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Hell on High Heels (part duex)

When we last left, the fearless twosome were on a never ending quest for glam.

Now, back to regular programming:

Instead of Vains of Jenna, Drugstore Valentine took to the stage. The Akron-bred, Cincinnati based group wasn't nearly as bad as their predecessors, and that's saying a lot. Their lead singer played dress-up, wearing a fur coat on stage just like Kid Rock. Old Kenny Ozz (he's the infamous lead singer) wasn't afraid of moving, and he liked crowd interaction. He jumped on the bar, ran around the room. He probably can't afford a gym membership. Drugstore Valentine is an odd mix of "music," and they were trying to be a little glam. To bad they fell short of the goal. A highlight of their show was a Poison cover of I Hate Every Bone In Your Body (But Mine). Too bad our friend Ozz doesn't sound (or look) anything like Bret Michaels.

It was during the intermission that we noticed the boys in Vains of Jenna milling around the club. They looked uncomfortable, but not nervous. They were probably afraid the crowd would attack them if they sang songs with intelligible lyrics. As the bassist, JP White walked by us, Heather grabbed his arm and asked when they were playing. He laughed -er - cackled and said "Next, ladies. Next, after these people." And the flipped his arm toward the stage. I laughed, for I'd just had another postmodern moment at the expense of glam.

My boy JP was wrong.

After Drugstore Valentine, it was time for a holiday, a Pagan Holiday (1313) evidently. The Cincinnati based band has a fairly local following, and a huge chunk of the crowd was there to see the horror metal band. Just like the other bands, I thought these guys were pretty vile, but I have a specific beef with Pagan Holiday 1313: they like to rip off Motley Crue. As anyone who reads this blog knows, Motley Crue - especially Nikki Sixx - is sacred territory in my book. Bassist Mike Pagan bears an odd resemblance to Nikki Sixx (except he's about 100 pounds heavier). Pagan rips off Nikki's hair, eyeliner, stage mannerisms, he even had on a MC Shout at the Devil shirt! To put the final nail in the coffin, Pagan spit blood during their "show." Please. Nikki Sixx and Motley Crue have been spitting blood at shows for two decades. Give me a break. It might not be such an insult if the band sounded 1 percent as good as the Crue. Sadly, Pagan Holiday 1313 is an abortion of music. It's a good thing I'm all about choice.

At one point we left the club and went to the bar next door. It was just too much bad for two good girls to take. I mean, bad.

And then, to the victor goes the spoils. It was time. Vains of Jenna finally took the stage at 12:45 A.M., more than five hours after we originally entered the club.

After waiting so long, risking life and limb for glam, we pushed our way to the front row and waited, and we were not disappointed. When Vains of Jenna finally started their show, Heather and I were thisclose to the action. Our new friend JP posed for pictures, and generally the young Swedes just rocked,  hard. Unfortunately, they didn't perform the title song off their debut album Lit Up/Let Down, which also happens to be my favorite VOJ track. They played through all their fast songs with a frenetic energy the goth crowd seemed to actually enjoy. If the boys had attempted the slower Lit Up/Let Down, beer bottles probably would have been hurled toward the stage, and since I was basically on the stage I'm glad there was none of that. Their portion of the evening was fun, and people were actually smiling.

After the performance, Heather and I decided to look at the merchandise table. As we were browsing the customary concert swag, I inquired about the price of a shirt to the man sitting at the booth. He blinked and said he was just watching the booth. I blinked back. Was I speaking Greek? Apparently, Vains of Jenna sell their own merchandise, and sure enough lead singer Lizzy Devine trotted over to the little table to shirts and photos. I bought a shirt for a very reasonable $15 and Heather a necklace for $10. When I handed over my cash, poor Lizzy looked like he was going to cry. "Thanks for buying this. We really need it," he said. The band kept their money in a jar. On top of the jar was a yellow sticky note that read "We need gas money." Every member of the band is heinously thin. I hope their little indie label gave them a big enough advance that covers a stop at McDonalds once a day.

After this, we were out. Called a cab, skipped the headliner Wednesday 13. Of course, we had to wait more than 30 minutes for a cab. During our wait,  we we're fortunate enough to witness a full on domestic dispute outside the club. As we stood just outside the club door, Wednesday 13 took the stage and played a song that sounded very familiar to me. During the bridge, it hit me: Wednesday 13 blatantly and unabashedly ripped off Shout at the Devil, (the song, not the entire album). These people are bigger Crue heads than me! As I voiced my disgust over the finding to Heather, the domestic dispute stopped and starred at me. Apparently, it's sacrilegious to speak ill of Wednesday 13. Whatever.

During the never ending wait for a cab, two members of Vains of Jenna trotted out, walked up the street, and then returned. They milled around us for a while, both Heather and I were on respective cell phones, trying to get a cab, desperate to get away from the Jerry Springer scene unfolding around us. Finally, they gave up and went inside. I suppose had I not been on my phone, I'd have an interview with the band to post here. The world may never know.

Tomorrow, some comments from Heather, a special contributor to Bring Back Glam!



Hell on High Heels

Kids, it's time for a concert review. We're not talking about your run of the mill, average joe, this was a great concert, great band sort of review. No, we're talking about a down and dirty no holds bar look at the human condition set to music.

So we shall begin.

Heather, a co-conspirator in bringing back glam and I made our way to Sudsy Malone's in Cincinnati. It's a dive of a venue complete with a laundromat where none of the machines really work. There's also six seats at the bar and two random tables. Great. There is one lit exit sign, and random power cords hanging from the ceiling. In short, all the markings of a club that could be the spot where new rock is born. Or the next nightclub tragedy, depending on your luck.

Heather and I went in search of glam, excited to see Vains of Jenna, our best hope in the resurrection of sleaze glam. When we purchased our tickets at the door we noticed their name wasn't included in the roster of five bands scheduled for the night so we assumed VOJ would play first. We were wrong. Oh so, so wrong.

First up was the God-awful excuse for a band, Only Flesh. The Columbus based band is a mix of goth, sleaze and techno. The lead singer wore a spiked codpiece and acted like he was high on coke. That's hot. They started 45 minutes late, complaining the sound wasn't loud enough. I noticed they were using off-brand equipment, perhaps that was the issue. After waiting for what seemed like days, we suffered through six of their "songs." It was during their set we noticed a soccer mom who came in with her two teenage sons. We were proud of this woman for her bravery. She sat quietly in back, drinking a Coke and looking at her cell phone. She never took off her coat despite the fact that it was 900 degrees in the club. A salute to moms everywhere!

As we waited for the next band, who must be Vains of Jenna, we were once again disappointed when The Vladimirs took the stage. I had a postmodern moment with the Vladimirs, so I have to rewind to explain.

Heather and I got downtown early because we wanted to eat dinner. We dined at an Italian sports bar next  to Sudsy Malone's and looked over at a big group of people all wearing black. We assumed they were going to the show. We figured out a few minutes later they were part of the show. The band members left their wives to load in their equipment, blowing them kisses. One of these wives was about a million months pregnant and her husband (who turned out to be the bass player) seemed more than a little concerned about her.

Why is this postmodern? Let me fast forward back to the concert. The Vladimirs take the stage, and the lead singer apologizes for their music and they start on some god forsaken sojourn into the depths of hell. They were trying to be thrash metal, but succeeded at neither thrash or metal. To make matters worse, some loony tune thought it would be fun to start a mosh pit in a club the size of my living room. Heather and I got the hell out of there  faster than you can say pussycat.

So, the next band was Vains of Jenna. Oh, wait. I lied. By this time it's 11 and we're only on band three of five.

Tomorrow, part two of the review, starting with the band Drugstore Valentine and my reaction to finally seeing and meeting Vains of Jenna, plus pictures of the show to boot!









On the Hunt

vains.jpgTonight, I go in search of glam. I hope I find it in a little dive club in Cincinnati. Vains of Jenna kicks off their U.S. tour in the Queen City tonight, and I'll be there. I think it will be interesting to see such a young, unknown band as they embark on their first tour of America, the world's biggest and most powerful music market.

Wednesday 13 is also on the bill. They are not so much glam, more sleaze horror. Wednesday 13 rose from the ashes of the Murderdolls, who seem to be on perpetual hiatus. 

Stevie Rachelle is a huge Vains of Jenna fan. He was the lead singer of Tuff, and also owner of The site keeps pretty close tabs on VOJ, and now I want to see what all the hype is really about.

