metal + hardcore
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Damone: Fast Times At Rock And Roll High – Review

Who can forget that scene in Fast Times At Ridgemont High where Phoebe Cates takes off her red bikini top to the tune of “Moving In Stereo” by The Cars, delighting pubescent boys all over the world, not to mention Judge Reinhold.

It seems that the antics of Jeff Spicoli and co. rubbed off on some that weren’t even born when the movie came out. Take Massachusetts rockers Damone for instance, who have named their band after the concert ticket scalping weasel character in the flick, and take to the stage to the very Cars tune Judge Reinhold waxed the dolphin to in the early ’80s.

The band’s BMG debut is soaked in that workin’-the-summer-in-the-car-wash-and-lookin’-for-action vibe. You’re transported back to the days of top-loading VCRs and listening to 8-tracks of Van Halen. It’s a feeling that Damone’s debut succeeds in taking you back to, or recreates if you missed it the first time.

“It just seemed to be the cool thing to do at the time,” says bassist Vazquez when asked about the band’s super melodic brand of power-pop. “I mean a lot of the bands we listened to were melodic, like Weezer and The Cars, and really, any good song from The Beatles.”

But drummer Dustin Hengst also believes that the band’s love for heavier music has as much to do with the band’s unique sound as anything.

“We’re also fans of higher energy, up-tempo music from being fans of metal and stuff. But we also have ties to classic rock like The Who and Paul McCartney,” says Hengst.

Still on the theme of classic old day rocking, Damone know what’s missing from rock ‘n’ roll right now.

“Long hair is missing,” says Vazquez in his best Spicolli voice, followed by Hengst’s throwing out. “You know, drug addict scumbags.”

Damone’s shyest member, Noelle, a powerhouse vocalist who’s hair hangs down over the eye that she’s legally blind in has a different view of it all, one where she hopes to inspire kids to write or pick up a guitar.

“It’s like Zakk Wylde said ‘There’s not many guitar players out there that’ll rip a solo that’ll inspire a kid to pick up a guitar and want to learn it,'” she says quoting one who inspired her to do just that. Noelle’s ripping co-guitar work with Dave Pino may just have kids turning off their computers and grabbing guitars again just like in the old days.

With tracks like “Feel Bad Vibe,” “You And I,” and “Up To You,” Damone should be ringing in the ears of their brothers and sisters for a good while, and in the immortal words of Jeff Spicolli… “Hey Bud, let’s party!”

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