HARDLINE – "Double Eclipse" (1992)
by Dana Brittingham
Cover: 3 Separate Ways out of 10
I don’t know what the hell this is. What does it mean? It’s orange, purple, and blurry. Kind of like what you’d see if you smeared vaseline on your eyeballs and then stared at the sunset. Say, that reminds me of the time I was visiting Uncle Sydney and put my contacts in backwards. But I digress…
Booklet: 7 Wheels in the Sky out of 10
Now this is more like it. There are all kinds of color photos, 2 group shots and 1 of each guy in the band. Design is good and it folds out into a mini-poster with song credits and stuff. Lots of liner notes. But wait! There’s not a lyric to be found in the whole booklet. You’d think Hardline would be a little more considerate and include lyrics, just in case someone wanted to sing along at home.
Songs: 7 Open Arms out of 10
Actually, there’s not a bad song on this disc. It’s a pretty good rock album all in all. The songs are catchy, just the right amount of pop overtones and arena-style rock choruses, good hooks and well produced. The singer’s got a somewhat distinct rock voice. Wait, who’s that on guitar? Lo and behold, it’s Neal Schon! And if you don’t know who that is, well, I’ll tell you. He’s jammed with everyone from Santana to Bad English, but of course he’s mostly known for his centuries-long career in Journey. Without those guys, the class of 1983 wouldn’t have had a prom song, so respect the man. Now, Schon’s guitar work in Journey is pretty reserved, but Hardline gives him the rare opportunity to totally jerk off, err, rock out! His solos smoke and the crunchy guitar on almost every track show a side to his playing most Journey fans weren’t exposed to.
Comments: To understand the story of how Hardline came to be, one must travel back in time to the Sunset Strip in the late 80’s. There, amidst the Aqua Net haze, one would find a 5-piece hair band called Brunette. They were your typical strip band, looking the look and playing the same places every other band played. At Brunette’s nexus were the brothers Gioeli (Johnny and Joey), otherwise known as Johnny and JoJo Law. They tried to do everything right, but never quite landed a deal. Fast forward a few years. Johnny and Joey had ditched their players, and their stage names, and formed Hardline. The roster included bassist Todd Jensen and Deen Castronovo on the skins. Neal Schon was set to produce, but he must’ve been munching some good brownies ’cause he ended up joining the band. They toured with Van Halen and Mr. Big, but that was as far as it got for Hairline. Radio pulled all mainstream hard rock from the airwaves and Neal Schon went back to Journey, taking the drummer guy with him. Todd Jensen went on to play with David Lee Roth and Alice Cooper, and the brothers Gioeli launched a startup e-business. Does the Hardline tale ever end? Hell no! Johnny and Joey are at it again in a reincarnated Hardline, with a new lineup including drummer Bobby Rock of historic Vinnie Vincent Invasion fame! That makes the Gioeli brothers, like, second cousins of Slaughter. What’s scary is that someone actually created a site dedicated to Hardline’s one and only album (doubleeclipse.com). What’s even scarier is that someone created a site dedicated to Brunette! Check it out at brunetterocks.com. The photogallery is great for shits and giggles!