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Friday, June 29, 2012

Ain't Nothin' But A Good Time (Mighty Lambchop's Heavy Metal Nails #5)

Good morning!


Today we talk about Glam Metal. (Or Hair Metal or whatever you like to call it. To simplify, I'm going with glam.) It's an important part of heavy metal in spite of the venom and vitriol spewed in its direction. I tend to classify Glam as a gateway genre, much as alcohol is classified as a gateway drug. I do so because in my experience, many in my generation who became interested in Heavy Metal did so because of these bands and their exposure.

Glam Metal is heavily influenced by both the Glam Rock and Hard Rock bands of the 1970s as well as Traditional Heavy Metal. The music itself was characterized by catchy hooks, a slightly pop sound and power ballads. The lyrical themes were often romantic, upbeat, risque and rebellious.
 The look of Glam Metal was very different. They drew inspiration from the androgynous, campy and flamboyant presence of bands like T. Rex, Slade and the incomparable David Bowie. That image made these bands perfect for exposure on the fledgling MTV network and they soon became a staple, their videos being heavily integrated into the rotation. The look was characterized by teased hair, gaudy makeup and lots of accessories.
Glam Metal was largely a regional scene, with a significant number of bands coming out of Los Angeles' Sunset Strip scene.
I will not be featuring one band in particular. I will highlight some bands that I like (Plus one that I don't and another I'm ambivalent about.) and I feel that each made significant contributions to the scene. Ready? Let's go!


Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister was formed in 1972 and is one of the bands that did not spring from the Sunset scene.
They had more of a brassy New York attitude with a large helping of humour and penned two of the most anthemic songs for the genre.
Their look was really engineered to help them stand out from other bands and was more of a parody of the glam rock look. The band was an early MTV darling thanks to their imaginative and highly entertaining videos featuring hilarious performances from actor Mark Metcalf. Twisted Sister also makes an appearance in the film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure.
Check 'em out and you'll understand:

The band is especially notorious for being singled out by the PMRC and singer Dee Snider testified before the Senate about the PMRC's concerns about the influence of popular music on youth. (Talk about strange bedfellows, Snider was joined in testifying by Frank Zappa and John Denver. IKR?)
Twisted Sister disbanded for a time admist much acrimony but has since reunited. They re-recorded their Stay Hungry album in 2006 and a terrible and terribly hilarious Christmas album the same year. 

My favorite Twisted Sister song is Burn In Hell. It is bad ass. Black Metal band, Dimmu Borgir,  also did a rad cover of the song.


Motley Crue

Motley Crue was formed in 1981 and came direct from the Sunset Strip. There isn't much to say here that most don't know. Motley Crue has been notorious for their hedonistic lifestyle, severe substance abuse and legal troubles. One only need to read their book, The Dirt, to get the whole story. Talk about scandalous!
That said, Motley was a standard bearer of the scene. Their early recordings were rough, raw and quite aggressive. Later they adopted a more commercially friendly sound and helped to set off a chain of power ballads in the scene thanks to the success of their song Home Sweet Home.

My recommendations would be their first two albums, Too Fast For Love and Shout At the Devil. Both are more in keeping with the influences of Traditional Heavy Metal and much more aggressive.


Poison


Poison formed in 1983 in Pennsylavania. They soon moved to Los Angeles to join the Sunset scene. Poison was by far the most perseverant and hardest working band on the scene. They would roam all over Hollywood, pasting their flyers all over the place. I would say Poison was definitely most beloved by women. They were risque but not as dangerous as say, Motley Crue. They really courted their female fan base which helped them transcend the scene and become a chart topping MTV staple.
Poison became masters of the power ballad and their signature is the inescapable Every Rose Has Its Thorn.
Poison is one of the few bands to really enjoy a revival besides Motley Crue, thanks to reality television show appearances.

I'm not much a of a fan. I enjoyed them at the time but I've since moved on. I don't have much to recommend except for Children of Bodom's cover of Talk Dirty To Me. It's pretty damned funny.


