"Mary Jane"

(Vanity Music Group)

01. Take
02. Mary Jane
03. Dragonhead
04. California
05. God Bomb
06. Hot Wheels
07. Rain
08. Suitcase Punk
09. Soul Thief
10. Let the Dead Bury the Dead
11. Burning in Hell

RATING: 7/10

DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE is the raunchy rock playground of Russell (aka "Rusty") Workman, who reportedly worked with earlier bands in his native Arizona that opened for the likes of IRON MAIDEN, KORN and DIO. Workman was forced to put DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE on hiatus while serving a stint in the jug for drug possession. Now Workman has resurrected his original masters and the band is official. With an album called "Mary Jane", you can probably detect by instinct what you're in for.

"Rock 'n roll and tittie bars" crop up amidst the nihilistic wasteland of "Dragonhead", which sums up the prevailing leitmotif of "Mary Jane". Sex, pot, acid, booze, Lucifer and a hundred f-bombs course throughout "Mary Jane". Those, along with tirades against corporate hip hop (found on the title track and in the farcical rock-rap of "Hot Wheels"), a snide jibe against plastic west coasters on "California" and a sidesplitting (though awful) butchery of power ballads on "Rain".

Rusty Workman, who handles vocals and guitars for DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE, is joined by Harry McCaleb (guitar), Rich Contadino (drums) and Mykel Sane (bass), the latter having previously played with FASTER PUSSYCAT, SAIGON SAIGON and John Waite. Sound-wise, DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE embraces the dicks-out bawdiness of L.A. sleaze rockers such as MÖTLEY CRÜE and FASTER PUSSYCAT while occasionally dipping into BLACK SABBATH turf. "Mary Jane" is largely kept loud and stupid with the full intent of celebrating debauchery and anti-Christianity like it's a God-given right, forgive the contradictory pun.

Workman may be a nifty riff machine alongside Rich Contadino, but his vocals are like a drunken Saturday night, from the audience's side of the iron barrier, that is. Workman rants, yells, grumbles, curses and sings off-key to the point of presumed deliberateness and it gets hard to take DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE too seriously, despite their sometimes bitchin' piss rock vibe. Of course, El Duce never was a gifted singer himself and THE MENTORS remain trash cult legends. One gets the feeling Workman's abusive singing comes partially from a need to turn his tigers loose after serving time and partially because he's playing pure camp on the mike. What he does on "Rain" is unforgiveable vocal sodomy, but it is hilarious nonetheless.

The best songs on the album come after Workman sabotages "Rain", those being "Suitcase Punk", "Soul Thief" and "Let the Dead Bury the Dead". "Suitcase Punk" jacks up the decibels and adopts an agreeable hardcore drive that suits Workman's grubby growls, while Rich Contadino smacks his skins with every bit of pile driving force he has. "Soul Thief" opens with a killer twin guitar shriek, followed by an ear-splitting yowl from Workman. The song stays aggressive on a plundering BLACK SABBATH march as Workman bellows about selling one's soul to rock 'n roll upon the pact of a heroin fix, while rebuking God straight down the seared rails to Hell. The pounding party groove of "Let the Dead Bury the Dead" is the coolest on the album and it grows strength with a funky bridge leading to Workman going berserk on himself prior to the final verse.

Whether Rusty Workman's off-kilter caterwauling was designed as a joke or not, it does get in the way of what is otherwise balls-out cock rock spurted from Sunset yesteryear. "Mary Jane" rocks, sure, but it is a freaking mess, there's no getting around it. Good luck keeping a straight face while pumping a fist in the air to this one.


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