Famed journeyman guitar player and ‘80s metal star Mitch Perry sometimes laments on his career: “I chose two of the most difficult professions: motor racing and rock and roll.” The good news is he that has been mighty successful in both.
Perry literally grew up in race paddocks around the world in tow to his race-driver dad, Steve Brownstein, who raced Formula Continental in the US and Formula 3 in Europe.
As the lead guitarist for so many top acts, from Cher and Edgar Winter to Michael Schenker, Talas, Heaven, Sweet and Lita Ford, he has quite the Rockstar resume… But add to that, his wins in Formula Mazda and stints as an instructor at Skip Barber and Dale Jarrett’s racing schools. He has been my driver coach – and kicks my butt any time we race.
The music world has certainly moved in a different direction in the past 20 years, with hip-hop, rap and modern R&B taking the coveted spots at the top of the charts. But recently, a young band out of Michigan called Greta Van Fleet sparked a resurgence of the classic rock sound in 2019 with their Zeppelin-esque riffs, pounding rhythm and bold vocals. Clearly there is still a market for original rock and roll.
In that vein, Perry put together a stellar cast of musicians with pedigree from the Allman Brothers Band, Goo-Goo Dolls, Berlin, Montrose, Great White and Rod Stewart’s band. The album, Music Box, has some amazing highlights. Excellent songwriting and arrangement make this a rock album that music fans with a mature palette will completely relate.
The album opens with the cheery ‘Saint Valentine’ which has a cool vibe of good old rock and roll with some great chord phrasing and vocal power. Immediately the album dives deep into the hope-inspiring single, ‘Believe,’ which has been making the rounds on the music video side for several months. The soulful ‘In the Morning’ touches later Motown and early Edgar Winter ala White Trash.
The Frampton-esque reading of the Rolling Stones ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’ is one I have already added to my driving playlist – Perry himself takes vocal duties during the second verse. Throughout the document, the listener is treated to many of the rock genres over 65 years with Perry’s amazing riffs and leads.
If you listened to FM Radio in the 1970s and early 1980s and developed a taste for seismic sound, smart lyrics, long jams and vocal power, Music Box is definitely worth a listen. It would undoubtedly make good background music around the shop.
Can’t wait to see them play these songs live almost as much as I look forward to racing cars with Mitch again.