Wildside – Under the Influence [1992]

PhotobucketI was introduced to this cd in 1994 when hard rock was played regulary on radio and I still can’t get enough of that band. A very pleasant debut…Wildside probably deserved more of a status but the issue was the year…1992 was almost the beginning of the falling down for many glam, hard rock, AOR bands and so on…and another issue is that the music market was already satured with bands of the same kind…then came grunge and the rest is history.

Formed in L.A., Wildside consisted of Drew Hannah on vocals, Brent Woods and Benny Rhynedance on guitars, bassist Marc Simon and Jimmy D. on drums. The album recorded at Eddie Van Halen’s personal home studio and at A&M Studios in Hollywood. With the prolific Andy Johns, who engineered or produced records by Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Rod Stewart, Cinderella, LA Guns and many others, at the help, and with Steve Thompson and Michael Barbierio mixing the disc to near perfection. If ‘Under the Influence” was released five years earlier, Wildside would have been a household name and probably would be talking about a multi-platinum selling band. Armed with a sound that was a mixture between Ratt and Cinderella, they had the sound, the talent, the look and the attitude to be a huge band. Drew Hannah’s high-octane vocals were what defined Wildside, but the entire album is filled with melodic rock music,great guitar licks, lots of melodies and great rocking tunes. If you’re into monster rock anthems, “Under the Influence” starts and ends with
a bang.

The opening track “Hang on Lucy” just plain rocks hard. Is a hard rocking tune that lets you know Wildside means business and serves as a warning to anybody letting their daughters move to Hollywood. The guitar work is awesome while the chorus is catchy as hell. “So Far Away” is a more of a mid tempo rocker with a great guitar line, but doesn’t loose the edge of the record. “Monkey See Monkey Do”, is another rocker opening with a great riffs and having a solid bass line while “Just Another Night” was their half ballady single…but still a great song…better than most ballads of the time. “Looks Like Love” is one more great rocking song with a touchy opening riff and the chorus is quite infectious. Easily this song could be made for radio hit, sadly it just never made it. “Lad in Sin” is very brash and edgy, with a great hard rockin’ chorus reminds me of something Guns ‘N’ Roses while the next song “Drunkin’ Man’s Blues” is nothing more than an intro into “How Many Lies”. If I remember right this song was their first single, then “Hang on Lucy” came later. Great song anyways.

“Hair of the Dog” is one of the album’s highlight and personal favourite and it really rocks. This is not a cover of the Nazareth song that so many 80s metal bands covered already. When I heard this song for the forst time I crank it up and bang my head! Great song all the way around. “Heart-N-Soul” is another awesome rocker with a catchy chorus and great guitar riff. In my opinion that song also could have been a single, but to little to late. “Kiss This Love Goodbye” is about as good a power ballad as you’ll ever hope to hear and one of the best from the hair metal era, no sappiness just a great love song with great lyrics and catchy chorus. The last one “Clock Strikes” is an unholy monster of rock on par with the Scorpion’s “Rock You Like Hurricane”. Very anthemic and rocks pretty hard as well, almost seems like it should have been a little closer to the beginning than the end. Super awesome sing along chorus and the guitar is loud and thumping the whole way through. The song was co-written by Paul Stanley of Kiss.

That’s a brief history of one of the many bands that came along too late in the late 80s/early 90s rock music scene. While Capitol Records said many times that Wildside was going to be the next Poison, I didn’t consider them to have similar sounds, resembling Wildside to a gritter version of Skid Row mixed with Ratt. If you’re able to find this hidden gem, do yourself a favor and pick it up or somebody else will…

Band Members
Drew Hannah – Lead vocals
Brent Wood – Lead, rhythm, and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Benny Rhynedance – Rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Marc Simon – Bass, backing vocals
Jimmy D. – Drums

1. Hang on Lucy
2. So Far Away
3. Monkey See Monkey Do
4. Just Another Night
5. Looks Like Love
6. Lad in Sin
7. Drunkin’ Man’s Blues
8. How Many Lies
9. Hair of the Dog
10. Heart-N-Soul
11. Kiss This Love Goodbye
12. Clock Strikes

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Wildside - Under the Influence [1992], 10.0 out of 10 based on 6 ratings