Entries from February 1, 2007 - February 28, 2007
Saigon Kick was one of those rare bands that came on the glam metal scene late and was able to successfully ride the wave of alternative hysteria.
Their first album simply called Saigon Kick, didn't break any boundaries but the four Florida rockers broke big with 1992's The Lizard.
The Lizard contained the hit single "Love is on the Way."
Vocalist Matt Kramer, guitarist Jason Bieler, bassist Tom DeFile and drummer Phil Varone formed Saigon Kick in 1988. Since that time, there's been a slew of line-up changes.
While many glam bands struggled through the 90s (like Motley Crue and Poison) and others never made it beyond cult status (like Hanoi Rocks) Saigon Kick was able to morph from glam, to alternative to semi-grunge without alienating their core fan base.
I was recently reminded of "Love is on the Way" while mindlessly flipping through pages on iTunes. For whatever reason I had completely forgotten about this melodic tune and the band. When I downloaded the song and really listened to the lyrics I was instantly struck by the quality of the writing. "Love is on the Way" has a haunting tempo, making it the kind of track that cuts right into your soul.
Ex-frontman Matt Kramer is working on many solo projects including a book of poetry, set for release early next month. In 2002, he released the album War and Peas.
Kramer is the proud owner of the Lascivious Recording record label.
I think War and Peas sounds like early Saigon Kick. You can purchase the disc at www.mattkramer.net.
I feel a bit like Pandora today.
Over the weekend, I retrieved a tub of music memorabilia from my childhood home. The purple Rubbermaid tub was simply labeled "Aerosmith Collection" in cursive writing. This isn't surprising, after all, Aerosmith is my favorite band and I horded anything and everything that had any mention of the Boston-based band.
When I finally dug into the box a day ago, I found so much more than just Aerosmith memorabilia. Inside, there were classic editions of Metal Edge, Hit Parader, Circus and Rolling Stone. My (cassette) box set of Led Zeppelin, tons of vinyl, cassettes and CDs, posters...and a random Snoopy bird house.
Most of the vinyl is all Aerosmith. I own every release from Aerosmith to Get a Grip on vinyl.
Most interesting, though, are the magazines. They represent a classic snapshot of uniquely American pop culture. As the dates of the magazines progress from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the cover images change from glam metal gods to misery loving grunge heroes.
Sitting beside me right now is a March 1990 issue of Hit Parader. Nikki Sixx is on the cover, promoting the feature story about Motley Crue. Also listed on the cover are Lita Ford, White Lion, Tora Tora, Great White, Skid Row, Dio and L.A. Guns.
I re-read the magazine last night. After all, I purchased the rag when I was 11, needless to say I didn't remember the articles. Taking the journey down memory lane, I was both amused and surprised at the content of the some of the articles. Back in the day, Hit Parader had a completely different vibe, and the writers reflected this. A big hunk of the magazine is dedicated to reader comments, some of which blew me away. The brazen readers seemed to say anything to defend their favorite bands, even at the expense of the Hit Parader editors. The cover story, "Motley Crue: Hard Lessons" talked about their new album Dr. Feelgood and the band's struggle to get sober after a decade of excess.
The passage in time was also shocking, reading about marriages that have long since dissolved (as with Lita Ford and Chris Holmes) and reading quotes from my favorite rock stars who lost their battles with addiction, as in the case with Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark. In fact, the magazine featured a lengthy feature on Def Leppard and their upcoming follow-up to the multi-platinum Hysteria. The interview seemed to portray a group of guys that were keeping it together; in under two years their beloved band mate would be dead, they'd hire a new guitarist and the music scene would completely change.
Most humorous are the ads for "rock" wear. Leather bustiers, silver stud jewelry and band t-shirts are peddled on every other page. I doubt any of these "companies" are still in business, but there's an ad for a Hanoi Rocks shirt that I would love to own!
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. Legend says she opened a container releasing all the miseries of mankind: greed, vanity, slander,envy, pining. Pandora left hope inside her box.
This is the way I think of my box of treasures.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This classic review was written for Metal Express radio. Originally started in Oslo, Norway, Metal Express radio is now one of the world's largest metal stations, streaming continuously on the Internet. I thought you glam readers might enjoy a classic review of one of the best Rock albums of all time.
Motley Crue – Shout at the Devil (Re-master released 2003 on Hip-O/Motley Records)
Originally released in 1983, Shout at the Devil is the seminal Rock album of the 1980s. With their sophomore effort, Motley Crue continued to define both their musical and stage styles. As they honed their skills in the recording booth, countless other bands found ways to copy bassist Nikki Sixx, guitarist Mick Mars, drummer Tommy Lee and vocalist Vince Neil.
