Who are Roadhouse?
We all know Pete Willis as the original guitarist of Def Leppard. He was there when the Leppards released their triumphant debut “On Through The Night” (1980) and their even bigger sophomore hit, “High ‘N’ Dry” (1981). In fact, that hungry, raw, much heavier early sound of the band is often contributed to his guitar skills. In the summer of 1982, right in the middle of the “Pyromania” recording sessions, however, Pete Willis was let go due to his drinking problem. We know what happened with Def Leppard – they hired Phil Collen and went on to become on the most successful names in the industry. What happened with Pete, though? Not many people know exactly how his career moved on, actually. I can only imagine how tough the years to come and that whole transition must’ve been for him. However, he did manage to pull himself together and participate in another, less known but quite interesting rock project, titled Roadhouse. Guess who else was in the band? Drummer Frank Noon, who also was once part of the Def Leppard family, playing drums on The Def Leppard E.P. joined Pete Willis but for a short period of time; he left Roadhouse before the recording of the album. Finally, it was Wayne Grant on bass, Trevor Brewis on drums, Pete Willis and Richard Day with the guitar and Paul Jackson was recruited as the lead vocalist.
The year was 1991 – definitely not the most suitable time to release a melodic rock album. Still, people were pretty excited to see what the first post-Def Leppard record of Pete Willis will sound like. Well, it sounds highly satisfying if you ask me!
The band filmed a few music videos with the hopes of getting some decent exposure on MTV. One of the singles, “Hell Can Wait” even got a top10 position on the UK charts. Well, that’s pretty much what happened in the popularity department back in the day. All in all, the outcomes were quite humble, excluding the brief chart presence. That doesn’t mean the album is unworthy of discovering. On the contrary, is one of the most appealing pieces of melodic rock that came out in the early ‘90s. A little bit of that Def Leppard sound might be spotted here and there but try to keep an open mind and don’t constantly compare “Roadhouse” with the Leppard albums.
Some of the delights on the album include the opening track, “All Join Hands” – a stunning radio rocker and the excellent ballad, “Time” which might be the most well-known song from “Roadhouse”. What happens after those two tracks is quite exciting – we have the catchy Firehouse-sounding “Tower of Love”, followed by a long playlist of shockingly well-done AOR gems. Make sure you play “Loving You” (a personal favorite) and “New Horizon”!
“Roadhouse” is 100% certified “worthy of checking out” *by me. Paul Jackson is exactly the kind of vocalist I love and he is perfect for the genre. If you adore melodic rock from the early ‘90s, this is the album for you!
(P.S. Too bad the band broke up soon after the release of the album)
Enjoy and feel free to share your opinion about it!