Given the three lousy comments that last week’s Cutouts Gone Wild! on Tall Stories got, I’m going to assume we don’t have very many aging heshers in the audience, but I don’t care â€” we’re sticking with the Aqua Netal for at least another week, specifically, Bonham’s 1989 debut.
Unlike most of our cutouts, The Disregard of Timekeeping sold pretty well; in fact, if I remember right, it went gold, solely on the strength of the band’s first and last crossover hit, “Wait for You” (download). The song’s video, hand to God, was even in heavy rotation on MTV.
Now, a lot of this can be attributed to the fact that the album represented the debut of the band’s drummer and namesake, Jason Bonham, but “Wait for You” isn’t such a bad song, particularly in the context of its era. It’s got a big, memorable hook, and Bob Ezrin, who produced the record (and who surely thought his career had already sunk as low as it could go the year before, when he did a Kansas album) made sure the drums were appropriately huge. The Carol-Anne-in-the-TV effect on the vocals is a nice touch, too.
In fact, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to suppose that a lot of people bought this album because of “Wait for You.” Perhaps even on cassette. And perhaps they were fifteen at the time, so you should cut them a little fucking slack.
Anyway, as you’ve certainly guessed by now, a little Bonham goes a long, long way. The band seems to be straining for New Zephood here, which makes sense, but the songs aren’t very interesting â€” something the group, sadly, overcompensated for by making them longer and louder. The Disregard of Timekeeping is an album every bit as bloated and pompous as its title. People of my generation might not be able to suppress a nostalgic sigh for a song that starts out with a minute of background noise (like, say, “Dreams” [download]), but that stuff was silly then and it’s silly today.
Bonham does manage to keep the songs under the five-minute mark a couple of times, but the band never loosens up, or sounds like it’s having fun â€” tracks like “Holding on Forever” (download) and “Bringing Me Down” (download) (which features some busy harmonica from Jimmy Z) make a lot of noise, but they never really work up a sweat, and they wear out their welcome quickly. A lot of this can be attributed to the ear-piercing cry of singer Daniel MacMaster, who makes Mike Matijevic sound like Barry White, and who presumably went on to a career as a dog whistle after the band broke up.
And break up they did, after taking three years to release their second album, 1992’s Mad Hatter â€” which is, by the way, better than the debut, but was launched directly into the jaws of a marketplace that no longer cared, and is also a cutout, meaning we’ll probably cover it here someday. Consider yourselves warned.