Hair Metal Happy Hour




Apparently the palatial MetalSucks Mansion kitchen needed new granite, so guess who isn’t going to the hair metal extravaganza of the year, also known as the second annual ROCKLAHOMA? You guessed it.  Hey, I am the new guy, so I guess I can’t complain – unless Vince and Axl don’t send me next year.

As we speak, thousands of dental hygienically challenged guys with mullets are running around suburban Oklahoma (isn’t all of Oklahoma suburban?) wearing Ratt and Ozzy concert shirts from a quarter century ago.  Chicks have squeezed themselves into jeans and/or spandex that were probably last worn a decade ago and were better left in their dresser, or burned.  Honestly, people are just flocking to this event from all over the world, literally, and why wouldn’t they? Have you seen the lineup? Sure, there are some great hair metal bands coming to a city near you this summer, like Poison, Dokken and Motley Crue, but ROCKLAHOMA features an absolute smorgasbord of talent, top (e.g. Queensryche, Extreme) to bottom (e.g. Jet Boy, Trixter).

It’s rumored that 100,000 people attended last year’s inaugural event, and with such a strong lineup this year, I’m expecting ROCKLAHOMA 2008 to be another runaway success.  It’s encouraging knowing that not only are these artists continuing to record some solid music, but fans are still eating it up, and traveling great distances to see these guys in concert.

Since I can’t be there, here are some random and pointless thoughts on some of this year’s participants:

Cinderella was scheduled to play but had to cancel as Tom Kiefer blew out his vocal chords.  Honestly, how can that guy sing like that, for so many years, and not expect that to happen? But seriously, we wish Tom well in his recovery.  I was never a huge fan of the band, but they do have some solid songs, and they are a great live act.

I’m a big Poison fan, but Brett Michaels’ solo stuff just sucks on it.  I guess if he’s playing a set full of Poison songs, count me in (which begs the question, why isn’t Poison on the bill?), but if he’s throwing in more than one solo song from that fucking reality show, no thanks.

Sebastian Bach is probably one of my all-time favorite singers from this genre.  The first two Skid Row albums are absolute classics, and I will always give the band credit for essentially shouting a big “fuck you” to their record company when they handed in Slave to the Grind as a follow up to their far more mainstream debut, but Bach just lost it for me after Slave.  His solo record Bring ‘Em Bach Alive actually had some decent rock songs and the live stuff was nice to have, but honestly, Angel Down was just so unforgivably bad, and you know there’s no way he’s playing any of the deeper cuts off the first two Skid Row CDs when he can, and will, play some of the crap from Angel?  I guess if I had some sort of Skid Row-to-solo work ratio song guarantee I would be excited to see him, but considering his ego, I wouldn’t be hopeful.

Anyone that read my first column knows how I feel about the new Dokken CD, so I wish the guys well at this show and on their tour this summer with Poison.  I’m curious to hear how Don’s voice holds up.  Don’s hair has always made me a bit uncomfortable, but let’s just move on.

Aren’t there two versions of L.A. Guns out there touring now?  Anyone know which version we’re getting at ROCKLAHOMA?  In any case, remember that song “Never Enough” off that album where the naked chick was riding a revolver? Yeah, that was a great tune.

Super sweet that Extreme is playing.  I hope some of their new tunes make their way into the set and onto YouTube.  I saw these guys two summers ago in Boston, and a couple of the guys from Boston came out to jam with them, including the late Brad Delp.  Just amazing.  Gary Cherone will never be one of my favorite singers, but what he does just seems to nicely compliment what Nuno does, and let’s face it – what Nuno does is just sick good.

If Night Ranger play The Secret of My Success, that would make the whole festival.  The song, and movie, are insanely dated, but they both still rock.  And Sister Christian is one of my all-time favorite songs. Do you care?

I actually own an XYZ CD – I remember they had that song “Inside Out,” which sounded exactly like a Dokken song.  In fact, Don Dokken produced the CD, and probably told the singer how to sing, just like him.  Forgettable band and CD, but I dug that one song.

