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Thursday
Dec082016

A Heavy Metal Hall Of Fame... Finally! Well, Wait A Sec. 

Today's post is from our friend HIM.


As many of you know, I am the stick in the mud who chimes in each year when the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame (RaRHoF) discussion starts. I mention, as others do, the litany of crimes that organization has committed: the cozy relationship that bands getting in share with Wenner, the elastic designation regarding what constitutes “rock n’ roll” or even a member of a band who is worthy enough to be inducted; the fake appeals to fans; the costs that bands are forced to cover to attend an event in their honor; and so on. So I suggest, time and again, that it is merely a thought puzzle with little actual relevance. Getting mad about who is in and who isn’t is about as productive as artists suggesting how “great” it will be once they are inducted. That, and two nickels, gets you ten cents.

 
On the other hand, one productive line of discussion has appeared on more than one occasion: why not start a Glam Hall of Fame, or simply a Metal Hall of Fame. Wouldn’t that cater to what we, as BBG! readers and metal fans actually care about (not to suggest we don’t care about other forms genres of rock or even other types of music)? Wouldn’t that take the sting off the buzz-kill that is the RaRHoF?
 
Well, it might. It could. Perhaps it will. Why am I being so qualified? Simply put, there is going to be a Heavy Metal Hall of Fame; or, more accurately and less pleasing to the ear and eye, a Hall of Heavy Metal History. That said Hall doesn’t exist doesn’t really matter. I mean, the RaRHoF’s hall is actually more legit than the ceremonies.  But I digress.  Here is a link to the press-release-cum-news-story provided by Sleaze Roxx:
 
 
Yes, I can wait while you read the article. And, once you have, you can probably see why I am a bit hesitant in singing the praises of this venture.  Without going into great detail, I can list two issues that I have with the organization. First, there seems to be a conflict of interest baked into this, one of lesser grandeur than Wenner’s meddling. But it still seems like a conflict of interest. Which relates to, second, the list of inaugural inductees. Not sure this is the first class you would want while claiming your bona fides as a representation of heavy metal (no less the history thereof). Sure, some of the first class seem okay. Others, not so much. It seems fairly narrow. Nor can I find any link of relevance to this group online, or to how they choose who is inducted.
 
On the bright-ish side, as an event held by a recently created (as of June this year, at least according to trademark filings) organization, this isn’t going to cost fans too much to attend. There are also some good causes listed as related to the organization and its founder/CEO Patrick Gesualdo. This is a non-profit, which is a good thing too. And I am sure that the Anaheim Expo Center is a fine establishment.
 
But I wonder: is this what metal fans actually (there is that italicized word again) wanted? If so, is this the configuration they dreamed about? Please share your thoughts.

 

Wednesday
Dec072016

Metal and Rock Grammy Nominees Announced

 

The Grammy Awards ceremony is set for February 12. You can watch the show on CBS. Here is the list of nominees. I'm sure you'll all have opinions on this! I no longer try to predict the winners of these things. I'm always wrong and usually disappointed. 

Best Metal Performance

Baroness, “Shock Me”
Gojira, “Silvera”
Korn, “Rotting in Vain”
Megadeth, “Dystopia”
Periphery, “The Price Is Wrong”

Best Rock Performance

Alabama Shakes, “Joe” (Live From Austin City Limits)
Beyonce Featuring Jack White, “Don’t Hurt Yourself”
David Bowie, “Blackstar”
Disturbed, “The Sound of Silence” (Live on Conan)
Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”

Best Rock Song

David Bowie, “Blackstar”
Highly Suspect, “My Name Is Human”
Metallica, “Hardwired”
Radiohead, “Burn the Witch”
Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”

Best Rock Album

Blink-182, California
Cage the Elephant, Tell Me I’m Pretty
Gojira, Magma
Panic at the Disco, Death of a Bachelor
Weezer, Weezer

Best Alternative Music Album

Bon Iver, 22, A Million
David Bowie, Blackstar
PJ Harvey, The Hope Six Demolition Project
Iggy Pop, Post Pop Depression
Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool



Tuesday
Dec062016

"We Belong..." In A Storage Facility?!?!

