Man, oh man. This is why I love Thursdays…Classic Albums. There have been some great discussions and I know some of you have told me you enjoy reliving old memories through these records. One friend of mine said he even digs out the CD each week and drives around to it after reading the segment. I can think of no higher praise than that, honestly. So, without further ado, let’s dive right into one of my favorite 80’s hair/glam/whatever-the-hell-you-wanna-call-it-metal albums, the 1989 self-titled debut from Enuff Z’Nuff! Some of you love them; some of you totally hate them, so the comments should be interesting.
I can remember sitting in my living room on a Sunday night in September of ‘89 with my girlfriend and this really annoying redheaded guy named Michael watching MTV and then, it happened: the video for “New Thing” came on. Game. Set. Match. Derek Frigo’s opening guitar line and Donnie Vie’s signature whine had me hooked not even a minute in, and it was off to Uncle Phil’s on Monday yet again (man, that place sure got A LOT of my money back then!) for the tape. Popping it in my Walkman and hearing “New Thing” full blast in my headphones while biking home was one of the greatest moments of my junior year, and I don’t think it left the player for weeks.
“She Wants More” shakes itself seductively just like the woman the song’s about, all hip swagger and sex, featuring a smokin’ solo from Derek. “Fly High Michelle”, a beautiful song about an ex of Donnie’s who committed suicide is next, and I watched him visibly choke up while performing it at Sundance with my buddy Russell in January of 1990. Words cannot do it justice, especially mine; it’s just an amazing song.
Another favorite bike/Walkman song for me was “Hot Little Summer Girl”, the type of song where if I’d been old Enuff (see what I did there?) to drive would’ve been the perfect tune for cruisin’ up and down “The Pike”. Long Islanders, you know what I’m talkin’ about! Next thing I know, “In the Groove” closes out side one by taking me on a nearly seven-minute trip down a street at 2am on a foggy night, and showing me this after hours party that no one knows about but a chosen few, beckoning me to join. Bassist Chip Z’Nuff and drummer Vikki Foxx hold this one in their rhythmic hands, guiding us along.
Side two opens with “Little Indian Angel”, another up-tempo rocker that’s meant to be played loud and proud all night long. A more poignant turn is taken with “For Now”, another one that led to my constant abuse of the REWIND button back then. It’s one of my favorites to this day, and often pops into my head out of nowhere. I associate it with a lot of the friends I made while working at King Kullen that year, some of whom I used to party with quite a bit. Good times.
The classic love ‘em and leave ‘em of “Kiss the Clown” is what also makes it so damn funny. Come on, with lines like “her eyes get big and brown, and her words all marriage-bound”, how can you NOT see the humor? No one else could pull that off! Ballad “I Could Never Be Without You” was OF COURSE one of my “songs” with said girlfriend, and it is remarkable in its simplicity. Once again, Derek Frigo has one of his best solos on this one. We take a serious Western turn for album closer “Finger On the Trigger”. A lot of bands fancied themselves as outlaws back then, but this song has just the right amount of bluesy punch to pull it off convincingly.
Enuff Z’Nuff would go on to release the equally brilliant Strength in 1991, but alas, the scene was dying, and of course Atco Records fucked them over. They’ve carried on since, in one form or another. Vikki Foxx left in 1993, to be replaced by longtime drummer Ricky parent, and we lost Derek Frigo to a drug overdose in 2004. He wasn’t the only one Death would come for, as Ricky lost his battle with cancer in 2007. But the sheer magic that makes up these 10 songs is something I’ll always have, and whenever I hear this record I smile as I think of annoying all my friends by playing it ad nauseum, or finding ANY excuse to say, “Hey guys! Let’s stop that, now! Enuff Z’nuff already!!” I can still hear the groans now… ~dc