Sunday, October 20, 2013

Greatness from the corner of Sunset & Babylon

SO...I ve done a blog this week with some of Pops goldest tunes and I was watching a couple of doco's called When hair metal ruled the Strip and The Decline of Western Civilisation... so I reckon its time for a blog-a-roo about the hairy side of music that originated around the Sunset Strip

Regardless of what the music press of the time and that sanctimonious shutterbug Ross Halfin tells ya, yeah, I bagged Halfin..if he hated the hair metal muso's so f**kin much..he should give all the wages he earned back OR to a charity...same goes for Zakk Whylde, he hated being in the hair metal based ROCK STAR movie so much, it made him sick..BUT I HE KEPT THE F**KIN MONEY.

The thing about hair metal is, It aint that big a deal, its not a threat to humanity (maybe the ozone layer), its just MUSIC ......And I will put guys like Lars and James from Metallica and Scott Ian from Anthrax in the people that objected I like to think that they bagged hairy metal just to make some press for themselves...trouble is some of the f**kin neanderthals that followed thrash took a disliking to anyone that had even a smidge of hair metal about them, I can attest to this cause I got my head busted open cause I had a Motley and Poison patch just near my Metallica and Motorhead to James, Lars and Scott..Love your work...BUT thanks for nothing

Most critics will have you believe that Hair metal was the end of music and that we should all fall to the ground giving thanks to that nitwit, dipshit, Kurt Cobaine and his mates from Seattle...BUT....there were some cracking tunes that originated on the corner of Sunset and Babylon....and I’ve stuck a few of my faves together for your listening pleasure.

Back when it was hot, a goodly percentage of you will probably have covered your ears and run screaming from the room cause the general consensus was that it sucked and no one would buy any albums and that’s because the music press took shit WAYYYY to serious and convinced a stack of people that it was crap...BUT... the numbers dont lie..SOMEONE WAS BUYING THIS STUFF...the critics got it wrong.., the bands that populated L.A sold a goddamn shitload of product...I took Hair metal the same way I look at Glam rock...they look pretty cool and a more than average percentage of the tunes had some pretty catchy hooks...even some of the ballads were pretty friggin good

You may have picked up on the fact, from previous blogs, that I like a bit of flash with my rock'n'roll,  bands like Ratt, Poison, WASP and the Crue had more than their fair share of visual the amount of chicks at a hair metal show was pretty impressive....not that I was counting...much.

NOW I would think that its fair to suggest that the power ballads were the foundation of hair metal...I reckon everyone on this blog had at least one mega hit ballad...I’ve been to the Sundowner at Punchbowl or the General Bourke Hotel at Parramatta back in the day and the most popular songs played on Hard Rock/Metal nights were the quintessential power ballads.....I had the great good fortune to have visited the Strip in about a freak zone, holy crap !...mind I did get to see some of the great bands LA Guns, Faster Pussycat, Motley and the Gunners, come to think of it I don’t remember paying for a beer cause “DUDE, AN AUSSIE DUDE HAS COME HERE TO SEE SOME FUCKIN BANDS MAN”..Yep, it was a fairly wet 10 days THEN i went to the UK and did it again...ANYWAY.

A few of the things that I used to buy to keep me informed of the various hair bands were probably the same thing lots of people bought..CIRCUS, HIT PARADER, CREEM and the most wonderful, Hard’n’Heavy monthly VHS video magazines...which I found in compilation form on a few dvds a couple of years ago..nice one.

I will say that a couple of the bands on here weren’t in circulation at the peak of the genre, Alleycat Scratch and Dirty Penny are two bands that are keeping the sleezy side of the Sunset Strip is alive and well...and two great bands they are...BUT now for some of the originals..........

Ratt's brash, melodic heavy metal made the Los Angeles quintet one of the most popular rock acts of the mid-'80s. The group had its origins in the '70s group Mickey Ratt, which had evolved into Ratt by 1983; at that time the band featured vocalist Stephen Pearcy, guitarist Robbin Crosby, guitarist Warren DeMartini, bassist Juan Croucier, and drummer Bobby Blotzer. The band released its self-titled first album independently in 1983, which led to a major label contract with Atlantic Records. Their first album under this deal, 1984's Out of the Cellar, was a major success, reaching the American Top Ten and selling over three million copies. "Round and Round," the first single drawn from the album, hit number 12, proving the band had pop crossover potential. While their second album, 1985's Invasion of Your Privacy, didn't match the multi-platinum figures of Out of the Cellar, it also reached the Top Ten and sold over a million copies. By that time, the band could sell out concerts across the country and was a staple on MTV and AOR radio. Both Dancin' Undercover (1986) and Reach for the Sky (1988) continued Ratt's platinum streak and their audience, had only slipped slightly by the time of their final album, 1990's Detonator.

