ALCATRAZZ – No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll [Expanded Edition Remastered] (2015)
Kicking off an extensive reissue campaign drawn across Graham Bonnet’s fruitful career, Cherry Red Records has reissued a remastered, expanded version of “No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll”, the debut album from ALCATRAZZ, the hard rockin’ band he fronted from 1983 – 1987, here accompanied by a young, awesome Yngwie Malmsteen on guitar.
Alcatrazz were formed in 1983, basically as a star vehicle for lead singer Graham Bonnet after his days with Blackmore’s Rainbow.
The band’s initial line-up consisted of Bonnet, a 20 year old Swedish prodigy called Yngwie Malmsteen (who had recently left American band Steeler), Gary Shea & Jimmy Waldo from acclaimed outfit New England and Clive Burr of Iron Maiden fame.
Burr was reportedly only in the band for a week, and left upon discovering the band was going to be based in the United States, as opposed to his native England. Burr was soon replaced by former Iron Butterfly drummer Jan Uvena, who had just left Alice Cooper’s backing band… great line-up credentials, eh?
Bonnet of course had an illustrious career beginning with The Marbles in the ’60s through to the Michael Schenker Group, Rainbow and solo success with singles like ‘Night Games’ in 1981. Alcatrazz was Bonnet’s vision of his own Rainbow in the ‘American’ commercial hard rock way.
For the first album “No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll”, the bulk of the material was written by Bonnet and Malmsteen, with Waldo contributing to several tracks. The album achieved a considerable success spending seven weeks on the Billboard album chart.
Alcatrazz was an immediate blast in Japan, while in America the young MTV played the first singles / videos ‘Island In The Sun’ and ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ on heavy rotation.
So to the album, 10 tracks of intelligent, melodic and perfectly realized hard rock / melodic shred rock cuts that never overstay their welcome. Kicking off with chugging mid-tempo ‘Island in the Sun’ and the first taste of Yngwie’s licks playing to Graham’s searing vocals morphing into the heavier vibe of track 2 ‘General Hospital’, then on to the apogee of ‘Jet to Jet’.
A triad of songs to rock your socks off… Yngwie’s solos left the hard rock community jaw-dropping. Some stupid journalists of the era snidely wrote off Yngwie as a sub standard Ritchie Blackmore. Malmsteen never made any secret of his adoration of Blackmore. But a poor imitation? Time refuted this silly comparisons.
The remaining 7 tracks all shine differently from the impassioned ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ to the good time feel of ‘Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live’.
With this Cherry Red / Hear No Evil Records remastered reissue of “No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll” (really good sound) you also get the added bonus of instrumental versions of all 10 tracks showing how they came together, plus refreshed artwork.
I’ve made no secret in these words of my admiration for this band and if one person – especially young rockers – reading this gets into Alcatrazz I’ll be personally delighted. For all familiar with this great album, this remaster is to treasure for sure.
For me, like the prison the band are named after, it’s a life sentence I am happy to serve!
01 – Island in the Sun
02 – General Hospital
03 – Jet to Jet
04 – Hiroshima Mon Amour
05 – Kree Nakoorie
06 – Incubus
07 – Too Young to Die, Too Drunk to Live
08 – Big Foot
09 – Starcarr Lane
10 – Suffer Me
11 – Island in the Sun [Instrumental demo]
12 – General Hospital [Instrumental demo]
13 – Jet to Jet [Instrumental demo]
14 – Hiroshima Mon Amour [Instrumental demo]
15 – Kree Nakoorie [Instrumental demo]
16 – Incubus [Instrumental demo]
17 – Too Young to Die, Too Drunk to Live [Instr. demo]
18 – Big Foot [Instrumental demo]
19 – Starcarr Lane [Instrumental demo]
20 – Suffer Me [Instrumental demo]
Graham Bonnet – vocals
Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars
Gary Shea – bass
Jan Uvena – drums
Jimmy Waldo – keyboards
BUY IT !