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METALSUCKS & BRING BACK GLAM! PRESENT THE TEN BEST MUST-HAVE GLAM METAL ALBUMS: DAY THREE

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You’ve been reading the MetalSucks/Bring Back Glam! countdown of the 10 Best Must-Have Glam Metal Albums this week (part one here, part two here), so you’ve noticed that our Anso DF and BBG! chief Allyson B. Crawford’s Glam-crazy chemistry is like one of those Tarantino scenes where rogues trade passionate dissertations on Madonna or armed robbery. Or maybe it’s more like those Kevin Smith monologues about farting. One of those. Ahem. Oh, hey look it’s the number four album!

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4. REST IN SLEAZE – Crashdiet

May 20, 2005 // Universal Records // p: Anders Ringman, Chris Laney, Grizzly/Tysper

The hits: “Riot In Everyone” “Knokk ‘Em Down” “Breakin’ the Chainz” “It’s A Miracle”

The heart: “Queen Obscene/69 Shots” “Tikket” “Out of Line”

Anso: I’ve been dying to talk to you about this record! Its appearance on our list blows me away for the following reasons:

Reason #1 – It was not released in the ’80s. Not even the ’90s. And yet you imply that it’s more vital to a respectable glam metal library than a hundred great records from the genre’s days of glory? Even here you rank it higher than freaking Appetite! Explain yourself!

Allyson: Total mind freak, right? I’m sure the haters will be out on this one! Singer Dave Lepard was simply way ahead of his time. Then again, Sweden is the fertile crescent of Glam Metal these days. The kids over there know how to write a catchy riff. Crashdiet was the first Glam Metal band to be signed to a major label (Universal) in over a decade.

Anso: Reason #2 – I proudly consider myself a hair metal enthusiast. I’m awesome at hair metal. And yet, on a list of the genre’s classics, I find an album that I’ve never even heard. You just had to go and expose my ignorance.

Allyson: Crashdiet is definitely obscure — in America. Probably because the albums cost a fortune to buy as they are all imports. Such a shame as this is true, rocking music. So, just because you’ve never heard of Crashdiet doesn’t make you ignorant. Regular Bring Back Glam! readers definitely know all about the band. I remember the day I discovered them — it was like a life-changer I swear. Then I tracked down their publicist, interviewed the drummer and was hooked.

Anso: Yeah. And all kidding aside, you’ve done a wonderful thing by putting me on to this great album. It’s a mitzvah. And in return, if you’re ever imprisoned by drug lords in the jungles of Thailand, I’ll totally be part of the rescue team.

Allyson:  Well, I’m not Jewish so I’m not sure what a Mitzah is or means. I did attend a Bat Mitzvah when I was younger.

Anso: I learned it from watching Curb. Full disclosure.

Allyson: Anyway, the album is tremendous because — overall — the songs are very strong. The album is a cohesive work. There’s not a song that jumps out as a “dud” as is so common these days. And, the fact that the band went Glam when it was so not en vogue is huge. It’s like they had the balls go ahead and go back in time by paying tribute to their musical heroes. That’s honestly harder than it seems on the surface.

Anso: Know what song really peels my banana? “It’s A Miracle”! That song jams! Of course, I’ll ask if you agree that they needed a little help with lyric writing. A line like “You’re like a plague in a wide’n open show” exemplifies their clarity problems.

Allyson: “It’s a Miracle” is my favorite song on the Crashdiet debut. The bass part is fantastic and so is the video. That’s something else about Crashdiet: They really have good videos. It’s like, no one told the guys it’s 2010 and no one plays videos anymore. In Crashdiet land, it’s perpetually 1988 and all music is fun and just rocks. I ignore the subtle language barriers because, overall, I think Lepard was able to get across what he was trying to say.

Anso: Hey, that’s another distinguishing trait of Rest In Sleaze in our context: It’s from a non-English speaking country!

Allyson: Again, Sweden is where it’s at, man. When I win the lottery, the first thing I’m doing is booking a first class ticket to Sweden. Then I will hang out in all the rock bars and just soak up the music. I’ll take you with me, too. Imagine the fun we’ll have. I hope you like to wear your hair big.

Anso: Yes! Um, not to bum you out, but in light of singer Dave Lepard’s suicide in 2006, is the album title slightly distressing?

Allyson: You know, Crashdiet pays tribute to Lepard every year with the Rest in Sleaze festival? As for the title being distressing … yeah, I suppose it is. Regardless, I find it uplifting the Crashdiet has kept on. The band got H. Oliver Twisted as a singer for The Unattractive Revolution and when things didn’t work out with Twisted … they hired a new singer! Now, Simon Cruz is the lead singer and the band is playing shows in support of Generation Wild. The first single from the new record is the album’s title track and it was banned from MTV because it’s so obscene. I don’t know about “obscene” but I do think the clip is scary as hell. When I talked to Simon Cruz a couple months ago, he said Crashdiet dreams of playing shows in America. I hope it happens.

