Frankenstein 3000 formed in 1998, released nine studio records and have been on over 20 compilation records. They have toured with The New York Dolls, Earl Slick, The Dictators, Monster Magnet, Urge Overkill, Robin Zander and many more. They have served as David Johansen’s backup band as well as many other Rock Luminaries. They were honored at the 11th Annual Asbury Music Awards as Top Rock Band.
The Blunt Truth is their first vinyl release — it’s an album in every sense of the word. They’re incredibly proud of every second of this recording. It’s a classic, not to be cherry-picked — infectious! After essential tracks were recorded, FS3K invited some friends to participate in the making. Derrek Hawkins (Stabbing Westward, Ace Frehley, and now a full-time member), Finn Ryan (Atomic Bitchwax), Bob Pantella (Monster Magnet), Kenny Aaronson (Bob Dylan, Dust, Joan Jett), Peter Marshall (Iggy Pop, Samhain), Punky Meadows (Angel), and Tim Cronin (The Rib Eye Brothers). Their excitement and enthusiasm come through the wax!
I’ve known this band, and Keith Roth, for years before I was in Well of Souls — back in the very early ‘90s. He has always had a passion for performance, and his writing has always been stellar. His primary directive stays around the glory days of ‘70s rock music, and his lyrical focus is centered around the east and everything (good and bad) that we’ve been associated with for years. His penchant for surrounding himself with the best rockers in the area are well known, and many exciting players are featured on the band’s latest disc. Roth also recently released a movie in which he starred and while I won’t be covering that here, I will be discussing it soon.
The Blunt Truth features 11-songs and many special guests. Produced by Keith Roth and engineered by Bobby Pantella, The Blunt Truth rocks! Former guitarist (and my favorite) Tommy Tafaro guests as does Peter Marshall (Iggy pop) Punky Meadows, Kenny Aaronson (Dust, Bob Dylan, Dave Edmonds and so many more), Bobby Pantella (Monster Magnet) and several other key players that have made their mark across the music business scene. The band can be seen at a variety of locations within the tri-state area, which always includes New York City and several critical rooms in New Jersey.
But besides all the accolades and accomplishments, Keith Roth and his core band are a terrific group of musicians that share a combined passion for real rock ‘n’ roll music. The Blunt Truth is the latest in that acclaimed direction, and I wanted to discuss some of the songs in details for you here at The Shoreworld.
The first song on the disc is called “Second Time Around”. Roth and company kick it off hard with this song. Think about the savvy attitude of 1960s band the Seeds, and that’s what this song is all about. Utilizing heavy duty rhythm sections, guitars, and leads, Roth surrounds himself with the right sounds. Guitarist Derrick Hawkins does his thing with Keith Richards’ style. Combining twisted lead breaks with Chuck Berry riffs, Hawkins is an agreeable replacement for long time guitarist Tommy Tafaro. Roth has a voice filled with real rock gravel, and his lyrical presentation describes the long-time subject of that specific girl and her historical existence. Eric Hoagland (bass) and Pete Perinna (drums) hold down a steady groove for the boys to fly over and it works perfectly.
“NYC” is another stellar tune. This is the song that Keith shines on. Roth is a longtime New Yorker when it comes to radio and music, and he tells us all about it here. I can remember NYC back in the 1980s before Giuliani got his hands on it and it was a great place to go and cut loose. This was before the Disney-like transference into a homogenized world of shopping and tourism. 42nd Street, the Village, 48th Street and so much more that is now pretty much gone. Keith sings his ode to the big apple with severe experience and form, and it’s golden. Special guest includes Nicky Reds on guitar. The song is moderately heavy but never in any danger of being lost in distorted layers of confusion. The band hammers the theme into the very ground as Roth sings above them with authentic style and original flair. Reds middle-eight contribution comes to life as he plows into his Elliot Easton vibe before fading for Roth to hit once again. Hoagland and Perrina carry the backbone, and this song kicks proverbial ass.
Next up is “Give it All Away”, featuring the heavy guitar presence of Pete Marshall. Marshall has always been around and using him here just makes good sense. I recently covered some of Marshall’s playing prowess on Bebe Buell’s latest record, and he’s a different animal on this track. Ferocious and fully in the vein of Cheetah Chrome, Marshall adds tons of attitude to “Give It All Away”. Roth sings his heart out as well. His “All or Nothing” approach is robust and he screams and rasps his way through this 4:13 minutes of rock ‘n’ roll joy. The band is also tuned up as they run alongside Roth and provide sound and enthusiastic accompaniment. Roth is a singer that has staying power in the vein of Stiv Bators or Ian Astbury from The Cult. All in all, a great piece of musical composition.
Tommy Tafaro is featured on “Never Goin Back Again”. With an overall feel of bands such as The Gaslight Anthem and Soul Asylum, “Never Goin Back Again” is a song that slows and hurries all within the compositional timeframe. Tafaro’s Les Paul sound is gold. He plays simple, warm lines along the like of Slash or Earl Slick and it works like gangbusters. Hawkins also contributes to the track, and his supportive snarl goes from zero to 80 within the flick of a chorus. Hoagland and Perrino hold everything together as Roth sings his ode to never returning to a place from the past. A great job on a mid-tempo piece that doesn’t fall back on the usual gimmicks of radio-driven mid-tempo shit on the radio today.
The band’s interpretation of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” is filled with original interaction and flair. Bobby Pantella appears on the track lending backing vocals along with the group as well. I really like the band’s interpretation of the song, and it manages to keep the original vitality of the song while adding the distinctive flair of FS3K. Guitars are sparkling salvos of distorted brilliance, and Roth portrays the lyrical and melodic structure in his unique way, and it’s incredible! The band does a great job, and the song is all their own. This is rock ‘n’ roll done right and it’s ready to pop!
Frankenstein 3000 has done so much in the last decade that it’s always tough to decide what’s the best. but in the final words of lead singer Keith Roth, “I feel that The Blunt Truth is our finest work to date, and everyone involved gave it their all and helped make this record what it is today.” And truthfully, after listening to this record several times, I would have to agree with Keith. From the production to the engineering and performance, this record smokes!
For more information on Frankenstein 300 and their excellent new record The Blunt Truth, head over to mainmanrecords.com.