METALSUCKS & BRING BACK GLAM! PRESENT THE TEN BEST MUST-HAVE GLAM METAL ALBUMS
Usually when a fad fizzles, its casual fans disperse and its faithful just hang tough. But no trend, including the macarena and Jewel, has been subjected to the hostility and convenient disgust that follows Glam Metal and its fans. Perhaps the extra-harsh reaction is proportionate to its success as an inescapable, nearly decade-long craze that dominated radio and TV. Perhaps a lot of macho dickheads and party-haters are defensive about what they consider a shameful episode of rock transvestism. Perhaps the haters just seem louder because Glam Metal’s fanbase has failed, unlike those of hip hop and classic rock, to perpetuate itself via self-righteous documentaries, a half-assed hall of fame, and/or positions of power within critical music media. Perhaps it’s all three.
But there’s no changing the fact that Glam Metal’s great moments are great. And millions of people paid cash to enjoy those great moments. How could it not have been fun?
To help us relive those hair metal moments, we welcome Bring Back Glam! scribe Allyson B. Crawford, America’s foremost Glam Metal scholar. Today, Allyson and MS hair rock apologist Anso DF assemble the essential Glam Metal library for beginners and veterans. An oral history, a time capsule, a how-to kit, a party starter, a cheat sheet to win the heart of hair rockers, whatever you want to call it — it’s all about the loudest, dirtiest, beer-chuggingest, drugs-snortingest records in music history. And you don’t even have to be glam to read it. But it doesn’t hurt.
Forget the hype. Forget the history. Forget the backlash. This is the real shit.
10. NIGHT SONGS – Cinderella
August 2, 1986 // Mercury Records // p: Andy Johns
The hits: “Shake Me” “Nobody’s Fool” “Somebody Save Me”
The heart: “Night Songs” “Once Around The Ride” “Back Home Again’”
Anso DF/MetalSucks: I’m in agreement with host of VH1’s That Metal Show Eddie Trunk that the glammiest thing about Cinderella is this album’s cover photo; once you put the needle on the record, the title track just stomps. It’s not as the cover kinda implies.
Allyson B. Crawford/Bring Back Glam!: I agree that Cinderella isn’t your “average” Glam band in the vein of Poison. But the guys chose their look for a reason. Tom Keifer never shied away of his love for blues-based rock, but he sure did poof his hair and pile on the eyeliner to help move some units. Hey, don’t hate the player, hate the game, right? Cinder did what they had to do to get noticed and they created some of the best music of the Glam era.
I’d put “Night Songs” in my top ten best Glam songs list, too. The hard driving beginning with the bell … and the drums and the guitars. Sex on tape, man. Sex on tape. Plus, who amongst us hasn’t screamed at one point or another “Working this job ain’t paying the bills”?!?
Anso: You feel this album is better than its follow-up, Long Cold Winter? Which of Night Songs’ songs out-rips “The Last Mile” and “Coming Home”?
Allyson: You want to get technical, eh? Well, actually “The Last Mile” is my favorite Cinderella song. But as a unit, Night Songs is a better example of what Cinderella is all about. Oh, and the cover of Night Songs is a hoot.
Anso: Of course, the legend has it that Cinderella got signed to Mercury by mega-A&R guy Derek Shulman on a recommendation from Jon Bon Jovi. I hope they got a better deal than Skid Row.
Allyson: Yes, it’s true that Bon Jovi basically gets the credit for “discovering” Cinderella. Also, you do realize the weird Cinderella-Britny Fox connection, right? There’s a reason the bands dressed the same on their respective debuts: Britny guitarist Michael Smerick and drummer Tony Destra were in the original Cinderella before there was an album deal.
Anso: And it’s important to point out that JBJ is partly responsible only for Night Songs. The band made everything else happen with awesomeness and relentless touring.
Allyson: Well, yeah. I mean, Tom Keifer is just an amazing songwriter — and an even better guitarist. People love to rip on glam bands but seem to spare Cinderella. It has to be because of Tom. Well, that and the fact that Cinderella isn’t really a party band. There’s some true substance there.
Anso: Do you recall when then-host of Headbangers Ball Riki Rachtman attempted to perpetuate a nickname for drummer Fred “Cupcake” Coury? I hope not, cuz I’m embarrassed that I remember it. That’s not on his wiki or anything. This was like 1990.
Allyson: Hmm. No I don’t remember this, but I have a close friend who is obsessed with Fred Coury and I bet she knows exactly what you are talking about. I’ll ask her. I do remember Riki, tho. I keep thinking someday I’ll meet him … hasn’t happened yet. He was hot in the Cathouse days.
9. SKID ROW – Skid Row
January 24, 1989 // Atlantic Records // p: Michael Wagener
The hits: “Youth Gone Wild” “18 and Life” “I Remember You”
The heart: “Sweet Little Sister” “Big Guns” “Here I Am”
Anso: Hey speaking of Skid Row! This album slams! When/where/how did you get into this?