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3. OPEN UP AND SAY… AHH! – Poison

May 3, 1988 // Enigma/Capitol Records // p: Tom Werman

The hits: “Nothin’ But A Good Time” “Fallen Angel” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” “Your Mama Don’t Dance”

The heart: “Tearin’ Down The Walls” “Look But You Can’t Touch” “Good Love”

Anso: Okay, can we draw an academic but necessary distinction? This record is an essential piece of glam history; you have to hear it. Conversely, Look What The Cat Dragged In is the best Poison record; you want to hear it. Is that totally wrong?

Allyson: Well, I like Open Up and Say…Ahh! better, but it’s all a personal choice, isn’t it?

Anso: And actually one could argue that Look What The Cat Dragged In is the more essential glam album. It celebrates the sleaze lifestyle, while Open Up is more concerned with blue-collar Americanisms.

Allyson: If it wasn’t for Open Up, I wouldn’t run a website called Bring Back Glam! today. I wouldn’t have friends from all over the world because of the music and I wouldn’t get to interview cool musicians. My mom bought me Open Up after I became obsessed with “Fallen Angel” thanks to MTV. Maybe the difference for us is age? You’re just a couple years older than me, so it’s highly possible you were turned on to Poison from the very beginning and I was just too little. I mean, I was eight when Open Up came out.

Anso: Good point. But, man this record was everywhere in Summer 1988. Did you get into it right away?

Allyson: I’m thinking hard here. I believe “Nothin’ But a Good Time” was the first single — I remember seeing the video over and over and really liking it … but it wasn’t until “Fallen Angel” that I had the “mom buy-in” which lead to me getting my very own copy of the album (on cassette). After I owned the album it did seem like the songs were everywhere — the singles were always on the radio.

Anso: The success of Poison’s previous record paved the way for a producer upgrade and a big budget, so why does Bret still sound so out-of-tune? That’s not a rhetorical question! To your knowledge, is Bret resistant to pitch-doctoring?

Allyson: I know this is your bailiwick. I honestly have no idea if Bret likes to smooth out his voice in the studio. Hell, maybe he thinks if the songs are recorded slightly off things will sound more normal live. I suspect it has to do with the super-early days of Poison when the band had no money — so they recorded in the studio as fast as possible and that was that. So, the band had a defined “sound” and Bret was happy to keep it. I’d rather have a singer sound normal than enhanced to high hell. I’m tone deaf, but Pro-Tools and Tom Werman could make me sound like Beyonce. I have a problem with that.

Anso: At 38 minutes, Open Up doesn’t overstay its welcome. But still, the cover of “Your Mama Don’t Dance” should’ve been a B-side. I wanted to punch that song in the face even before Poison’s version.

Allyson: Not a Loggins & Messina fan, eh? I actually agree it should have been a B-side. Both “Tearin’ Down the Walls” and “Look But You Can’t Touch”  rock way more.

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2. HYSTERIA – Def Leppard

August 3, 1987 // Mercury/Island Records // p: Robert John “Mutt” Lange

The hits: “Animal” “Hysteria” “Pour Some Sugar On Me” “Love Bites” “Rocket” “Armageddon It”

The heart: “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” “Run Riot” “Love And Affection” “Gods of War”

Anso: This album took a ton of money and time to make, but didn’t set fire to the U.S. charts until a full year after release. Man, the Def Lep guys must’ve been sweating as “Women” flopped and response was tepid to “Animal.”

Allyson: “Animal” is one of the best Def Lep songs ever. I’m baffled it didn’t take off better when it was first released.

Anso: For the third single, they picked the title track, a totally low-key, slow-burning track from late in the album. Does it seem to you that they were over-thinking a bit?

Allyson: The video sucks, too, but “Hysteria” is one of my favorite Def Lep songs next to “Animal.” I think you’re right about the “over-thinking” part. The band knew damn well they were up to their ears in hock with their label and they desperately needed to make some cash on the record. I guess they thought a ballad would be a safe bet to chart high.

Anso: But finally they released the most obvious single and it sold 20 million records for them. Maybe it because it was the newest of the songs, they hadn’t grown to trust it yet?

Allyson: I think between the time Def Lep toured behind Pyromania and then started recording Hysteria, paranoia set in. The whole “How can we top this?” syndrome. Then, there was a slew of tragedies for the band and that certainly messed with the collective psyche of the band. It was like the guys were afraid to release an arena rock song or something.

Anso: Is there any chance that there exists a first-world human being who is not sick to death of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”?

