METALSUCKS & BRING BACK GLAM! PRESENT THE TEN BEST MUST-HAVE GLAM METAL ALBUMS: DAY TWO
We now rejoin Allyson B. Crawford (Bring Back Glam!) and Anso DF (MetalSucks) and their riveting analysis of Glam Metal’s Ten Best Must-Have Records.
Get caught up on yesterday’s action here.
7. TRASH – Alice Cooper
July 25, 1989 // Epic Records // p: Desmond Child
The hits: “Poison” “Bed of Nails” “House of Fire” “Only My Heart Talkin’”
The heart: “Hell Is Living Without You” “Spark In The Dark” “I’m Your Gun”
Anso: So by 1989’s Trash, Coop had been in a booze stupor for like seven straight albums. The good news was that his successful comeback tour inspired some check-writing at Epic Records. But that support came with strict control, or at least that’s what the presence of Bon Jovi/Kiss/Aerosmith/Ratt hit-maker Desmond Child implies. So Allyson, what’s your stance on Desmond Child?
Allyson: I got to interview Alice Cooper once. One of the highlights of my life, I swear. The man rules. He was all about sobriety when we spoke and I think that’s awesome. Now, Desmond Child. Oh my. I’ve written about him before on Bring Back Glam!. I suppose he is — no, he is a genius, but damn. Aerosmith is my favorite band of all time and Child sort of took away their grit. So that hurt. But for some people he really, really helped and that’s Alice Cooper. Alice needed a hit for a new generation and Trash came along at the right time, didn’t it? Oh and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to meet and interview Desmond Child, so there you go.
Anso: Hey, same here! His stuff is mega-cheesy, but so are delicious Cheetos. Plus, Detonator rules, so it’s easy to forgive misfires like “I Was Made For Lovin’ You.” Oh and of course I warmed to him after VH1 aired that hilarious footage of his collaboration with (and antagonism of) Vince Neil. You saw that right? “Hello-o! Successs!”
Allyson: Yeah, I’ve seen that. Oh, I’ve seen it.
Anso: Okay, Trash was buffed up by a full whack of celebrity guests: Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi, Kip Winger, Guy Mann-Dude, Steve Lukather, and 80% of Aerosmith. I suppose they helped pull chicks and young people to this old man record. Did these guys make Trash more attractive to you in any way?
Allyson: Because I’m a chick? Well, here’s the thing about me. I’ll agree there are some hot guys in rock, but that doesn’t mean much to me when it comes to music I like. If the song rocks, awesome. If not, okay. I like tons of music that is mocked — often right here on MetalSucks, ha! — and I always “go my own way if you will.” Trash is awesome to me because I love the songs. “Only My Heart Talkin’” is a great love song, a completely different type of power ballad. But, back to guests: I usually don’t care about guest stars on albums. I buy records because I want to hear the real band — not a slew of guests, you know?
Anso: Yeah. I’m not an Alice Cooper scholar, but I’ll wager that Trash is his sexiest record. It’s a bit uncomfortable to hear a 41-year old Coop describe passionate banging.
Allyson: As you know, my dear Anso, sexy is in the eyes of the beholder.
Anso: Hey, let’s talk about Trash‘s super-hit, “Poison.” Can you think of any single in history with such a memorably quirky riff? It’s awesome on its own and I love how they set it against different chords in the intro.
Allyson: So I’ve talked to Alice guitarist Keri Kelli a few times. Once I said I was frustrated trying to learn bass and guitar parts for some Alice songs. And Keri said something like, “Look, if you want to learn ‘Poison’ it’s just going to take awhile.” This frustrated me because I have little patience. I think I got off the phone with Keri, looked at the guitar, and then sat down with a bag of chips or something. Anyway, yes, “Poison” is freaking epic. One of the best songs of the ’80s. Then again, Alice is a master. I love when the band performs “Poison” live. The crowd always goes batshit crazy.