Allyson: I got into Skid Row at the same time everyone else did … about 12 seconds after the debut dropped. And Sebastian Bach’s face was on MTV every 12 seconds. Man, “I Remember You” is the stuff of high school dances. Put it this way. “I Remember You” was a single in 1989. I graduated high school in 1998 and that song was still played at my prom. There’s something special about that tune. Even people that don’t like rock music very much seem to know and enjoy “I Remember You.” Good stuff.
Anso: You’re lucky. My high school enacted a symbolic ban on hair rock, and I believe the prom theme was “Creep”! Speaking of hilarious, I love that Skid Row home video in which Sebastian Bach rips this album’s most blatantly commercial song, “Can’t Stand The Heartache”? He’s hilariousness.
Allyson: Well, the entire album is commercial as hell, but in a not-so-blatant way. The videos, on the other hand, were over-the-top commercial. Every member of the Skids was hot back in the day and so the label used the sex appeal to the nth degree to sell more units to women. Not that there’s anything wrong with commercial. At the end of the day, Skid Row was able to debut with a traditional Glam record and proceed on with a much heavier — and fantastic — sophomore effort. Seems brilliantly calculated to me.
Anso: When I listen to this album, the big singles are the least exciting parts. I don’t think I’m sick of those songs, so do I enjoy them least because they’re less awesome?
Allyson: I think it’s because you’re burned out on them. The singles were on the radio and MTV… non-freaking-stop. I actually tend to gravitate toward B-sides on most big records for this very reason. There’s a point when you can only take hearing the same song over and over so much. Yet, when that big single is played live and the crowd is freaking out, you enjoy it. Odd.
Anso: Hey, here’s something I just found out: Skid Row closer “Midnight/Tornado” is credited to guitarist Dave Sabo and a Matt Fallon, right? I always wondered who Matt Fallon was. Well, the internet says he was in Skid Row post-record deal but pre-Baz and and AND! he was in Anthrax for a blink, too, until being replaced by Joey Belladonna. What’s up with that?
Allyson: Yes, this is true. I’m pretty sure this is mentioned on Behind The Music: Skid Row. I remember another part of that BTM where Sebastian’s wife (then girlfriend) talks about other women ripping the clothes off of him and trying desperately to get into his limo, etc. She was upset because she was pregnant with his kid and he didn’t know yet … and then they got married. Am I imagining things or did Mrs. Bach also say that label tried to end the relationship because it was bad for Sebastian’s image? I could totally be making that part up. Been a million years since I’ve seen that footage.
Anso: Is Slave To The Grind disqualified from this list by being too heavy?
Allyson: No. Its title track is my fave Skids song, actually. But Skid Row is truly more glam.
8. BLOW MY FUSE – Kix
September 19, 1988 // Atlantic Records // p: Tom Werman, Duane Baron, John Purdell
The hits: “Don’t Close Your Eyes” “Cold Blood” “Blow My Fuse”
The heart: “She Dropped Me The Bomb” “Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT” “Dirty Boys”
Anso: Dude, “Cold Blood” is one of history’s snappiest singles. And it makes a very powerful statement against cock teasing.
Allyson: “Cold Blood” is great, but “Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT” is better. I don’t know what the hell was going on with Kix that every song is about electricity or blowing up or power but whatever. The video for this song is great too. Big hair to boot.
Anso: I’ve heard that it has something to do with their former band name, The Generators. By the way, Allyson, how do you feel about the production? A listener really has to crank it up to defeat the flatness, right?
Allyson: The sound quality on all the Kix albums upsets me. The songs are great but the levels are low and don’t do the tunes justice. Yes, you really have to crank to enjoy the songs. Steve Whiteman’s voice demands to be heard, damnit!
Anso: If anybody would know this, it’s you: Has any other classic hair rock band maintained their concert chops as well as Kix?
I guess I should elaborate.
The thing about Kix is that they are still hungry — all these years later. The band doesn’t take anything for granted so every show is high energy. And there’s no complaining. No diva behavior. Just rock n’ roll. Also, the band puts money into their live sound; they really want their concerts to shine because they don’t play live all that often. Therefore, each show is special. They don’t dilute their brand by playing for 40 people in a dive, etc.
Anso: Hey, y’know how Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin is a former member of Wrathchild America? Well, so is momentary Kix guitarist Brad Divens! I fucking love Wrathchild America. Woot!
Allyson: Shannon was also in the Pretty Boy Floyd parody band, Ugly Kid Joe. Just sayin’.
This MetalSucks/Bring Back Glam! presentation of the Ten Best Must-Have Glam Metal Albums continues Wednesday only on MetalSucks.net. Join us then as Allyson and Anso reconvene to jabber merrily about glam metal must-have albums and their unstable/junk-flaunting/aged-but-sexy authors.