Record Reviews

Album review: Steve Conte “Bronx Cheer”

The New York Dolls and Michael Monroe guitarist takes centre stage with his new solo album.

Steve Conte is perhaps best known as the guitarist for the New York Dolls and Michael Monroe’s band. While the Dolls have called it quits, Steve still plays with Michael Monroe and I understand they are now working on a new album. But Steve is a restless soul who always wants to create and play music. While he is often a collaborator who plays in other people’s bands and projects, he is also a solo artist. His new solo album, “Bronx Cheer”, is about to be unleashed on the world. What the album sounds like? It sounds like Steve Conte paying his respects to New York. Steve was born in New York State and grew up in New Jersey next to New York City. “Bronx Cheer” is filled with classic American rock and, certainly, there are plenty of echoes of both the Dolls and Michael Monroe on the album. There’s a bluesy Americana feel on many of the songs. I sense some influences from Willy DeVille (an artist in whose band Steve has also played) here and there and heaps of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers-style rock. And there’s a whiff of CBGB, the famous New York club which was home to The Ramones, Blondie, Willy DeVille and many other artists in the 70s. The main musicians on “Bronx Cheer” are Steve on guitar and vocals, Steve’s brother John Conte (Southside Johnny & The Jukes, David Bowie, Ian Hunter) on bass and Charley Drayton (Keith Richards, Iggy Pop) on drums. On the good-fun rocker “Gimme Gimme Rockaway”, guest musicians include Blondie drummer Clem Burke (aka Elvis Ramone of The Ramones) and The Smiths’ bassist Andy Rourke. Another favourite song of mine is the contagious track “The Human Animal”. Perhaps the album’s peak, “Recovery Doll” is a great upbeat rock song with a couple of twists – it has fantastic old-school doo-wop background vocals and dark lyrics about addiction and the struggle to recover.

Steve Conte’s solo album “Bronx Cheer” will be out on 5th November via Wicked Cool Records.