age. He
speaks for the working class heroes and their plight to make ends meet in Union Man and
does so with complete authenticity. You know this is a guy who has worked some shit jobs
in his life just buy the way he wraps his voice around the anti-corporate messages and
pro-union jargon. Believable? You bet. Convincing. Definitely. Still rockiní despite the
occasional heavy topics? Fuck yeah. ĎCause rockiní is what the Tatts do best, and thereís
plenty of it here.
The best tunes on Pain are really the ones that sound like they could be right off the
first album, the straight ahead rockers that chug along at a brisk pace and feature catchy
choruses. On Kisses and Hugs Anderson wails, I donít want no kisses and hugs, I just wanna
fuck!!!!! and sounds every bit like the horny teenager he is portraying, all hot and
bothered and ready to spread some seed.
On I Canít Help It If Iím Lucky and the aforementioned Union Man the band keeps it simple,
12 bar blues based barnburners with anthemic, melodic, fist pumpiní choruses that any
dumbshit can sing along to. Living Outside My Means is a song any lower to middle class
bloke can relate to and Illustrated Man is a call to arms for the ink colored masses and
biker rock sect. There really isnít a bad tune here, folks, I gotta tell ya. I could name
check every one but letís just say that if you dig this kind of music or are a Rose Tattoo
fan, then this album is a must.
Itís really pretty amazing actually that after all these years the Tatts could return with
such full force and authority. Itís a testament to the power of rock ní roll and proves
that good rockers never die they just get better with age. Like Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop and
Lemmy, Rose Tattoo is making some of their best music in the twilight years of their career.
We can all only hope to be so relevant and rockin' at 50 + years old.
Rose Tattoo were this close to being AC/DC, lacking only the schoolboy outfit and
Bon Scott's ragged whiskey demon vocals to pull off the coveted "World's favorite
Aussie hard rock band with zero fashion sense but crotches full of bad boy boogie"
As it is, the most high profile moment of their career was when Tattoo's pint sized
main man Angry Anderson played the King of the Pig Fuckers or whatever it is he was
supposed to be in "Beyond Thunderdome". But do Rose Tattoo care that you've paid less
than rapt attention to their heads-down blues rawk stomp for the past 25-or so years?
Sure doesn't sound like it on "Pain", their first album in god knows how long, but
sounds like it's still somewhere in the 70's, sucking down beers with crazed bikers
and looking for someone to punch.
Angry's still got a mouth for war and an accent so thick that only his countrymen
could possibly know exactly what the fuck he's going on about, and they still sound
like a street fighting AC/DC with an incessant slide guitar on top, pre-dating and
ultimately outliving their obvious heirs, Circus of Power and the Four Horsemen. Of
course, there's a moment or two on "Pain" where Sydney's baddest boys sound as,
uh... vintage as grandfathers are wont to, but I'm sure there still virile enough to
split Axl's lip for butchering their biggest hit.
Despite those few syrupy misfires, though, this is a welcome return from unapologetic
champions of manly rock and roll.
Formed 26 years ago in Sydney, Rose Tattoo rose to prominence in the early 80s with
their own brand of fast boogie rock n roll (a style made famous by fellow countrymen
AC/DC ) complimented by some of the meanest slide guitar around and an intense live
show due in no small part to their vocalist Angry Anderson (who of course starred as
one of Tina Turnerís baddies - Ironbar- in Mad Max 3 Thunderdome) whose vast consumption
of booze and euphoria fits frequently led to him passing out on stage!
With this winning combination (!) the Tatts broke onto the scene with killer albums
like ĎAssault and Batteryí and unsurpassed song classics like ĎThe Butcher and Fast
Eddieí - reflecting the bandís working class roots and hard early years where street
fighting, booze and blues rock went hand in hand. Ironically, as their success grew,
it also increasingly fuelled the drugs and booze lifestyle /image of the band, which
led to the bands demise in 1983: Anderson to pursue a media career and guitarist
Pete Wells to a hippie commune!
