The Complaints hail from Rhode Island and my first introduction to them was the 1999/2000 debut Fear which engineer Phil Greene (Beaver Brown, New Kids on the Block and my own sessions recording Buddy Guy in 1986/1987) was involved with. Greene’s name might’ve piqued my interest, but it always comes down to the music after the door is opened. This writer’s reviews of Fear and its successor, 2002’s Criminal Mind, stand true today…the conclusion to the Criminal Mind review stating “If Fear was the “admirable first effort,” then Criminal Mind, both the title track and LP, is a sophomore success creating anticipation for this group’s future work.”.
The CD single “Trade Up” proved that 2002 prediction to be true. Exploding through the speakers it caught the attention of Jimi Hendrix/Carly Simon/Patti Labelle friend and colleague Buzzy Linhart with a phone call saying “I LOVE TRADE UP”, Linhart getting his copy of the disc to San Francisco DJ K-Os (mix-master for George Clinton’s P-Funk) who started playing the song at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom room in SF.
Well, simultaneous with their airplay at the Boom Boom Room the band went out to Los Angeles to work with Chris Lord-Alge on a follow-up single, “South Side Suicide.” This is exactly what artists need to do in the new millennium…put out great single after great single, and SSS is a perfect follow-up to “Trade-Up” with both an explicit and a clean version. As with “Trade Up” there’s a riveting guitar line and hooks galore. All in a quick hit that delivers the goods and leaves you wanting for more.
Of course the trio of Petrella, Marotti and Cruz could have all decided that Dean Petrella sing “Time is funking with my mind!” instead of leaving the “n” out of funking, but that’s a minor distraction, the “clean” version just has the word evaporate (take that James Blunt who replaced “f…ng high with flying high” on his monster hit “You’re Beautiful”). Speaking of James Blunt, his 2009 upload of the chart record is almost at 32 million spins..yikes…the flying high version…The Complaints “South Side Suicide”, uploaded in Dec of 2012 has less than 1,000 hits for the time being, but that’s ok, they’re just getting ready to rock with this one.
This review is from Craig Fenton. He is a well known writer, best known for writing the Jefferson Airplane biography. Do with it what you will! :) The Complaints- Trade Up (Single Release)
Since their fierce entry in 1997 on both the Providence, Rhode Island and New England music scenes the Complaints thanks to impassioned lyrics, inflamed musical energy, and a rabid live following have been able to supersede relevance in both studio and live settings.
Even during the economic downturn the Complaints will often perform one hundred fifty to two hundred live gigs per year.
Dean Petrella (singer, songwriter, and guitarist), Chris Cruz (bassist), and Anthony Marotti (drums) encompass the band.
They have recorded three full length CD’s “Fear” from 1999, “Criminal Mind” released in 2003, and “Sunday Morning Radio” which saw the light of day in 2009.
It’s an injustice to pigeon-hole the group as only Modern Rock or Indie sounding. While they have been on the same bill as Collective Soul, Nickleback, Train, and 3 Doors Down (to name only a few) they also have shared the stage with Dave Davies (the Kinks) and the Tubes.
While there is the modern sound in the song structures you can also hear Flamin’ Groovies, Joe Jackson, Willie Nile, Graham Parker, and even some Rolling Stones (from the 1990’s and 2000’s).
“Trade Up” extends the level of consistency set in motion from the previous output. The first listen makes it simplistic to ascertain the group continues upward mobility with no fear of freefall. The single is well crafted with the guitar, bass, and drums establishing their turf with a perfect thirteen second intro. When the vocals arrive it’s an immediate knockout blow.
The production is stupendous. The vocals are never drowned out and there isn’t a competition between guitar, bass, and drums, but a harmonious exploration.
“Sometimes you gotta trade up”, not with the Complaints. They have already achieved their purpose.
To learn more about the band and to purchase their music head over to: http://thecomplaints.com/
Craig Fenton Biographer: Jefferson Airplane
First and foremost, great shows coming up now through the end of the year. We did decide to take New Year’s Eve off this year, sorry we haven’t had one off since 1997! Although I played w/ What Matters in 97 so not even then did I have it off!
South Side Suicide is being processed through iTunes. We expect release by early-mid January. This track is going to rock your face off, I promise. Pretty silly.
Hoping you all have a safe and healthy holiday season.
See you soon Dean and his elves