Miscellaneous Rumbles

Hey hair metal dudes — my book report

1

Well I made it thru the 500+ pages of this:

https://www.amazon.com/N%C3...

At first I didn't think the interview format would work, but it did. This book has over 50 very short chapters. Covers the origins, the bands, the scene and culture, the business and the decline -- and one short chapter on guitarists -- the innovators, copiers, style and gear.

Just reporting on what I read. No opinions here -- at the time I was barely aware of its existence and in no way involved. Amazed how well these people remember the details of what happened and when.

Just a little bit of it tho:

Origins: Van Halen viewed a precursor/antecedent -- just what got others thinking maybe they could do something new.,. So they don't figure in much of this.

Skeptics abound -it was seen as 'dinosaur rock' by the biz, as punk was just a few years old, poppy new wave was big stuff that record companies were focused on. Then-new MTV also really not on board at very start-- took some arm twisting So the true believers had to put a new look on things to get noticed . But things get moving around 1980.

Geography : It was an almost entirely an LA scene -- East coast offers up Twisted Sister, Cinderella, Skid Row and some lesser names like Britny Fox.

There were East coast transplants to LA, like what turned into Poison was. Skid Row was sort of a BonJovi sponsored offshoot but it appears BonJovi was not quite as genuinely of the genre, and now of course he positions himself as an NJ Springsteen-bro kind of guy.

Much of this LA based- bit is just that it was better suited for a social scene to happen .. more than NYC. One of two chapters on the various clubs/venues also and their differences

Not too much Euro hair, but Scorpions, Def Leppard are here.

Gender: Clearly a male dominated scene: Lita Ford and a group called Vixen are pretty much only X chromosome performers included here, but a number of gals appear as in-the-biz or hangers-on, fans, etc.

Bands: Most that were any kind of presence are covered. Main point is that the big winner in first 1/2 of 80s was Motley Crue and 2nd half of 80s was Guns/Roses. Of the period players, there was Ratt, Skid Row, Poison, Great White, Faster Pussycat, and Warrant, etc. Winger too, but somehow they became a joke or a meme as it might be called now. Quiet Riot viewed as a breakthough point where they opened a door in 1983 but then got run over by other groups.

Some serious personal dislikes existed like this Dokken dude and some guy George Lynch and there was real competition and some hard feelings formed. Some guys were in fact real jerks and some looking back 35 years express some regret, basically admitting to this. Sexist misogyny? Absolutely. Not to mention mind-bending drug and alcohol use, and most bands lived in total squalor in/around LA.

Business (labels, radio)-- the good and less good. Some were true believers, others just looking for a buck and ran for the hatches once the roof started caving in. Some jerks on both side of biz-types. MTV, in the pre internet era, has an outsized influence on what is seen. FM stations somewhat easier as there was more than one. Self promotion was the order of the day with competition of what bands put out the most flyers to promote a show. Most really worked hard at this.

Decline: Way down in luck by 1990, so it perfectly spanned the prior decade. Nirvana / grunge often blamed, but some players own up and say the genre was spent, played out with too many bands that looked and sounded too much alike and visual overkill in shows couldn't progress beyond a certain point. Some kept on in the small clubs and state fairs, etc.

Revival Everything old is new again, and a new generation discovers Mom and Dad music. Some of the biggies are heading out this summer on a package tour with Motley Crue headling. Get your shots and get your tix.

2

Thanks for the book report, DC Birdman, it sounds like a good read. I'll have to pick up a copy of it, it'll go good on the coffee table (after I get thru with it).

EDIT : Ordered it from Amazon!

3

I moved to Los Angeles from Harrisburg, PA in February 1988. Poison was from my hometown and when I saw them blow up on MTV I got inspired. Once I got to LA I got more into the Fishbone, Red Hot Chili Peppers scene but played in a band that passed out flyers on Sunset between The Whiskey and The Roxy from 1990 - 1992. It was crazy, amazing, fun, debaucherous and innocent at the same time. There was something in the air. I ended up drumming in a band that toured with Warrant and Britney Fox when they were back to playing clubs when that scene was wrapping up.

