Published on April 20th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Arti Tisi: The Complete Unreleased Recordings (MelodicRock)
Who the heck is Arti Tisi? That was my reaction when the MelodicRock Records label announced their extensive 3-disc Arti Tisi series. As it happens, Arti Tisi had one of the great “could have been, should have been” stories in melodic rock, coming close to replacing Lou Gramm in Foreigner and auditioning for Badlands. Along the way he worked with some first-rate songwriters and put together a wealth of solo material that has never seen the light of day…until now.
The MelodicRock label has put together three separate Arti Tisi albums, each chronicling a stage in the vocalist’s career, and each with a distinctive musical focus. The releases are titled New York City, Back Again and The Reeperbahn.
New York City is the first disc in the series, and it’s enough to make you go “whoa, so that’s Arti Tisi.” You can tell right off the bat why he was considered for the spot in Foreigner, as these songs all have a decided Foreigner influence. I can very easily imagine him singing the songs on Foreigner’s Unusual Heat album. There’s also a strong resemblance to Lou Gramm’s solo material as well as the Brian Howe Bad Company era, albeit with a bit more of a rock punch. Lou Gramm meets Kane Roberts maybe? Either way, this is some first-rate melodic rock, and it’s a crying shame we didn’t get to hear this back in the day.
Back Again is the second disc in the series, and while it’s a very different collection of songs than New York City, it has just as much of an impact. Tisi is in hard rock/hair metal mode here, and has essentially served up a Dokken album, and a great one at that. Dokken with traces of King Kobra, Hurricane, Lynch Mob and Icon, that is. This is such a killer collection of rock songs with great hooks, amazing electricity and of course a powerful vocal performance. It really shows the kind of range Tisi had, both in terms of vocals and songwriting. An album like this would have ruled the world in 1990.
The Reeperbahn is the final disc in the series, and it’s definitely the odd man out. This collection’s style ranges from singer/songwriter to pop to more mainstream-sounding modern rock. It has a couple of songs that sound like The Cars (“My Suspicious Side” sounds almost like an alternate version of “Drive”), a few that sound like later Rick Springfield, some that could pass for Maroon Five and one (“I’m the Man”) that sounds like a Black Crowes track. It’s all solid material, and again the vocals are top-notch, but it’s kind of a letdown after the melodic rock bliss of New York City and the hard rocking electricity of Back Again. Still, the material does tend to grow on you after a few spins.
All of the material on these three discs has been newly remastered by J.K. Northrup, and the sound quality is really good. And they’re each packaged separately, so you get three unique booklets. Each of these three albums can be purchased separately or as a set. If you’re only into AOR, New York City is your must-buy disc. If you’re all about the late ’80s and early ’90s melodic hard rock sound, Back Again is a mandatory purchase. If you like both styles, and are willing to take a chance, the full set is well worth picking up. Like me, you’ll probably be left wondering why in the world Arti Tisi never became a star.
Summary: There are at least two must-have albums here.