Wildside - 1992 Under The Influence


ARTIST: Wildside
ALBUM: Under The Influence
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: CDP 7 98654 2
YEAR: 1992


LINEUP: Drew Hannah - lead vocals * Brent Wood - guitars, backing vocals * Benny Rhynedance - rhythm guitar, backing vocals * Marc Simon - bass, backing vocals * Jimmy D - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hang On Lucy * 02 So Far Away * 03 Monkey See Monkey Do * 04 Just Another Night * 05 Looks Like Love * 06 Lad In Sin * 07 Drunkin' Man's Blues * 08 How Many Lies * 09 Hair Of The Dog * 10 Heart-N-Soul * 11 Kiss This Love Goodbye * 12 Clock Strikes


Wildside had a fairly typical sound for the early 90's, not unlike Skid Row, XYZ, Slaughter, with a bit of L.A. Guns added to the mix.

The group began as an amalgamation of two Seattle transplants singer Drew Hannah and guitarist Benny Rhynedance who moved to L.A. in 1986.

After slugging it out for a couple years on the L.A. rock scene, Benny and Drew decided to quit their original Seattle band Rogue.

The two formed Young Gunns and quickly recruited another guitarist Brent Woods, bassist Marc Simon and drummer Jimmy D to begin another attack on Hollywood's rock scene.

Young Gunns were a top draw on the famed Sunset Strip throughout the late 80's, but in 1990 a movie company sent out a 'cease and desist' letter so the group were forced to change their name to Wildside.

The majors took notice of Wildside's continued sold out shows and eventually came a callin', erupting in a bidding war between Capitol and Polygram. Capitol won for seven figures and five records making it one of the biggest signings since W.A.S.P in 1984.

Wildside seemed poised for same platinum success that showered label mates Poison, and with that Capitol spared no expense gathering together industry's finest like Andy Johns to produce the debut.

Recorded in 1991 at A&M studios and in part at Eddie Van Halen's home studio; 'Under The Influence' was released in May 1992 and sadly flopped due to Grunge's firm grip of the metal market at the time.

The Songs

The songs are melodic but have killer guitar licks and an energy running throughout - but it's Drew Hannah's high-octave raspy vocals that really define Wildside's sound IMHO.

If released in 1988 this may not have been huge, but respected at least.

You'll forgive the intro corny Police sirens within moments of hearing the opening killer cut 'Hang On Lucy' - perhaps the greatest 'Glam Metal' single ever released.

Not far behind in quality is 'Hair Of The Dog' and 'Lad In Sin' -both boasting a swagger and bravado rarely heard in a band of this ilk.

One of my favourites here is the acoustic semi-ballad 'Looks Like Love', which again reaches beyond the 'hair metal' mire with it's AOR-ish chorus and lush instrumentation.

Another is 'So Far Away' which has an infectious hook and melody that even a band like Motley Crue had a hard time capturing for some reason.

Even the obligatory sugar sweet ballad 'Kiss This Love Goodbye' has an edge that was missing in the majority of Wildside's counterparts from this time.

In Summary

Regardless of their five album deal and successful package tour with Babylon A.D. and Roxy Blue, by 1993 Capitol was quick to call it quits for Wildside in the name of Kurt Cobain.

Following the dismissal from Capitol, Wildside continued to tour and write new songs that would unfortunately echo the doom and gloom sound of the times.

These abysmal 'grunge' adled tunes would became Wildside's 1995 self titled release minus Rhynedance and Woods who had wisely jumped ship.

Wildside eventually disbanded but resurfaced briefly in 2004 with an odds and sods platter called 'The Wasted Years'.

The later is worth investigation as it includes many of the killer cuts on 'Under The Influence' in early demo form.

Although released in the dawn of grunge and without little fanfare, 'Under The Influence' remains one of 1992's overlooked gems and a constant source of listening for me to this day.

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