Allyson: Well, yes and no. Look, everyone on the planet knows every word to “Sugar.” It’s played out and I’d assume everyone is sick of it — except in a live setting. Then it’s ok.

Anso: So, Allyson. Do you think it still stings the Def Lep guys that only the Mutt Lange-penned (and totally awful) “Love Bites” reached number one?

Allyson: I don’t think “Love Bites” is awful. Played out? Yes. Awful? No. Honestly, I doubt anyone in Def Lep lays awake at night worrying about chart positions anymore. They are all probably too busy counting their piles of money. Do you think Joe Elliott has dollars coming out of his pores? Or like Rick Savage keeps a stash of cash in his mattress? Talk about rich.

Anso: I can totally see why they partied so hard on the infamous tour to promote Hysteria. I mean, even the oddball track “Rocket” made the top 20. Confronted with that kind of success, anyone would go nuts. I know I’d order the construction of a helicopter made of drugs and then crash it on a tropical beach.

Allyson: I am obsessed with the “In The Round/In Your Face Tour.” I was too young to see it and when I meet people who went, I sort of pounce. I can’t help it. If I had a rock n’ roll time machine, I’d definitely go hang backstage at one of those shows. Good grief, that tour was huge. I need to say this here on MetalSucks: When I’m down, Hysteria is a go-to album for me. I actually wrote an entire post on Bring Back Glam! about Hysteria and my mood probably two years ago. There’s something about this record — I’m sure it’s happy childhood memories — that will instantly brighten my mood if I’m feeling down. Maybe it’s because half the songs are just plain goofy? Whatever the case, without Hysteria, I’m telling you, my life would be definitely incomplete.

Anso: Hysteria is magic, no two ways about it. But again, I find their single choices bizarre. I love “Rocket,” but is “Run Riot” not a sure top ten summer single? Were they worried about the chord progression it shares with “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure? Cuz my sister was agitating for a lawsuit. Maybe she spooked them?

Allyson: Well, remember, the album was written to be so slick any song could be a single. I think “Love and Affection” would have done well, too. As for the chord progression — well, hell, now I have to go listen to those two songs together to compare. Your sister sounds scary. I’m an only — there were no siblings ripping through my record collection, shooting down my beloved songs.

Anso: Oh yeah she knew that I’d be sweating at the mere suggestion of a Robert Smith co-write credit on my jam. Hey, do you remember when they played “Tear It Down” on the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards? Singer Joe Elliott wore a Misfits t-shirt. I’m sure Glenn Danzig was overjoyed.

Allyson: I don’t remember that performance … but Glenn should have been happy. I mean, why not? Hell, it probably sold some Misfits records.

Anso: I feel that the song “Excitable” wouldn’t have made the album if not for its awesome bridge. For one thing, it’s exhausting to the ear before it even starts.

Allyson: Funny you mention that — “Excitable” is the only song I always skip when listening to Hysteria. My good friend — who loves Def Leppard by the way — does the exact same thing. She’s pretty sure “Excitable” is a turd in music form.

Anso: [laughs] Here in 2010, we know for sure that the impact of Steve Clark’s absence is significant, right? With his replacement, Vivian Campbell, Def Lep is too squeaky clean.

Allyson: Well, was Def Lep ever dangerous? I mean, really? I agree that some of the band died with Steve, though. He had a great mind for guitar and I love his riffs.

Anso: And when will someone instruct guitarist Phil Collen to put on a goddamn motherfucking shirt?

Allyson: I know! Every show, he’s shirtless. I mean, he’s got a washboard stomach, but still. It’s like — every show? Come on, man. Change it up a bit. Side track: Have you heard his band Man Raze? Not a bad side project. Also, I love his work in Girl. That band featured Phil Lewis. Yes, Girl was before Def Leppard and before L.A. Guns. I own the actual Girl vinyls.

Anso: Joe Elliott has said in interviews that Def Leppard’s goal is legacy status beside acts like the Rolling Stones and David Bowie. My question is: Is Joe Elliott fucking insane?

Allyson: Well, shouldn’t every musician shoot for the stars? Hell, I dunno. Joe might be delusional but Def Leppard has influenced a lot of bands. Important as the Rolling Stones? I guess that depends on who you ask. Def Lep is commercial, slick rock through and through. Sure, the first couple albums were rock — heavy even at times — but the band wanted to be huge and they got there. Not many bands have back-to-back RIAA diamond awards, but Def Leppard does and that’s something no one can take away from them.

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Wow, guys. Consecutive diamond-selling records. Really makes you think. It means that there have been at least 20 million instances of people exchanging money for Def Leppard records. That’s Oprah money! But there’s one more essential, more drenched with crotch sweat, more over-the-top Glam Metal Must-Have Album. Allyson and Anso return tomorrow to give you number one right up your number two.

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