REVIEW: Hookers & Blow – ‘Hookers & Blow’

By Greg Maki

Eighteen years after forming, Hookers & Blow, the glorified cover band led by Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed and Quiet Riot guitarist Alex Grossi, finally has recorded an album. And this self-titled affair is—you guessed it!—a covers album. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, it’s keeping perfectly in the spirit of the band, not to mention a whole lot of fun and offering some interesting choices.

Seriously, where else will you hear a Body Count song follow a David Bowie classic? Or how about the Beastie Boys sandwiched between Blue Oyster Cult and The Rolling Stones?

The band—which also features drummer Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative, Danzig), bassist Mike Duda (W.A.S.P.) and singer Nadja—is a nimble combo, and in their hands this collection of tunes by a disparate range of artists flows naturally. It feels like a cohesive record instead of just a bunch of songs that these guys like. The biggest surprise is Reed’s easy-on-the-ears voice, which isn’t blessed with an abundance of range but is distinctive enough to inject his personality into every track.

Album highlights include the Blue Oyster Cult stomper “Godzilla” (featuring the Okai Sisters); the aforementioned Body Count song, “The Winner Loses”; an epic take on Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” (featuring late Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali); and a raucous rendition of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.”

If there’s a criticism, it’s that two songs each by The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin seems a bit unnecessary. One from each would have been enough, and surely, there are two more bands worthy of filling the other slots. Also, the energy is lacking on the Beastie Boys’ “You Gotta Fight for Your Right (to Party),” on which Nadja takes the lead vocal; maybe I’m just missing Reed behind the mic.

Track list:

  1. “Rocks Off” – The Rolling Stones
  2. “Shakin’” – Eddie Money
  3. “Trampled Underfoot” (featuring Frankie Banali) – Led Zeppelin
  4. “Ziggy Stardust” – David Bowie
  5. “The Winner Loses” – Body Count
  6. “Time of the Season” – The Zombies
  7. “American Girl” – Tom Petty
  8. “Godzilla” (featuring the Okai Sisters) – Blue Oyster Cult
  9. “You Gotta Fight for Your Right (to Party)” – The Beastie Boys
  10. “Under My Thumb” – The Rolling Stones
  11. “No Quarter (featuring Frankie Banali)” – Led Zeppelin
  12. “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” – Elton John

Rating: 7/10

Golden Robot Records – July 23, 2021

Buy “Hookers & Blow”

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