Warrant

Oh dear. This is a band I never really liked. Warrant came along fairly late in the game and with early success. They were ridiculously popular when I was in junior high and especially so with girls.
I'm highlighting Warrant because Jani Lane wrote one of the most popular and incredibly annoying and distasteful songs of the time. Cherry Pie was the title track of their second album. I hated it then, I hate it now. I found it boorish and crass. Which is pretty much how I felt about the band themselves. 
However, they were big and one of the last of the scene to be so. They had lots of conflict, changing lineups and for a time there were two versions of the band touring. (Which seemed and continues to be rampant with a lot of Glam bands.) 
Sadly, original singer Jani Lane died in 2011. I eventually acknowledged that he was actually a pretty good songwriter in spite of Cherry Pie. (A sentiment echoed by Lane himself in a terribly heartbreaking interview.)
I have nothing to recommend, I'm afraid. Just wasn't my thing and they came along at the time I was hardcore into Thrash Metal. Oops!

Glam Metal was all but killed off heading into the 1990s. Much credit/blame is directed at the documentary film, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. It's a great film and a bit cringeworthy now. It best depicted the excess, hedonism and lavish lifestyles. The most infamous scene features Chris Holmes of W.A.S.P. drinking vodka while floating on a raft in a pool with his mother watching. It is a devastating bit of film. The film wasn't the only blow for the scene. There was this burgeoning punk influenced scene popping up in Seattle that was vastly different and without the arrogance and flash of Glam. (Ed. note: It sure was loaded with a lot of pretension and self righteousness though.) 

Glam's had a bit of resurgence thanks to some 80s nostalgia. Yay. It's not all bad. There were some really great bands to come out of the scene. As I said, Glam was the gateway. It helped a lot of women really get into heavy metal. Though many Glam bands courted female fans, they certainly weren't very kind to them. 
However, heavy metal as a whole has been rife with sexism and has gleefully exploited women. Gratefully, this is beginning to change and we will be discussing that some more in the series.

This brings us to my Glam Metal Nails:

 Wild Child



Rock, rock 'til you drop!

To achieve this look I used Essence Colour & Go in The Ultimate Pink on index, middle and pinkie.
I used WNW Mad Styles on ring finger. The zebra stamps come from Salon Express plate SE-22.
The cheetah print comes from an Essence Stampy Plate that has no number. 
Here is a photo for reference:

I used China Glaze Smoke and Ashes to stamp with. It was surprisingly good to stamp with and the green glitter gives a nice bit of sparkle to the stamps.
The "Rock" decals come from a Fingr's Edge Royal Punk kit. The gems are from a Nailene kit I can't remember the name of. I outlined the "C" and "K" with Kiss Nail Artist pens in black and white.


That concludes everything I have to say about Glam Metal. Here are some bands to check out from the genre:

Little Caesar - They were more down and dirty and looked like bikers. But they are a fabulous band.
Dokken - Because you're not rockin' without Dokken.
Great White - There are two versions of the band currently. I'll let you look it up if so inclined.
Winger - Not so much a recommendation, notable because Kip Winger played in Alice Cooper's band.
Follow the link at your own risk, website plays music upon landing.
Slaughter - Again, not an edorsement. Notable because most of the band had previously been in former Kiss guitarist, Vinnie Vincent's, band.
Whitesnake - Part of the DP/BS family tree. I bring them up because David Coverdale re-invented the band and successfully re-ignited his career by aligning himself with the glam scene. The videos featuring his then-wife, Tawny Kitaen, sealed the deal completely and really broke Whitesnake in the U.S. 

I know. I did not talk about Bon Jovi. They are important but my focus was a bit more oriented to the Los Angeles scene, which I feel is far more influential.  
Same goes for Def Leppard. Sorry.

Join me next week as the series continues!



3 comments:

  1. aaah. this takes me baaaaaaack.....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Saw KISS last year with my kids. Tried to explain to them that it was as much about the showmanship as the music. It was awesome. awesome close seats for $50 tickets bought outside 5 mins before show started ..If I had the chance to see motley I would want to be more close.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey... could you tell me whose logo is to the left of Ratt? It looks like NY, but I know of no such band, unless you mean New York Dolls. Can you help?

    ReplyDelete

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