Motor Sister: Ride review

Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian has never been one to sit idle. When he’s not working with Anthrax, he likes to keep busy with various side projects. So as Ian approached 50 years in age, he wanted to do something really close to his heart. For the last several years Ian’s wife- Pearl Aday has been working on music with one of Ian’s favorite band’s front men, Jim Wilson from Mother Superior and with one phone call the stage was set for Ian to live out a longtime dream. Originally Ian just wanted to jam with Jim on some old Mother Superior tunes for his birthday present, but once Ian, Wilson, bassist Joey Vera (Armored Saint) and drummer John Tempesta (White Zombie) got together in the same room, it was obvious there was something really special going on, so they decided to record the twelve songs they jammed that night. That process was all done live in studio and took a mere two days with Jay Ruston (Anthrax/Steel Panther) handling all production, recording and mixing duties . The end result is the Motor Sister album Ride for Metal Blade Records and 12 dusted off and re-recorded Mother Superior classics. The band took their name from the Motor Superior song “Little Motor Sister,” which appears on the album. Their straight up, in your face brand of bluesy hard rock may seem slightly out of place on the Metal Blade roster, but with just one listen, Metal Blade A.R. man Mike Faley heard the potential and brought them on. For those of you unfamiliar with Mother Superior, they were a bluesy hard rock band out of LA comprised of Wilson on guitar/vocals, bassist Marcus Blake and drummer Matt Tecu that dropped 10 albums from 1993 to 2008. They also served as Henry Rollins’ backing band from 1997 through 2003. On top of recording and touring with Rollins, the band has also done session work for the likes of Alice Cooper, Meatloaf, George Clinton, Iggy Pop and Queens Of The Stone Age, just to name a few. Tracks like opener “A-Hole,” “Pretty In the Morning” and “Doghouse” aren’t far removed from the stunning originals, but with the addition of Ian’s mega heavy 2nd guitar and Pearl’s lush vocals, the songs have layers and depth like never before, while “Head Hung Low” is a kinetic musical amalgamate that falls somewhere between R.E.M. and Social Distortion. Elsewhere, lead single “This Song Reminds Me of You” and “Little Motor Sister” are modern takes on their classic counterparts that call the listener out asking, “Do you have the balls to come along for the Ride?” By stark contrast, “Fool Around” is a ruthlessly honed piece of emotionally charged bluesy hard rock that grows stronger with each subsequent listen. Meanwhile, “Get That Girl” and “Whore” draw their inspiration from the brutally homogenized soundscapes of TSOL, crossed with the auditory stylings of Queens Of The Stone Age. While at the same time, “Beg Borrow Steal,” “Fork in the Road” and closer “Devil Wind” are unpretentious slabs of disarmingly no nonsense, pure rock fury that hits like a sucker punch to the face. Here’s the bottom line- If you are not yet familiar with Mother Superior, Motor Sister Ride is an excellent way to acquaint yourself with this brilliant, all too overlooked band. Then go back and re-visit the rest of the Mother Superior back catalog. You won’t be disappointed. Rating: 9 out of 10 -Eric Hunker