While some musicians can rely on their own greatness to rise up, others must work slowly to the top. The latter was surely the case for Ringside, a duo consisting of Scott Thomas, a previous costume designer (best known for No Doubt), on vocals and Balthazar Getty, a small-time actor (best known for Lost Highway or Lord of the Flies) on the beat machine. The two met back in the eighties through Tim Leary, and eventually they decided to become musicians. Through Kenna, the band got a deal through Fred Durst’s Flawless Records. Well, sort of. Geffen gave the guys funds to build their own studio, rather than give them the real deal. Eventually, out came their self titled debut, a mediocre record at best, though a good cheap fix for U2 addicts.
All roads lead to Achtung Baby on “Strangerman” and “Miss You,” despite missing a few turns. Thomas’s cracking voice is cringe-inducing on “Cold on Me,” where the lyricist unwittingly admits, Oh, I’m a stupid man/Always getting into trouble/Baby tell me what’s your plan/’Cos I need you here on the double. Thomas hides the Bono impersonation on “Dreamboat 730,” though relying too heavily on Getty’s oversimplified beats. Near the end comes “Criminal,” the album’s only hit, if only for its improved piano work and lyrics. Despite the duo claiming to be “Tired of Being Sorry” on their first single, Ringside’s debut lacks sincerity.