Enuff Znuff - 1989 Enuff Znuff

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ARTIST: Enuff Znuff
ALBUM: Enuff Znuff
LABEL: Atco
SERIAL: 7 91262-2
YEAR: 1989

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Donnie Vie - lead vocals, guitars, keyboards * Derek Frigo - lead guitar * Chip ZNuff - bass * Vikki Fox - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 New Thing * 02 She Wants More * 03 Fly High Michelle * 04 Hot Little Summer Girl * 05 In The Groove * 06 Little Indian Angel * 07 For Now * 08 Kiss The Clown * 09 I Could Never Be Without You * 10 Finger On The Trigger

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

Unfairly misunderstood and overlooked because of their role in the hair-metal movement of the late '80s, Enuff Z'nuff actually has more in common with power-pop luminaries Cheap Trick and Badfinger than with Poison or Warrant.

Really nothing more than an exceptional power-pop band, the hard rock categorization of Enuff Z'Nuff has really proved to be their blessing and a curse.

Formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1984 as 'Enough Z 'Nuff' by friends Donnie Vie and Chip Z' Nuff, EZN quickly recorded their first demo, while many of the songs would be released years later.

EZN's first single, 'Fingers On It,' was featured in the 1986 movie 'Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer'.

After years of paying their dues in the club circuit the major labels finally came a calling, leading to a deal with Atco Records.

By 1989, Enuff Z'nuff were ready to unleash their major label debut, a self-titled effort with founding members Donnie and Chip being joined by guitarist Derek Frigo (ex-Le Mans) and drummer Vikki Foxx (drums).

EZN's over the top glam image in their MTV videos often clashed with their power pop sound, causing some to unfortunately lump them in with the pretty boys of the hair-metal genre that was huge at the time. Thankfully EZN transcended that genre with their vocal harmonies and power pop sensibilities.

The Songs

At the surface, the sound of Enuff 'Z Nuff can best be described as a musical hybrid of Cheap Trick and The Beatles - with some metallic undertones thrown in for good measure.

Each song is well crafted and instantly catchy. Donny Vie's slightly raspy vocals are full of attitude and Frigo's guitars full of vim 'n vigor. Frigo's solos are killer, as he was truly an overlooked talent. Vikki's drumming and flashy high-hat work almost reminds me of a young Steve Smith at times.

The misunderstood geniuses Chip and Donnie are at the peak of their powers on the two modest hits that came from this debut - the infectious opener 'New Thing' and the psychedelic ballad 'Fly High Michelle'.

'Little Indian Angel' has an infectious chorus along with a to die for hook running throughout and 'For Now' is an upbeat ditty reminiscent of Off Broadway at their best.

Other highlights include the power ballad 'I Could Never Be Without You', the bluesy rocker 'She Wants More' and 'Hot Little Summer Girl' (love that high-hat action here).

There are a couple misfires, primarily the overlong 'In The Groove' which seems to peter out along the way and 'Kiss The Clown', which is weak considering what the group were capable of.

Thankfully the last track, 'Finger On The Trigger', is an all out guitar assault by Frigo, an upbeat and exciting climax to a very strong debut.

In Summary

For their follow-up album, 1991's 'Strength', EZN tried to tone-down their glam image. It was released in 1991 to strong reviews, including Rolling Stone hailing the group as 'The hot band of the year.'

EZN eventually filed bankruptcy and left Atco, but soon after was picked up by Clive Davis' Arista Records label for their 1993 AOR-tinged 'Animals With Human Intelligence'.

With grunge dominating the airwaves, Enuff 'Z Nuff eventually fell out of favor, resulting in substance abuse and inter group tensions starting to take it's toll.

Unfortunately, Derek Frigo passed away from an accidental drug overdose in 2004 followed by drummer Ricky Parent who lost his battle with cancer in 2007.

Despite these setbacks, Enuff 'Z Nuff continued touring and recording up until the present, releasing several indie releases and finding a solid fan base in Japan.

Donnie, who left the group in the early 2000's, is back with Chip for their 12th studio album that includes Ozzy Osbourne/Badlands guitarist Jake E. Lee.

Most of Enuff 'Z Nuff's discography is worth investigating, although some of the 90's releases border on grunge - thankfully it's Chip and Donnie's excellent musicianship that makes them palatable. This debut is no exception!


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