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To also strengthen KISS's potential claim against Buckcherry is the lyric "queen of the night time world," in the refrain of "Lawless and Lulu," the third song on Buckcherry. It's obviously a rip-off of KISS's 1976 song "King of the Night Time World" (my italics). Need I elucidate? And it makes you wonder if the only thing missing from Buckcherry's schtick is the kabuki makeup. KISS cover bands should be afraid. Very afraid.

And aside from the facts that most of the guitar solos on Buckcherry sound like Frehley's in the way they're concentrated on high pitches, long string bends and melodic flurries, and that lead singer Joshua Todd's singing mimics Dee Snyder's singing/shouting, the record still fails in its postmodern take on the much-maligned '80s metal, its evident inspiration. (Which begs the question, "Is it a joke if no one gets it?") Though most critics/fans/musicians will agree that '80s metal lacked substance, they will say that it overflowed with technical proficiency and a dedication to musicianship. Tell this to the guys from Buckcherry. Simply playing three-note arpeggios through a wah-wah pedal -- as on the track "Get Back" -- which, literally, any monkey could do, isn't artful. But it is, I guess, everything you'd expect from a guitar player named "Yogi," who -- in all estimations -- is not fit to insulate Frehley's moon boots.

Another sticking point for me is the way Buckcherry's guitar tandem of Yogi and Nelson, ummm, work. Historically, talented heavy metal guitar tandems needed no introductions, so to speak. When you heard any vintage Judas Priest record, for example, you knew exactly whether it was K.K. Downing or Glenn Tipton soloing. Simply by their styles. Same goes for vintage Iron Maiden: Dave Murray's and Adrian Smith's styles were so vastly different that they were like sonic nametags. Even in such bands as the Scorpions -- whose solos went mostly to one player, Matthias Jabs -- you could still tell when the other guy, Rudolf Schenker, got his chance to jam. But with these two goofs from Buckcherry there's no telling who's doing what. They both sound identical. Identically vain and derivative.

So some will say of the band, which also includes the nominal contributions of Jonathan Brightman on bass and Devon Glenn on drums, "Well, they're just doing what Puff Daddy does, but with metal." But this opinion is stupid in two ways: one, rap is NOT heavy metal and was not born of the same sociopolitical circumstances as metal; and two, metal -- unlike rap, which gets its strength by turning white pop culture on its head -- is defined by its grandiosity, intensity and originality. Growing up in a blue-collar town in Pittsburgh, I saw kids fist-fight over who they thought were the best big-time rock guitarists of the day. We felt that strongly about our metal. But who in the hell would take a blow for Yogi? or Keith Nelson? I'd lose teeth for Michael Schenker or Alex Lifeson or Ritchie Blackmore, but for Yogi? I think I'd kick someone's ass just for bringing his name up.

Even the content of Buckcherry's songs stinks with artifice. Guns N' Roses will be the last heavy metal band for years to cross over while maintaining an antiestablishment posture. Period. How many metal bands today could perform songs about "immigrants and faggots," "po-lice and niggers," abusing women and drugs and still sell a million records and receive airplay across the globe? None. What Guns N' Roses did in 1987 and into the early '90s will never be duplicated, especially by a bunch of talentless turks trying to tap the millennial retro craze for a "buck" or two. Merely performing songs with the refrains "I love the cocaine / I love the cocaine," as Buckcherry does in "Lit Up," or "I saw your old lady in a porno mag," as they do on "Dirty Mind," indicates a quixotic attempt to recapture the end of the Reagan era and all the excessive consumption therein. Things -- art, music, etc. -- lose meaning over time and outside of their contexts. Someone should tell Buckcherry it's not 1985 anymore.

And, oh yeah, Gene Simmons's lawyer also wants to have a word with them.
-- Anthony Mariani

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