Tomorrow, expect a review of the show. We shall see if the Swedes know how to rock, American style.





I'm So Postmodern (Part 1)

If you're not familiar with postmodernism, you should be! Here's a very quick definition, courtesy of

Post*mod*ern (adjective)

"Noting or pertaining to architecture of the late 20th century, appearing in the 1960s, that consciously uses complex forms, fantasy, and allusions to historic styles, in contrast to the austere forms and emphasis on utility of standard modern architecture."

Last night, glam intersected modern culture via network primetime television. The Office is a Thursday night staple of NBC starring Golden Globe winner Steve Carell. Characters in the The Office work at a Scranton, Pennsylvania based company that sells paper. In last night's episode, members of the Dunder Mifflin sales team paired off, each trying to sell the most paper. At the most obscure point in the show, the most obtuse character locks himself in his company car and blasts Motley Crue's Kickstart My Heart. This was postmodern for multiple reasons, first being that the song based on a drug overdose was used to "pump up" a local sales geek, preparing to hock one of the world's most mundane products. Secondly, Kickstart My Heart is a song wrought with passion, aggression and frenzy. These are not three words you would typically use to describe the paper industry. Nikki Sixx wrote the song after he died from a heroin overdose and a paramedic shot his heart with two sticks of adrenaline. They literally kickstarted his heart.

I guess if every worker listened to a little Kickstart My Heart before heading to cubicles, ditches, hospitals, government offices or wherever we humans slog away at a living, our lives might be a little more interesting and a little more postmodern.








Glam Fest U.S.A.

Are you hungry for some live glam? L.A. Guns (with vocalist Phil Lewis) will hit the road very soon, playing some shows with Warrant and Firehouse!

Here are the already scheduled dates:

January 17 in Omaha, Nebraska.

January 18 in Mankato, Nebraska

January 20 in Burnsville, Minnesota

March 17 in Bloomington, Illinois

March 23 in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

March 24 Westfield, Massachusetts

March 25 Clifton Park, New York

L.A. Guns are touring in support of their latest album, Tales from the Strip

Want to know more about L.A. Guns? Guitarist Tracii Guns hooked up with Axl Rose and bassist Ole Beich and drummer Rob Gardner. A few member changes later (including the departure of Axl) and L.A. Guns regrouped, ending up with Phil Lewis on lead vocals. The band released their debut album in 1988, and hit the big time with the 1989 release Cocked and Loaded. That record spawned the major hit The Ballad of Jayne, garnering the band constant rotation on MTV.

The nineties brought more member changes to the lineup and more albums. In 2003, Tracii Guns joined Nikki Sixx to record Here Come the Brides, the first album by the Brides of Destruction.

Want a little update on Warrant?

The band is touring with singer Jamie St. James (formally of Black N' Blue). They continue to promote their 2006 release Born Again. Former Warrant frontman, Jani Lane, is currently on a solo tour. In 2002, he released Back Down to One. Checking sales reports on , Lane's disc is hovering around 73 thousand something in popularity, while Warrant is around 52 thousand something. I'd say this is a wash considering the time difference between both album releases. Interestingly, Cherry Pie is hovering around 25 thousand something in popularity.

Comparing this to other huge glam acts of the era, RATT comes out way on top. RATT & Roll 8191 is 4,004 in sales popularity! Yes, that album really was released in 1991, more than a decade ago. But wait! Poison's Greatest Hits sits at 1,952 in sales popularity! That album was originally released in 1996, a full decade ago! It took me awhile to find a disc that tops both of these in sales, but I did: Def Leppard Vault is 1,395 in sales popularity. Vault was released in 1995, and quickly certified multi-platinum. [The more recent Def Leppard compilation Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection sits at 849 in sales popularity].

In addition to his solo shows, Jani Lane is also working with a new band known as the Saints of the Underground, featuring and all star cast of players including Bobbie Blotzer (RATT), Robbie Crane (RATT), Kerri Kelli (Alice Cooper band). When the debut album drops, we'll compare sales again!