Despite scoring a massive MTV hit with their very first single, "Turn Up the Radio," Autograph quickly got lost in the shuffle of the thriving L.A. pop-metal scene. Formed in the early '80s by vocalist/guitarist Steve Plunkett, guitarist Steve Lynch, bassist Randy Rand, keyboard player Steven Isham, and drummer Keni Richards, the band seemed to have it all: a fine commercial hard rock debut in 1984's Sign in Please, good looks, great hair, and even a cartoonish drummer (half jock, half animal). Still, it wasn't enough, and by the time they released the following year's disappointing This Is the Stuff, Autograph's 15 minutes were pretty much up. 1987's Loud and Clear showed improvement, but arrived too late to save the band, which split up soon after. A posthumous collection of outtakes called Missing Pieces was released a decade later.

Britny Fox were a typical glam-rock bar band from Philadelphia. In 1985 they met Michael Kelly Smith (guitar) from up-and-coming band Cinderella, and before long the guitarist had defected from his former band to join the Philly boys' ranks. Naming themselves Britny Fox after one of singer Dizzy Dean Davison's Welsh ancestors, the band copped Cinderella's theatrical look and recorded their first demo, In America, with other members including Billy Childs on bass and Johnny Dee on drums. To show that there were no hard feelings, Cinderella helped the band get a record contract with Columbia, who released their self-titled debut to great acclaim and near-platinum sales. Lead single "Long Way to Love" made heavy rotation on MTV, but the equally rocking follow-up, "Girlschool," failed to ignite even in the specialized format of the video station's Headbanger's Ball. Nevertheless, Britny Fox won Metal Edge magazine's Best New Band award in 1988.....

For their second album, the group tried to incorporate a rootsier vibe into their sound, bringing in new producer Neil Kernon in search of the diversification that would free them from Cinderella's looming shadow. The approach failed to win them many new fans, and with sales lagging, Dizzy Dean left to pursue other interests. Just when it seemed the band had spent its fifteen minutes, Britny Fox came cruising back with Dizzy Dean soundalike Tommy Paris. Unfortunately, the songwriting had failed to progress one iota, and with the declining public taste for Hollywood glam, the band folded before their new album had time to hit the cutout bins.

At a time when the charts were ruled by pop-metal acts, Dokken was a major attraction throughout the 1980s. With vocalist Don Dokken's captivating stage presence and guitarist George Lynch's high-energy style, the band combined rockers such as "Kiss of Death" and power ballads such as "Alone Again" in order to create a number of best-selling albums.....After the disbanding of Dokken, Don pursued a solo career with Up from the Ashes, and Lynch formed the Lynch Mob, releasing an album in 1990; both releases failed to chart. In 1992, the band reunited, but it wasn't until 1995 when they signed with Columbia Records and released Dysfunctional, which was met with harsh reviews and poor sales. Tensions once again seemed to hover around the group as they recorded the live acoustic release, One Live Night, in 1996 under the CMC label. In 1997, the band released Shadowlife, which was met with a similar response to their past two recordings. In 1998, Lynch left a second time to reunite Lynch Mob, and was replaced with Winger guitarist Reb Beach for 1999's Erase the Slate. This was followed in 2000 by another concert record, Live from the Sun, which captured the Beach lineup at Anaheim's Sun Theater. Beach left the group and was replaced by John Norum, and the group recorded Long Way Home for release in the spring of 2002. In 2003, ex-Warlock guitarist Jonathan Levin and ex-Ted Nugent and Yngwie Malmsteen bassist Barry Sparks joined the group, resulting in the release of Hell to Pay the following year. The band returned to the studio in 2008 for Lightning Strikes Again.

