Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You Were Robbed: Child’s Play (RIP Brian Jack)

"You Were Robbed" features artists and bands that should have gotten much more recognition and fame than they did. Check them out now...better late than never!

I’ll never forget driving home from Baltimore one night in 1990 and hearing a song called “When Hell Freezes Over” playing on my favorite radio station at the time, 98 ROCK.

I soon learned this powerhouse rocker was by a band called Child’s Play, which featured Brian Jack on lead vocals and guitar, Nicky Kay on guitar, a guy named Idzi on bass, and John Allen on drums (and also some lead vocals). 98 ROCK soon started playing all sorts of cuts from the band’s major label debut, named after the single, “Rat Race”.

In addition to super catchy melodies, brilliant vocal tag-teaming by Jack and Allen, a thundering rhythm section, and sizzling guitar leads, what really drew me to the band were the amazing vocals of Brian Jack. When I finally saw the band live – probably at Hammerjacks – I couldn’t believe such a big sound was coming out of this guy. I guess I was expecting to see something like Hulk Hogan at the mic, but Jack looked - and acted - just like some buddy you’d befriend at the bar on any given night.

“Rat Race” featured 12 tracks of grade-A blue collar rock n roll. Nothing sums up the band’s philosophy better than the lead off anthem, “Good ol’ Rock n Roll”. Just good ol’ boys playing good ol’ Rock n Roll!

When considered with the single “Rat Race”, which features Jack and Allen trading lyrics every young man dreamed of singing, these Baltimore boys seemed destined to join the ranks of working class bands that hit the big time, like Bon Jovi or Skid Row.

While making an appearance or two on MTV, the song just didn’t take off…but no worries, there was an awesome acoustic-based ballad called “Wind” – surely that would seal the deal?

No, Child’s Play was robbed. Big time.

Other great tunes on this fantastic record included “Knock Me Out”, “Day After Night”, and “Girl Like You”. Child’s Play should have been remembered as a talented band of rock and roll purists, not a B movie horror flick. Brian Jack would go on to release a couple solo records that took a hard left turn from the Child’s Play sound into light rock territory. He transitioned into this format well and sold a ton of records without label support. I memory that still sticks in my mind to this day is seeing him play at a club in Ocean City, Maryland, doing an acoustic rendition of "No Woman, No Cry". It was utterly beautiful.

John Allen joined SR-71 and recently resurfaced in a hard rock band with Nicky Kay called “Charm City Devils”. There was a Child's Play reunion show in 2011, igniting hopes that we might get to hear some new material soon. But sadly, Brian Jack passed away last week. His music and stunning vocal prowess should be heard, so track down some Child's Play or his solo work today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He was underrated IMO. Rest in Peace Brian Jack Memorial page: