heavy metal

Taintstick's Tully comments on some 80's glam hits

Taintstick Taintstick's Tully took some time to give The Gauntlet his comments on some lesser known 80's glam acts. You can check out his comments below. Taintstick recently released "6lbs of Sound" via Suburban Noize Records.

London - Dirty City

The 'legendary' London, famed as the Sunset Strip's leading feeder act, producing talent that would go on to massive success - with other bands. By the time this album came out, a staggering number of already or soon-to-be world-famous rock stars had already passed in - and out - of the line-up, like Nikki Sixx, Blackie Lawless, Slash, and Izzy Stradlin. (Fred Coury played drums on this album, in 1985, then promptly bounced. To join Cinderella.)

An 'Early SNL' analogy is apt here: Once Belushi, Ackroyd, and Chevy Chase became movie stars, the show was still Saturday Night Live...only now it was starring Joe Piscopo (in this analogy, longtime Strip fixture/frontman Nadir D'Priest is the Piscopo), with a bunch of guys with names like 'Charles Rocket' filling out the cast.

The result with London wasn't much prettier than the SNL replacements, either: The songs still had chunky riffs, banshee wails, and lots of rhymes like 'all right' and 'tonight.' But this was pretty flaccid stuff.

Angel - Can You Feel It

This is essentially the band that The Darkness were pretending to be. (Well, The Darkness did come up with the critical 'fighting giant space mollusks' element.): Matching skin-tight white jumpsuits, dropping to your knees and pointing at the crowd, the Sweet-style falsetto back-up vocals. I think I even caught a key-tar in there somewhere. Just a more innocent time for heavy metal, all around.

Danger Danger - Bang Bang

In a sea of faceless poofy-haired cheese-dick replicants, Danger Danger still managed to distinguish to themselves as the single most generic hair metal band of all-time. (Firehouse came in second.) Needless to say, I love this song.

The band's only small bit of flair: An inexplicable insistence on using words twice in a row. You surely noticed they're called Danger Danger, and the song is 'Bang Bang.' But did you know this was the follow-up to the debut single 'Naughty Naughty'?



Helix - Rock You

I read one time that, before 'We Will Rock You,' no one ever used that boom boom bop drumbeat, meaning any number of arena metal anthems (Cherry Pie, Pour Some Sugar on Me) can be boiled down to simple Queen rip-offs. I'm slightly more inclined to give credence to that theory having now heard this song, which cleverly combines the We Will Rock You drum beat with the pre-chorus to Another One Bites the Dust.

I was a toddler in the late 70's and early 80's, so I've had to piece together what I know about the culture back then from Helix videos. Here's what I've learned:

Much like the AIDS scare that changed the lives of the following sub-generation, young people back in this period were very concerned about rocking. When could they rock? How hard, and for how long? Could they ever hope to overcome the devious forces forever conspiring to stop them from rocking?

Enter Helix, to reassure the kids: The well of rock was not going dry on this band's watch!

Lionheart - Die for Love

The song's really boring - the video is where the real action is.

Second-run movie theatres are always doing crappy 80's horror midnight showings - why not a crappy metal video night?

As far as your plot-driven cock rock videos go, these guys just put on an absolute clinic:

- The lead singer looking exactly like an 80's porn chick, right down to the perm and the fake orgasm face.

- The bassist (a ringer for Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith) with this constant look on his face like he can't believe the record label ponied up for explosions in the background.

- The lead singer beating people up with the least convincing punches and kicks imaginable.

- The rich evil guy in a wheelchair because, as everyone knew in the 80's, rich crippled guys were evil.

- The damsel in distress that is only 50% as hot as we're supposed to think she is.

Near the end, the poor, beleaguered nurse character lets her hair down, which dramatically changes the level of sexual attraction we're supposed to feel for her. But I don't want to spoil the surprise for anybody...

Grim Reaper - Fear No Evil

Have we ever figured out how this faux-operatic vocal bullshit crept into metal?

Look at it this way:

Why did Satanic imagery become so prominent in metal? Because people who dig metal also think Satan is sweet. Why did so many bands look like bikers? Because a lot of people who get off on whammy bar dives also rode bikes (or wished they did). So why, then, did 25% of early 80's metal singers insist on holdng these quivering soprano notes (despite having zero opera training or technique)? Weren't us metal guys supposed to be diametrically opposed to those country-club, blue-blooded, thumbing-their-nose-at-our-metal-ways, opera-glasses-wearing types?

(This would be like if hip hop guys who hated The Man all the sudden started wearing all The Man's favorite, lamest clothes, like Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry. Oh, wait.)

With the exception of Guns and Roses, some first album Dangerous Toys, and Brian Johnson-era AC/DC, all the bands with lead singers who leaned heavily on falsetto have aged really poorly. The rest, to me, are still totally listenable. Who knew Stephen Pearcy was such a visionary?

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Tags:  TaintstickTullyHelixDanger Dangerglam

    November 26, 2009

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