RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Pat Travers – Retro Rocket 
Purple Pyramid Records

Rating: B

Pat Travers is a rock and roll son of a bitch.  There is no doubt about that.  He is used to hearing the words ‘icon,’ ‘rock star,’ and ‘legend’ to describe him.  Unlike many others who get the same type of treatment, Travers deserves it.  He has passion, dedication and talent—the perfect concoction when whipping up a batch of ultimate rock and roll stew! 

It does not get any ‘stew-ier’ that his newest experiment in rock and roll guitar playing, titled Retro Rocket.  This is true balls-to-the-wall, pull-it-outta-yer-arse, do-it-once-and-do-it-right gee-tar picking.  Six songs were already kinda-sorta written when emailed to PT.  There were drums and bass and all that was missing was Traver’s rhythm guitar, lead guitar and vocals.  Piece of cake, right?  Well, if you’re Pat Travers, then, yeah... but he didn’t approach it that way.  He plugged in that ’57 Gold Top Les Paul of his and cranked it up to 12 and created six tunes that are all Wayne’s World styled retro rock (yes, it’s okay to drop to your knees in Pat’s presence and give him a,”We’re not worthy!” He secretly likes it). 

Think about it…the rules Purple Pyramid Records set down were this:  “Here are six songs with just a rhythm section.  You can’t redo the backing tracks.  Now, write some good shit and make it sound like 1977.”  Travers simply smiled, walked over, picked up his axe and went to town.  The songs are off the cuff and fresh.  They are loud.  They have a BUNCH of guitar solos and, true to form, he channeled his much younger self of 35 years ago and freaking tore it up!  “Always Run” and “Searching for a Clue” are just amazing examples of what can be done in an open-minded and creative setting such as this.  All six of the Frankenstein-like songs ring true with the power and force of a (ahem) Retro Rocket.  This is, against the odds, and... as unlikely as it seems that this could even work, really fun tunes that feature the classic Pat Travers sound emerged.  Who wudda thunk?

Okay – It may be the silliest album cover released since the ‘70s as well: Pat standing on the tip of a rocket that looks kinda like a LSD inspired fish -and I am sure there is some sort of Freudian phallic joke we could insert (oh that’s just too funny) here.  Fortunately, the cover does not take away from the music contained within, as the experiment worked so well that Travers added three new tunes to round out the album.  All three fit perfectly in the retro mold, and rock like a muther.  They are “I Am Alive,” “I Wanna Be Free” and the bluesy rocker “Hellbound Train.”  There is also a live version of “Looking up” on the CD (there is a digital version as well, but get the CD… for the music and for that cover.  It’s so bad, it’s good—the cover art that is.  The music is all good!)

At the end of the day, this sucker should have come off ‘forced’, or silly, or out of place.  One should go, “Hey wait, does that song even have a chorus?”  People should notice that this is a few words and a ton of self-indulgent guitar soloing here, but they don’t.  Why?  Because it was outta the box and Pat hit it outta the park.  Gotta admit I like this sucker… a lot.  If you love music that is jam oriented, blues based and sounds like it came from your high school parking lot accompanied by a cold-something-in-a-can, or a hot something rolled up and lit, or both… then climb aboard Retro Rocket and prepare to get blasted outta yer mind!

Even when he’s just experimenting, Pat Travers finds a way to kick yer ass! 

Just that fact I gotta use words like ‘yer’ and ‘outta’ and ‘wudda’ in this review make me happy... oh, and phallic.  The fact the CD kicks ass is icing on the cake!

Track Listing

1. I Always Run
2. Searching For A Clue
3. Who Can You Turn To
4. Up Is Down
5. Mystery At The Wrecking Yard
6. You Can’t Get Their From Hare
7. I Am Alive
8. I Wanna Be Free
9. Hellbound Train
10. Looking Up (Live) [CD ONLY]

11. Lead Me Home (Theme from The Walking Dead)

By Jeb Wright