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Rock Star Supernova

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Album Review

In retrospect, it should have been obvious that the prefab supergroup Rock Star Supernova — originally just "Supernova" before an older band of the same name won its injunction against them, so their name became a compound of the name of their reality TV show and their chosen name — would choose wannabe goth superstar Lukas Rossi as their singer. Really, there was no other choice: as good as Storm Large looked naked and as powerful as Dilana was on-stage, there was no way that a group led by a disinterested Tommy Lee would choose a female as a singer, and even if Toby Rand had the best original song, he was too much of a party-hearty frat boy to fit in with the rest of the crew (plus, he was Australian and Lee had already gotten enough mileage out of his Crocodile Dundee impression, which started to look a little tacky around the time of Steve Irwin's death, anyway). So, it was down to Rossi, since he was perhaps the most modern rocker in the lineup. But despite a song called "The Dead Parade" — which just happens to arrive a few weeks after My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade — there's no modern rock here. Rock Star Supernova hardly sounds like the heavy work of the drummer from L.A. sleaze-rock legends Mötley Crüe, Izzy Stradlin's replacement in Guns N' Roses, and the bassist for Metallica. Although Lee's drums thunder as Gilby Clarke eases out bloozy riffs while Jason Newsted pins the whole thing down, this doesn't sound at all like any of their previous music: it sounds like metal guys trying to sound like Cheap Trick covering T. Rex. Which means it sounds a bit like Tiny Music-era Stone Temple Pilots and a whole lot like Enuff Z'Nuff. Lee, Newsted, and Clarke all come from decidedly different backgrounds, whose only common ground is a fondness for '70s hard rock and metal — music from an age when rock stars not only wanted to have fun, but were expected to have fun for the rest of us, a fantasy that all three lived out until grunge crushed their dreams. The band does sound good, albeit in a studio-pro sense: with their producer Butch Walker, they've polished up their sound so much it never sounds heavy, but that doesn't detract from how Clarke throws out some pretty good hooks, or how Lee drums as powerfully as he ever has, or how Newsted puts more energy into this than the situation needs. At times it clicks, or at least the riffs do. Meanwhile, Rossi primps like he's a star already, affects a spooky growl, and often sounds overwhelmed by the backing vocals. In other words, it's pretty much exactly the album anybody who watched Rock Star Supernova was hoping for.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Instead of finding the lead singer for an existing rock band, which was the goal of the CBS reality TV show Rock Star: INXS, the second season of Rock Star, Rock Star: Supernova, searched for a vocalist to front the supergroup of drummer Tommy Lee, bassist Jason Newsted, and guitarist Gilby Clarke. Beginning in July 2006, the trio auditioned 16 rockers, several of whom had albums of their own under their belts, including Icelandic rocker Magni, alt-rocker Patrice Pike, petite belter Jill Gioia, brooding...
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Rock Star Supernova, Rock Star Supernova
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