Signed to a lucrative deal with A&M, MPG and their one and only effort is notable for it’s disappointing show at the box-office, despite critics giving this debut the thumbs up!
Written by: gdmonline
SERIAL: SP 4855
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Steve Carey – vocals, keyboards * David Mikeal – guitars, vocals * Kim Smith – guitars, vocals * Steve Locklin – bass, vocals * Michael Bolt – drums, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Too Many Questions * 02 Workin’ Overtime * 03 Best Thing I Never Had * 04 Goodbye Cruel World * 05 Why Me * 06 Get Yours Tonight * 07 Hurt Me * 08 Can I Come Over Tonight? * 09 Always Something * 10 Too Many Questions (demo) * 11 Always Something (demo) * 12 Hurt Me (demo) * 13 That’s Easy For You To Say (demo)
The Heavy Metal Encyclopedia got it wrong I reckon, especially when it came to categorising this band MPG:
‘Cheap Trick quirkisms?’ What a lot of rubbish. How about prime-time Touch, with a healthy dose of Face Dancer and New England thrown in for good measure? Yes, that’s better.
With main man Steve Carey behind the scenes, these boys are pomp pomp pomp, all the way. You can tell Mr Carey’s got some Mark Mangold touches in his playing and is ably supported by a great band.
Originating out of Atlanta, some of these guys came from all over the South to join up. Mikeal came from Florida, while Locklin and Bolt came from Alabama. Smith, the odd man out came from Indiana. Signed to a lucrative deal with A&M, MPG and their one and only effort is notable for it’s disappointing show at the box-office, despite critics giving this debut the thumbs up!
MPG (which stands for, you guessed it, miles per gallon) originally had a guitarist in the band with the surname Miles, hence the name. However, when he left, they just shortened it. Just as well, as MPG are part of AOR folklore now.
Just check out the staccato brilliance of ‘Too Many Questions’, full to the brim of stabbing keyboards and spiky guitar runs. ‘Workin’ Overtime’ continues the addictive AOR approach, like a copycat version of New England. The Touch comparison is heralded on the primo classic ‘Best Thing I Never Had’.
Following on from this are the pairing of ‘Goodbye Cruel World’, a pomp masterwork which our Face Dancer friends could easily pull out of the fire, plus we finish Side One with the symphonic tendencies of ‘Why Me’.
Side Two gets underway with the heavy driving power of ‘Get Yours Tonight’ with ivories tinkling on overkill, again Touch and Face Dancer are reference points.
The energy is maintained on ‘Can I Come Over Tonight’ with guitar bursts and spiralling keys coming out of the speakers. They finish on the semi-ballad ‘Always Something’, complete with multi-part vocal harmonies on the chorus. Really, excellent stuff all round.
There is talk of getting this re-released on CD, but as David Mikeal said in a recent interview, ‘thats all it is, talk’. Even the likelihood of getting the band together for a reunion that reared its head in 1999 seems to have fallen by the wayside.
Who knows, with a bit more attention to detail from the likes of GDM and fellow melodic rock websites who actually care about this genre of melodic rock, MPG just might get another crack at the cherry.
If a label like MTM Music or Retrospect Records wants to invest in a decent re-issue along the lines of what they’ve been doing, they couldn’t do any worse than this one. (Footnote: reissued by Retrospect in 2010. Well done to the McCaslin’s)
Best Thing I Never Had