Firehouse arrived at the tail end of the pop-metal explosion of the late '80s and early '90s, releasing their first album in 1991. Featuring the combined talents of vocalist C.J. Snare, Michael Foster, Bill Leverty, and Perry Richardson, the group's melodic, commercial hard rock had immediate chart success; their self-titled debut went platinum and featured two Top 20 singles, "Don't Treat Me Bad" and "Love of a Lifetime." The following year, Firehouse released their second album, Hold Your Fire, which managed to go gold on the strength of "When I Look Into Your Eyes" (another Top Ten hit). The mainstream had begun embracing a noisier, grungier style of hard rock, however, and Firehouse's popularity waned as the decade progressed......Three years passed before Firehouse released Firehouse 3, showcasing a softer, more MOR-oriented sound that found a home on adult contemporary radio. Good Acoustics followed a year later, and in 1999 Firehouse returned with Category 5 and the concert release Bring 'Em Out Live. The latter album captured a performance in Japan, where Firehouse continued to maintain their audience despite shifting trends back home. O2 appeared a year later, while Prime Time was issued in 2003.

One of two solo stars to spring from the ashes of the '70s all-girl hard rock band the Runaways, Lita Ford has long been a more frustrating, contradictory proposition for critics than former colleague Joan Jett. Ford is subtly feminist in her musical approach, displaying guitar heroics on the level of any male metal hero; the mere fact of her existence in the otherwise testosterone-driven heavy metal genre has made her a hero to some, but her persona has often been criticized as calculated to appeal to male adolescent sexual fantasies, simply embodying the standard wild-girl stereotypes of many male metal artists' lyrics. When she has the material to back her up, though, Ford is inarguably capable of rocking out aggressively and assertively.

Madam X was an American glam metal band active during the 1980s. Originally formed by two sisters, the band also featured male members including future Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach.

Madam X was formed in Detroit, Michigan in 1981 by the Petrucci sisters, Roxy and Maxine, who had previously played in an all-female group called Pantagruel.[1] They recruited bass guitarist Chris Doliber and vocalist Bret Kaiser, and the band relocated to New York. They were signed to Jet Records by Don Arden and released their debut album We Reserve the Right in 1984, produced by Rick Derringer. A single, "High in High School", was also released. 

Kaiser later quit the band and was replaced by British singer John Ward. More songs were recorded but remained unreleased as the band were dropped by Jet.[4] Ward then left the band and was replaced by Canadian vocalist Sebastian Bach. Roxy Petrucci also left, joining Vixen, and was replaced by Mark "Bam-Bam" McConnell. Despite touring with a flamboyant stage show, the group disintegrated in 1988 with Bach leaving to join Skid Row, and McConnell joining Carrera. Madam X continued briefly as a trio with Shawn Duncan replacing McConnell, but when Doliber left to form his own band, Madam X disbanded.....In 1991, the Petrucci sisters reformed Madam X with vocalist Lenita Erickson; this line-up was later renamed Hell's Belles with Irene Wohlman on bass guitar, but soon disbanded......Roxy Petrucci later reformed Vixen  After leaving Madam X, Bret Kaiser formed his own band (Kaiser) with his brother, and today he performs as an Elvis Presley tribute act. McConnell died on May 24, 2012.

Sweet F.A. was another typical, yet effective, sleaze band to come from the late 80’s scene. The band only released two albums, similar in style to the BulletBoys, before disappearing. 
Steven David DeLong (vocals), Jim Quick (Quiggins) (bass) and Tricky Lane (drums) formed the band in Indiana with the guitar duo of James Lee Thorpe and Jon Huffman (who also ridiculously used the surnames of Thunder and Lightning). The Midwestern boys played their first gig on November 21, 1988, and had a major label deal a mere eleven months later. 
The group holed up with producer Howard Benson in Atlanta, Georgia to record the debut album Stick To Your Guns. It would prove to be an excellent release, with singles such as “Prince Of The City” and “Rhythm Of Action”, but would stall at #161 on the Billboard charts. Disappointed with sales, MCA released the band from their roster in late 1990, as the band themselves released Quiggins. ....With a new label, the band set to record the follow-up album with session bassist Frank Coglitore. Released in 1991, Temptation was a more mature album, but failed to do much business in recession-hit America. The band hit the road with new bassist Mark Matthews, but with the musical tides changing in the early nineties, the end had arrived for Sweet F.A.

