Music Review: The Complaints “South Side Suicide”

The Complaints hail from Rhode Island and my first introduction to them was the 1999/2000 debut Fear which engineer Phil Greene (Beaver Brown, New Kids on the Block and my own sessions recording Buddy Guy in 1986/1987) was involved with. Greene’s name might’ve piqued my interest, but it always comes down to the music after the door is opened.   This writer’s reviews of Fear and its successor, 2002’s Criminal Mind, stand true today…the conclusion to the Criminal Mind review stating “If Fear was the “admirable first effort,” then Criminal Mind, both the title track and LP, is a sophomore success creating anticipation for this group’s future work.”.

The CD single “Trade Up” proved that 2002 prediction to be true.  Exploding through the speakers it caught the attention of Jimi Hendrix/Carly Simon/Patti Labelle friend and colleague Buzzy Linhart with a phone call saying “I LOVE TRADE UP”, Linhart getting his copy of the disc to San Francisco DJ K-Os (mix-master for George Clinton’s P-Funk) who started playing the song at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom room in SF.

Well, simultaneous with their airplay at the Boom Boom Room the band went out to Los Angeles to work with Chris Lord-Alge on a follow-up single, “South Side Suicide.”  This is exactly what artists need to do in the new millennium…put out great single after great single, and SSS is a perfect follow-up to “Trade-Up” with both an explicit and a clean version.  As with “Trade Up” there’s a riveting guitar line and hooks galore. All in a quick hit that delivers the goods and leaves you wanting for more.

Of course the trio of Petrella, Marotti and Cruz could have all decided that Dean Petrella sing “Time is funking with my mind!” instead of leaving the “n” out of funking, but that’s a minor distraction, the “clean” version just has the word evaporate (take that James Blunt who replaced “f…ng high with flying high” on his monster hit “You’re Beautiful”).   Speaking of James Blunt, his 2009 upload of the chart record is almost at 32 million spins..yikes…the flying high version…The Complaints “South Side Suicide”, uploaded in Dec of 2012 has less than 1,000 hits for the time being, but that’s ok, they’re just getting ready to rock with this one.

Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for,, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.