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10 Albums You Need To Hear # 2: T-Ride by T-Ride
The word going around when this album was released was that the band was playing in their garage just for the sheer joy of creating music and not only had no aspirations for stardom but even resisted the call of fame, only giving in after months of the record companies knocking on the door. When they finally put their groove on in the studio, it was a different animal that emerged from the cage than the world had ever seen. Primarily a fusion of metal and funk, their style dabbled in just about everything to form something unheard of before.
That turned out to be a little hype that kind of modified the truth for the good of a better story. The band was in fact playing in their garage but that garage included a state-of-the-art recording studio and it is hard to believe the band was resisting the call of fame when in fact they were shopping demos to anyone who would listen. But it is true the record companies did come knocking and the end result was unique indeed.
While some fans were caught completely off guard, fans of funk metal acts were thrilled with this somewhat heavier but still gloriously funkified new band. Perhaps the closest comparison to T-Ride would be the legendary Mother's Finest, but Mother's Finest had never been this heavy -- at least not at that time. Other bands that come to mind were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More and even Queen in some ways. What was even more amazing was that this cacophony of sound was coming from a power trio -- Eric Valentine who would become a powerhouse producer on drums, Dan Arlie on bass and lead vocals and guitarist Jeff Tyson who learned to play from the likes of Joe Satriani.
"Zombies From Hell" - T-Ride
After one album which inexplicably never caught on with the music lovers of the world, the band faded away apparently forever. Eric Valentine went on to find huge success as a producer for bands like Counting Crows and Third Eye Blind. Jeff Tyson went on to play in other bands like Snake River Conspiracy and Stimulater, most recently touring the Czech Republic where he now lives with his own eponymously named band. Rumor has it that Dan Arlie has most of the recordings made for a second album but no word on whether they will ever be released.
But T-Ride's one album provided plenty of great rock 'n' roll. Opening with "Zombies From Hell," the CD sets the bar high. The song slams the listener hard with funked up headbangin' groove that sets the tone for the record. this is followed by "Backdoor Romeo," another song that brings the funk to the metal and transitions into the groups' signature song, "Ride." Smoother and sexier than the previous tunes, this is where the band really starts to fully flex its creative muscle.
"You and Your Friend" and "I Hunger" are next up and continue smashing down musical barriers with various elements of different musical styles slipping in. After this eclectic journey, the band then hits with the disc's strongest back-to-back punch -- "Luxury Cruiser" followed by "Hit Squad." These two songs should be staples of classic rock radio, but classic rock radio just hasn't caught up to T-Ride yet.
The band finishes up the album with "Bad Girls and Angels," the instrumental "Bone Down," "Fire It Up" and finally the epic "Heroes and Villains" featuring more of their insanely complex instrumental and vocal arrangements. No wonder Jeff Tyson's former mentor Joe Satriani called T-Ride the future of metal.Had it not been for the advent of grunge around the time of T-Ride's debut release, maybe that prophecy would have come to pass.
Today you can find T-Ride fans just about anywhere that people rock. Their songs have appeared in movies and on television shows. The band may be long gone and never topped the charts, but they definitely have a dedicated following that still loves what was and dreams of what yet may be. Would it make since financially to release whatever was completed for the second album? Probably not. But I, along with a legion of fans, would say that it would still be priceless.