Chalk this up as an unexpected pleasure. Take one ex-hair metal frontman, one alt-rock chick, one ex-Smashing Pumpkin, and a guitar player who's worked with all of them, and you get a rather unlikely supergroup. The Last Hard Men is comprised of Sebastian Bach, Kelley Deal, Jimmy Chamberlin, and Jimmy Flemion. Recorded in 1996-97 in the Pachyderm Studios of Minneasota -- apparently when none of the participants had anything better to do -- this record is an odd mix-up of styles which sat around in major-label development hell for years. For a group originally formed for a one-off recording of "School's Out," you get an interesting mixture of sensibilities and an entire album's worth of material. You have some acoustic pop/rock tunes, some tracks resembling Breeders outtakes, and smattering of other things: alt-rock, samba, heavy metal, odd interviews with the various members conducted over what sounds like a walkie-talkie. Disparate though it is, Sebastian Bach's production holds everything together (including his own restrained vocals) so that each stylistic difference -- both in musical and musician-wise -- contributes to the whole. The result is a fine record, and that's the best thing a one-off can hope for. There's an off track or two ("Sleep"), but nothing too much to take away from the overall quality. The band members seem to be aware of the singular nature of their experiment. Near the end of the album, over an unsteady and somewhat timid piano, we're treated to some conversation. "Is it rock enough?" asks Kelley, to which Jimmy responds, "Define rock."
AllMusic Review by Jeremy Salmon
feat: Sebastian Bach
feat: Kelley Deal
feat: Jimmy Chamberlin
feat: Jimmy Flemion