It would take 10 years and a personal request from Guns & Roses to being them back for
a special reunion before they left the scene once again. Then in 2000, German organisers
of the Wacken Festival took a gamble and brought the band to Europe to play in front
of 45,000 fans where they went down a storm: nobody had forgotten them and Anderson had
to be carried off the stage before they finished!
A deal was signed with SPV at that event and a live album - 25 to Life - was released.
Now, with ĎPainí, we have the Tatts first studio release in 19 years. And it rips.
Anderson hasnít lost or changed his vocal style (still like Rod Stewart with broken
glass!) and all 16 tracks have been marked with that unmistakeable Tatt sound. With
songs like ĎSeventeen Stitchesí and ĎOne More Drink With The Boysí its like nothing
has changed with this band except that theyíve learned their lessons in life. I never
thought Iíd hear that sound again but ĎPainí has brought it all back. Respect.
"100% ROCK N' ROLL," reads the diamond-shaped logo on the cover. The spawn of an
unholy alliance between Bad Company and AC/DC, Rose Tattoo keep their brand of hard
rock loud, proud, and 70's bluesy.
It's a debut album of sorts--after covering their classic Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock
And Roll), Guns N' Roses pried Rose Tattoo out a 14-year retirement by having them
headline their Australian tour. This album follows up their 2000 live release 25 To Life,
but it's hardly a painful experience--very much the opposite, in fact, if you want to
know what hard rock sounded like before there were such things as roaming charges,
music videos, and political correctness.
For a dose of 100% rock and roll, they're just what the doctor ordered--nothing more and
nothing less, which in this case is more than enough.
Formed in the late seventies and achieving a following via albums like Assault & Battery,
Rose Tattoo collapsed around 1984 seemingly in a haze. A 1993 Aussie tour, a couple
of European appearances in 1999 and 2000 (the latter at Wacken) confirmed the come back
is real and so here is the band's first studio album in over 25 years.
Pain is one explicit album. Notice titles like The Devil Does It Well, Someone To Fuck,
Hard Rockin' Man and you will know the band leaves little to the imagination. Rose Tattoo
is one high-energy hard rock 'n boogie band. From the opening chord of Black Magic
(although House Of Pain later banishes all black magic) you know these are no old
Every songs has a story to tell with one like Seventeen Stitches simply a showcase for
being tough and Someone To Fuck being about just that. The album ends on a high note
and in rocking fashion with One More Drink With The Boys. There are 16 tracks and 56
minutes and the production takes the side of the vocals on most of those minutes. Fans
of boogie woogie from down under know what they have to do.
17 years since their last studio album ROSE TATTOO returns in 2002 with "Pain" If you
like ass kickin' Australian bluesy bar rock with a ton of slide guitar in the vein of
AC/DC then this is the cd for you!
ROSE TATTOO unleashes an amazing 16 track cd that kicks ass! With tracks like:
"Black Magic", The Devil Does It Well", "Hard Rockin' Man", "One More Drink With The Boys"
& "No Mercy" you know you can't go wrong!
This album could possible be my favorite cd so far this year! With myself being a huge
AC/DC fan I could only wish AC/DC's next album would be this good! It's like they never
went away!!! Classic ROSE TATTOO! Make this your next purchase, You won't regret it!!!!!
(5 OUT OF 5 STARS)
1. Black Magic 2.The Devil Does It Well 3.No Mercy 4.Pain 5.Someone To Fuck
6.Seventeen Stitches 7.House of Pain 8.I Can't Help It If I'm Lucky 9.Union Man
10. Satan's Eyes 11. Hard Rockin' Man 12.Stir Crazy 13.Living Outside My Means
14.Heat of the Moment 15.Illustrated Man 16.One More Drink With the Boys
Eighteen years? Yep, that's how long it's been since this bunch of dingo rabble-rousers
last recorded a studio album. Not that you would know that from Pain, which pretty much
picks up exactly where they left off. And quite honestly, that's no bad thing, because
at their peak, Rose Tattoo were one of the finest no-nonsense, kick ass rock 'n' roll
bands in the world.
Admittedly, a band like this are at their best playing in some beer-and-sweat soaked dive,
but this album does an admirable job of capturing the blistering intensity of the music.
As with 1981's Rock 'n' Roll Outlaw, the songs (and their titles) seem to be an
autobiographical statement of intent, spitting in the eye of anyone who dares to dismiss
them. And God knows, this is a furious recording.
Tracks like No Mercy, Someone to Fuck and Hard Rockin' Man are belted out with breakneck
intensity, offering no compromise, no attempt to conform to current trends. But hey, if
bands like The Hives can been lauded for musical necrophilia, then surely Rose Tattoo can
be hailed for bringing dirty, nasty rock 'n' roll back home. At least they were there from
The album has its fair share of iffy moments - the title track is a little lame if we're
being fair. But on the whole, this is a fairly triumphant return to form. The likes of
Buckcherry and Backyard Babies should be crapping themselves... the boys are back.
After 18 years of silence the guys are back with an album of pure good old hard rock
played the AC/DC way. Do you think it's a coincidence that they are both coming from
the land down under, cause I don't.
Like not a day has passed from 1984 when they released "Southern Stars" they continue
to deliver their classic rock and roll inspired hard rock with enough energy to power
up a town. Groovy and guitar driven hard rock with not many solos, rough and unpolished,
with a 70s feeling and simple arrangements.
There's no need for complex structures here or technical solos and stuff. Music and life
can both be very simple. A groovy and catchy riff, a solid rhythm section and a singer
with a voice reminding me of Bon Scott at his best and the recipe is completed.
Rock can be simple, rock is fun and rock is a way of life that these guys seem to know
so well. I don't know about you but personally I've got no problem to add another Rose
Tattoo in my arm and remember... tattoos are forever... just like diamonds.
July 2002 - 9/10
(SPV - 2002)
Review from: Metalville
The first studio album from the Tatts in 18 years is this!! Angry's gang are back doing
the business with 16 kicking cuts. Rose Tattoo are the Australian equivalent of Status
Quo (as in, before Quo lost the plot and started appealing to Lawyers and Bank Managers).
They have plenty of attitude and tasty lashings of slide guitar as well.
Angry Andersen never seems to lose his Oz accent and wailings like a revved up Alex
Harvey in the style of Bon Scott. Hear them reel out class simplistic rockers like
'The Devil does it well', the male honesty of 'Someone to F*ck' or the working classiness
of 'Hard Rocking Man', 'Union Man' or 'One more drink with the boys'. A European tour is
on its way too - make sure you catch 'em.
This album is a biker and rock fans paradise. Good old fashion bar-boogie.
By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS
Just like AC/DC, ROSE TATTOO have been around for over 20 years. They both live in
Australia and have the Blues Rock sound nailed to the T. The only difference here is
that AC/DC are known the world over and ROSE TATTOO hasn't quite got the same attention
that the former has received.
Angry Anderson's voice is gritty and coated in whisky. This is music that is played in
juke boxes at biker bars and are simplistic and have titles that the everyday Joe can
relate to: "Union Man", "Hard Rockin' Man", "Pain" and "One More Drink With The Boys"
just to name a few here.
ROSE TATTOO is a man's band here. No pretty boys are in this line up and their music is
raw and very unpolished just like the band's look.
"The Devil Does It Well" has a nice combination of blues and slide guitar along with a
banging rhythm section on bass and guitars. There is nothing fancy about this band and
nor should there be. Sometimes, people just want their music to rock where you don't have
to be impressed with every lick an individual plays on his instrument. People just want
something simple to listen to as they get their drink on.
"No Mercy" is a driving force. A slightly faster drum beat carries the song as the guitars
just crunch away at your ears. "Kisses And Hugs (a.k.a. Someone To Fuck)" is probably an
anthem that all men live by when they hit the bars on the weekend. A great slamming jam
that has it all: Blues riffs, slide guitars and killer thick drum sound.
After 5 songs, you get the picture of what the band is about. AC/DC fans could appreciate
this as they have no plans to release no new material anytime soon. This could hold them
over and quite frankly, this is better! Turn this one up! (Online September 11, 2002)
© 1997-2007 by Peter Gormley
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