Your book report sounds about right!

4

I moved to Los Angeles from Harrisburg, PA in February 1988. Poison was from my hometown and when I saw them blow up on MTV I got inspired. Once I got to LA I got more into the Fishbone, Red Hot Chili Peppers scene but played in a band that passed out flyers on Sunset between The Whiskey and The Roxy from 1990 - 1992. It was crazy, amazing, fun, debaucherous and innocent at the same time. There was something in the air. I ended up drumming in a band that toured with Warrant and Britney Fox when they were back to playing clubs when that scene was wrapping up.

Your book report sounds about right!

5

As for the east coasters, you forgot the biggest band of them all- not just from the east coast, but of the world: Bon Jovi. They continued successfully touring the world for years, and probably sold more albums than all the other hair metal bands combined.

They were SO successful, many people refused to call them "metal" at all, and considered them more "pop" (the same could be said of Def Leppard when Hysteria came out). I compare them more to Journey than to all the other "hair rock" bands.

Where did the thrash scene, which was happening simultaneously, fit into this book? Was it mentioned? Metallic, Megadeath, Anthrax... they were metal, they had hair. But If you called them "hair metal" they probably would have run you over with their tour bus LOL.

6

As for the east coasters, you forgot the biggest band of them all- not just from the east coast, but of the world: Bon Jovi. They continued successfully touring the world for years, and probably sold more albums than all the other hair metal bands combined.

They were SO successful, many people refused to call them "metal" at all, and considered them more "pop" (the same could be said of Def Leppard when Hysteria came out). I compare them more to Journey than to all the other "hair rock" bands.

Where did the thrash scene, which was happening simultaneously, fit into this book? Was it mentioned? Metallic, Megadeath, Anthrax... they were metal, they had hair. But If you called them "hair metal" they probably would have run you over with their tour bus LOL.

– ruger9

Again just reporting - no opinion of mine --but Metallica and Megadeth, Slayer were mentioned in passing I don't recall seeing Anthrax. There were some I forgot of course. BonJovi is of course mentioned al lot but mainly about their relationship with Skid Row. Maybe it was just their sucess some were envious of but opinions seemed that the real hardcores felt they wen't the real authentic deal, just opportuntstic to get noticed that way and then move on to his Springteen-bro era.

What do I know about BonJovii? Just there were from my home state of NJ and Livin on Prayer... that's it. Period.

There are a lot of contradictory opinions found here -- but if you knew and understood that era and genre you might want to give this a read.

My favorite part is on page 274 when some club owners get all jazzed around 1985 when Lita Ford comes on a club al wasted and pukes.

7

I not only "knew and understood" that era, I participated in it! LOL

8

The early 80's were a very interesting time out in Hollywood. As a Punker attending gigs out there , there was a huge overlap of Punk and the Hairy Metal Bands playing at the same venues but on different nights. The cool thing was that there was a mutual respect among each other. I think it was due to both genres being seen as outcast and oddities by the public.

But it was still very odd to see young men that looked like Chicks strutting around like peacocks. I remember sitting on the curb in front of the Whiskey and watching as 2 Metal guys came walking by, decked out in spandex tights sporting cowboy boots with the biggest hair do ive ever seen with tons of makeup on their faces. Me and my buddies giving them a serious ribbing about them being in the Ugly Ms. America pageant , it was all in good fun and was taken as such, I never once saw a fight between the 2 different groups.

I wish I had a camera back then, But who knew.

9

I not only "knew and understood" that era, I participated in it! LOL

– ruger9

I couldn't participate as my hair didn't righteously grow long because it grew out.......like a furry helmet! My Sicilian blood turned me into a Chia Pet meets Jules from Pulp Fiction.

I like the book report and think it nails it down really well. I'll even admit that in my wait for Sweetwater to replenish stock in the color I want for the Tele, I've become oddly interested in some Charvel Strat-like models. A late mid/late '90s Biohazard concert was pretty cool too.

