While Guns N’ Roses front man Axl Rose demands that Google take down his chubby pics, Rob Carlyle & the Compulsions have the edginess that Rose once possessed. The New York City based band has been favorably compared to Aerosmith, the Faces and the Rolling Stones, and has featured guitarist Richard Fortus and drummer Frank Ferrer who are both, ironically, also in Guns N’ Roses.
With his Keith Richards shag and piercing blue eyes, I immediately zeroed in on him at the Rumpus Room in the Lower East Side. I asked him who he was. His response? “Nobody,” with a chuckle. But the Staten Island-born rocker’s humility can’t shake his sparkling presence. He’s a natural born frontman: stylish, handsome, talented, and charismatic.
In 2015, the Compulsions released Dirty Fun, their best album to date, which showcases lingerie-clad legs and font that’s a nod to the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers album cover. Ex- Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffa and Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus have departed from the group but have been replaced by the equally exciting bassist Alec Morton and upper echelon guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal for their next release.
If you miss dirty, American rock & roll, “Hellbound Babies” is your jam. The southern rock anthem is complete with harmonica, guitar solos, two soulful back up singers, and starving artist lyrics scratched on a bar napkin.
“Silly Little Woman” has some amazing 60’s sounding effects and is heavily influenced by “Tomorrow Never Knows,” by the Beatles with its backwards and sped up guitars and a drone sound via an electronic tanpura.
The fourth track on the album, “Lucky,” has an intro reminiscent of “Beast Of Burden,” by the Rolling Stones. Although, Rob tells me that the entire track was a homage to Keith Richards in general.
What’s great about Rob Carlyle & The Compulsions is that they are real musicians who not only are masters of their instruments, but also know that changing it up is key. Not every song sounds the same on Dirty Fun, in fact, tunes range from an up-tempo, rockabilly-inspired number to dusty, beer swillin’ biker vibes.
The glory days of ZZ Top and AC/DC have passed. Tossed to the side for sappy, yawn producing crooners Coldplay and the commercial pop fakeness of Katy Perry. We’ve had enough Kanye. . . we want our screaming guitars back. Rob and his crew are helping break the streak of mediocrity that dominates the music halls and radio stations.
It’s been a big week for The Compulsions: appearing on local NYC news channel NY1 and having a slew of favorable write ups. They’ve covered the Beatles, “Revolution,” which premiered on Nights With Alice Cooper on March 30th (check it out now on iTunes). Their covers of “Fascination Street,” by The Cure and “Shock Me,” by Kiss are due out later this year.