PALOOKA
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PALOOKA

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
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"Palooka - Whats Wrong With Wanting Everything"

Before there was grunge, much of the noisiest sounding rock and roll coming out of Seattle wasn't from the more celebrated trendy downtown punk rock shitholes of historical note at all.

Rather, the noise came from more upscale, suburban neighborhoods like the East Side. It was there — most famously at the weekend "dances" held at the Lake Hills Roller Rink (which was kind of a shithole in itself) — that bands like Culprit, Lipstick, and most famously Rail (at least for their MTV produced fifteen minutes of fame), plied their glam metal trade.

In many ways, this was a younger, louder, snottier (and definitely prettier) bastard precursor of Seattle's more notoriously angst ridden grunge sound.

Closer in spirit to the seventies glam rock of Alice Cooper, Iggy And The Stooges and the New York Dolls (and its latter day L.A. disciples Guns N Roses and Motley Crue), than to the downer rock of Nirvana, East Side metal was all about looking good and getting laid. It was a diverse scene that helped produce (among others), Metal Church, the pre-Mindcrime prog Queensryche, and (though they probably would never admit it), Alice In Chains.

Palooka is a Seattle based, modern day hard rock band with deep roots in this scene, and one that proudly and un-apologetically continues to celebrate the virtues of loose women, cold beer, hot cars and long hair.

Comprised of pre-grunge Seattle veterans like guitarist Glen Logan (Overlord, Bible Stud), Palooka's debut album Whats Wrong With Wanting Everything is a metallic blast into Seattle's less arty, harder rocking past.

On tracks like "Wrecking Ball," "Shiny New Gun," and the title track, Palooka summon the teenage wasteland attitude of seventies proto-punkers like the Dolls and the Dead Boys, combined with the hookier, eighties metal guitar polish of Crue, and (dare I say their name?), Ratt.

This is music intended for the crotch rather than the brain, and although they are surely older and wiser now, there's little doubt Palooka would have it any other way. The rockers are likewise balanced by quieter moments like "Sun Will Rise".

Mostly though, Palooka play their asses off here. The only real complaint is that the mix is a little muddy in places. A great guitar solo or piercing vocal should never be buried, the solid bottom of a rock steady rhythm section should remain there, and above all the hook of a great song should reign supreme. Just ask Ratt.

Minor quibbles aside, Palooka's Whats Wrong With Wanting Everything is the sort of guilty pleasure that is perfect for thirty something armchair rock stars playing drunken air guitar at 2 AM in their underpants.

It puts the cock back into rock, just as it should be. - Blog Critics/Glen Boyd


"Palooka - Whats Wrong With Wanting Everything"

Before there was grunge, much of the noisiest sounding rock and roll coming out of Seattle wasn't from the more celebrated trendy downtown punk rock shitholes of historical note at all.

Rather, the noise came from more upscale, suburban neighborhoods like the East Side. It was there — most famously at the weekend "dances" held at the Lake Hills Roller Rink (which was kind of a shithole in itself) — that bands like Culprit, Lipstick, and most famously Rail (at least for their MTV produced fifteen minutes of fame), plied their glam metal trade.

In many ways, this was a younger, louder, snottier (and definitely prettier) bastard precursor of Seattle's more notoriously angst ridden grunge sound.

Closer in spirit to the seventies glam rock of Alice Cooper, Iggy And The Stooges and the New York Dolls (and its latter day L.A. disciples Guns N Roses and Motley Crue), than to the downer rock of Nirvana, East Side metal was all about looking good and getting laid. It was a diverse scene that helped produce (among others), Metal Church, the pre-Mindcrime prog Queensryche, and (though they probably would never admit it), Alice In Chains.

Palooka is a Seattle based, modern day hard rock band with deep roots in this scene, and one that proudly and un-apologetically continues to celebrate the virtues of loose women, cold beer, hot cars and long hair.

Comprised of pre-grunge Seattle veterans like guitarist Glen Logan (Overlord, Bible Stud), Palooka's debut album Whats Wrong With Wanting Everything is a metallic blast into Seattle's less arty, harder rocking past.

