UGLY KID JOE — As Ugly As They Wanna Be

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UGLY KID JOE - As Ugly As They Wanna Be cover
3.00 | 6 ratings | 3 reviews
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EP · 1991

Filed under Hard Rock
By UGLY KID JOE

Tracklist

1. Madman (3:37)
2. Whiplash Liquor (3:40)
3. Too Bad (5:54)
4. Everything About You (4:14)
5. Sweet Leaf / Funky Fresh Country Club (7:32)
6. Heavy Metal (0:25)

Total Time 25:25

Line-up/Musicians

- Whitfield Crane / lead vocals
- Klaus Eichstadt / lead guitar, backing vocals
- Roger Lahr / rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Phil Hildegaertner / bass guitar, backing vocals
- Criss Wheeler / drums, percussion

About this release

Released by Stardog.

Thanks to UMUR, Lynx33 for the updates

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EP
Stardog Records 1991
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UGLY KID JOE AS UGLY AS THEY WANNA BE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Vim Fuego
What a difference a year can make. If this had been released in 1990 instead of 1991, the band would have had full poodle perms, spandex and would have worshipped at the altar of the ‘Crüe. Instead, in a post-Nirvana world, the glitter was replaced by grunge, a deliberate dirtying down of their image. Plaid and greasy hair were the order of the day. It didn’t affect the music one little bit though. This is dumb suburban rock, through and through. It’s got all the fuckwitted clichés of the time, with funky bits, slapped bass, a white boy trying to rap and ending up sounding like a turd.

This is essentially an expanded single, built around the slacker anthem “Everything About You”, and unfortunately, the three songs before it are so mediocre they are annoying. It is difficult not to want the songs to be finished so you can get to the prize. “Madman” deliberately courted controversy by referring to a gunman loose in Disneyland. Disney’s reputation for running down anyone misappropriating their name and/or reputation was well known at the time (just ask D.A.D. or Bomb Everything), and playing on the theory any publicity is good publicity... It didn’t work, because Disney didn’t notice. “Whiplash Liquor” is about the dangers of drinking. Actually, an alcoholic haze might make the song sound better.

“Everything About You” is a dumb song aimed at dumb teens (and older listeners who don’t know any better), in a self-centred world where hating things and people is cool. The tune is quite memorable though, and Whitfield Crane’s dumb assed lyrics are fun and easy to sing along with. It made a welcome change to the grunge misery which was starting to gain momentum at the time, even if it sounded like a song Warrant had rejected for being too cheesy.

The cover of Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” is surprisingly respectful, not utterly slaughtered as you might expect. Whitfield Crane seems to sing within himself, except for when he’s copying Ozzy. Then, he lets rip, showing off a powerful and tuneful voice. And then, just to fuck everything up, another piece of funky diarrhoea called “Funky Fresh Country Club” got tacked on the end, as if Ugly Kid Joe were hoping to hitch a ride off Black Sabbath’s coat tails. The hidden track is shit too.

Unfortunately, Ugly Kid Joe went on to record some albums after this, and stretched whatever tiny piece of luck they’d had with “Everything About You”. This band might have been fondly remembered if they’d called it a day after this. They didn’t, and they aren’t.
UMUR
As Ugly as They Wanna Be is the debut release by American heavy rock/ metal act Ugly Kid Joe. The 6 track, 25:25 minutes long EP was released in October 1991 by Stardog. The band gained a lot of popularity because of the extensive airplay on MTV of the song Everything About You. A dream scenario for a new act. Everything About You would also appear in the, at the time, very popular Wayne's World (1992) movie, which further helped the band´s rise to international stardom. As Ugly as They Wanna Be has sold enough copies to be certified multi-platinum.

The music on the EP has traces of eighties glam metal ( I think I hear both traces of Mötley Crue and Extreme), but the dominant sound is sligthly funky alternative heavy rock/ metal. Ugly Kid Joe is the best example I can think of when talking about perfect timing. The sound they brought on the table was fresh, funny and energetic and not too decadent like the glam metal posse of the eighties, which was obviously something the general record buying population found appealing by the early nineties. The greatest asset of the EP is the energy and good humour but the musicianship is actually pretty good too. Whitfield Crane is a skilled and charismatic vocalist with a recognisable sound. It´s the big hit Everything About You that gets most attention, but the opening track Madman ( which together with Everything About You was included, with minor changes, on the band´s debut album America's Least Wanted (1992)) and the pretty good cover version of Sweet Leaf by Black Sabbath are also quality tracks.

Listening to As Ugly as They Wanna Be today, it´s obvious when the EP was released. The hard rocking riffing of the eighties combined with the funky and alternative touch of the early nineties gives that away imidiately. I wasn´t much of a fan back when this EP was released, but I actually found As Ugly as They Wanna Be pretty entertaining when I listened to the EP before writing this review. For me this is a 3 - 3.5 star release.

Members reviews

1967/ 1976
First I bought this album for cover and back cover and not for music (I bough this Ep without knowing the band's music except for "Everything About You") but with my great surprise the music is extreme good.

The cover of this album present Ugly Kid Joe in a great form: a sort of Bart Simpson but more rotten). Also the booklet back cover is great if you search a rotten position in this society: a stick of dynamite in the pants of a cat must have reported my friend Tex to UKJ!!! Clearly this cat isn't Tom!!!

The music is great: sleazy, blusy, bastard, rotten, with tons of power, melodic and sought (although a boogie rock derived from AC/ DC and similars). Clear the production is not invasive: the music have a great power, maybe also because melodic. I prefer, in this Ep, songs like "too bad" or the mega hit "Everithing About You". This song is melodic but with great guitars and feeling, how every hit should have (it will win and become a blockbuster in your mind). Interesting is also the cover of "Sweet Life" (Black Sabbath) in a double track with "Funky Fresh Country Club".

In definitive UKJ is a great band. Unfortunately this is their only release that I have. With satsfaction. And, in truth I recommended this release to all of pure metalheads that have interesting in Glam Metal.

Ratings only

  • Lynx33
  • luanpedi
  • progshine

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