Recently the folks over at Cleopatra/Deadline records published a hardcover book entitled Hollywood Rocks chronicling the debauchery that transpired within the metal scene along L.A.’s infamous Sunset Strip from around 1979 until the grunge meteor struck in the early ‘90s, almost single-handedly rendering metal extinct.
Wisely they decided to put out an audio companion with the book, a four CD boxed set featuring legendary hair-metal bands like Dokken, Poison, Ratt, Great White and Warrant as well as more underground acts like Jetboy, Electric Angels and Pretty Boy Floyd. The CDs are filled with rough recordings, early demos, b-sides and live cuts. It’s nice to hear more gruff versions of songs from bands known for being so excessive, over-the-top and glossy with their look and sound. It’s also interesting to see how much more vocally powerful the demo version is of Dokken’s “It’s Not Love,” or how chunky the guitars were on the early take for Poison’s “Look What the Cat Dragged In.”
For the die-hard “butt-rock” fan this is a great assemblage of demos and hard to find tracks that will stand out in any collection, and even for those of us who were intrigued by the novelty of the scene on the strip, it’s cool to see that these larger-than-life L.A. rock stars started out making crappy demos like every other band. And with the book providing visual documentation of what really went down, you can better enjoy that period of rock and roll with a little more insight.