You are probably wondering what is a Biker Mice From Mars. I know I was when I heard of this album with Jeff Scott Soto on vocals. What I came to find out was that Biker Mice From Mars was a cartoon that actually ran in the U.S. from 1993-1996 and ran for 3 seasons with 65 episodes. I am not sure what planet I was on, but apparently it wasn’t this one as I have never, ever heard of this one before.
And to my surprise the cast voicing these characters were huge stars in the 90’s. Most importantly the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 voiced a ton as it Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Greene, Jason Priestly, Luke Perry, Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth all voiced a character. I wonder why Shannon Doherty didn’t voice one. Now if those weren’t the stars you would know. It also had Mark Hamill, Brad Garrett, Peter Strause, CCH Pounder, Malcolm McDowell, Leah Remini, Rob Paulsen and Jess Harnell of the Animaniacs and the band Rock Sugar.
What is the premise of the show? Let me let Wikipedia sum it up for you…“The show follows three anthropomorphic mice motorcyclists named Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie who escape a war on their home planet Mars before arriving to defend the Earth from the evil that destroyed their homeland (the Plutarkians) and to one day return to Mars.” There is a lot more to it than that, but that is all we need to know as we are here about the soundtrack and not the actual show.
So how did Jeff Scott Soto get involved? Well, I’ll tell you. Jeff was approached to only sing a couple songs, but due to scheduling conflicts and stalled negotiations with the other singers, he wound up doing all the tracks. The other singers approached for the project were a fav of mine, Billy Idol as well as a Mr. Vince Neil. It is probably for the better they weren’t involved as this isn’t exactly Shakespeare. The album contained 8 original songs for the show written by Will Anderson and had 2 Covers, one Steppenwolf and one Doobie Brothers’ song. The band consisted of Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Will Anderson on keyboards, guitar and programming, Burleigh Drummond on Drums and Drums programming, Basil Fung on lead and rhythm guitar, Lance Morrison on bass, Michael S. Plodene on Hammond and piano and lastly Terry Wilson on backing vocals.
The title track, “Biker Mice From Mars”, kicks off the album. It is a heavy rocker that opens with some show content and pounding drums. Jeff comes in and seems to constantly sing at a falsetto level and with some screams. It is a rather generic sounding track, but it is for a kids show so can’t be too mature sounding. But being the 90’s it is more 80’s rock and no where close to 90’s grunge sound. It is interlaced with some motorcycle sounds and one of the mice talks before the solo kicks in. Ughh.
“Rockin’ in the Pit” is a heavier track with some distorted guitars. Jeff sounds more serious and more dramatic. Although the song is sticking to the theme of the show (I’m sure) it is at least an interesting track. The heaviness helps give it more street cred I guess. Basil lays down a pretty good guitar solo and that always helps.
I am guessing that maybe it is Throttle talking at the beginning and even mentions the title of the song “Tail Whippin’ Time” and oh my goodness what a pile of crap this one is. Might work in the show, but on its own it is about the most paint by number songs and the music is terrible and Jeff screams more than sings. There is some decent guitar work and might be the only good thing about this song. I am sure this fits perfectly with the cartoon, but I have no frame of reference and I am just coming at it from the songs. Save me please.
“Look Out Below” opens with what sounds like a villain saying “Oh Chicago” as that is where the Mice are hiding. This is a heavier bass driven track as it seems to be about one of the Plutarkians has found the Mice and he is coming to destroy them. Jeff sings in a deeper register and it is a little catchy. More lines from the show are input in to the song so you have the background of what the song is about. I like this song a little more than I probably should.
Then Throttle gives us a speech at the beginning giving us the backstory of the show before the ballad “Headin’ Home” starts playing. A piano based track with Soto going all emotive with his vocals as he delivers the horrible, generic lyrics of this sad attempt at a power ballad. Jeff has to be cringing but at least it was money to pay the bills.
“Born to Be Wild” is up next and yes, it is the Steppenwolf song which actually fits for the album as the mice are “Biker Mice”. Musically, it is one of the better songs, but Jeff sings it a little a half-ass as I would expect him to really get in to this and go all in, but he might’ve been told to hold back to keep it right for the show. We get some great Hammond organ, some wicked guitars and pounding drums. It is one of the better tracks on the album since it is the first song to me musically interesting
Up now is “A Mouse And His Motorcycle” and it is pretty cringeworthy as a stand alone song. Might fit with the show, but otherwise, awful. The drum sound is too sharp and crisp and gets annoying pretty quick. Lyrics are nothing short of awful this is a pure show song and really doesn’t work outside of that realm. Jeff somehow makes it through it without busting out laughing. The only interesting thing is a back-to-back bass and guitar solo with a little jam session. It almost completely saves the song.
If you thought that was bad, you haven’t heard nothing yet. “Tunnel Rat” is basically repeating the words tunnel rat a lot. Tunnel Ratt is one of the supervillains in the show. There is surfer type dude on the radio and then Jeff comes and starts singing some of the most horrible lyrics. Yes, if this was in the show, you could forgive it, but here it is childish and lame. This has lots of show content interspersed which doesn’t help the cause any.
They take a Doobie Brothers’ song and turn in to a show song. “Rockin’ Down the Highway” is the cover and another track that works for the show, but it is watered down a little for the show. Jeff sings with some gusto and I am sure he his holding back because he would slay this one. Musically interesting although it is a little more pop than it should be. Not a bad track when compared to the others.
The last track, thank goodness, is “Ride Free, Citizens”. It seems the Biker Mice have saved the day and every one can ride free. It is one of the heavier songs on the album and Jeff is pretty serious in his delivery as it isn’t a bad song overall. Some great guitar riffs, solid rhythm section and there are some things to like about this one. Am I softening? Maybe.
- Biker Mice From Mars – Delete
- Rockin’ in the Pit – Keeper
- Tail Whippin’ Time – Delete
- Look Out Below – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Headin’ Home – Delete
- Born to Be Wild – Keeper
- A Mouse and His Motorcycle – Keeper (1/2 Point)
- Tunnel Rat – Delete
- Rockin’ Down the Highway – Keeper
- Ride Free, Citizens – Keeper
The Track Score is 5 out of 10 or 50%. Having never seen the show, I’m not sure how well the songs work in the context of the show, but as an album taken out of context, it is rather cheesy being about mice and rats (sorry I went there). The lyrics are juvenile at best, the music is simple, not very complex or exciting and Jeff does the best he can with the material. At times, I wondered if he was thinking…”What the hell did I sign up for?”. As a show soundtrack, it might hold up well and get a good score, but I’m not coming from that angle. My Score is a 2.0 Out of 5.0 Stars as it has some stuff I don’t mind, but most is a total miss. Skippable if not a Soto fan, sadly, I am all in so it is in my collection. Let’s get back to the real music next time.
UP NEXT: TAKARA – ‘ETERNAL FAITH’ (1993)
THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:
- Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
- Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
- Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
- Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
- Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
- Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
- Bakteria – ‘Deficate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate!’ (1992 / 2009)
- Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘The Ballads’ (1993)
- Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
- Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
- Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Five Out of Five (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
- Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
- Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
- Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
- Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
- Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997)
- Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
- Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
- Talisman – ‘Live as Sweden Rock Festival’ (2001)
- ‘Rock Star (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002) – Bonus Edition
- Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
- Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
- Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
- Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2005)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2006) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
- Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
- Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
- Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
- W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
- W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
- W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
- SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
- SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
- W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
- SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
- SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
- W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
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