For a very brief moment, Quiet Riot was a rock & roll phenomenon. Famously described as the first heavy metal band to top the pop chart (a claim that greatly depends on one's exact definition of heavy metal), the Los Angeles quartet became an overnight sensation thanks to their monster 1983 smash album Metal Health. But Quiet Riot's road to success had in fact been long and arduous, and when their star power subsequently began to fade, their fall from grace was ironically accelerated by the man who was most responsible for taking them to the top: singer Kevin DuBrow. Unable to suppress his infamous motor mouth from assaulting many of Quiet Riot's peers, DuBrow gradually alienated his fans and fellow musicians, and in the face of plummeting record sales, faced the iniquity of being fired from his own band. The dust eventually settled and DuBrow was able to resurrect Quiet Riot in the 1990s, but despite their best efforts, the once chart-topping band would remain forever exiled to the fringes of pop conscience, and what might once have been a full chapter in rock history has instead become little more than a footnote.

Although formed in 1983 in Paramus, NJ, Trixter's big break didn't come until 1989, when the band decamped to Hollywood (the unofficial headquarters of hair metal) to record for MCA Records. The following year saw Trixter touring the country with Stryper and Don Dokken in support of their self-titled debut, which received a significant boost from MTV. Vocalist Peter Loran, guitarist Steve Brown, bassist P.J. Farley, and drummer Mark "Gus" Scott became frequent faces on the music network, where the videos for "Give It to Me Good," "One in a Million," and "Surrender" all fell into regular rotation. Trixter went gold in early 1991, having sold over 500,000 copies in the U.S., and the bandmates increased their popularity by joining the "Blood, Sweat, and Beers Tour" (which also featured Warrant and Firehouse) and contributing to the soundtrack for If Looks Could Kill. The band's heyday proved to be short-lived, however. The follow-up album Hear! failed to maintain Trixter's popularity, and an EP of cover songs -- 1994's Undercovers -- couldn't compete with the newfound popularity of grunge music. Following Scott's departure, the band broke up in 1995.

This US rock quartet was formed in 1990 by Stevie Rachelle (vocals), Jorge Desaint (guitar), Todd Chase (bass) and drummer Michael Lean. They signed to Atlantic Records and debuted with What Comes Around, Goes Around in 1991. The influences here were evidently Poison, Warrant and Bon Jovi, yet they displayed just enough energy to maintain a level of credibility. However, reviews were not kind and afterwards the group remained quiet.

One of the heavier bands to come out of the early-'80s L.A. metal scene, W.A.S.P. quickly rose to national infamy thanks to their shock rock image, lyrics, and live concerts. 

Leader /formerBlackie Lawless (bass/vocals) was already a rock & roll veteran when he relocated to the West Coast and founded W.A.S.P. with guitarists Chris Holmes and Randy Piper and drummer Tony Richards. The band soon established a reputation as a ferocious live act, thanks in large part to Lawless' habits of tying a semi-naked model to a torture rack and throwing raw meat into the audience. And with the release of their self-explanatory independent EP, Animal (F**k Like a Beast), W.A.S.P. became impossible to ignore....They signed to Capitol Records, and with songs like "I Wanna Be Somebody" (an absolute anthem to blind ambition) and "L.O.V.E. Machine" leading the way, their self-titled 1984 debut was an instant success. W.A.S.P. took their horror show on the road, and their momentum continued to build with the following year's The Last Command, which featured new drummer Steven Riley and the band's biggest hit, "Blind in Texas." Later that year, the band gained even more prominence as one of the biggest targets of Tipper Gore and the P.M.R.C. (Parents' Music Resource Center), a group of Washington housewives leading a crusade against violent, sexist song lyrics. Though the incident (which included Senate hearings on the issue with guest speakers as disparate as Frank Zappa, John Denver, and Dee Snider from Twisted Sister) would cause more publicity than actual results, it served to make W.A.S.P. a household name -- for good and for worse.

Of all the glam/pop-metal bands that crawled out of hair salons coast to coast during the mid- to late '80s, one of the more talented acts was New York's White Lion, led by singer Mike Tramp (originally from Denmark) and guitarist Vito Bratta. The group originally formed in 1983 and despite several bassists and drummers coming and going (including future Black Sabbath and Great White bass player Dave Spitz), the group managed to issue a debut, Fight to Survive, on the independent metal label Grand Slamm in 1984. With Tramp's pinup good looks and Bratta's Eddie Van Halen-esque six-string work, the group seemed destined for success (especially with such similarly styled outfits as Mötley Crüe and Ratt storming the charts), but it would be several years before their next album would appear. Finally finding the right rhythm section (bassist James LoMenzo and former Anthrax drummer Greg d'Angelo), White Lion inked a major-label recording contract with Atlantic, issuing Pride in 1987.

