Any band who had the luxury of having a massive mainstream Rock hit while the grunge craze was in full flow should never be forgotten, and one such band are California’s Ugly Kid Joe. 1992s global banger Everything About You hijacked the airwaves and scored the band a UK and Billboard Top Ten finish. So while the likes of Cobain and Vedder brought the misery, Whitfield Crane and his band of merry men brought the party.
Ugly Kid Joe – Rad Wings Of Destiny (Metalville)
Release Date: 21 October 2022
Words: Brian Boyle
But that party was short-lived. The snowboarding-loving band never truly capitalised on their early success and disbanded in 1997. Twelve years on from reforming, UKJ have maintained their comedic tradition of tipping their hat to classic tunes and films.
Following on from the likes of Motel California, Menace To Sobriety and Stairway To Hell, they return with a tongue-in-cheek wink to Judas Priest’s Sad Wings Of Destiny with wait for it……Rad Wings Of Destiny.
But all joking aside, this bunch know how pen a reverberating rock tune. Opener That Ain’t Livin is a proper shin kicker,with Crane giving it the full Bon Scott and then some.
You can’t deny a glam rock influence on the punchy Not Like The Other. In fact, it’s unfortunately at the start reminiscent of a dodgy wig-wearing individual who shall remain nameless, but don’t let that spoil your fun.
The reflective Everything’s Changing shows that Crane and co can put on their serious face and deliver something very special when required.
There’s been a million and one songs written about the struggles with addiction. Some hit a nerve, but most are predictable and an insincere cash grab. Thankfully Kill The Pain is the former. It’s dark and powerful, and the melodically intense chorus will leave you wide-eyed.
1992s smash hit cover of Harry Chapin’s Cats In The Cradle was a brave move for a relatively new rock band, but they pulled it off to worldwide acclaim. And while a stab at The Kinks now non-PC Lola is a much safer choice, there are not many who could better this sublime version.
Dead Friends Play is not as sophisticated, but it’s just as raunchy when flaunting its filthy dirty riffs.
Whether you want to take Drinkin And Drivin seriously as authentic country/folk is entirely up to you, but either way, it’s bloody good fun, and if you were oblivious to who was singing it, you might be fooled.
Feel good closer Long Road will send you off to wherever with a giant spring in your step and overwhelming evidence of a band who loves to mix it up and set a mood.
Over three decades since their formation, Ugly Kid Joe returns with their finest album to date.
Rad Wings of Destiny
That Ain’t Livin’
Not Like The Other
Kill The Pain
Dead Friends Play
Up in the City
Drinkin’ And Drivin’