The extremely popular Southern California Band from the late 70’s to the early 80’s, A La Carte, has released their first album after being together on-and-off for over forty years. The notorious power trio of KK Martin – Guitar/Vocals, Craig Miller – Bass/Vocals and Brian O’Brian – Drums, still has a large following of fans. With their unique sound, they distinguished themselves from the rest of the rock bands coming out of that era of music.
According to Dokken/Lynch Mob guitar wizard George Lynch, “A La Carte was like ZZ Top meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show; they were the nastiest blues-rock bunch of guys…it was theater at the same time”. Founded in 1976, A La Carte had outrageous stage attire, high-energy showmanship, dual lead vocals and superb musicianship. They created a following that remains fiercely loyal to this day and this CD release is their first and only album, as they ceased performing in 1984.
So why release an album after all this time? Journalist/filmmaker Bob Nalbandian (Inside Metal: Pioneers of L.A. Hard Rock and Metal) had an advanced listening and said, “It was damn well worth the wait! Awesome production, fantastic performances and great song selection from their original live repertoire. This is classic A La Carte! Nearly a half a century later, the three original members of A La Carte haven’t missed a beat…These guys totally nailed it!”
This new release reflects very new recordings of songs that were written between 1976 and 1979. The record is a no frills representation of the way A La Carte sounded during that wonderful era, designed to please old friends, and hopefully make a few new ones.
The album is titled, “A La Carte Est. 1976”, and opens with one of the band’s best-known songs “Old #7”, a ferocious boogie that sings the praises of Tennessee whiskey. Next, “No Tell Motel” tells the tale of a chance encounter with a sultry damsel that leads to an ill-advised rendezvous at a disreputable establishment. “Ride of Your Life” and “Hard Line” lock in the band’s relentless groove, followed by “Pink on the Inside”, described by the band (untruthfully) as an ode to a tomato omelet. “Leave the Back Door Open” leads off with one of Rock Music’s most unforgiving guitar riffs, detailing the risks from heavy fisted husbands and unchained bulldogs in the pursuit of illicit midnight affairs. “Where Angels Dwell”, with its psychedelic syncopated thrust, assures the listener that a woman’s love can be transformative. “Since You’ve Been Gone” shows the angry, heartbroken side of guitarist KK Martin’s considerable arsenal, while “Help Yourself” is the missing piece, a life affirming-anthem of self-determination.
The album closes with the unexpected instrumental “Ace”, all thunder and bombast, a celebratory slice of Pop-Motown Acid-Funk Mayhem.
The album was produced by Ron Sandoval who likes to keep his resume a secret, but claims to be unwilling to work on any project that he is “not totally in love with”. Members of the band say he has the best ears of any producer they have ever worked with.
Gene Hoglan, International Drum Superstar (Testament, Dethklok, Galaktikon, Meldrum, Strapping Young Lad, Death, Dark Angel) said, “A La Carte helped mold my teenage rock sensibilities, as they were the most entertaining, explosive three-piece in LA. Their powerhouse boogie and blues were an absolute influence on the entire LA scene, and lemme tell ya, I’ve made no bones about their obscenely-talented drummer Brian O’Brian’s complete influence on my entire life. From ZZ Top’s swagger, to the Isley Brothers’ strut, like Rolling a Stone down a Mountain, A La Carte has all bases of boogie covered, and their rock is timeless and ageless. Bow and thank the rock gods for A La Carte. I know I do.”