Anso: What else makes you love this record?
Allyson: Hmm. It’s the sum of its parts I guess. I think all the songs fit well together, there’s not really a dud and the album helped push Alice to the top again. The cover photo is iconic. It was in magazines first and then Alice chose it as his cover — so I remember seeing the image of Alice everywhere as a kid. I had this instant connection to the record I suppose.
6. OUT OF THE CELLAR – Ratt
March 27, 1984 // Atlantic Records // p: Beau Hill
The hits: “Round and Round” “Wanted Man” “Lack of Communication”
The heart: “Back For More” “The Morning After” “You’re In Trouble”
Anso: My favorite Ratt record is the reviled Reach For The Sky. Allyson, is there something wrong with me?
Allyson: No, because Reach for the Sky is also my favorite Ratt record. “I Want a Woman” is my favorite Ratt tune, bar none. The thing about Out of the Cellar is that it really sums up the ’80s and Glam Metal perfectly. You say Ratt and everyone knows “Round and Round.” And I mean, everyone.
Anso: Yeah, but something bugs me about first couple Ratt albums. For one thing, a lot of the early hits sound so severe and New Wave, like they were written for Berlin or Missing Persons. Do you hear that too?
Allyson: Well, the records are about as commercial as you can get … but no, I’m not hearing Berlin. I actually really like Beau Hill as a producer. I think he was able to fight with the band to make them stop partying long enough to put together some songs that have stood up for the past 20+ years.
Anso: Now obviously “Round and Round” is amazing. I’ve solicited promises from my loved ones that it be played to open my funeral.
Allyson: I’d argue “Wanted Man” is better, but maybe it’s because I’ve got “Round and Round” burnout or something. As for your funeral, well, okay I guess. What goes around, comes around. And we’re all going to die, right? I actually don’t believe in big, sad funerals. One, they are a waste of money; two, it’s all a little too Victorian for me; and three … well, again, we’re all going to die. Being sad is a natural part of life but sometimes I think funerals make it worse. I digress.
Anso: Well, like I said, my funeral involves listening to Ratt. Anyway, people keep telling me that Ratt’s 2010 record is the first to approach Out of the Cellar in terms of quality. That’s silly, right?
Allyson: Yes, Infestation is awesome but it’s not as good as their debut. Still, I feel like”Best of Me” could fit right in on Out of the Cellar.
Anso: I will concede that Cellar and Infestation are among their most consistent albums. To you, what songs on Ratt’s more uneven records can be considered dead spots? I’ll go first: “Dance” on Dancing Undercover.
Allyson: By “dead spots” do you mean “turds”? Let’s see. Well, Detonator has a lot of spotty places, but I love “Shame, Shame, Shame.” I love Warren’s guitar intro for that one, actually. Off topic: Do you think Stephen Pearcy was born with that three-packs-a-day garbled voice? I mean, damn.
Anso: It’s possible! But I suspect that kind of quality in a voice has to cultivated. By the way, does the “Round and Round” video freak you the fuck out? Rats on a dinner table, Milton Berle in a dress, Stephen Pearcy’s junk. It’s exactly what my nightmares look like.
Allyson: Well, my nightmares are not as cool as yours because Ratt has never appeared in my dreams. I hear you on Pearcy’s junk, though. His pants are too tight. Actually, the entire band is wearing pants about a size too small. The creepiest part of “Round and Round” is the too-skinny chick that becomes the rat. Totally odd.
Anso: What are your impressions of the Ratt concert experience?
Allyson: I’m trying to think of how many times I’ve seen Ratt live. 12 times maybe? I’ve even seem them on a cruise ship! The sets don’t change much, but that’s okay. Ratt is a party band, so people are generally happy to raise a beer, sing along and dance a little. I’ve never left a Ratt show saying “I want my money back!” and believe me, I’ve been to shows like that.
5. APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION – Guns ‘N Roses
July 21, 1987 // Geffen Records // p: Mike Clink
The hits: “Welcome To The Jungle” “Sweet Child O’ Mine” “Paradise City”
The heart: “It’s So Easy” “Think About You” “Nightrain” “You’re Crazy”
Anso: So I guess shifting 18 million copies of your first record might lead to severe brain scrambling. Once this album broke, Axl went off the rails almost immediately.
Allyson: Have you read any of the zillions of books written about GnR? I’ve read tons of them and the consensus seems to be that Axl has bonafide mental issues for sure. Thing is, those issues were there before Appetite. I’d argue that mental instability lead to his genius and thus Appetite.
Anso: I love the poppy stuff late on Appetite, like “Think About You” and “Anything Goes.” The attitude songs are more beloved.
Allyson: Mike Clink was the only guy that could get GnR to focus and thus he was awarded with producing the best-selling debut record of all time. I think all the songs create an interesting mix, but I like the harder ones.
Anso: Do you agree that “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is our generation’s “Free Bird”?
Allyson: Do we have to have a “Free Bird”? I’ll agree “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is iconic. It also might be one of the best-known rock tunes of all time. So, I guess it’s our “Free Bird.” Oh my.
Anso: Their creative dynamic has been explained to me several ways. Can you shed any light on this? Is your understanding as such that Duff and Izzy are the songwriters, Axl the shrieking lyricist, and Slash his cool counterpoint?
Allyson: I think it depends on what time period you’re talking about. Surely at the beginning when the band was unknown and broke, the songwriting duties were shared more equally. After Appetite, all bets were off, and Axl started going more nuts and wanted control of more … and more. Izzy is a great, laid-back songwriter and without him, Appetite wouldn’t have been as successful.
Anso: Do you feel that Appetite never got a sequel? Don’t all other GnR records only represent early stages of the nascent Rose ‘N Roses line-up?
Allyson: Appetite is one of those rare albums were everything came together at the right time. There was no way the band could top it, no matter how hard they tried. The follow-up albums are just fine, in my opinion. Actually, my favorite GnR song is “Patience” and that’s on Lies which came after Appetite.
Anso: I listened to “It’s So Easy” every morning before leaving the house for like three years. What’s your jam on Appetite? Don’t say “Paradise City.”
Allyson: “Mr. Brownstone.” Yep. Love the intro.
Anso: What’s the deal with “Rocket Queen”? The first act slays, the second act would embarrass Bryan Adams.
Allyson: You know, I always skip “Rocket Queen.” I don’t like the song much at all. It’s all personal taste I suppose.
Anso: You must’ve seen Adler’s Appetite at all the big festivals. Magic or tragic? Be honest!
Allyson: I’ve told this story before, but when I was at the first Rocklahoma, Steve came over to me and a friend and offered us a swig of strawberry Boone’s Farm. We both politely declined but I’ll be honest, that was cool as hell. I mean, this was a member of the original GnR that offered me a swig off his bottle.
Anso: I love that guy. So Allyson, in my experience, Appetite was the first smash album to feature a shitload of serious foul language. This is pre-gangster rap. Needless to say, my people loved its liberal dropping of f-bombs. How do you plan to introduce this classic to your kids someday?
Allyson: Well, my husband and I have decided we don’t want children. Thing is, my parents were super-liberal about records. The reasoning was they had their music, let me have mine. And I turned out okay. I mean, I go to work and pay my bills so I didn’t become some degenerate because I listened to a ton of metal growing up. So, I’d have no problem putting Appetite in the hands of a young kid. There’s entertainment and art and there’s real life. It’s the adult’s responsibility to teach the difference. Not a musician’s.
This MetalSucks/Bring Back Glam! presentation of the Ten Best Must-Have Glam Metal Albums is back Thursday only on MetalSucks.net. Join us then as Allyson and Anso are brought together by Swedish Glam, torn apart by Poison, and then reunited by Glam Metal’s poppiest breakthrough.