The front cover is equally eye catching. This time a wildly painted woman and horse ride across the desert, the woman barely able to keep her enormous breasts inside her bikini top. It also appears the artist forgot to paint a bikini bottom.
In short, the cover art is loud. It's excessive. And it's like nothing the pop/rock/metal bands on MTV today would use to wrap 10 songs for delivery. Like I said, fans need look no further to get a feel for the new disc.
"We simply don't want to sound like anything out there," Beveridge told Recoil during a recent interview. "We wanted nothing and still don't want anything to do with what's happening now on the [national] scene."
Actually, Saddle Up is tamer than the rock band's first album, Day Late And A Dollar Short. Instead of using Pro Tools (the industry standard for digital music production), The Rockit King chose to record the old fashioned way. Going with analog tape created more space in many ways, and Beveridge said it also made the entire project warmer with less high-end noise.
"Not that there's less guitar mayhem on the record, which is good," he said. "That's what The Rockit King are about and why people come to see it."
The result is an album that is veryâ€¦ big. It almost harkens back the rock and roll bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The band's website at www.therockitking.com lists Thin Lizzy, AC/DC and Van Halen as appropriate comparisons, and it's tough to argue that. Their sound doesn't trudge along like many modern rock bands, and they're definitely not afraid to showcase guitarists Lou Musa's and Chris Cooney's skills. Live, Beveridge said they take pride in "kicking the shit out of the stage."
While Beveridge seems to be the man leading the band on and off stage, they were actually put together by Cooney, Musa and drummer Kenny Roberts. In the fall of 2001 they set to putting together a modern 1970s super-group, and (unbeknownst to them) basically recruited Beveridge and bassist Martin Heynen. They'd all been kicking around West Michigan for a while, but had roots in Chicago and Texas as well. Day Late And A Dollar Short was recorded two years later in less than three weeks, but songs like "Running Away" and "Bridge To Burn" had become crowd favorites long before. Saddle Up took quite a bit longer to produce, the band began recording in January, but also features songs that should be familiar to the faithful.
"I see fans singing along to â€˜Do You Really Wanna Be With Me' and they've never heard it on tape, they've just heard it at shows for two years, which is cool because then they get the record and hopefully it lives up to whatever particular memories they have of that song," Beveridge said.
The album took such a long time to create because they recorded in chunks, then had to find the right album art, make a radio push, worry about merchandise, etc. Beveridge said the decision to go analog was made before any of the songs were written, and he hopes listeners find the technique not only warmer, but less poppy and more like the mentioned rock super-groups.
"You're not using your eyes at all with that when you're laying tracks down," he said. "Like when you're listening to music driving down the road, you're not looking at squigglies from the Pro Tools screen. You don't care about that!"
Beveridge said he's dumbfounded by comparisons to the hair bands of the late â€˜80s, and to be fair those are inaccurate. No one appears in heavy makeup or with costumes more complicated than jeans and a t-shirt. The fans that show up seem indifferent to the labels, actually. Typically, The Rockit King plays for a club full of all age groups, and plenty of bikers.
"Hopefully people can see through the bullshit labels and say, â€˜Hey, these guys know how to play, and know how to sing, and I like that.'"
On stage, the intensity is notched up. The group isn't impressed with young rock and roll bands that look good on magazine covers, but are reclusive and dull in interviews and just stand and shout on stage. Beveridge used My Chemical Romance as a band that sounds good, but doesn't bring it live, and The Killers as a band that he didn't love, but thought rocked on stage.
"I'm boggled by it, I'm boggled that kids buy it," he said. "And I think some of this is that single-making machine that is â€˜commercial radio.' I don't know if we'll ever fit into that mold, and I don't really care."
The Nov. 19 Rockit King show at the Orbit Room in Grand Rapids will also feature Broken Sunday, Dissonant, and If He Dies He Dies. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., cover is $5 for ages 21 and older, $7 for minors.
Check out the artist's website:
2. Leave Me Alone
3. Do You Really Wanna Be With Me
4. Proving You Wrong
5. Dead Eleven Days
6. Saddle Up
7. Different Ways
8. Matter Of Time
9. Never Cared
10. Lonely Girl