In light of yesterday's post where I praised the new Def Leppard single "We Belong," HIM provides this commentary. He doesn't like the song nearly as much as I do! 


Let’s start with something very simple: lyrics.

 
"We Belong"
Sometimes I feel I don’t belong here
Sometimes I just don’t feel

I feel so uninvited
A wound that never heals

I need a little shelter
Just for a little while

Sometimes I hide the sadness
Behind a painted smile

If you cast the first stone
I will roll it away
I will kneel at your throne
Hold my hands up and pray
I will hold back the tide
Push the oceans aside
Save the day
But I can be stronger

You’re all that I am
You’re all that I see
The keys to the kingdom
Are waiting for me
So don’t hold me back
Don’t hold me down
Just hold me and don’t let go
You’re all that I am
You’re all that I do
The end of the rainbow
Is waiting for you
So tell me I’m right
Cause this can’t move on
Not if we belong

Whatever happened to forgiveness
Are the words too hard to say

What happened to the answers
They disappeared along the way

I hide behind the madness
Still looking for the clues

And there’s nothing left to chance
When there’s nothing left to lose

And the voice in my head
Screams the words I believe
And the light in the dark
Is the air that I breathe

(Chorus, last line now: Back where we belong)

As you cast the first stone
And I roll it away
And I kneel at your throne
These words that I say

(Chorus)

The keys to the kingdom
Are waiting for me
 
This is fairly standard fare. Ambiguous enough to be about love, loneliness, and loss, and redemption, and other stuff. You set it to mid-tempo music, cue some strained (read: heartfelt) vocals, and you have yourself a hit on the Golden Oldies Rock station in your town (you know the one, named after some sort of animal: The Fox, The Eagle, The Bear, or what have you).
 
So let’s do that: here’s the actual song as performed for those of you who don’t already have it in heavy rotation.


The “switching singers” thing is a nice touch (even if Collen sounds like an evil-robot super villain, especially after the first pause in the lines he sings). Campbell and the rest all have nice sets of (some more and some less processed) pipes. Pretty chill and mellow, like the ballads on Hysteria turned down a notch so you don’t wake the kids up. This version of the band is clearly not my cup of Earl Grey. But, hey, a lot of people enjoyed 2015’s Def Leppard.  So raise your fist and whisper; rock softly. It’s better to fade out than burn away?!

But let’s push it a bit further: the official—not fan—video meant to serve as a visual accompaniment to said lyrics and said performance.
 



Hmm. I am not sure where to start. I will put aside the current fascination with slightly retro looking computer animation (a trend that Iron Maiden has helped to champion). I get it. That is a cost effective way to tell a story. I also understand that every song has multiple meanings, hits different tonal pulse points, and leads different listeners down different paths depending on the time of day, mood, or events with which they associate a song.

I also know that there is a thing called rhetoric. I think that traditionally applied to written and spoken words (like, say, lyrics or songs) and attempts therewith to persuade. I hear that rhetoric now applies to visuals as well. Don’t worry. I am not going to start pondering the significance of pasta advertisements (Roland Barthes, “The Rhetoric of the Image,” 1968) or ask you to question the stability of textual meaning (Jacque Derrida, “Signature Event Context,” 1971). I mean, what do I know? I am a humble mushroom forager from a non-descript part of the Northwest.
 
What I do know is that this video presents an unsettlingly (at least for me) picture of who Def Leppard officially are presenting themselves to be. To wit, they are dirty and tattered sheets wavering in a dimly lit storage facility (a la Raiders of the Lost Ark). Oh, and they morph into and out of each other. And the storage facility also relates to space crafts and other sci-fiey schematics (on screens that are not tattered sheets, though colored the same). There are also graphics of women in suits. And robots.
 