On tracks like "Wrecking Ball," "Shiny New Gun," and the title track, Palooka summon the teenage wasteland attitude of seventies proto-punkers like the Dolls and the Dead Boys, combined with the hookier, eighties metal guitar polish of Crue, and (dare I say their name?), Ratt.

This is music intended for the crotch rather than the brain, and although they are surely older and wiser now, there's little doubt Palooka would have it any other way. The rockers are likewise balanced by quieter moments like "Sun Will Rise".

Mostly though, Palooka play their asses off here. The only real complaint is that the mix is a little muddy in places. A great guitar solo or piercing vocal should never be buried, the solid bottom of a rock steady rhythm section should remain there, and above all the hook of a great song should reign supreme. Just ask Ratt.

Minor quibbles aside, Palooka's Whats Wrong With Wanting Everything is the sort of guilty pleasure that is perfect for thirty something armchair rock stars playing drunken air guitar at 2 AM in their underpants.

It puts the cock back into rock, just as it should be. - Blog Critics/Glen Boyd


"Album: What’s Wrong With Wanting Everything"

Spanning many years and a plethora of diverse musical experiences, PALOOKA has been roaming the Seattle music scene since before the popularity of flannel and grunge. Rob O’Neal on vocals is accompanied by Ric Vaughan and Glen Logan on guitars, Howard Binner on bass and Jason Reavis on drums. After playing for a variety of other bands, these artists found their paths converging towards each other and the result was their debut album What’s Wrong With Wanting Everything. Combining one part attitude with three parts rock, this band will cross the boundaries between screaming guitar licks and soft acoustic ballads with little trouble.

The opening track, “Wrecking Ball,” is a good intro to PALOOKA. With a dash of 80’s metal and a killer drumbeat, this piece kicks things off well. The guitar work is polished, the vocals are lively and well-delivered, and this high energy track will leave us waiting for more. After the hard-hitting opening track, “Welcome to the Morning After” shows a softer side to PALOOKA and it is in this song that we get a chance to truly appreciate O’Neal’s vocal ability. The rhythm is haunting and the lyrics are thought provoking and deep. Clearly, this band has depth.

“Shiny New Gun” showcases the dueling guitars of Vaughan and Logan and the 80’s metal vibe will have rockers flashing devil horns as heads bang. PALOOKA has no problem rocking out and giving off incredible amounts of energy. If the studio album is any indication of what they can do, it would be a pleasure to see them play live, particularly this track. Next up is the album’s title track, which is an ambitious journey through rock that highlights the band’s collective experience. Everything is solid in this track, from the blazing guitar solo to the vocals to the rhythm section, and it is performed with exceptional skill.

“Serenity” carries a distinct groove and the melody is addictive. Fans will be swaying in the crowd when PALOOKA performs this live. This piece has a definite edge to it; a sense of impending danger and a slightly bluesy vibe. This is PALOOKA with attitude and we like it. “Rot” also carries an attitude that is steeped in pure rock. The guitar work is simply phenomenal and the rhythm of this song is seductive. Lyrically, this is an excellent offering, however the sound production could use some work. The sound is a bit tinny, but with some tweaking this can be remedied. Overall, this is yet another solid piece of musicianship that fans will adore.

What’s Wrong With Wanting Everything takes a turn with “Sun Will Rise,” an honest and heartfelt song with graceful acoustic work and lyrics that dig deep. Perhaps the standout song on the album, it embodies life experiences and human emotions, as well as loss and an underlying sense of strength. O’Neal’s vocals are delivered with candor and this haunting track is the epitome of excellent PALOOKA music. “Dime Store Jesus” picks up the pace with killer guitar licks and a snappy beat. This is what we’ve come to know and love about this band; energetic rock with a twist. And they pull it off so well. “Saving Grace” continues in this vein, and PALOOKA proves once more that they obviously play well together and have formed a pretty solid core of musicianship with one another. The harmonious melody of this song will make it a fan favorite and the lyrics are extremely well-written and thoughtful.

