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Forgotten Hard Rock Albums: Roxx Gang - "Things You've Never Done Before" (1988)


AlphaMale

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Another in my series of forgotten albums. This one was a out of nowhere find for me. With Roxx in their name and some cool song titles, I was all in. And this record did not disappoint. Subsequent releases by this band never did a thing for me but for this one album, they were pretty fucking cool.

Some of my favorites from "Things You've Never Done Before":

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I bought this on cassette back in the day on the back of an interview and a few video clips on a Hard & Heavy VHS tape.

I really liked it when I got it, but it was actually a few years later when I really fell in love with it. Yeah I loved the two singles (Scratch my back and No easy way out) but songs like Too cool for school and Race with the devil really started to stand out.

Like so many back then, they got a major label record deal but were just a bit too late as the market was flooded by bands of this genre by then. I think it took them something like 6 or 7 years to do a follow up on a smaller label, and they just never did anything remotely as good as the debut afterwards. I don't think their spin off band (Mojo Gurus) did them any favours either.

 

But man, what a debut.

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I have some history with this one too. Probably the first "real" glam album I ever owned. I bought the cassette at North Rocks shopping centre in, it must have been around 1994 or so? Hard to say exactly, but around there. I remember a weird mixed reaction. I'd play the cassette in front of my brothers and kind of say how lame I thought it was, but obviously not enough to stop playing it, lol. I remember saying I thought the songs were way too simple and basically constructed and the guitarists were just shredding all over the joint without purpose. Like I say, though, this was way back when I was just starting to get into Bon Jovi (after checking out life outside of Bryan Adams). 

Anyway, like Howdy, took a few years to sink in (though the irony is, I never stopped playing - so something obviously clicked somewhere inside me) until at one point - again, I don't remember when - but I just acknowledged how awesome it is and it's one of my favourite glam albums now. Killer disc from start to end. 

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Bought this on the back of hearing Scratch My Back on MTV Headbangers Ball...wasn't disappointed,it still gets regular spins from me time to time,as stated already their other output wasn't great...but this...this is a gem

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  • 2 years later...

Really interesting interview I found today-

Most interesting bullet points are that his bandmate - and last original member of the band - died the night before they landed their record deal (or was it before they were to start recording? My memory is seriously that bad, lol). He and Steele wrote most the songs on the debut together. After that, sounds like Steele wrote pretty much everything. Considering what followed the debut, that info makes a pretty strong case for who was the actual driving force behind how cool the debut is. 

Also, I found his words on the follow-up, 'The Voodoo You Love' very interesting. Apparently it was recorded very soon after the debut was released and was then shelved by the record company and later released on Perris Records, long after it was actually recorded. I believe it was also mostly, if not all of the band that recorded the debut that did the second album too, even if new guys were in the band by the time it was released on Perris, and even back when the band photos were taken. This made me really want to check this album out. I don't have it in my ratings, but I don't have any of the later albums in there, because I remember hating them all so much I probably didn't think they were worth the time after I sold them all. But I've bookmarked some time to re-listen to 'The voodoo you love,' out of pure curiosity. I'm not even 100% completely sure I did hear it. Maybe I heard one of the later ones and it just turned me off every listening to anything after the debut? 

Anyway, it's an interesting listen. He actually makes a very reasonable point about why the original line-up wouldn't re-unite too. Sounds like we were lucky to get that killer debut album, as it doesn't seem that this style of music was where his heart was at at all. 

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Just had a quick look on youtube and I'm going to make a pretty solid guess that I have never actually heard 'The Voodoo You Love.' I found this video, and regardless of what I think of the production and actual song quality, there's no doubt this is far more in line with the style of the debut than all the shit they did afterwards. I will have to check the album for sure, even if comments on the main site suggest it's pretty shithouse itself. But it looks like there will at least be some remnants of the debut style-

 

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7 hours ago, Geoff said:

Just had a quick look on youtube and I'm going to make a pretty solid guess that I have never actually heard 'The Voodoo You Love.' I found this video, and regardless of what I think of the production and actual song quality, there's no doubt this is far more in line with the style of the debut than all the shit they did afterwards. I will have to check the album for sure, even if comments on the main site suggest it's pretty shithouse itself. But it looks like there will at least be some remnants of the debut style-

 

Like you, don't think I've ever heard Voodoo either. I will now. That song is defintely debut vibe.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I feel like a got a bit of closure on this band today. What I mean by that is, that my mind is littered with bands and what ifs and wonderment around material recorded (or not recorded) and not released from around the 1991-1993/4 era. I wonder what stuff recorded and unheard sounds like, and what stuff unrecorded would have sounded like... all sorts of scenarios for all sorts of bands. And Roxx Gang was always somewhere in that mix, with questions in my mind about what would have happened if they got to record a second album with the debut line-up. And I genuinely feel like that wonder has been quashed and I finally have closure on this band. 

As noted above, after listening to the interview with Kevin Steele, the bomb dropped that 'The Voodoo You Love' is in fact the album I've been wondering about. Recorded very soon after 'Things you've never done before,' mostly with that album's line-up, and then shelved for 4-5 years to be released in 1995, with a new line-up, whom, as I understand it, did not play on this album. I think he said Stacey Blades came in towards the end of the recordings and played guitar on two songs. But as far as I understand it, this is more or less the guys from the debut recording their second album. 

Of the album, there are definitely strong hints at the direction Steele would eventually take, but it's not offensive on this album. To me it just sounds like he'd been listening to Cinderella through 'Long cold winter' and 'Heartbreak station' and added a bit of that type of bluesy stuff to the mix. But it's only in doses, and for the most part, it's a hard rocking album not so far removed from the debut. 

To be honest, it does sound like it was written and put together pretty quick. None of the songs are as memorable as the majority of the debut, and it is very obviously missing Beau Hill's polish. In fact, I think it was produced by Steele himself, and there is definitely the aroma of an album that was recorded but never given a proper finished treatment. That's not to say the sound is bad... you still get what this album is about, in my opinion. But I do think a final treatment by the likes of Beau Hill may have elevated it quite nicely. 

Anyway, like I say, it's not the greatest album but I'm very happy to have finally heard what was always in plain sight. Can't believe it evaded me, for no reason whatsoever, for so long. My favourite song on here is 'Can't Catch Me,' which is incidentally the song that sounds most like the debut, right down to a blistering dual guitar solo. If you liked the debut, I highly recommend checking the album out, if for nothing but to quench your curiosity. 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

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