A couple years ago I had the unique privilege of chatting with the late Ricky Parent, best known for his powerful drumming with Enuff Z’nuff, but also his work with Vince Neil, Alice Cooper, War and Peace, Paul Gilbert and Tod Howarth from Frehley’s Comet. At the time, Parent was well into his battle against cancer and what I’ll always take from those 15 or so minutes we spent on the phone together was his adamant courage to push through the conversation. Despite my offer to postpone our interview, Parent gave me a little background about his early days as a rocker and how he joined the grossly-underappreciated Enuff Z’nuffonce Vikki Fox departed.
Ricky Parent came along during the nineties after Enuff Z’nuff had already hit a brief ascension of notoriety then instantly capsized down an incline that refused to rise for them once again—blame the press of the day, which refused to look past the Poison-esque glam facades they introduced themselves with. Undoubtedly the band was completely in a zone with Parent hammering the skins, and their neo-hippie pop rock was equally effervescent on 2002’s Welcome to Blue Island as it was in 1991 with the criminally-overlooked Strength, much less late-nineties output only the devout managed to chase down such as Paraphernalia and 10. Shame of it all was that Enuff Z’nuff was at their most confident on Welcome to Blue Island with Parent in the camp than perhaps they’d ever been. Certainly you can’t argue his presence was unifying glue towards bringing Donnie Vie and Chip Z’nuff back into a harmonious co-existence.
Unfortunately following Enuff Z’nuff’s 2004 sugary rock fest ?, they lost not only original guitarist Derek Frigo, who’d come home to play again, but sadly, Ricky Parent thereafter. One might say this band has faced and stood up to a curse that does its damnedest to destroy them.
As for Parent, he managed to make his remaining days in this life count, not by surrendering to the sickness that whittled him away (and believe me, I heard the fatigue in the man loud and clear on the phone), but getting together with some veteran rock buddies for a foot-tapping farewell as tRnzPrNt, a name generated by his online ID. Surrounded by guitarist Jimi Ambrose and G-Man Poster, bassist Casper Raines and frontman Jim Villani, Ricky Parent’s final output is nothing short of a triumph.
Sure, there’s the obvious effect that Parent got on the stool under duress and pounds his kit with the same precise force and happiness as he did for Enuff Z’nuff and his other studio work. The facthis group’s album Iced! is so danged good and full of such graceful energy is the true testament to Parent’s legacy.
There’s an Enuff Z’nuff ruboff in tRnzPrNt but only to a point when you hear songs such as “Drink to the Bottom,” “Teenage Overdose” and the happy-go-lucky opening track “Carrie Please,” the latter of which kicks Iced! off with such rocking glee you’re hooked on the spot. From there, Iced!seizes the moment on the Kiss-flavored “I Can’t Take It” and the brisk and breezy “Living for the Night.”
There’s a cool mix of Kiss and The Beatles knocking heads on “Little Girl” and there’s a private sweetness fortifying the lap-patting groove of “Something About You.” The band gets a little funky on “I Wuz Robbed” and steps on the gas a hair with “Foolin’ Around.” Meanwhile, tRnzPrNt’s heaviest cut, “Comfortable Foe” chugs with snarling riffs and some Ozzy-laced vocals from Jim Villani. Villani, however,largely commands his mike on Iced! with a unique pitch that accommodates his buried nasal tones.
What’s especially nice about Iced! is there are virtually no maudlin overtones to this thing. In fact, the jokey dialogue intro to “Talk Too Much” is, according to inside information, a potshot at American vocalists (largely from the alt rock scene) trying to pass themselves off as tragically hip British. Fun and mirth all the way to the finish line, tRnzPrNt is exactly the way we would want to remember Ricky Parent, pumping his band with hard, life-embracing strikes, which they take cue from gallantly.
God bless you, Ricky…
review by Ray Van Horn, Jr.