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Pontiac and Heavy Metal – Always Connected

Does saying goodbye to Pontiac mean a little piece of heavy metal history is dying? Absolutely.

Heavy metal isn’t considered high brow. It’s music for the masses: for men with beautiful women, fast cars and beer. Since the 1970s, the Trans Am and other like muscle cars were automatically identified with heavy metal and for good reason: fast cars are sexy. Sure, Corvettes are hot too, but they are cost prohibitive. The stock broker in the better side of town might buy a Corvette, but you’d choose a Trans Am and be damn happy with it – right?

The death of Pontiac and slow collapse of the American auto industry is more entwined with music than you might believe. I don’t dabble in stereotypes here at Bring Back Glam! After all, I’m a metal head just like you. I also have a professional job at a Fortune 500, a graduate degree, a husband, a house in the suburbs and no kids. I’m the modern “me” generation exemplified: money to buy most of what I want, when I want it. I’m not sure the same could be said for the average Metal fan twenty years ago. You know, when Aerosmith was considered Metal and Ozzy could still string some words together to form a sentence. In the days beyond 1985, our economy changed and so did our music – and the cars we buy.

At around the same time more and more of us chose college instead of working right out of high school, importation of foreign autos became the norm. By the time I was in high school in the mid-90s, it was common for everyone to drive a Honda. The “buy American” crowd was exceptionally vocal then: those laborers and Teamsters could see the writing on the wall. The tide was shifting, just like the music industry. American manufacturing jobs were going away because of automation and competition. Music sales were plummeting because of competition and the start of what would be the epidemic known as illegal downloading.

In 1986, I bet you owned a cassette of Look What the Cat Dragged In – and played it while cruising in your Trans Am. You know you had a good time cruising down the boulevard with the top down. Times were simpler in your Trans Am. The car didn’t cost $40,000 either.

Heavy Metal is built for speed, isn’t it? It’s music that can get you in trouble if you’ve got a lead foot. Pop on Judas Priest’s British Steel and tell me you don’t drive just a little faster than normal? I’m sure you do.

I can’t even think of all the music videos that feature Pontiac sports cars. I know the Trans Am is featured in the cold open of Metal Mania and that says a lot right there.

I suppose I have an unfair bias toward Pontiac. After all, I’m from a GM family. For more years than I’ve been alive, my dad has worked around GM autos. That job was always good enough that my mom never had to work; I had everything I ever needed and wanted – and a Pontiac convertible as my first car. The first CD I ever played in that car was Aerosmith. Coincidence? I think not.



Reader Comments (9)

What a great blog, very original and so true. Look What The Cat Dragged In and a Trans Am, that was a little bit of heaven right there.
May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJB
A nice change of pace; well thought out and nicely done.
I'm reading "Fargo Rock City" right now and your posting today could fit right in that book.
May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
I wasn't near driving age in 1986 but how true this is of hearing some of my older friends talk about 'Back In the Day'. Can we say Heavy Metal Parking Lot?
I'm not a Pontiac/GM person but I think this whole situation is devastating to our Country.

Reminds me of a little song called TRANS AM by Sammy Hagar. check it out!
May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
I couldn't agree more! I've owned Pontiacs since 1987. I had a Grand Am then and played my cassette of Look What the Cat Dragged In in that car. I am due for a new car next year and will look to get a 2009 Pontiac. After that, I will be lost!
May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterricksav65
I found this blog a few days ago and already I find myself checking in every single day!

Music is so intertwined with all aspects of our culture, cars included. Now days you see kids in SUV's blasting hip hop...sigh...
May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrinity
Being from Scotland Pontiac isnt anything over here but i get the point.
May 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterred6ixx
So true. I will never forget the great times I had singing along to my favorite glam bands in my Pontiac Grand Am, and my 2 different Fieros.
May 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
For me, it wasn't Look What the Cat Dragged in and a Trans-Am. It was Cherry Pie and my mom's 1986 Toyota Corolla. Damn fine memories.
May 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Oh i definatly see the connection, blasting Kickstart My Heart in my 91' Camaro while maxing out the speedo tells me exactly what generation i belong in. My dad has an 81' Turbo Trans Am and when i saw that car i instantly fell in love, its not even a car, its a piece of art, and its the most amazing piece of art i've ever seen. Since then my passion for cars and music has been taken to a completely new level. Motley Crue and Trans Ams is exactly what the world needs more of these days, with Japanese cars and ideas strangling the world it really feels like we live in a drab age of drones where everyone wants to be everyone and everything has to be dull and refined. And dont get me started on the music, everywhere i go i hear either retarted poppy emo music with ditzy ferbies following at the heels, or else i hear this retarted "core" music that sounds like bolts in a blender set to the singing of a dieing pig,

But, the world can do whatever it wants, say whatever it wants, believe whatever it wants, and the population can keep on whiddling itself down into the cess pool of unoriginality and blandness that it has recently thrust upon the for me? Well just picture the ferby looking drones of society sitting in their little gay hybrid economy Nissan Cube listening to their squeaky bland emo crap, when suddenly a black and gold 81' Turbo Trans Am tears by blasting Too Fast For Love, raining hell and tearing the city down behind...that...that will be me...a true original metalhead forever, and through me, metal, pontiac, and trans ams will live on forever...
July 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRAT66

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