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NPR Remembers 30 Years of 'Heavy Metal Parking Lot'

NPR does a nice retrospective on the 30th anniversary of the documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Give this story a listen, you'll love it because I know you've seen the film! I own on DVD and I bet you do, too! Happy football Sunday!


Non-Metal Metal: Cast Your Votes and Pick Your Favorites

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.


Jack Russell's Great White: When 'Letting The Audience Sing' Makes Sense and Rocks

Today's post is from our friend HIM. 
Let’s get one thing straight: no one comes out of this story smelling like a rose. So don’t stab and jab when a caveat is in place.
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.
So why bother with that exegesis? Especially when I consider most of Great White’s catalog to be Zep-lite in a world where Page already did that with far more (though less) results? It doesn’t help that they were cheesy-sleazy when it didn’t matter. Nor does their success equate to quality. I always found them to be “middling” at a point when metal was already trending down. Hard earned success? Sure. Glommed on fads ill-suited to their style? Yup. They were a cover band, doing Zep via ZZTop, while the Fabulous Thunderbirds drove past them and they, White as they were, tried to “hook” fans on the idea of blues-meet-metal-meets-rock. Not novel. But it did land. For a while.
A more simple answer to the same question? Russell inspired fans in a way I still can’t quite figure out. And I witnessed it years ago, when Great White was still singular and still featured him. Then, as now, it was tragic: a fallen hero, oddly shaped after years of abuse, sounding amazing. When he opens his mouth, and when he is not drunk or medicine-addled, he defies what constitutes reason. That person, on that stage, should not sound like that. Yes, it is a bit shriller. But I submit for your consideration: David Lee Roth. Don Dokken. Mark Slaughter. How does Russell make sense?
In a sense, he doesn’t. But that is the magic. When he is on, he is on. When he isn’t sliding (he did recently), he gives the lie to his former bandmates. He actually makes them look sad, pathetic. The new and still-named Great White has a great singer in former XYZ leader Terry Ilous. Russell has at least one former member of the still-named band and a few others to round out his version. Who wins? No one really.
Here’s the thing though: when Russell holds out his mic and let’s the fans sing, they do it because they have to do it. When others do it, it often feels forced. Russell is no angel. His former bandmates are not evil. I wish them all the best. But I will sing for Russell because I want to do so, not because I have to do so. He is no idol. He is no poster boy. And yet, he embodies so much of what we love—and hate—about music.
Long live rock. Long live the sing-a-longs that move you. And respect to mere mortals, flaws and all, who still inspire us to be better than them and equal to what their music makes us feel.



KIX Release 'Love Me With Your Top Down' Video

On Friday, KIX will release Can’t Stop The Show: The Return Of Kix, a two-disc DVD/CD set. The film is a look at the making of the 2014 album Rock Your Face Off. The live clip below is included on the DVD. This is good stuff. And "Love Me With Your Top Down" is a great track, too!


Sammy Hagar to Headline Rock Legends Cruise

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.



Bon Jovi Performs on 'Ellen'

The other day, Bon Jovi went on Ellen to perform their new single "This House Is Not For Sale." The album by the same name will be released November 4, just in time for holiday shopping. You know what you're getting here: pop, not hard rock.


New Glam: Sweet Creature

Stockholm-based Sweet Creature is a new hard rock band fronted by Martin Sweet, best known as the lead guitar player of glam/sleaze metal band CRASHDÏET.
Martin Sweet describes the music as old school hard rock with gloomy lyrics and melodies. The band's debut album will be out October 25. Here's a sample of their sound.