The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Dead White and Blue Mary Jane Review 2013




OCTOBER 15 2013



Here’s an interesting release we missed when originally out last year, but which deserves a review. The back story is interesting enough in itself, with main man Russell Workman, a musician working in the Phoenix scene at the turn of the Century (supporting the likes of Maiden and Dio along the way), entering the studio in 2001 to lay down the basis of what is the album ‘Mary Jane’.


The album was all ready for release before Workman ended up on the wrong side of the law, busted on what the bio says was a minor drugs charge and sentenced to 6 years inside. To quote the bio: "Prison only made me focus on what I was going to do when I got out,” Workman reflects: “A lot of it was obviously getting laid, and the most important thing was to get this album out… It really made me stronger and more focused than ever. And, I’m off dope now so that’s cool.” 


Once out and free of his demons in 2012 with the masters in hand Workman set about readying the album for release and the long journey of finding a band. OK so great back story right? But doies it deliver is what you want to know right?


Listening to opening track and first single ‘Take’ the immediate impression is that DWAB has something here. It’s a track that simply explodes out of the speakers with a huge scream before settling into a groove that is as relentless as it is essential.


There are other great moments on here too: title track ‘Mary Jane’: an even more immediate proposition with a vocal like Vince Neil with ‘range’. At times you are reminded of what you loved about both The Crue and NIN simultaneously and in truth it’s not a bad sound to hang your hat on.  


On an album that manages to harness a lot of pent up aggression like few other recent releases, look out for the unnerving ‘Dragonhead’ which adds a Ramones like attitude’; and the slower and heavier ‘California’ which is just as pleasing.  


Standouts though would have to be the opener, along with the unnerving stomp of ‘Heavy Wheels’ which manages an Iggy-like rapped vocal across an almost  impossibly groove-laden cowbell stomp; the cutting guitar of the groovy punk aggression of ‘Soul Thief’ is also something that will stay with you. If anything though it’s the power of closing track ‘Burning in Hell’ that leaves the most indelible mark on you: a lesson in real aggression and hopefully a sign of things to come.


This is an album that given the backstory you can’t help but feel it would always see the light of day in one form or another. Given the quality of the material it’s also one that makes you wonder where the band would be now if it had seen the light of day 13 years ago… Food for thought and let’s hope we get to hear more in the future…



by Leslii Phillips


Dead White and Blue Mary Jane Review 2013