Californian Rockers Return after 15 Years
Yeah yeah yeah, Ugly Kid Joe has 'previous'...
They have a multi-platinum history.
They had two top 10 singles.
They were all over MTV.
They were all over the international print media.
They were all over radios from Tallahassee to Talinn.
So yeah, Ugly Kid Joe has happy, shiny 'previous' alright, and scores of snot-faced skate-surfer-dudes of the early '90s will forever crack a brew in their man caves and remember some good times...
…and in an era where the garage has been replaced by a laptop and software studios, Ugly Kid Joe are about to kick back onto the international stage and give a whole new legion of hungry miscreant reprobates something to live for.
Stairway To Hell, a 6-song EP which heralds Ugly Kid Joe's return to the world of music after a long time away, contains songs spanning the full repertoire of influences which made Ugly Kid Joe one of the prime soundtracks for young snowboarders, surfers, keggers and characters worldwide. Whether it's “Devil’s Paradise”, with it's hypnotic riffery and hook line, grooving and grinding it's hips seductively, the melodic power-fueled darkness of "No One Survives" or the irrepressibly memorable chug-n-chorus of "I'm Alright" it's clear that Ugly Kid Joe have everything they started with plus fatter chops and a (frankly) superior curve on songwriting.
And realize one VERY important thing about UKJ; they mean every goddam note, every goddam riff and every goddam moment they deliver. Like AC/DC, like Judas Priest, like Alice In Chains, what you see is what you get; it ain't any different in any other way other than the ability to perform-the-fuck out of their material…
The epicenter of it all is Whitfield Crane, those crazy clean beautifully manic mischievous eyes hinting and glinting and dancing with gleeful joy at the mere thought of performing, of letting his inner demon out to wear angel wings and fly around the universe. If that's a mouthful to read, then know that Crane is an eyeful to absorb, a wonderfully cathartic wrecking ball of rock'n'roll energy as it used to be served, on the rocks with no need for tonic. A genuine international itinerant, Crane is the ultimate citizen of the world, and if the bastard had a large enough house, he'd have you ALL over for tea, a jam session and to swap stories of lives both lived and being lived.
Fellow 'Joes and long-time co-conspirators, guitarist Klaus Eichstadt and Dave Fortman (yes, the same Fortman who produced the EP as well as albums by Evanescence, Slipknot and Mudvayne among others), are of like-musical mind and quieter social assembly, allowing them to be the co-architects of UKJ and furthermore, to deliver the riffs necessary. Drummer Shannon Larkin continues where he left off the last time, propelling the band to a thicker, darker side of melody with some heavy, relentless percussion, and Cordell Crockett underpins it all with a rich, warm envelope of fat rock'n'roll bass guitar.
UKJ's stratospheric rise came about soon after their formation in 1989,when childhood friends Crane and Eichstadt decided to peruse the musical path in Santa Barbara, CA. After signing to Mercury Records, The band released the E.P. "As Ugly As They Wanna Be" in October of 1991, which went on to sell over 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. alone becoming the highest selling debut E.P. of all time. In 1992 UKJ released America's Least Wanted which became a double-platinum phenomenon, saw the band tour worldwide supporting legends such as Ozzy Osbourne and Van Halen, and thus perform in arenas and stadiums worldwide such as Wembley. It also spawned the top ten singles "Everything About You" and cover "Cat's In The Cradle" which all cemented UKJ as a flagship rock band who both engaged and entertained without any baggage; theirs was all about having a good, heavy-edged, time. Millions, it seemed, agreed. Two more albums were to come out, 1995's Menace To Sobriety and 1996's Motel California, before UKJ decided to take a hiatus whilst Crane was on a journey through India (he also partakes of the successful Another Animal project alongside Godsmack's Tony Rombola, Robbie Merrill, Larkin and Lee Richards of Dropbox).
At the time they called it a break-up, but looking back it was obviously just young men deciding to go on a hiatus, because when they finally decided that the coffee break was over and it was time to get back to goddam rock'n'roll, Crane, Eichstadt, Fortman, Crockett and Larkin picked up where they'd left off a decade-plus before as though only a couple of weeks had elapsed.
There are naysayers and bullshitters everywhere who might doubt, and want to doubt, that Ugly Kid Joe are both back AND for creative-real.
Ignore them and make up your own mind.
Pick up Stairway To Hell and gorge on the aural pudding for proof.
You'll see (and hear) for yourselves that they're alright, they're OK, and that in 2012, Ugly Kid Joe wouldn't have it any other way than it's been and than it is...
By: Steffan Chirazi