The Hot Rails
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The Hot Rails

Band Rock Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The High Spark of Low Brow"

If the Hot Rails lived in their proper decade--the Excessive 70s--their liner notes would be the tale of a winding discography lost to the winds of stoned history, now championed by victorious historians. "Remember the Hot Rails!" they'd cry, and before you know it, boom: Hot Rails reunion on Conan O'Brien; re-packaged re-issues on Rhino; and the retrospective documentary "My Life as A Hot Rail: An Oral History of One Man's Personal Excess," narrated by Johnny Depp, a hit at Sundance.

The Hot Rails have released a rock record. Rock records, unlike rock n' roll records, usually have some kinda raison d'etre behind them. Intellectualizations of the musical equivalent of a boob joke have gone strong for fifty years now (ah, but what a boob joke!). And so it goes with To Hell with the Hot Rails. It's got the spunk and the spit.

Like a lancet, these tightly-wrapped jokes have something sharp to offer. It's singer/lyricist Ken Janssen's tall tales of youthful boozin', amateur porno-flavored debauchery, and unmentionable pills, packages and powders. To Hell With the Hot Rails neither condones nor condemns; is neither celebratory nor cautionary. It is the high spark of low brow. -Ed Sotello - Ed Sotello - Independent Writer

"To Hell with the Hot Rails"

"I’m the ripper; I rip it up all night/I get to rip it/I keep it nice and tight," intones spastic Hot Rails singer Ken Janssen on the opening track on the hard-rocking local band’s debut. In a song that features constipated vocals and plenty of (I shit you not!) cowbell, the band simultaneously invokes the sloppy garage rock of the Stooges and the made-for-commercial radio approach of AC/DC. The dueling guitars of Jamie Rychak and Dave Molnar rip through many of the tracks here, turning "Fever" into a balls-to-the-wall rocker and making "Bottom of a Glass" every bit as nasty as its subject matter (essentially, taking pride in being a social outcast). There’s nothing complicated about "Bitchin’ Hour," a call-and-response anthem about partying hard that would make Andrew WK envious. While To Hell... is clearly a guitar album, the rock-solid rhythm section gets to show off its chops during moments of "Still Got It" and "2 Tuff." With Cobra Verde/Breaker drummer Mark Klein handling the engineering and local graphic artist Jake Kelly providing the spot-on illustration of the band that’s in the liner notes, the album’s a homegrown effort that makes use of some of the city’s better talents. Clearly rooted in ’70s rock and metal, Hot Rails are hardly derivative. They somehow manage to make all those gnarly guitar-centric bands they channel (Uriah Heap, Judas Priest and even ZZ Top) sound hip again. - Jeff Niesel - Free Times

"To Hell with the Hot Rails"

On its full-length debut, rip-roarin' Hot Rails plays the kind of punky, country-fried, bluesy rock that takes root so easily in the city's cloudy climate; under Cleveland's gray skies, this quintet makes its own heat. Providing hardcore beats for back-alley poetry, Charlie Druesedow guns his drums like a V8, and the roughshod chords of "Bitchin' Hour" sound like the band stole the keys to "Detroit Rock City," drove it through Medina's dirt roads, and returned it with a dented fender and straw sticking out of its grill. By this bender's end in "2 Tuff 2 Try," the blue-collar cowboys stumble into rivers and mountains, retreat to a bar, and wind up in bed. It's a hangover hard-earned. - Cleveland Scene

"What It Is: Hot Rails – Single Entendre"

Hot Rails – Single Entendre (Self Released, 2010)

It is: lyrically simple. Apart from a quick detour through a magical gateway on “Death From Above,” where singer Ken Jansen gets off a line about wizards dreaming, the album comprises a spate of rock stuff concocted to be the soundtrack to one drinking a beer. Much of that perception stems from Hot Rails’ influences reaching back towards a time when rock was able to be pretty much anything, but mostly hard rock and early metal. Simple riffs pervade the entire album even as “Other Man” attempts to cop some semblance of garage respectability. The dual guitar noodling presents the acuity of the Hot Rails while maintaining a few demon worshiping musical references along the way.

