Thursday, 27 June 2019

Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band: Hulk Rules (1995) - Track by Track Album Review

There once was a time when Hulk Hogan was one of the biggest stars in popular culture, when his was a name which transcended pro wrestling and made its mark right across the entertainment world.

There once was a time when cashing in on that popularity with a music album would have been the smart thing to do.

1995 was not that time.

There was also once a time when cheesy, novelty rap records and songs that sounded like they came from a Super Nintendo game went down pretty well.

1995 was not that time either.

Unfortunately, nobody told Hogan any of this.

That must be why, smack in the middle of the 90s, he released Hulk Rules, an album which would have still sounded terrible had it been released ten -or even five- years earlier, but would have at least been fitting for its time.






Make no mistake about it, with grunge music, the eventual rise of ECW and alternative culture surrounding it, Hulk Rules would have already sounded incredibly dated when it was first released.

Over two decades later, it's practically unfathomable that anybody would listen to this album and think "Yeah! You know what? We should release this to the public!"

Still, release it they did, and today, we get the ahem pleasure of going track-by-track through the one and only release from Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band.

Ready?

Let's do this.

1: Hulkster's in the House 

"The Hulkster's in the room. // You know he's on the move. // I can feel it in my feet. // We're moving to the beat."


True story, the official video for this song featured Macho Man Randy Savage on the keyboard.

We'd have to wait a good few years before we got a Randy Savage music album but until then he was apparently quite happy to hang out on what would prove to be one of the best tracks on the entire Hulk Rules album.

The huge, driving guitar riff and first-day-in-drummer-school beat may have been better suited to a Deff Leppard or Motley Crue demo from the turn of the decade, but you have to admit that when combined with that melody, it makes for a pretty catchy rock song.

If you just listen to that and tune out lyrics which range from either cheesy ("when the going gets tough, the tough get rough!") to just terrible (everything else), you could almost argue that Hulkster's in the House is a good song.

I mean, not a good song that anybody would actually buy and listen to if they weren't writing a review for a pro wrestling blog, but good for saying its on a novelty pop record by a professional wrester.

2: American Made

"He's got the red, white, and blue running through his veins // He was born and raised in the U.S. of A // He's government inspected, he's U.S. grade // If you mess with the flag it's like a slap in his face."



Up next, a song that probably needs no introduction.

American Made was the theme song that Hogan used in World Championship Wrestling whenever he was the red & yellow babyface Hulkster.

The song was clearly meant to be an updated take on his famous WWF theme, Real American. Though nowhere near as iconic as that Rick Derringer-penned track, but I'd argue that it's the better of the two in terms of pure rock-out fun.

Another big scorching riff, another catchy hook, American Made is far superior to the opening track. In fact, it's far superior to anything else on this album which of course means only one thing:

It's all down hill from here.

3: Hulkster's Back

"Fortune and fame was his middle name. // He got as high as the sky, he remained the same. // With the training and the prays and the vitamins too. // Don't mess with us or we'll beat you too."



What happens if you play the basic, pre-programmed drum track on your kid's toy keyboard, add some sprightly keys that sound as though they come from the theme song of a Saturday morning TV show about streetwise high school kids, and get Terry Bollea to spit lyrics over the top of it all?

You get Hulkster's Back of course.

Remember earlier, when I told you this whole album sounded dated? This is one of the main reasons why. Even in 1992, people would have been rolling their eyes at what is basically the first of several Hulk Hogan rap jams, but in 1995, I can't imagine that anyone not involved in The Wrestling Boot Band would have thought this was a good idea.

It's cheesy and it's terrible, but if it does have one redeeming quality, it's that it is at least hilarious.

When Hogan's not rapping, he's busy shouting out random soundbites like "check out the pump, brother!" and "Test the power! all while some California valley girl randomly quips 'oh my god!"

It's kinda silly, but then it gets really funny when Hogan randomly yells "Oh! Look at that new vein in my tricep!"

That line alone is worth sitting through this entire album for.

4: Wrestling Boot Travelling Band

"I met a girl on the beach yesterday // And she looked a lot like you. // She heard the band play late last night // and she thought the bass player was cute. // She was down here on her vacation // 'Cos she needed her time and space // so we laid on the beach and got us a tan." 


The hilarity continues next with this little gem on which Jimmy Hart takes lead vocals.

I mean, one listen to this and you can't help but feel sorry for The Mouth of the South.

He meets a girl on the beach and invites her to a show but instead of falling for him, she gets a crush on Hogan instead. Cuckholded by his own bass player, Hart lies on the beach with this wandering-eyed Jezebelle anyway.

Poor Jimmy.

Also, poor us, because we're the ones who have to hear him tell this story over what sounds like the backing music to the worst country and western karaoke song you've ever heard.

Awful, but really, really funny.