Let’s talk about Warrant.  Hopefully Jani Lane will be sober for the gig.  I’m coming clean on this one: I absolutely love the first three Warrant records.  Okay, “love” is a strong word.  I thought the first two records (Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich and Cherry Pie) were as good as almost anything else coming out in the late 80s for hair metal, but the band put out just a phenomenal record with their third effort, Dog Eat Dog.  Seriously, that record had some shockingly good songs and performances on it, and if you’re a fan of this music and haven’t heard it, you really need to get a copy.

Those ripped jeans in Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly” video were pretty sexy. No, seriously.

I know there are two days separating Dokken and Lynch Mob’s performances, but do you think security might be called to separate Don and George?

I know I ripped on Trixter above, but my old band used to cover “Give it to Me Good.”  Does that make me a hypocrite or can I just say I was young, naive and needed the money?

Glad to see Black ‘N Blue is on the bill.  I know Tommy Thayer is busy being Gene’s puppet in KISS, but the band should be fine without him.  Now that singer Jamie St. James has ‘left’ Warrant and has returned to the fold, all is right with the world.  Oddly enough, my favorite tune from this band was the Jonathan Cain (Journey) penned “I’ll Be There For You.”  Pretty catchy little tune.

Not sure how this happened, but I own CDs from both Tora Tora and Pretty Boy Floyd.  If I’m not mistaken, the former also has a great song featured on the Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack (R.I.P., George Carlin), whilst the latter, I believe, tried to emulate the early Motley Crue image and sound. I mean, pretty much copied it, flat out.  In fact, I think Floyd actually has a Crue cover on their CD Leather Boyz With Electric Toys, or whatever the fuck it was called.  Anyway, when these guys come on, it might be a good time for a bathroom break, or perhaps pick up that temporary tattoo or Iron Maiden patch you have had your eye on?

Operation Mindcrime is my all-time favorite metal album.  I just can’t call this band ‘hair metal,’ but they’re certainly not as “metal” as a lot of the bands featured on this site.  Anyway, Mindcrime is an absolute metal masterpiece, and that’s awesome that Queensryche is headlining this festival.

I’ve always dug what Tesla has done, but overall they were never a favorite.  “Modern Day Cowboy,” though, has to be one of my all-time favorite tunes.  Jeff Keith is like Eric Martin, except not as good.

Kick-ass that Ace Frehley is playing, and I cannot wait to hear his new solo album later this year.  This guy is just an absolute legend, as you all know, and you know his set is going to deliver.  Hey, if Black ‘N Blue’s Tommy Thayer is out playing with KISS, why shouldn’t Ace sit in and play guitar with Black ‘N Blue?  How’s that for a stupid idea?  Seriously, in addition to all the great KISS songs he wrote and sang on (I actually dig some of his songs off of Dynasty and Unmasked), I hope he plays a few tunes from the Frehley’s Comet CDs.

You know who can sing? Miljenko “Mike” Matijevic from Steelheart.  Fucking balls is this guy good.  I remember hearing “Never Let You Go” for the first time and being absolutely blown away with this guy’s voice. He is right up there with Tony Harnell (TNT) and Michael Sweet (Stryper). The rest of the CD was pretty decent as well, but by the time these guys got going, the 80s were over.  I loved the tunes off of the Rock Star soundtrack that Miljenko sang on, also featuring Zakk Wylde and Jeff Pilson.

“Don’t Treat Me Bad” is just a catchy song; Firehouse just nailed it with that one.  That whole record (their debut) was great, and even their second, Hold Your Fire, was also pretty decent.  Decent live band as well.

Ratt will go over well, I’m sure – assuming Pearcy can hold himself together.  Warren DiMartini is one of the most underrated guitarists from the hair metal genre, and frankly, I’m going to support anything John Corabi does because the guy is just classy and talented.

Not sure what Danger Danger and Slaughter were doing that they couldn’t be here (were they even invited?) but all in all, you have to admit that this is just going to be a tremendous five-day kick to the nuts of non-stop hair metal deliciousness.  Hopefully next year I will be reporting live, on-location.  Until then…


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