Wednesday 20 February 2019

John Diva and the Rockets of Love - 'Mama said Rock Is Dead' Album Review

John Diva and the Rockets of Love – Mama Said Rock Is Dead

In the past I have wrongly dismissed acts with off-putting names – Mustasch (killer riffs), Gene The Werewolf (superb rock carnage), but I wasn’t going to let John Diva and The Rockets of Love get away lightly, or without a listen!
Looking at the bloke, I suspect that he is huge in his home town/city, especially with +40 Cougars etc, and lives for the halcyon days of the 1980s hair metal brigade. I would even suspect that John’s persona is 100% rock n roll 24/7 and he will not even leave the house to buy milk and bread unless he is  fully laden in spandex, aquanet, guy-liner, bandana and an 80s swagger. I have no PR bumf, except for a Google search for his background so its just, me, John, The Rockets of Love, and the music. 

I half expected John and the Rockets to be from somewhere like Slapout, Alabama, but instead they are German, and from the website, make Steel Panther look like a ‘normal’ band, if ever there was a ‘normal’ for the Panthers!

Joining vocalist/womaniser (its on their site) John Diva is Snake Rocket and J.J.Love (guitars), Remmie Martin (Bass) and Lee Stingray Jr. (Drums). Its fair to say that like Steel Panther you need to take them on face value and with a certain pinch of salt. If you do just that, then you’re in for a treat – a huge treat.
It states that “HERE I GO AGAIN”, “ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE”, “YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME”, “WHY CAN’T THIS BE LOVE”,”POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME” or “POISON”… you name it! All those songs DIVA was involved with as a songwriter! I think he was more involved in making the tea, as I can’t find his credit on any of these classics.

However, Diva has used all of his years of experience and raided the iSpy book of Metal Clichés, the Haynes manual for Hair Metal, and Dokken for Dummies and comes up with songs that make you smile and long for the good ‘ol days of MTV, chlamydia and other STDs. ‘Whiplash’ is a decent opener and the riff just rips into Motley Crue territory and has all the hallmarks of the eponymous Sunset Strip bands from back in the day. ‘Lolita’ is Van Halen, down to the video paying homage to the great DLR and VH vidz of the 80s. Diva sings ‘Ive been a bad boy all my life, breaking hearts, breaking laws, trying to survive’ on ‘Rock N Roll Heaven’ and you believe him without question and it melds cowboy and southern rock to great effect.

After one full listen I have to say that there’s more cheese here than the Kraft Singles factory. But good cheese.

There’s nothing new here that’s for sure. But….what you have is a man and his band penning and performing songs like they were in the 1980s. Many bands from that era have tried to recreate their glorious past and failed. Diva, right from the opening bars telegraphs his intent on bringing his 80s metal show and taking no prisoners in the process.

Some riffs are that blatant, he could expect a visit from some lawyers any day soon. But who hasn’t ever stolen a riff? If you like bands like Warrant (Rock N Roll Heaven), Whitesnake’s Give Me All Your Love Tonight (Wild Life), and Spit It Out (Long Legs In Leggings), Bon Jovi (the excellent out Jovi-ing Bon Jovi with Blinded (by a blonde!)) Leppard (Dance Dirty), and VH (Lolita).

Despite the gripe, there is some decent stuff on here, ‘Lolita’ tries to match DLR toe to toe, ‘Blinded’ has one of the best choruses you’ll hear all year, ’Toxic’ literally gets under your skin, and ‘Rocket Of Love’ is a cracking anthem.

Yes its clichéd. Yes its part parody. But John Diva and The Rockets of Love are completely self-aware and know exactly what they are selling here, and its ‘good time party rock n roll’. If you can get beyond the ‘its all been done before’ you can enjoy it 100%. I’ll tell ya something, I really, really, fucking enjoyed it.

Diva’s Mama Said Rock Is Dead, well I can tell you now, she knows absolutely sod all!

Score 8/10

Tracklisting -
Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven
Wild Life
Dance Dirty
Just A Night Away
Fire Eyes
Get It On
Long Legs In Leggings
Rocket Of Love

John Diva and the Rockets of Love –
John Diva – Vocals
Snake Rocket – Guitars
J.J. Love – Guitars
Remmie Martin – Bass
Lee Stingray - Drums

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