The third and final release from the Joe Perry Project, 1983's Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker, was a completely blah and uninspired work. It featured a whole new backing band for Perry, the Project's third lead singer (a new frontman per album) Cowboy Mach Bell, as well bassist Danny Hargrove, and drummer Joe Pet. The new lineup couldn't light a fire under Perry like the original Project could, and when you add a bunch of predictable compositions to the mix, you got the weakest Project release yet. Bell's vocals would have sounded perfectly in an early-'80s, glammed-up heavy metal band, but not alongside the raw and gritty rock & roll that usually accompanies Joe Perry. Judging form the band photos on the album, the group was trying desperately to fit in with the then-blossoming glam metal scene (poofed up hair, makeup, etc.). A few tracks will be appreciated by hardcore Perry fans, such as the album's only video, "Black Velvet Pants," plus the title track and select others. After the indifferent Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker, it was completely understandable why Perry ditched the Project and returned to his original compadres, Aerosmith, in 1984.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato