Today's post again comes from our friend HIM.
While Allyson is dealing with her hand issues, I wanted to revisit a topic I brought up months ago: what does it take to be metal when you aren’t? At that time, I heralded the end of David Letterman’s reign as a sign that the metal in late night was gone. I still think I am right (it is a bleak landscape months later, though Samantha Bee and Jon Oliver do a good job of hoisting a politically-biased liberal flag, a comparative flag that conservative jokester Greg Gutfeld squandered when he left Fox’s Red Eye).
Enough politics though. I want to return to the topic with music on my mind. So who is metal enough without being metal? I am going to provide three candidates, of different pedigrees. They are no longer with us (one in fact; the other two in line-up). I’d like you to supply additions, perhaps with links to evidence backing up your claim.
The first is, to me, a no-brainer:
What sort of Faustian bargain did Perry sign? How in the heck was he capable of that? Putting aside the snugness of his Mom jeans, or the distraction of his little Perry (and the assorted Cains, Schons, etc.) therein, one has to stand in awe of what this pop juggernaut was capable of presenting on a stage that gave them no place to hide. Even Schon was fro’ flying and puckerless in this blast from the past. This is AOR at its metal best. You would have to tap Boston for something that comes close to transcending Journey.
Speaking of which:
A damn shame this isn’t live (in sound, not imagery). Then again, Boston were always about Stoltz’s studio magic. But that voodoo was nothing without Delp handling vox. I will, however, offer a bit of a qualification to that point. Seeing them on the Walk On tour proved that they could, with a bit of trickery, replicate the sound of the albums live. Point in fact, Delp and then-other-singer Cosmo traded range-shattering vocals on this very song, during that part where you wondered how a person could shift octaves so amazingly . . . and before you realized it was Stoltz’s nobs, gears, and air-pumps massaging the steampunk sound into your earholes on the original waxy vinyl. But enough of AOR fondue. I want to push further (without indulging my love for more esoteric, though metal, bands). I want to go a bit farther back and simply ask you to bask in the warm, sweaty glow of a comet that was crashing back to Earth:
That is cheesier than most Glam bands. And it is as rehearsed as anything that Letterman made seem spontaneous. “Shove it up your nose?” Okay, I can handle that when you give me a sly nod and a crooked smile. The ham-fisted background singer taunt? I bow to you, King. And those gyrations? No one else can make exercise look so erotic and sexual and effortless (if exhausting). This was Elvis on the back end of a career. But, boy oh boy, what a career. And the Bachs and Roths (yes, I said it) of our era and genre would love to have that sort of impact on fans as they bring metal to increasingly smaller masses.
So there you have it. Two AOR legends. One musician who can, even in death, smack most musicians around while liberally borrowing from the American songbook, wiggling his pantsuit-encased body around like a seizure victim. All three of them are METAL. Yes, I just yelled.
So I ask you again: who is metal without being metal? Bring it. We can take it.
That said, Jack Russell and Great White are a train wreck of potential and success, hubris and failure, disingenuousness and sincerity. Pick a side and then make sure you get ready to move. Then again, this isn’t a Queensryche tale. It isn’t a pitched battle between a singer who lost it (sadly) and a band who gained it back (purportedly).
What it is is far more nuanced: an addict who is always going to be an addict and an addict who now isn’t. One, Mark Kendall, controls the band that the other once claimed. The other, Russell, claims a version of that band that is now his showcase. In between, there were heart-wrenching tragedies. Questions of intent. Notes of regret. And some of the most graphic displays of “helping a friend while hurting him too” that have ever been splashed across media outlets. I won’t pick sides save to say this: hurting a friend to help him is one thing. Harming him to help yourself is quite another. I let others decide how that shakes out with Great White (now a band split in two).
That's Jack Russell’s Great White. Not Great White. Even if most people, even on this site, probably don’t give a passing glance to the difference. I don’t think a lot of people really care. Both versions operate in a shadow world that bumps up against the newest version of Ratt and the next “big thing” that packs the house in your local bar. They are scraping by while doing so on the laurels of their time as one band. But now they are two.
Sammy Hagar will headline the Rock Legends Cruise VI, set for February 15-19, 2018. Cabins are on sale now, even though the even is well over a year away! Other bands are all TBA. The event will be on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. Apparently the cruise will offer 20 artists, 60+ concerts, meet-and-greets, acoustic sets and more. The ship will sail to Cozumel, Mexico.