Published on August 10th, 2016 | by Justin G.0
Rough Cutt: self-titled
Los Angeles-based melodic hard rock band Rough Cutt made their debut in 1984 with this self-titled effort. The band was mentored by Ronnie James Dio (RIP) and his wife, and had a vocal powerhouse in Paul Shortino, but they failed to take off with the rest of the Hollywood hair metal scene.
Rough Cutt’s debut falls loosely into the “hair metal” formula, but no band with Shortino’s soulful, powerful vocals could ever be so easily pigeonholed. There’s a definite bluesy element to Rough Cutt’s brand of hard rock, and their melodies are right up there with King Kobra. The band’s cover of “Piece of My Heart” (which Janis Joplin originally made famous) was one of the singles, but the ballad(ish) “Dreamin’ Again” or the harder-edged “Black Widow” had radio/MTV written all over them. “Dreamin’ Again” in particular sounds like a long lost Giuffria/House of Lords single. “Cutt Your Heart Out” and “She’s Too Hot” really rock too, in an Autograph kind of way.
For whatever reason, the Rough Cutt debut failed to take off, just as albums by fellow L.A. rockers Ratt, Dokken and Quiet Riot were tearing up the airwaves. It remains one of the forgotten gems of the ‘80s melodic hard rock scene, and is an album that serious fans and collectors of bands like Quiet Riot, King Kobra, Ratt, Autograph and Y&T needs to own, especially now that it has been reissued.
Reissue Notes: For the longest time, the only way to get this album on CD was a pricy Japanese import or a non-remastered 2-on-1 with Wants You. The Rock Candy label fixed that earlier this year with their deluxe reissue of Rough Cutt. This reissue features digitally remastered audio and a booklet loaded with vintage photos and a band history/interview. There are no bonus tracks, but having this album remastered should be more than enough reason to upgrade if you have an earlier version.
Summary: Another fine (and much needed) Rock Candy reissue. Some bonus tracks would have been nice, but they aren't necessary.