Every Rose Has It's Thorn!!!!!

10

Again just reporting - no opinion of mine --but Metallica and Megadeth, Slayer were mentioned in passing I don't recall seeing Anthrax.

.....because they suck!

11

I couldn't participate as my hair didn't righteously grow long because it grew out.......like a furry helmet! My Sicilian blood turned me into a Chia Pet meets Jules from Pulp Fiction.

I like the book report and think it nails it down really well. I'll even admit that in my wait for Sweetwater to replenish stock in the color I want for the Tele, I've become oddly interested in some Charvel Strat-like models. A late mid/late '90s Biohazard concert was pretty cool too.

Every Rose Has It's Thorn!!!!!

– NJDevil

Well, as they say, "the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away", and that's where I've been for the last 10 years (at least! LOL), suffice it to say I have a nice collection of hats!

But I certainly had my fun with hair product back in the day

Me, with my then-girlfriend/now wife (we've been together 32 years!! Holy crap!!

12

Sometime in the 80s, I was hanging out with St Louis Music people at a NAMM Show. CC DeVille was an endorser at the time...or I dunno, maybe the whole band - Westone, Crate, Ampeg, SLM had products with which Ken Hensley, then their Artist Relations guy, was chasing a lot of tonsorial metallurgists.

So I was having dinner at a banquet table in a hotel ballroom where a stage was set up for a closed concert to take place after the meal, sitting with some SLMers and Poison. Oh and also Leslie West (then another endorser...SLM was letting him think they’d renamed Electra in his honor).

The poisoners seemed eager, hyper, and strangely insecure, especially about their hair (and secondarily their makeup), repeatedly asking themselves and others at the table if they looked ok. West seemed at the time to be working on optimizing both food and recreational consumption, and was more interested in the buffet table than hair talk - presumably because his trademark far-out frizzed hair halo didn’t take much effort to maintain. (And maybe because his guitar always did the talking, not his appearance.)

Hair, yep. Always a part of the woknwoll identity, every decade with its own equally mockable styles. From pomade-n-pomps to hippie freak flags flying to punk spikes to hair band plumage, all flaunting youthful immortality before the thinning, fringing, rising foreheads, and gleaming pates of old age...

13

Sounds like a hair metal equivalent to ’Our Band Could Be Your Life’ by Michael Azzerad. As a Baltimore kid in the ‘80s I would say it was a huge scene on the East Coast, although few of the bands made it out. Plenty of you mid-Atlantic guys must remember Hammerjacks?!? But if you were an LA based A&R guy, why bother looking for talent outside of LA? Those plane tickets would just be a waste of your coke expense account.

14

OMG Hammerjacks!!! I totally forgot about that place until you just mentioned it!!!

15

Well, as they say, "the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away", and that's where I've been for the last 10 years (at least! LOL), suffice it to say I have a nice collection of hats!

But I certainly had my fun with hair product back in the day

Me, with my then-girlfriend/now wife (we've been together 32 years!! Holy crap!!

– ruger9

Awesome.....You rock Ruger!!!

16

Bon Jovi may have had the hair, but I would argue they were not in the realm of Hair Metal.

17

Bon Jovi may have had the hair, but I would argue they were not in the realm of Hair Metal.

– razzer10_4

They would argue that as well. They were "above" everyone else, in popularity, sales, and global market saturation. Bon Jovi became a household word, Motley Crue did not.

As I said, Bon Jovi was more like the heir to Journey's "throne". They could rock, they could do power ballads, they could fill stadiums (not just arenas), they were on the POP charts, and they were "harmless" to look at (for the parents lol)

18

Couldn't agree more with you, ruger. I'm 63 now and that point in music history was a big part of my life. Bon Jovi was all over the place, MTV, Rock radio, album sales. Truth is I never bought theirs or any of the hair metal bands albums. I did buy the first Van Halen when it came out. I suppose it's because Houston had three rock radio stations so it wasn't necessary to invest in commercially successful music.


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