“Ugly American” has a slower pace and a more elegant essence, at least during the intro. It quickly becomes a signature PALOOKA offering with a driving drumbeat, wailing guitars and gritty vocals. This band is most definitely not lacking in the talent department. The album closes with “Golden Boy,” and this is the most artful and creative piece on the album. With candid vocals that deliver heartfelt lyrics, this is an excellent choice to end the album on. Listeners may have forgotten that PALOOKA has a soft side, and closing with this track will remind us that this band is more than just screaming guitars and full-on rock. They have given us exceptionally written songs peppered with intelligent and honest lyrics, incredible guitar playing, and an overall sense of talent that is occasionally too much to take in all at once. This album will not collect dust on the shelf. Fans will want to listen to it again and again, looking for the little nuances that were missed the first twenty times. There is something new to hear each time this album takes a spin, and that’s talent, pure and true.


Review by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Rhonda Readence is a freelance writer based in Cleveland, OH and Pittsburgh, PA.
- Rhonda Readence


"Album: What’s Wrong With Wanting Everything"

Spanning many years and a plethora of diverse musical experiences, PALOOKA has been roaming the Seattle music scene since before the popularity of flannel and grunge. Rob O’Neal on vocals is accompanied by Ric Vaughan and Glen Logan on guitars, Howard Binner on bass and Jason Reavis on drums. After playing for a variety of other bands, these artists found their paths converging towards each other and the result was their debut album What’s Wrong With Wanting Everything. Combining one part attitude with three parts rock, this band will cross the boundaries between screaming guitar licks and soft acoustic ballads with little trouble.

The opening track, “Wrecking Ball,” is a good intro to PALOOKA. With a dash of 80’s metal and a killer drumbeat, this piece kicks things off well. The guitar work is polished, the vocals are lively and well-delivered, and this high energy track will leave us waiting for more. After the hard-hitting opening track, “Welcome to the Morning After” shows a softer side to PALOOKA and it is in this song that we get a chance to truly appreciate O’Neal’s vocal ability. The rhythm is haunting and the lyrics are thought provoking and deep. Clearly, this band has depth.

“Shiny New Gun” showcases the dueling guitars of Vaughan and Logan and the 80’s metal vibe will have rockers flashing devil horns as heads bang. PALOOKA has no problem rocking out and giving off incredible amounts of energy. If the studio album is any indication of what they can do, it would be a pleasure to see them play live, particularly this track. Next up is the album’s title track, which is an ambitious journey through rock that highlights the band’s collective experience. Everything is solid in this track, from the blazing guitar solo to the vocals to the rhythm section, and it is performed with exceptional skill.

“Serenity” carries a distinct groove and the melody is addictive. Fans will be swaying in the crowd when PALOOKA performs this live. This piece has a definite edge to it; a sense of impending danger and a slightly bluesy vibe. This is PALOOKA with attitude and we like it. “Rot” also carries an attitude that is steeped in pure rock. The guitar work is simply phenomenal and the rhythm of this song is seductive. Lyrically, this is an excellent offering, however the sound production could use some work. The sound is a bit tinny, but with some tweaking this can be remedied. Overall, this is yet another solid piece of musicianship that fans will adore.

What’s Wrong With Wanting Everything takes a turn with “Sun Will Rise,” an honest and heartfelt song with graceful acoustic work and lyrics that dig deep. Perhaps the standout song on the album, it embodies life experiences and human emotions, as well as loss and an underlying sense of strength. O’Neal’s vocals are delivered with candor and this haunting track is the epitome of excellent PALOOKA music. “Dime Store Jesus” picks up the pace with killer guitar licks and a snappy beat. This is what we’ve come to know and love about this band; energetic rock with a twist. And they pull it off so well. “Saving Grace” continues in this vein, and PALOOKA proves once more that they obviously play well together and have formed a pretty solid core of musicianship with one another. The harmonious melody of this song will make it a fan favorite and the lyrics are extremely well-written and thoughtful.