The big reveal is that there is a space station, from which (one assumes) came—spoiler alert one—the giant pod (which occasionally glows from within with bright light) that is being carried around the storage facility on a forklift during portions of the video. Said space station is—spoiler alert two—found to finally be resting on some sort of barren surface, a tangle of jagged rocks partially submerged in mirrored liquid.
 
Phew! It finally makes sense. No it doesn’t. Why are the members of Def Leppard consigned to soiled bedsheets waving in the breeze of a storage facility? Why are they also part of a computer read-out that involves robots and women and a dog (or is it a leopard)? What does any of this have to do with “casting stones” or “looking for clues”?
 
I know this is a bit of overkill when it comes to metal, when it comes to elder statesmen like Def Leppard. I can’t help but think, however, that the band thinks this means something. So, in the spirit of closure, I ask you all to tell me: what does it mean to you? To me? Well, I think it means that they are tired vestige of who they once were. And they, like countless other bands I love, have just decided to say: “You know what? It doesn’t matter that much anymore. Sing it. Sell it. Tour it. We can afford to release whatever we want in the name of art. And we will puff it and fluff it and turn it every which way. But, at the end of the day, we are a greatest hits machine that tours for the sake of touring and the money that it generates.” Thing is, I don’t think a band like Def Leppard would ever actually say that . . . to the press or the fans. Funny thing is, this video said it for them and likely in spite of them. Ah, rhetoric. I guess it does betray us, providing stable enough meanings in spite of what we hope to suggest or obscure.
 
Now, clean your palette: here is Helix’s “Rock You” (warning: there is nudity!):
 



Wait a sec! Do they mean “rock,” like the music or like the physical object for which one must dig? Ugh. I am done thinking about metal. Too damn difficult.

 

Monday
Dec052016

Def Leppard, 'We Belong' -- New Video

Def Leppard has just released a video for their new single "We Belong." It's from the band's new self-titled album.

"We Belong" is an album highlight for me and I was delighted to see the band make an official video for the clip. I mean, there's no reason not to: money is no object here. They have stacks of cash and can afford to make videos for every song they record until the end of time if they so choose.

I really enjoy "We Belong" because each member of the band gets a singing part. That's very rare but something Def Leppard is easily able to pull off.


Sunday
Dec042016

Don't Wig Out: M. A. Batio Is Kinda Amazing (Nitro? Not So Much)

Today's post is from our friend HIM.

 When your band is treated like the less enjoyable version of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, you know something is amiss. When you are compared to Malmsteen, and then try to prove you are better than Yngwie, it is an odd world you inhabit. When your singer is a roided-up fluff-screamer who ends up being the sane part of a marriage, you are definitely not living a normal life.  

Alas, this is the tale of Michael Angelo Batio. Why do I, and why should you, care? Well, partially because his frizz-glam question mark of a band Nitro is reuniting with the skin-smithing of no less than Chris Adler (Lamb of God, Megadeth) behind the wig-glue sprayed kit. Because the poodle of a singer, Gillette, was once married to Lita Ford. That dog is now a dawg, covered in tats and MMA drool . . . and with full custody of two kids who think “Kiss Me Deadly” was written about them. Batio? He belongs to the same club as Blackmore and J. L. Turner. All are clients. One of them because of a medical condition. The other two because of vanity and a fecal-ton of talent.  

I really don’t care about Nitro. They are an odd detour in the history of metal. And what was once an Aqua Net nightmare of bad hair and questionable jeans looks, reunited, like some MMA video game promo:  

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/lamb-of-god-chris-adler-joins-michael-angelo-batio-jim-gillette-in-reunited-nitro/  

I don’t really want to compare Batio to Malmsteen either. That is like comparing meth-induced classical music to a roadside hotel’s shower walls: both have too many scales. And I can’t spank the guitarist for wearing his hair (or his system) how he wants to do so. Like Blackmore, the guy has a right to feel fully hirsute even if genetics (and countless YouTube videos) scream back at him: “WHY?!!!?”  