The narration “In the Beginning” sets the tone for the entire album. Immediately, listeners realize they are about to embark on a sonic experience of Metal proportions. With the album’s title track, Motley Crue created a stadium anthem, guaranteed to get fans on their feet, fists in the air. “Shout at the Devil” as a track is simple enough: it relies on heavy guitar riffs, steady bass and chanting. The opening arrangement is both pleasing and painful to the ears. The chord changes and clashing notes transport the listener to an underworld where good and evil collide, where fantasy and reality are one in the same.
With “Looks that Kill,” Motley Crue helped make Metal commercial. Through the new invention of MTV, the band used the strength of the track to produce a major budget music video. That video helped Motley Crue create a synergy of music, mayhem and moxie. The heavy intro to “Looks that Kill” keeps the Metal train rolling, and the hook keeps the track running through your head all day long. It’s also through “Looks that Kill” that lyrical master Nikki Sixx really lets his talents shine. A true testament of any good songwriter is the ability to transport a listener to another place and time, and Sixx accomplishes this goal with “Looks that Kill.”
The heaviest song on the record is “Bastard,” a non-single but concert staple. The pace of the track is frenetic and the lyrics alarming. As with all things Motley, shock value is of the utmost importance and the boys achieve their goal with this head-banging classic.
The Beatles cover “Helter Skelter” seems somewhat misplaced among the Metal majesty that is Motley, but somehow, the quartet makes it work. Perhaps it’s the enterprising guitar solos by Mick Mars or the thunderous rhythm of Tommy Lee. Whatever the reason, Motley tackles the British invasion track, transforming it into a Sunset Strip sleaze staple for cover bands in bars all across the world.
Even though “Too Young to Fall in Love” peaked at number 90 on the Billboard chart; today the track is synonymous with all things Crue. Always the wordsmith, Nikki Sixx is able to sum up every bad relationship with two simple sentences:
You say our love/
Is like dynamite.
Open your eyes/
‘Cause it’s like fire and ice.
With blazing guitars, screeching vocals and lyrics that succinct, it’s hard to argue the importance of “Too Young to Fall in Love” in Metal history.
The tracks “Red Hot,” “Knock ‘Em Dead Kid,” “Ten Seconds to Love” and “Danger” all play their role in rounding out the classic Metal masterpiece. Always eager to spawn controversy in favor of gaining street credibility, the boys in Motley Crue dedicated “Knock ‘Em Dead Kid” to the LAPD. Ready for a “star spangled fight and back in black,” the Crue threatens other bands that come too close to their Metal empire, built and glorified on the strength of Shout at the Devil.
The special 2003 re-master of Shout at the Devil contains extra goodies like demo versions of the title track, “Looks that Kill,” “Hotter than Hell” and “Too Young to Fall in Love.” The 2003 release also includes the previously unreleased track “I Will Survive.” The enhanced CD also includes the video of “Looks that Kill.” Original artwork, complete liner notes and updated band interviews are also included in the re-mastered package.
01. In The Beginning
02. Shout At The Devil
03. Looks That Kill
05. God Bless The Children Of The Beast
06. Helter Skelter
07. Red Hot
08. Too Young To Fall In Love
09. Knock 'Em Dead, Kid
10. Ten Seconds To Love
12. Shout At The Devil (demo - 2003 release)
13. Looks That Kill (demo - 2003 release)
14. Hotter Than Hell (demo - 2003 release)
15. I Will Survive (2003 release)
16. Too Young To Fall In Love (demo - 2003 release)
17. Looks That Kill (video - 2003 release)
Vince Neil - vocals
Mick Mars - guitar, bass and vocals
Nikki Sixx - bass and vocals
Tommy Lee - drums and vocals
Total run time: 34:57
It's time to pay it forward and share some of my favorite music blogs.
Each are exceptionally well written and feature diverse, new content on a daily basis.
First, http://glam-metal.com/features interviews with big name rock stars plus album and concert reviews.
I also really like reading www.hairmetalblog.blogspot.com. That site has recurring features such as the obscure metal song of the week and Album O' The Week. The boys at hairmetal dig deep into their music archives and usually remind me of tracks I've long since forgotten.
The sites I hit most during the day are www.metalmark.blogspot.com and www.hardrockhideout.wordpress.com. If you read the comments on this blog, you'll notice that Metal Mark and Hard Rock Hideout are always well represented with great stories and opinions.
Finally, the syndicated Hairball John radio show features several blogs over at www.hairballjohnradioshow.com. Also, there's a completely different Bring Back Glam blog penned by yours truly. Hairball John and the Acid Chimp really know how to put on a good radio show, and you can listen from anywhere in the world thanks to Internet technology. This week's featured guest is Jack Blades from Night Ranger.