Power to the Music

You want to know an under appreciated musician? Meet John Corabi. He rocks, really and truly. He’s most famous for singing lead vocals in Motley Crue when Vince Neil left the band in the early 1990s. Corabi
and company released Motley Crue in 1994. Musically, the album is the Crue’s best effort to date. Commercially,the album tanked. Motley Crue is sonically pleasing, and doesn’t sound dated. In fact, the album is so good that it sounds like it was released yesterday.

Other than Motley Crue, Corabi played guitars on Here Come the Brides, the inaugural work by the Brides of Destruction. He’s also performed with Angora, RATT, Union, and The Scream.

He’s also recorded a ton of tracks for various all-star tribute albums for bands like Def Leppard, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin and Cheap Trick.

He’s currently working on a solo album, a book, and has a radio show on

Despite all the bands Corabi has played with, I think he’s largely been screwed by the music business. He’s not a household name, he’s had to fight for royaltychecks, and it seems other musicians fail to give him the respect he deserves. A lot of die hard Motley Crue fans appreciate Corabi for his musical abilities, but a lot of casual listeners dismiss both his music and talent.

Want to know more about the Sunset Strip band Angora? John Corabi sang lead vocals, and Jimmy Marchiano played guitar with Frank Scimeca on bass and Robert Iezzi on drums.


Gene Simmons (yes, that Gene) really loved the band. It was pretty common for various members of KISS to show up at Angora shows and encourage the band. Angora never landed a major label deal, but they did record a couple songs that were played on rock radio in L.A. I found the songs online, and they are pretty cool! Very gritty, totally glam. The band probably could have made it. Too band we’ll never know.




Love and Affection

vanhalen.jpgOk, so I mentioned a few days back the possibility that Van Halen could be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Yesterday, the rumors became fact and the rock hall committee announced that Van Halen had earned a spot in the class of 2007 inductees (along with R.E.M., the Ronettes, Patti Smith, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five). Of the list, Van Halen is really the only band deserving to be inducted, but I guess you take what you can get.

While I have nothing against Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, I don’t think a rap act deserves to be in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. After all, 20 years from now, Chingy and Snoop Dog will be clamoring for a spot in the hall too, and that just doesn’t seem right.

Now, the reasons why Van Halen (David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen) so richly deserve a spot in the museum that rock built. And, in a moment, why the house that rock built is a complete load of crap.

First, the good: Van Halen is one of the most successful rock bands of all time. In fact, the band is just one of seven that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in America. Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Pink Floyd, Def Leppard and the Beatles are the others. Other than Eddie Van Halen’s impeccable virtuosity on the electric guitar, the band is perhaps best known for tension among members. David Lee Roth helped make Van Halen a household name. He left the band in 1985 and instead of fading into oblivion the remaining band members invited Sammy Hagar to sing lead vocals on the 1986 smash 5150. After Sammy left the band in 1996, things got pretty messy. There are reunions with Roth, reunions with Hagar, and Gary Cherone of Extreme even stood behind the microphone for a hot minute. Then there are marital troubles, health woes, money issues, and everything else that goes along with rock stardom.

Rumors of a reunion tour started swirling a couple months ago. How band members act during the March 12 induction ceremony will be a pretty good indicator of a possible reunion tour. Billboard reporter Gary Graff spoke with Sammy Hagar about the upcoming gala. Hagar is quoted as saying he hopes all the members of Van Halen take the high road. "My hope is that everyone lets everything go and we go there in complete respect of each other and in a loving way, with the attitude that 'I couldn't have done it without you' towards everybody.” [For the complete article, head to].

Now, to the bad: The idea of a museum celebrating the accomplishments of rock is pretty cool. Unfortunately cool in theory and cool in reality are two totally different things. Take, for instance, the odd mix of inductees, ranging from Aerosmith and AC/DC to Patti LaBelle, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. In fact, very few hard rock acts enjoy a spot in the hall of fame (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Black Sabbath are also inductees). The majority of inductees are largely blues legends and icons of pop. Music sure, rock no. The constant battle over the location of the induction ceremony (always in New York City, never in Cleveland) and voting politics undermine the importance of the hall in the music industry.

Sidebar: Van Halen holds a special place in my heart. I saw them on the Balance world tour at Riverbend Music Center near Cincinnati. This was my first real concert, and it was a sell out. My parents took me and a friend. I think they were nervous and thought the tickets were too expensive. They were probably right.