Much has been made about his (and Gillette’s) instructional videos. Similar snarks have been offered regarding the fact that Batio can play a one, two, four, six and ten neck guitar backwards and forwards, all while balancing his checkbook. Like Malmsteen, is that all skill and no soul? Is it technique without passion? Where do they buy their doughnuts? I digress.  

My simple point (I made it complicated in honor of him) is this: he is a damn good guitar player. I won’t go to old tape of him shredding a jazz ditty. But I will go to fairly recent events where he paid tribute to another oddball guitarist:  


 

That is some damn fine playing. And I think all twenty people at each event had a great time. I kid. Batio is a badass. But he is a victim of his talent. What makes Blackmore more relevant, if no less eccentric? Simply this: timing, choices, and happenstance. What makes Batio better? He enjoys his slim moments in the sun, and treats his fans with—imagine that?—respect.

Saturday
Dec032016

BBG! - A Decade Later. We're Going To 11!

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the first post on Bring Back Glam! I can't believe a decade of my life has passed, marked every day by a new post on this site. We sure have shared some good times, big shows, reunions and some sad news as well.

Special thanks to the readers who have been here from the beginning and respect to those we've picked up along the way.

It is cliche to say that life goes by fast, but it's true. I remember sitting on an old hand-me-down recliner in an apartment Eric and I shared, writing the first post for this website. We were in a transition and about to buy our first home. I would bang out articles and watch Metal Mania videos while he worked on finishing the basement of our new place. My first writing space in that house was a spare bedroom, used as a makeshift TV room. The first music interview I ever did took place on the floor of that room, attached to corded phone. If you're wondering, I chatted with Jamie St. James from Black n' Blue (but at the time, he was fronting Warrant). Cringe worthy: I talk about Myspace in that interview!

I've interviewed quite a few folks - for quite a few publications - since that time.


Fast forward to today, and here we are, once again discussing the news of a split in the L.A. Guns world, but Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns are reuniting anyway. Guns n' Roses are expected to announce another year of touring for their big reunion and Metallica has a smash hit new album on their hands. The talks of the death of our beloved music genre were premature, right?


Thank you again for reading. I'm looking forward to another year of new music, crazy news story and snark. Let's get rocked. Oh, and if you want the latest details on Phil Lewis, here you go:

 

Friday
Dec022016

Phil Lewis Quits LA Guns Via Social Media

Phil Lewis has quit LA Guns and he announced his departure from the band via Facebook. This is pretty shocking. The question is obviously... why? To play with Tracii Guns again full-time I assume, but time will tell. 

Here's what he wrote:

"Dear friends and fans, with a heavy heart, I have to inform you that as of January 1, 2017 I will no longer be a member of this lineup. I feel I have gone as far as I can in this band, and unless I get out and focus on myself and something new that has a future, I'm going to stagnate.

For the last five years, I've been enthusiastic to record a new record. 'Hollywood Forever' really recharged my batteries and made me feel very proud to be in this band, but it feels like so long ago now. At this stage, I want to walk away with at least a little dignity.

I want to thank you all for your solid support throughout the last 15 years. We've had the pleasure and honor of playing so many wonderful countries, and I've always made a point of getting out and meeting some of the best, most loyal fans in the business. Your smiling faces will always be a huge part of my adventure, and I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. What's the point of making records or playing shows if you don't have fans for feedback, and I feel blessed to have so many cool people who treasure the music as much as I do as a part of our fan base.

I will continue writing, recording, and performing in the future. I have some solid plans, and I'm also open to where fate will take me on my musical adventure, and I sincerely hope if I'm anywhere near you, you'll come out and say hi and hear what I'm doing.

I love rock and roll, it's been my religion and salvation for many decades, and I feel the fire burning in my soul to do more. I have no plans on slowing down or retiring anytime soon, so please don't be sad.

Wish me luck and please stay in touch. Goodbye."