“Ugly American” has a slower pace and a more elegant essence, at least during the intro. It quickly becomes a signature PALOOKA offering with a driving drumbeat, wailing guitars and gritty vocals. This band is most definitely not lacking in the talent department. The album closes with “Golden Boy,” and this is the most artful and creative piece on the album. With candid vocals that deliver heartfelt lyrics, this is an excellent choice to end the album on. Listeners may have forgotten that PALOOKA has a soft side, and closing with this track will remind us that this band is more than just screaming guitars and full-on rock. They have given us exceptionally written songs peppered with intelligent and honest lyrics, incredible guitar playing, and an overall sense of talent that is occasionally too much to take in all at once. This album will not collect dust on the shelf. Fans will want to listen to it again and again, looking for the little nuances that were missed the first twenty times. There is something new to hear each time this album takes a spin, and that’s talent, pure and true.


Review by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Rhonda Readence is a freelance writer based in Cleveland, OH and Pittsburgh, PA.
- Rhonda Readence


Discography

PALOOKA released their debut album "What's Wrong With Wanting Everything", on June 28th 2011.

PALOOKA released a 2 song 7 inch vinyl single on August 27th 2013 featuring the song She's Speed.

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Bio

PALOOKA is big thick two guitar rock the way God intended it. Singer Paul Passarelli belts out melody lines full of emotion and purpose with tenacity. Chris Quinn and Glen Logan trade flurries of devastating and searing guitar punches reminiscent of a barroom brawl. All of which sits on the rock solid pounding foundation built on the talents of Howard Binner on bass and the percussive mauler Jason Reavis on drums.

PALOOKA clearly borrows from their past contributions to bands like Overlord, Bible Stud, SGM, Debutant, Razrez, Lipstick, October and Kingmother. PALOOKA brings those and other influences together to offer a complete and contemporary take on Hard Rock/Alternative music full of honest emotion and grit.

Paul Passarelli also sings in 70 Proof and for the last decade he has sung for the Flight to Mars annual Crohn's benefit shows.

What's Wrong With Wanting Everything is not only the title of PALOOKA’s cd and the accompanying title track but it also seems to be their approach to putting together an album. The 11 songs on this cd cover a lot of ground which at times makes it hard to fathom how all these often divergent tunes sit so closely together, so comfortably. The good news for the listener is that they do.

How you ask? It may be the fact that PALOOKA brings together musicians who have been haunting the Seattle scene from the pre grunge days (yes there was a pre grunge Seattle music scene) to present. PALOOKA is made up by former members of Overlord, Bible Stud, Ruester, Boss Martians, Razrez, Debutant, Born Naked, Lipstick, October and Kingmother. Combined with influences PALOOKA sites ranging from Elton John and Louis Armstrong to Bowie/Ronson, KISS, Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, The Sex Pistols, The Cult, The Ramones, The Rolling Stones, Motorhead, Judas Priest and many more the picture gets a bit clearer. Topped off by the obvious Evel Knievel hero worship that asserts itself from their younger days as demonstrated by the cover photo we start to get a glimpse of how they pull it off.

What's Wrong With Wanting Everything goes from heavy and loudly extroverted at times to subdued, self critical and introspective. Not afraid of guitar solos, or quite acoustics the musical pallet here ranges from hard rock with metal tinged fury to something approaching alternative and at times even bluesy. Songs on this cd deal with subjects ranging from larger social commentary with songs like Ugly American, and Dime Store Jesus, to the loss of a close friend and brutal self examination on Sun Will Rise, and Golden Boy, to a gratuitous pursuit of life in the adrenaline fueled moment on the title track.

Ambitious? Sure but it works. According to PALOOKA there is nothing wrong with wanting everything and their new cd proves that they just may be on to something.

PALOOKA’s, CD What's Wrong With Wanting Everything was released on June 28th 2011. The first run of the CD sold out within a little over a month. Songs from the CD What's Wrong With Wanting Everything have been featured on KISW, Seattle’s premier rock radio station as well as many internet radio stations and podcasts worldwide.

PALOOKA released a 2 song 7 inch vinyl single on August 27th 2013 featuring the song She's Speed.

PALOOKA is currently writing and recording new material for an album with an anticipated release date the first half of 2014.