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James Gunn Talks Hair Metal in HBO’s Peacemaker

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HBO debuted the first three episodes of James Gunn’s new series, Peacemaker. Hopefully, you’ve already watched it, or already have plans to watch it. If not, you’re missing out: Peacemaker is Gunn at his Gunniest. Featuring John Cena reprising his role from this past summer’s The Suicide Squad, the show is by turns hilarious, violent, and sometimes unexpectedly moving (like all of Gunn’s best work, it’s really a redemption story about the ways in which “bad guys” become so damaged in the first place). In other words: it’s fuckin’ great.

It also has a killer soundtrack. That’s not surprising — Gunn is the dude who made the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, after all — but what is kinda surprising is that this particular soundtrack consists almost entirely of hair metal bands, both old and new.

No, really — glam is central to this show. Not only does it dominate the soundtrack, but Peacemaker is established as a major hair metal fan right in the first episode, when he does a post-coital sing-along to “I Don’t Love You Anymore” by the Quireboys (while in tighty whities, using a vibrator as a faux-microphone, no less).

On the second episode, he bonds with a woman over their mutual love of Cinderella. The soundtrack even features a new song with vocals by Ralph Saenz, a.k.a. Michael Starr from Steel Panther.

And there’s the opening credits, which finds the cast performing a ridiculous choreographed dance to Wig Wam’s “Do You Wanna Taste It” while remaining completely stone-faced (I can’t imagine how many takes they had to do to get this):

Speaking to the official Peacemaker podcast, Podly (the terrible name makes sense if you watch the show), James Gunn discussed at some length his own appreciation for glam, as well as the use of that subgenre on the show (as transcribed by MetalSucks):

“What I really love doing is scratching this itch of music that we know but don’t notice and is under-appreciated. So I feel better about the ‘Peacemaker’ soundtrack than I do of any soundtrack since ‘Guardians’ 1… in this show, it’s taking hair metal, basically, or sleaze metal, or glam metal, and taking that music and giving it a spotlight. And it’s a mix between these old bands, like the Quireboys, and new bands… there’s a lot of European sleaze metal bands today that are actually really good. They’re actually overall much better than the hair metal bands that I grew up with. Being able to give that music that’s so out of fashion in America a chance to shine a little bit is one of the fun things about this show.”

You can listen to the entire interview with Gunn at the bottom of this post. Below, enjoy his Peacemaker Official Spotify Playlist, which also includes Firehouse, Tigertailz, Bang Camaro, and Santa Cruz, to name but a few.

New episodes of Peacemaker debut every Thursday through February 17 on HBO Max.

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