3.5 out of 5 Stars!
In the late 1970s, Chicago became “THE” place to sign new rock acts. (Similar to how Seattle became “THE” place about 10 years later.) You couldn’t go a few days without some band from Chicago (or near vicinity) being signed to a deal….
Survivor, Cheap Trick, Starcastle, Gambler, Trillion, Hounds, Pezband, Off Broadway, and the EXCELLENT Tantrum, to name the most notable….and then came The Boyzz.
Okay, the band had blistering live shows, which was part of the reason the Chicago club scene was all “abuzz” with The Boyzz fever. And this was probably the reason CBS/Epic Records snatched up the group. Live, the original lineup of musicians had such power and charisma and sweat…on record, however, the band made a lot of noise (or should that be “noize”) with driving guitars and keyboards (but an unnecessary horn section on several tracks), and a lead vocalist who took a lot of getting used to. (Trust me, Dirty Dan Buck has a much better voice live where he doesn’t sound like he swallowed razor blades for breakfast, and is much more palatable.) Also, little known fact: The Boyzz actually recorded a TV special (it never aired) with guests including the likes of Ian Hunter, so someone at CBS/Epic Records certainly had high hopes for this lot, as well as all the fans of the group!
Regardless, this became the band’s one and only LP (although a 2nd LP was also recorded and never released) and will likely go down in the rock history books under the “HUH? What happened?” section. Though there are truly decent moments on this record—”Destined To Die” being absolutely KILLER—the rest of the album, however, takes a bit of getting used to with the vocals, but it’s well worth the effort, especially with songs such as “Lean ‘n’ Mean,” “Back to Kansas,” “Diane, Part II,” and the wicked title track showing how the band rocked up a storm.
Shortly after the 2nd album was shelved, Dirty Dan Buck and guitarist Gil Pini left to form another band called Dirt’s Raiders, while the rest of the group carried on, eventually replacing Buck with vocalist Tommy Holland and somewhere down the road finding a new drummer, Steve Riley (of W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns fame). The new lineup altered its name to The B’zz and went on to deliver a more immediately digestible sound, had a few moderate hits (especially in the Midwest) and was even the first band in history (I believe) that appeared on American Bandstand WITHOUT an album under its belts at the time. (The “one-and-only” album Get Up was released within the year.)