In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Pat Boone

Hip-O Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Lock up your children and round up some supplies for the old bomb shelter, because I think the televangelists might just get their wish this time -- if Pat Boone remaking "Stairway to Heaven" as a big band jazz waltz isn't a sure sign of impending Armageddon, I can't imagine what would be.

That said, this album -- and yes, it is a real album, no fooling -- is actually amazing in a couple of respects beyond its mere existence. First, because Boone himself takes the whole thing deadly seriously throughout -- his liner notes on the project run to a couple of thousand words, including all manner of earnest suggestions to the effect that "this unprecedented mix of milk and metal may win over a whole new audience for these very worthy songs."

And second, because, whether with tongue in cheek or not (it's hard to tell), some well-known metal-heads actually appear in the studio to egg Boone on. Ritchie Blackmore himself shows up to pound out a few chords of his immortal head-banging lead guitar on Deep Purple's "Smoke On the Water" -- at least before Pat carries the whole thing down into a fearsome netherworld of breathless William Shatner-like emoting.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The liner notes also reference at length the grand time Boone had swapping stories on a tour bus with Alice Cooper, author of the title tune. (Can't you just hear them now? Pat: "Oh, yeah, I know just what you mean, I had to bait a rat in my garage once..." Alice: "No, not bait. I ate a rat. On stage. A live one.")

A quick run-through of the lowlights: Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" is made over as a gentle trombone and trumpet swing that breaks into what could only be termed a spastic staccato beat at the unintentionally hilarious chorus; Hendrix's classic "The Wind Cries Mary" gets a surreal, horn-heavy lounge jazz treatment, with nary an electric guitar in earshot; and in one of the most bizarre moments in musical history, Boone attempts to transform the Guns N' Roses stomper "Paradise City" into a double-time big band scat, inspiring visions of Axl Rose in a torn-up tux chasing Boone across the stage with a meat cleaver.

I'm pretty sure it was midway through AC/DC's "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll)" -- somewhere between "Gettin' drunk, gettin' stoned / gettin' beat up, broken boned" and "If you think it's easy doin' one night stands / try playin' in a rock'n'roll band" -- when I first started laughing hysterically.

Still, my favorite moment was definitely deep in the heart of Van Halen's "Panama" (redone in classic big band fashion, loaded with horns and a chorus of female background vocalists), when our man Pat goes into David Lee Roth's mid-song, famously lascivious spoken break. Here was the big test: "I can barely see the road from the heat comin' off of it... think I'll just reach down here... ease the seat back... fasten my seat belt..."

Okay, I guess maybe we can call off Armageddon. But just imagine if Pat Boone had actually said "I reach dooooown betweeeeeen my leeeegs... (pregnant pause) ...and ease the seat back. Ahhhhhh." Why, the earth would surely have split open right there and then.

Rating: F

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hip-O Records, and is used for informational purposes only.