It isn’t: for those that carry around books by French authors. The album’s closer, “Snakes ‘n Sparklers” begins with a mention of school being over, which isn’t a surprising rock trope. It just doesn’t seem all that sensible since the majority of the disc is given over to what amounts to aural excesses of dudes that haven’t seen the inside of a classroom for a while. Of course, Van Halen would be interested in such lyrical content, but the Hot Rails don’t find inspiration solely from ‘80s rock groups. And while it shouldn’t be a stretch to imagine each member of this quintet attired in jean jackets, there’s some pop tossed in for good measure. - The Independent

"“Dealbreaker” by The Hot Rails"


If it was hard being a rock band in 2003, when the Supersuckers first released the shoulda-been-a-classic single, “Rock ‘N’ Records (Ain’t Selling This Year),” imagine what it’s like being a rock band in 2010. Good luck getting any attention unless you have an ex GNR member or an ex Stone Temple Pilot in your band, and even then, you’re not exactly getting the right kind of attention. You’re most likely on the wrong end of some snarky young turk’s attempt at criticism.

Not that attention is what these Cleveland riff-rockers , The Hot Rails, seek. Sure, they’d like a few more bodies in the bar. They’d like to be not so broke after pressing a record. Or, god willing, they’d like to break even when all the bills are paid. Those things would be nice, but if you’re shredding in 2010, it’s not for fame or protecting your pittance. It’s about shreddding. And on songs like, “Dealbreaker,” from their forthcoming 12?, Single Entendre,” the boys do a fine job at that. The Hot Rails’ blazing guitar riffs and chugglin’ rhythms are an unapologetic, head-banging salute to the days of American beers, cigarettes, naked lady mud-flaps, and Rock ‘N’ Roll records. Records which weren’t out to be clever or cute or critically acclaimed, but records whose only goal was to rock. - I Rock Cleveland

"Cleveland's hard-rockin' Hot Rails deliver a polished new album"

Armed with favorite new tracks such as the Skynyrd-sounding "Dickson" and stoner rock jam "Snakes and Sparklers," local act The Hot Rails -- Ken Janssen (vocals), James Rychak (guitar), Dave Paolucci (guitar), Nick Licata (bass) and Charlie Druesedow (drums) -- are ready to release sophomore full-length effort "Single Entendre." "We spent a lot more time doing an actual recording this time out," said Janssen, a Burton native who calls North Collinwood home.

"The first album was a little bit more garage. It was very lo-fi. We did it ourselves. This time, we decided to spring for the money and record it right. It's certainly still a rock record, but some of the songs have some tongue-in-cheek production techniques that we had a really good time with."

Another source of pride for the quintet is pressing the record at Gotta Groove Records using 100 percent recycled vinyl. This means the act is both literally and figuratively reusing other band's material. "That's pretty funny," Janssen laughed. "It wouldn't be the first time we borrowed from somebody else's record." - Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The Hot Rails Single Entendre"

Led by singer Ken Janssen, who firmly believes louder is better, the Hot Rails kick some serious ass on this unrelenting CD that marries classic-rock riffs with indie-rock attitude. "Trigger Finger" starts with what sounds like swarming locusts before the guitars kick in and Janssen screams, "I need a $2 drink and some $10 head." It's nasty stuff. "I Am Supernatural (But I Don't Believe in the Supernatural)," "Other Man" and "Dealbreaker" are irreverent dirges that sound like they crawled out of Seattle's grunge scene. "Dickson, T.N." is a gritty Southern rock ballad, "Snakes n' Sparklers" is a great party tune, and "Death From Above" packs a mean metal punch. - Cleveland Scene


To Hell with the Hot Rails 2007 (LP)
Joke on the Water 2009 (EP)
Single Entendre 2010 (LP)



Front man Ken Janssen did not start performing until past the age of 30, making his debut with 60s garage band The It*Men. Though a late bloomer, the experiences have given him a tremendous well to draw from lyrically. While the well may be deep, the lyrics are not the meandering prose you may expect, but straight forward songs about good times and loose women. In a short time since Janssen's first release (Greatest Its: 2004) the stage antics have become legendary. Every performance is different, and every show is another story. With Janssen, it's always about the story. The band features two lead guitarists, David Paolucci and Jamey Rychak. The two leads shred seamlessly through the hard rock structure provided by drummer, Charlie Druesedow (Dreadful Yawns, It*Men, New Lou Reeds) and bassist Nick Licata. If the It*Men were the penultimate 60s garage band then The Hot rails are the penultimate 70s hard rock band. This is not to say that it is a throw back or an homage, but more a continuation. Currently the band has finished recording its second LP "Single Entendre" and will be touring the Midwest, East Coast, and heading to SXSW 2010 to promote their new album.