Sunday Old School: Cinderella
While most rock bands cite blues music as an influence, Cinderella was one of the few bands from the eighties where you could actually hear it, feel it, taste it.
The band was formed with members Tom Keifer (singer, keyboards, guitar), Eric Brittingham (bass), Michael Smerick (guitar) and Tony Destra (drums). Within two years Destra and Smerick left to form Britny Fox. Using eighties 20-20 hindsight: MISTAKE? I’m sure hanging with the girls while making the video for “Girlschool” had to be a great day it still can’t compare to being in what would become Cinderella.
In 1985 Cinderella recorded their first album, “Night Songs,” with guitarist Jeff LaBar and drummer Jim Drnec. After recording the album, Fred Coury replaced Drnec and joined the band for the supporting tour. The first single, “Shake Me,” from the album featured a girl sitting on her bed with a Cinderella poster behind her. Her wicked (READ: slutty) sisters appear and are off to rock and roll (READ: shoot heroin and sleep with rock guys) while she is left all alone. Then the poster comes alive and she is now at a live Cinderella concert. It should be mentioned that Tom Keifer is wearing the Paul Stanley 1984 permanent hair style throughout the song. When I’m running VH1 someday I will definitely do a WHERE ARE THEY NOW documentary on the Cinderella wicked sisters.
“Nobody’s Fool” was the second single and semi-power ballad released by the band. The video returns with the wicked sisters and Cinderella like character that gets to hang with the band, but has to be home before midnight (in other words she always misses the encore). The band took their debut out on the road, supporting Loudness, David Lee Roth, and Bon Jovi. A third single, “Somebody Save Me” continued with the live performance shot of the band, toggling back between Kiefer and the guitar over the shoulder move the band had down to a science.
The first to second album after a strong debut for the eighties bands was often daunting and difficult; however, often fascinating. Skid Row: heavier. Motley Crue: darker. Guns N’ Roses: bigger. In 1988 Cinderella definitely went bluesier with the album “Long Cold Winter,” which had to feel somewhat risky given the money available to glam bands at the time. Once again using eighties 20-20 hindsight: BRILLIANT. The first single was “Gypsy Road.” The video which showed off Keifer’s love of Steven Tyler like scarves, third world area fans, and love of Chevrolet trucks. The ballad “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” was a huge hit that would be played on the tour with Kiefer being lowered on the stage while playing the piano. They toured for fourteen months.
The third album, “Heartbreak Station,” continued with the heavy blues type rock and roll on tracks “Shelter Me” and “Heartbreak Station.” After the tour Keifer lost his voice and underwent several procedures to repair a vocal cyst and hemorrhage. During this time Kevin Valentine and Kevin Conway had turns at the drums. Eventually Keifer returned and with Kenny Aronoff on drums the band released their fourth album, titled “Still Climbing.” The album failed to chart. After a brief hiatus, the band released a compilation, toured in 1998, 2000, and 2002. More live and compilation albums followed along with tours in 2005 and a 20th anniversary tour with Poison in 2006. In 2008 the bands again paused due to Kiefer’s voice, but resumed again in 2009 and has continued touring since. In 2010, the (what is considered) original line-up was back in place to include Keifer, Labar, Brittingham, and Coury.
Cinderella continues to bring the blues, great live shows, and yes they still sling their guitars around. Should this band decide to put together a new album you can expect a lot of excitement from their fan base. Blues rock bands are like wine and the movie Weekend at Bernie’s, all are better (in their own way) over time.
“Somebody Save Me”
“Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)”
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