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Thundertrain Teenage Suicide

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Thursday, February 13, 2003 @ 2:38 PM


(Gulcher)

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In the early to mid '70s there was a glam hard rock band called Thundertrain that featured a singer named Mach Bell, who later went on to front the Joe Perry Project as "Cowboy" Mach Bell and now sings in Last man Standing. The band opened up for all the cool New York bands from the era and cut a handful of singles and one album before calling it quits. The fine folks at Gulcher records have released said album, Teenage Suicide, on CD for the first time and have included a handful of unreleased live cuts as bonus tracks.

Fans of '70s era NYC glam rock will love this as it harkens back to the days of the New York Dolls, The Dictators, The Brats and DMZ. Much more hard rock than punk though, these guys don't ride the Ramones/Dead Boys bandwagon that was so popular in those days, but opt for a more KISS/Aerosmith kinda sound, bluesy and groovin' to the max. Think Van Halen had heard Thundertrain's "Hot For Teacher" when they wrote their own song of the same name? I think so. Think Twisted Sister heard their Live At The Rat cuts when they penned their own glam anthems for Under The Blade? I'd wager on it.

Guitarist Steven Silva turns out to be a real find, tossing off Thunders-y riffs and Johnny Winter-influenced licks with ease and style (check out his Winter tone on "I Gotta Rock"). While Bell is no Steven Tyler in the vocal department, he does have a certain sleazy charm and certainly sells the songs with balls and aplomb. His voice leaves much to be desired in the melody department but he's got tons of attitude and swagger and we all know how far that goes in the rock n' roll game. Just ask Slade and Silverhead, two bands whom Thundertrain obviously owe a great debt to. Song highlights include the aforementioned "Hot For Teacher" (featuring Willie Loco Alexander on piano), the slide guitars boogie of "Let 'Er Rip," and the power pop of "Modern Girls." Meanwhile, "Frustration" rocks pretty hard and "Cindy Is A Sleeper" is a sexy, sultry piece of white trash noise, Bean Town style.

The album includes a bonus radio interview between Bell and a young Oedipus (the famed radio jock), a 24-page booklet packed with rare photos and interviews and a hilarious radio ad by Bell. For fans of this genre, this is a real score.

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