Editor's Note: This article was penned by Heater, the ever-present co-conspirator in bringing back glam. She's helping me out today while I tend to some out of town family business. Be nice to her, glam readers...and enjoy!
As I was getting ready to go out last night I was listening to the Arena Rock channel and "Don't Close Your Eyes" by Kix came on. I had forgotten about this band, and how much I enjoyed their music back in the day. Immediately I went to my computer to check out their MySpace page and see what they're doing now...but there was no such page to be found. It was then that I realized how much I rely on the Internet - and that site in particular - to keep up with the bands I like. This prompted a little research.
Steve Whiteman and Jimmy Chalfant are now with based "Funny Money." Ronnie Younkins started "The Blues Vultures"... and continues as their lead singer. Brian Forsythe plays guitar for "The Snakehandlers" and "Rhino Bucket." They have teamed up a few times over the years for reunion shows...but to this date, bassist Ronnie Purnell has refused to take part.
You ever notice commercial images in some of your favorite glam videos?
The best example that comes to mind is in Slaughter's "Up All Night" video.
On the drum kit, the skin reads "This Space for Rent."
During the song, Mark Slaughter sings into a gold microphone. The subtle image brings to mind thoughts of success, money, and decadence.
At one point in the video there's a one second frame of Mark rubbing his fingers together, mimicking the international symbol of money.
Later, many quick images strung together illustrate life in big city America. There's also a quick shot of a woman walking a dog while talking on a cell phone. Remember, this video was shot before every person in the world owned a mobile phone. I'm pretty sure the dog is probably not a mut.
As a side note, bassist Dana Strum and Vinnie Vincent teamed up to host a video show on MTV.
Before forming Slaughter, Mark and bassist Dana Strum were band mates in the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. Dana Strum and Vinnie Vincent were partners and VJs of sorts for MTV. I think it's less than coincidental that future members of Slaughter were involved in one of America's most commercial creations.
I think we need to revisit a recent blog. "A Town Called Hypocrisy" sparked more conversation - and traffic- than any other entry in the history of Bring Back Glam.
So far, every comment agrees that censoring musicians is completely wrong. One person even noted that it is illegal for performers to swear while performing on stage in Cincinnati. This sounded like a ludicrous law to me so I did a little research.
According to Ohio Revised Code - Municipal code of Cincinnati, Chapter 819 defines the rules pertaining to a cabaret. It reads as follows:
Chapter 819 CABARET
Sec. 819-11. Revocation of License.
"If the city manager or designee finds that the further maintenance of any cabaret is injurious to the public welfare and morals, or is a disturbance to the peace and quiet of a neighborhood within 300 feet of the cabaret property, the city manager shall revoke the license of such cabaret without refunder."
(C.O. 716-10; renumbered to C.M.C. 819-11, eff. Jan. 1, 1972; a. Ord. No. 92-1977, eff. March 23, 1977).
As you can see, the law is open to interpretation. Last night, I spent nearly two hours reading Cincinnati laws pertaining to cabarets, hotels, entertainment districts, adult venues, movie houses and bowling alleys. I figure a nightclub, such as Rhinos, falls under the distinction of cabaret which is defined as "a place regularly and habitually operated for profit, where food and beverages are served for consumption on the premises, and where one or more forms of entertainment are provided by others for the patrons thereof after 9 p.m."
You'll also notice that the law was last revised in 1977, a full 30 years ago. As time goes by, a person's perception of vulgarity changes. To most young children, saying a swear word is just about as bad as killing someone. As children become teenagers, and those teens grow into adults we learn the boundaries between right and wrong are more gray. Adults know they won't be condemned for swearing during a fit of rage, panic or normal conversation. Still, there are places where swearing just isn't allowed, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). If a journalist drops the "F" bomb while filing a report, that's the end of a career. A celebrity has to watch their words, too. Consider all the hate speech that got comedian Michael Richards in trouble a few weeks ago. His words were harsh and painful...but they were still just words. Nikki Sixx got in trouble for hate speech during a concert a few years ago. He was defending a woman in the front row who was being beaten-up by a man twice her size. The man happened to be black, the woman white. Nikki said words he shouldn't have. He was trying to save the woman, instead he ended up having to explain himself to an angry media mob.
So, how is it that words, certain words...become banned vocabulary, especially for rock stars? Who defines good words versus bad? In graduate school, I took a class on the history of rhetoric. The entire semester we did nothing but try to answer this question. Not surprisingly, we never found a concrete solution to this problem of literary evil.
So, where does this leave rock stars and fans alike? I know that when I pay good money to see a show, I expect to hear lyrics as they were originally intended. There's a reason I refuse to buy albums edited by record companies just so the artist can sell in more conservative stores.
This is an open forum for discussion on music. Please leave your thoughts, concerns and suggestions.