After White Lion's split, both LoMenzo and d'Angelo reappeared in Pride & Glory, a Southern rock outfit headed by Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist, Zakk Wylde (although d'Angelo would exit the group before their self-titled 1994 release was recorded). Despite all the accolades he received for his playing, Bratta failed to resurface after the group's breakup. Meanwhile, Tramp released several hard rock albums with Freak of Nature and later issued a solo effort, Capricorn, before reforming White Lion in 1999. The band's lineup was markedly different, however, with Tramp serving as the only original member. A live album was issued in 2005, and White Lion presented its first batch of original material in seventeen years, Return of Pride, in 2008.

A former member of Alice Cooper's band, bassist Kip Winger formed his own group in 1986; in addition to vocalist/bassist Winger, the group featured guitarist Reb Beach, bassist Paul Taylor, and drummer Rod Morgenstein, formerly of the Dixie Dregs. Taking their name from their leader after a last-minute change from Sahara, Winger specialized in the stylish pop-metal that sent Bon Jovi and Poison to the top of the charts. The band's eponymous debut sold over a million copies on the strength of the rocker "Seventeen" and the ballad "Headed for a Heartbreak." Winger's second album, 1990's In the Heart of the Young, was equally successful, selling over a million copies and featuring the hit power ballad "Miles Away." However, the band didn't outlast the post-alternative pop-metal backlash and the group faded away after the release of their 1993 album Pull. Kip Winger launched a solo career later that decade, releasing three albums before reuniting with his former bandmates in 2002. After a brief tour alongside fellow pop-metal veterans Poison, the band returned to the studio to craft their first album in more than a decade. 2006's IV stuck close to the formula that made Winger famous, and the resulting reunion tour was captured on the two-disc set Winger Live.

Although they were often considered Mötley Crüe/Poison disciples, Los Angeles '80s glam rockers Jetboy contained a former member of the group that may have been responsible for the whole musical movement in the first place -- former Hanoi Rocks bassist Sam Yaffa. Joining Yaffa were Mickey Finn (vocals), Fernie Rod (guitar), Billy Rowe (guitar), and Ron Tostenson (drums), and while they never hit the big time like the aforementioned pretty boy outfits, the quintet enjoyed exposure on MTV's Headbanger's Ball program, resulting in some regional success. Their first two albums, 1988's Feel the Shake and 1990's Damned Nation (both on MCA), were issued during glam's peak, but with the emergence of the Seattle movement, Jetboy and their ilk took a backseat to such back-to-basics rockers as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam. During the late '90s, several collections of rarities and highlights were released, including Day in the Unglamorous Life, Make Some More Noise, and Lost & Found. For lovers of '80s glam/pop-metal, Jetboy may be one of the genre's best-kept secrets.

Described by some as "a female Bon Jovi," Vixen is an all-female band that has specialized in very slick, commercial, and glossy hard rock and pop-metal. Vixen was never a favorite among rock critics, whose barbs didn't prevent the band from selling millions of albums in the late '80s. Formed in Los Angeles in 1981, bandmembers Janet Gardner (lead vocals), Jan Kuehnemund (lead guitar), Share Pedersen (bass), and Roxy Petrucci (drums) payed more than their share of dues on the L.A./Hollywood club scene before signing with EMI in 1987. Vixen's self-titled debut album came out in 1988, and the CD sold millions thanks in part to the single "Edge of a Broken Heart" (which enjoyed heavy exposure on MTV). Released in 1990, Vixen's second album, Rev It Up, had its share of catchy, infectious material but wasn't the big seller EMI was hoping for. With the rise of alternative rockers like Nirvana and Pearl Jam in 1992 and 1993, so-called "corporate metal" bands such as Vixen suddenly found themselves out of vogue. It wasn't until 1998's Tangerine on CMC International that Vixen recorded a third album. After taking some time off, the group (with a new bassist on board) attempted a short-lived comeback but ended up splitting. Jan Kuehnemund decided to keep the name alive and recruited Lynn Louise Lowrey (bass), Kat Kraft (drums), and Jenna Sanz-Agero (vocals) to round out the band. This new version of Vixen released Extended Versions, a recording of their set at 2005's Sweden Rock Festival, and a studio album, Live & Learn, which was released in Europe in 2006. The album was nominated as Best Album: Hard Rock/Metal for the 2007 Independent Music Awards and is scheduled for release in the U.S. in early 2007.

SO...there you go, a fairly hairy tribute...hope you enjoyed and NO, I dont apologise for what I said at the top of the blog.

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