Omnivore continues its reissue of late-career platters by The Knack with this deluxe edition of 2001 platter “Normal as the Next Guy.” As I noted with last month’s reissue of 1998’s “Zoom,” The Knack peaked with debut album (1979’s “Get the Knack”) and single (“My Sharona”) but they went on to make quality (if not commercially overwhelming) records.
“Normal as the Next Guy” came three years after “Zoom” failed to spark renewed interest in the band. It featured original members Doug Fieger (vocals/guitar), Berton Averre (guitar/piano) and Prescott Niles (bass) and a pair of studio drummers filled in for erstwhile replacement drummer Terry Bozzio. It also proved to be the final studio album for Fieger, who died of cancer in 2010.
“After the rightful and bitter disappointment of the experience with our comeback album, ‘Zoom,’ all Berton, Doug and I could do was splinter off and consume ourselves with our own musical projects,” Niles recalls. “We did our best collective work on ‘Zoom’ and believed our fans, and maybe even the music aficionados, would hear it and possibly get it, and us, once again. No such luck!
“‘Normal as the Next Guy,’ in hindsight was the bridge that help return us Knack exiles to our homeland. (It) should be remembered as a good album and the start of The Knack’s last page.”
In addition to the original 12 tunes — highlighted by “Les Girls,” “Girl I Never Lied to You,” the title track, “One Day at a Time” and “Reason to Live” — the expanded edition includes demo version of “Normal” entries “Seven Days of Heaven,” “Spiritual Pursuit” and “Reason to Live.” This upgrade is for hardcore fans only. (Jeffrey Sisk)