Just as many of us got our start in metal listening to our older brother’s albums, hard rock is the big brother to heavy metal, and American hard rock is as much a cornerstone of modern metal as the British vanguard.
Born, naturally enough, on the 4th of July last year following a suggestion from Mark Menghi’s eight-year old son, American Made is heavy metal guys ripping into a bunch of rock classics with a mixture of exuberance and careful consideration for the integrity of the originals. It’s a party record made sober but intended for listening while getting drunk, opening on the eternally frenetic Bobby Blitz wailing the intro to a wild ride through Ted Nugent’s 1977 party starter Wang Dang Sweet Poontang. Blitz puts his howl to good purpose in the re-imagining of Cactus’ cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s cover of Willie Dixon’s Evil that Menghi fills out with a fat bass groove and the lads give the BÖC deep album cut Tattoo Vampire a blazing punkish workover that makes it sound almost like an Overkill song. On other tracks like ZZ’s Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers and Skynyrd’s Saturday Night Special, BPMD add their various metallic flourishes while keeping the songs’ original DNA solidly intact. Phil Demmel is the wildcard, refitting every riff with a metallic crunch, blazing away emulating Nugent, Gibbons, Walsh, Van Halen and the rest with speed, finesse and alacrity while stamping himself into every cut.
Purists on both sides of the rock/metal coin may argue the point, but if they do they’re missing it – American Made exists as an outlet for pure fun and nostalgia. When the beer is flowing and the volume’s loud, that’s all there is to care about.
- Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
- Toys in the Attic
- Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers
- Saturday Night Special
- Tattoo Vampire
- Walk Away
- Never in My Life
- We’re an American Band