The Opium Cartel Give Ratt Song Prog Makeover


The Opium Cartel, the side-project of White Willow guitarist Jacob Holm-Lupo, have released a cover of the Ratt song What’s It Gonna Be.

Originally recorded by the LA hair metal band on their 1988 Reach For The Sky album, it is the latest quirky cover from Holm-Lupo, who covered Blue Oyster Cult’s Then Came The Last Days Of May on The Opium Cartel’s 2013’s album Ardor.

“I’ve always been an omnivore when it comes to music, and even though prog rock and art rock are my first musical loves, I was also deeply into both metal and pop when I grew up,” Holm-Lupo told Prog.” I was never big on hair metal, though, as I preferred the more melodic stylings of hard rock and AOR. Ratt, however, was a band that to me combined the songwriting chops of traditional hard rock with the swagger and extravagance of hair metal. So I always had a very weak spot for them back in the day.

Invasion Of Your Privacy was a very important album when it came out for anyone who cared about production - few of us had heard a huger guitar sound than that. Their later albums were patchier, but Reach For The Sky had some gems, and my favorite track there was always What’s it Gonna Be, which should have been a big hit but I guess the timing was wrong. I always wanted to do a slicker, poppier version of it, and since Alexander (Stenerud, vocals) also happened to love the tune, the time was right. The basic idea here was to combine two different 80s styles - synth-pop and hair metal, hence our “Flashdance meets the Sunset Strip” description of the project.”

What’s It Gonna Be will feature on the latest, as-yet untitled album from The Opium Cartel.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.