Published on October 7th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Joker: Cool Deal (Red Light)
Originally released in 1992, Cool Deal was the second (and final) album from Chicago-based melodic rockers Joker. The band made a name for themselves on the local circuit, but despite having a look and sound that was perfect for MTV, they never quite made the jump to the next level.
Cool Deal is a pretty strong example of what melodic hard rock sounded like in 1992. Not quite as sleazy as the Hollywood hair metal of the late ‘80s, but with that scene’s rocking energy and some AOR-worthy melodies. Given Tony Ingala’s vocal style, comparisons to Slaughter and Realized Fantasies-era TNT make sense, but Joker also has similarities to Wildside, XYZ and at times Lillian Axe. That’s not bad company to be keeping at all. Album opener “Stand Up, Shout It Out” could easily pass for a Slaughter anthem, and “Dry Your Eyes” has a great TNT vibe. Even their cover of The Sweet’s “Little Willy” is fun.
You know how this story ends. Despite having the talent and putting out good music, 1992 was just not a good time for a melodic hard rock band in America. The grunge scene pushed bands like Joker right out the door. Cool Deal remains a really enjoyable reminder of what made the late ‘80s and early ‘90s melodic hard rock sound so much fun though, and it’s an album fans of bands like Slaughter, Firehouse, Trixter, TNT, XYZ and Warrant ought to check out, especially now that it has been reissued.
Reissue Notes: After a long time out of print and commanding crazy aftermarket prices, we finally got an official reissue of Cool Deal this year thanks to the Red Light label. It’s not the most thrilling reissue though. It doesn’t mention remastering anywhere, and I don’t have an original to compare it to, but if it has been remastered, it wasn’t anything dramatic. There are no bonus tracks, and the liner notes (which does have a new cover image) are pretty basic. I can’t help but wonder what a Divebomb reissue might have looked and sounded like. Still, it’s always good to get a rarity like this back in fans’ hands.
Summary: Not the fanciest reissue, but it's still good to have this in print again