Tuff: ‘What Comes Around Goes Around’ (remastered)

Released on May 14, 1991 (Atlantic Records); remastered version released in May 2021 (RLS Records)

Tuff released their debut album on Atlantic Records in 1991. You can disregard the image on the cover as ‘just another hair band’ or wherever derogatory terms you want to use. The fact is, that by the time 1991 rolled around and What Comes Around Goes Around was issued, the climate for this kind of sleazy, melodic, image oriented, hard rock had just about worked its course. This was due to every label in North America cranking out glam bands like widgets. While Tuff might be lumped into the ‘C’ and ‘D’ leagues of the subgenre, don’t sleep on this album. If you can get past the album cover, which is something of the times, perhaps a little bit past it, even if it was by a mere two to three years, this album is far better than their contemporaries and even better than some of the acts that inspired and influenced the band.

Tuff was made up of frontman Stevie Rachelle, guitarist Jorge DeSaint, bassist Todd Chaisson and drummer Michael Lean. The album was produced by then up and coming producer Howard Benson (Motörhead, P.O.D., Skillet, Bang Tango). “We chose Howard because he asked us to pick him. He approached us when we were narrowing down the list and he said ‘Pick me. I can make the record that you want to make.’ I think we chose the right guy,” recalls Rachelle. The obvious fan favorite is “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” which was on regular rotation on MTV and eventually made it on the hit countdown show Dial MTV. What Comes Around Goes Around didn’t just feature a tune that the chicks dug, but also stuff that was on the more aggressive and rumbunctious side, like “Ruck A Pit Bridge,” “Spit Like This” and “Good Guys Wear Black.” Now is this album ‘thinking man’s’ rock ‘n’ roll? No, but it’s an incredibly fun, underrated gem, that while 30 years old, still stands up. I could put this up against something like Poison’s Open Up And Say…Ahh! or Warrant’s Cherry Pie. Perhaps had What Comes Around Goes Around been released in 1988 or 1989, it would have gotten its due. We could play the “what if” game all day long.

Fast forward to 2021 where Stevie Rachelle acquired the album, and rather than a flat out reissue, he set out to remaster the album and issue it on his imprint. The remastered What Comes Around Goes Around has a little more punch than the Atlantic version. There’s stuff within that you can hear clearer that you couldn’t on the previous version. Have no fear, this edition was not ‘brickwalled’ or made ‘louder’ just for the sake of competing with some of the present day recordings. That kills the vibe. That isn’t the case with the remastered What Comes Around Goes Around. It sounds incredible in your car as you cruise up and down the road running errands or just for a drive.

While there are no bonus cuts, it doesn’t take away from this package. There’s additional content like photos along with new and old liners but there’s no interviews like you’d find on the Rock Candy Records releases. I do note that the fantastic thick paper stock used for the booklet is top notch. Did I really insert something about the paper used for the booklet? Yeah, I did. So, if you missed out on What Comes Around Goes Around the first time around, if you want to replace a missing or damaged copy or if you’re just curious, I highly recommend you pick up a copy. It looks and sounds amazing and it’s hard to believe that this is an independent release.

Track List:
01. Ruck A Pit Bridge
02. The All New Generation
03. I Hate Kissing You Goodbye
04. Lonely Lucy
05. Ain’t Worth A Dime
06. So Many Seasons
07. Forever Yours
08. Wake Me Up
09. Spit Like This
10. Good Guys Wear Black

Band Members:
Stevie Rachelle – lead vocals
Todd Chase – bass
Jorge DeSaint – guitar
Michael Lean – drums

Band Websites:
RLS Records

Reviewed by Ruben Mosqueda for Sleaze Roxx, July 2021

Tuff‘s “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” video: