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| 6 February 2014 | Reply

DEAD WHITE and BLUE – Mary Jane
Vanity Music Group
August 2013
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Dead White and Blue - Mary Jane cover

Recorded in 2001, Dead White and Blue’s Mary Jane album was a labour of love for Russell Workman which was derailed by a six-year prison stretch for a minor drugs rap.

Rebuilt from the ground up with a new bunch of dudes including bassist Mykel Sane (Faster Pussycat, John Waite, Saigon Saloon), guitarist Harry Macleb and drummer Rich Contandino, Mary Jane sounds perfect for this decade – so much so that who knows what people would have made of it if it had been released in 2001.

Opener & lead single Take is a vitriolic tale of the chosen one’s rise to power and fall from grace, God Bomb features a hypnotic riff and Hot Wheels mix of rapped vocals and sleaze metal brings to mind Circus Of Power.


News that Workman started tracking his vocals the same day as the planes hit the Twin Towers, “giving him a place to scream from and something to stand for” isn’t a shock – he tears his throat apart on these eleven songs.

Mary Jane is mostly sleaze rock with hints of glam and industrial metal, but on Suitcase Punk Workman goes left of centre, channelling a Black Flag hardcore vibe as he sings of getting rich by being the fucking best. It’s fierce, punchy and everything great rock n’ roll should be.

The album shuts down with the startlingly autobiographical Burning In Hell, the tale of growing up with alcoholic parents and how, in Workman’s words, ‘there’s no need to wait until you’re dead to experience [hell].’

Mary Jane is certainly a dark record – there’s no ‘I love you baby’ songs here to play at your next frat party – but it’s a great piece of work by a man who obviously has something to say and the passion and skills to emote it well.

Category: CD Reviews

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