It's funny how some projects come about and I haven't got space here to give you a complete biography for Motor Sister, but check out their Facebook page or the Metal Blade Records website for the full story! In brief, Scott Ian (Anthrax) wanted a special 50th birthday gift, which was to be able to play some songs with one of his favourite, but split up, rock bands - Mother Superior. This Californian trio not only released eight of their own albums but were Henry Rollins' backing band and did sessions for high profile acts such as Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop. Scott's wife, singer Pearl Aday had worked with Mother Superior frontman Jim Wilson and he was keen on the idea. Scott completed the new lineup with drumming wiz John Tempesta (The Cult, Exodus, Testament, Rob Zombie etc), bassist Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Fates Warning, Seven Witches etc) and Pearl on backing vocals. All five of them played a special gig at Scott's birthday party to a select audience of Mother Superior fans and that was supposed to be it, but they enjoyed themselves so much that Metal Blade said if they wanted to record an album they could do so. 'Ride' is the result, is a 're-enactment' of that evening’s setlist and it was recorded live in two days to capture the same feel as the gig.
What you get here are twelve re-recorded Mother Superior tracks and it is a great album. I'll be honest, these are not songs I'm familiar with so I cannot tell you how much they differ from the originals. What I can tell you is that Motor Sister (named after the Mother Superior track 'Little Motor Sister') sound like they've been together for years; the chemistry between these five is palpable and, even though the original band was around from 1993-2011, it's a real throwback to the classic US rock and blues acts of the 70s. Being that Mother Superior were a three piece with only Jim on guitar, the general consensus from others is that these versions are much heavier and more focussed than the originals. That does makes perfect sense when you think of who is involved and the bands they are, or have been, members of!
Whilst many of you will see this as tribute act, and a damned good one, that aims to bring the back catalogue of Mother Superior tracks to a wider audience, I see them as a completely new band, a supergroup of sorts; friends who have got together to play music they love. It could certainly lead to more, perhaps original music, because the feedback has been amazing and Motor Sister are already playing the odd show to a captivated audience. From the opening notes of 'A Hole' to the stunning closer 'Devil Wind' this is as American as 'Twin Peaks' and, quite obviously, everyone had a tremendous amount of fun putting 'Ride' together. Production, which has been handled by Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Steel Panther) is excellent (perhaps the bass could be a little louder) but it captures the band in full flow playing together in a room. So many bands, these days, just wouldn't understand the concept of recording live in this way and it's a total pleasure to listen too.
I intend to make time to go back, listen to the originals and discover Mother Superior in more detail thanks to this but I'm also very interested to see, day jobs allowing, whether Motor Sister can continue and how they might develop their own sound. It's an intriguing thought and one that surely is too good to stop here.
Review by Rick Tilley
10th March 2015
1) A Hole
2) This Song Reminds Me of You
3) Beg Borrow Steal
4) Fool Around; 5) Get That Girl
6) Head Hanging Low
7) Fork in the Road
8) Little Motor Sister
9) Pretty in the Morning
12) Devil Wind
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"From the opening notes of 'A Hole' to the stunning closer 'Devil Wind' this is as American as 'Twin Peaks' and, quite obviously, everyone had a tremendous amount of fun putting 'Ride' together."