Ever wonder what a rock band’s Off Season would sound like? Y’know, the guys from bands that tour all year round taking some time off to jam together and make something outside of their normal routine. Cue The Company Band, a rock super group made up of Neil Fallon (Clutch), Jim Rota (Fireball Ministry), Brad Davis (Fu Manchu) and Jess Margera (CKY). Additional guitarist Dave Bone rounds out the band and together they’ve been releasing random slabs of rock goodness for the last few years. This time The Company Band have unleashed Pros And Cons, an EP that reminded me of the few, the proud, the ones who know how to kick out the jams.
Pros And Cons is a massively ass kicking piece of music. The opening track “House Of Capricorn” is a game changer. Rota and Bone lay into a riff that is so funky, so fluid in dripping rock sauce that your butt is forced to wiggle. Try to fight it but you can’t, the riff is just too juicy to deny. Filling out the groove is the always impressive bass work from Brad Davis (who replaced my former band mate Jason Diamond) and solid drums from Jess Margera.
Sending the song completely over the top are Fallon’s vocals. The lyrics have the same sense of irony and intelligence that he uses in Clutch but with a bit more humor. “House Of Capricorn” is the mission statement of a band with the name The Company Band. Fallon uses various kinds of self-congratulatory statements and egocentric bravado to make “House Of Capricorn” sound like the hardest rocking job interview ever.
Having established they’re the right band for the job, it’s now time for The Company Band to hit the road. That’s where “Black Light Fever” comes in. From the butt wiggle to the grand road theme, “Black Light Fever” screams for scenes of the band hanging out with fans, signing autographs, sleeping on the bus, all the tour clichés that make us want to be rock stars. Sound wise the tune feels like a cross between ZZ Top’s “Waitin’ For The Bus” and Bob Segar’s “Turn The Page”. This is the kind of song Wooderson from Dazed And Confused would blast while cruising to buy Aerosmith tickets.
The Company Band odyssey continues with “Kill Screen”, the most upbeat number on the record. This is a drinking tune, a riff that rides along with you and your buddies while cruising for chicks and drinking cheap beer. No rock outfit would be complete without the low-end worshipping song to get high to. “Loc Nar” really is best enjoyed through the practice of better living through chemistry. Preferably with a black light and a lava lamp. The songs’ stoner groove is held together by Davis’s funky bass before opening up into a louder version of itself. “El Dorado” is the move end credits song. It’s slow by deliberate, taking cues from bands like Foghat and Kiss.
Pros And Cons works because it takes each band member out of their comfort zone. Rota’s guitar work in Fireball Ministry is always very heavy handed and serious. I don’t know if it’s working alongside Dave Bone, but in The Company Band we get to hear Jim Rota relax and rock out. Brad Davis takes a break from the straight groove of Fu Manchu so he can walk around a bit and allow his bass playing to be, for lack of a better term, tougher. I’m not a fan of CKY so anything Margera does that isn’t that band is a step up to me.
Let’s be frank, most of the new face of rock is pretty pussy. It’s all overly attractive men preening on stage and pandering to the audience in some kind of bad homage to AC/DC or Led Zeppelin. The Company Band are the exact opposite. This is fighting rock, drinking rock, tough guy who is going to die on the road rock. Pros And Cons is the kind of album that would make Bon Scott smile and Grand Funk Railroad proud. The Company Band’s relentless pursuit of boogie down swing is a dying art form, but when it all goes up in flames at least we’ll have the tunes man!