5: Bad to the Bone 

"Come on baby, we're going for a ride // Just put your arms around and hold on tight // Turn up the music 'cause we want to play it loud // The girls all know it's a boys night out // 'Cause we're bad, bad, bad to the bone. (To the bone)"



No, this isn't a cover of the George Thoroughgood classic. Rather, it's a cover of Brian Pillman's old theme, Blondes Have More Fun, albeit with different lyrics.

You know what? It's not half bad.

Give this one to Motley Crue and let them add a bit of sleaze and sex appeal to it, and you've actually got a pretty damn good hair metal track.

6: I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac 

"I Want to be a Hulkamaniac // Have fun with my family and friends"



I find it impossible to believe that the people who let rip with an electric guitar on Bad to the Bone and American Made are the same people who are responsible for this...this..whatever this thing happens to be.

I won't even call it a song.

This is literally the Owen Hart WWF theme that Hart and McGuire also wrote, only like a million times worse because it has Hulk Hogan rapping over it and some people chanting "Have fun with my family and friends" like something straight out of Barney the Dinosaur.

I mean this beyond bad. This is an absolute mess, but I suppose if you have a sense of humour about these kinds of things, I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac could well be one of the funniest things you ever hear.

7: Beach Patrol 

"Whoomp, there it is, check it up, check it in // You'll be six feet deep if you touch my girlfriend // You know this home boy could lose control, You just don't mess with the beach patrol."



Whoomp! There it is! 

Who do The Wrestling Boot Band think they are? Men on a Mission?

Honestly, though this isn't quite as bad as the previous track, it's still pretty terrible.

Hart and McGuire use a MIDI keyboard to create a track that sounds like it should be Jobber McJobberton's theme music on a NES pro wrestling game while Hogan busts a rhyme about a lifeguard hitting on his girlfriend at the beach.

Every now and again, Hogan will go slightly insane and yell out "Hey girlfriend"  or "hey dudes!"

In that respect, it's kind of brilliant. In all other respects, it's fifty different kinds of terrible, girlfriend.

8: Hulk's The One

"They say your heart is made out of stone // You got me hanging by a string // My friends all tell me you're bad to the bone // Please be bad to me"



I could be wrong, but I think this is Linda Hogan singing an 80s-throwback power-pop ballad about how Hulk forced her to give him oral sex and then left.

First, she begs The Hulkster to be bad to her and it seems he's more than happy to oblige.

"You got me down on my knees // When you turned on the charm, I heard the alarm // I should have called the police"

So he makes her get down on her knees and this makes her think about calling the cops?

What?

I don't like where this is going.

"You held on so strong and then you are gone // You turned the lights out on me"

Nor does Hogan, apparently. After using Linda for his tawdry act, he promptly leaves.

Forget hanging and banging, brother, this is hump her and dump her time.

9: Hulkster in Heaven 

"I used to tear my shirt // But now you tore my heart // I knew you were a Hulkamaniac // Right from the very start."



Oh dear.

This is one of the more famous songs from this album because of the story surrounding it.

According to Hogan himself, this song is about a young fan with a terminal illness who Hogan invited to sit in the front row and watch him wrestle at Wembley Stadium on the Summerslam 1992 show.

Yet just hours before Hogan was due to head to the ring, the little Hulkamaniac tragically passed away.

So far, so tear-jerkingly sad.

Except for the fact that Hogan was nowhere near Wembley Stadium in 1992 and certainly didn't compete at Summerslam.

While I'm willing to give Hogan the benefit of the doubt in that he did have a young fan pass away (albeit not in London), I do wonder why he would choose to pay tribute to said fan with such a poorly produced mess of a track.

10: Hulk Rules

"If you ever get in trouble and you need a helping hand // Just call on the Hulkster and he will be your friend // He'll stand up for your freedom, he'll stand up for your rights // United you both will stand, together you will fight."



Man, Jimmy Hart and JJ McGuire really loved that Owen Hart theme.

For the second time on the same album, they recycle The Slammy Award Winner's entrance music, this time adding electric guitar, an ear-piercing organ, and to complete the cacophony of noise, a random saxophone solo.

The result is, erm, interesting to say the least.

It's not the worst thing on the album, that's for sure, but like the other nine tracks, it's not something I'll ever be in a hurry to listen to ever again.



I started this review ready to write
Hulk Rules off as simply a really terrible novelty music record. Yet now I realise that it's so, so much more than that. 

It's not just terrible, it's also brilliant, cringe-inducing, hilarious, awful, embarrassing, wet-your-pants-funny, and at times just plain weird.

Part rock, part rap, part recycled Owen Hart themes, I absolutely guarantee you that, for better or worse, listening to Hulk Rules will be like no experience you've ever had before, brother.

Having said all that, there's one thing left for me to say.

Whoomp, there it is.





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