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"We Belong..." In A Storage Facility?!?!

In light of yesterday's post where I praised the new Def Leppard single "We Belong," HIM provides this commentary. He doesn't like the song nearly as much as I do! 

Let’s start with something very simple: lyrics.

"We Belong"
Sometimes I feel I don’t belong here
Sometimes I just don’t feel

I feel so uninvited
A wound that never heals

I need a little shelter
Just for a little while

Sometimes I hide the sadness
Behind a painted smile

If you cast the first stone
I will roll it away
I will kneel at your throne
Hold my hands up and pray
I will hold back the tide
Push the oceans aside
Save the day
But I can be stronger

You’re all that I am
You’re all that I see
The keys to the kingdom
Are waiting for me
So don’t hold me back
Don’t hold me down
Just hold me and don’t let go
You’re all that I am
You’re all that I do
The end of the rainbow
Is waiting for you
So tell me I’m right
Cause this can’t move on
Not if we belong

Whatever happened to forgiveness
Are the words too hard to say

What happened to the answers
They disappeared along the way

I hide behind the madness
Still looking for the clues

And there’s nothing left to chance
When there’s nothing left to lose

And the voice in my head
Screams the words I believe
And the light in the dark
Is the air that I breathe

(Chorus, last line now: Back where we belong)

As you cast the first stone
And I roll it away
And I kneel at your throne
These words that I say


The keys to the kingdom
Are waiting for me
This is fairly standard fare. Ambiguous enough to be about love, loneliness, and loss, and redemption, and other stuff. You set it to mid-tempo music, cue some strained (read: heartfelt) vocals, and you have yourself a hit on the Golden Oldies Rock station in your town (you know the one, named after some sort of animal: The Fox, The Eagle, The Bear, or what have you).
So let’s do that: here’s the actual song as performed for those of you who don’t already have it in heavy rotation.

The “switching singers” thing is a nice touch (even if Collen sounds like an evil-robot super villain, especially after the first pause in the lines he sings). Campbell and the rest all have nice sets of (some more and some less processed) pipes. Pretty chill and mellow, like the ballads on Hysteria turned down a notch so you don’t wake the kids up. This version of the band is clearly not my cup of Earl Grey. But, hey, a lot of people enjoyed 2015’s Def Leppard.  So raise your fist and whisper; rock softly. It’s better to fade out than burn away?!

But let’s push it a bit further: the official—not fan—video meant to serve as a visual accompaniment to said lyrics and said performance.

Hmm. I am not sure where to start. I will put aside the current fascination with slightly retro looking computer animation (a trend that Iron Maiden has helped to champion). I get it. That is a cost effective way to tell a story. I also understand that every song has multiple meanings, hits different tonal pulse points, and leads different listeners down different paths depending on the time of day, mood, or events with which they associate a song.

I also know that there is a thing called rhetoric. I think that traditionally applied to written and spoken words (like, say, lyrics or songs) and attempts therewith to persuade. I hear that rhetoric now applies to visuals as well. Don’t worry. I am not going to start pondering the significance of pasta advertisements (Roland Barthes, “The Rhetoric of the Image,” 1968) or ask you to question the stability of textual meaning (Jacque Derrida, “Signature Event Context,” 1971). I mean, what do I know? I am a humble mushroom forager from a non-descript part of the Northwest.
What I do know is that this video presents an unsettlingly (at least for me) picture of who Def Leppard officially are presenting themselves to be. To wit, they are dirty and tattered sheets wavering in a dimly lit storage facility (a la Raiders of the Lost Ark). Oh, and they morph into and out of each other. And the storage facility also relates to space crafts and other sci-fiey schematics (on screens that are not tattered sheets, though colored the same). There are also graphics of women in suits. And robots.
The big reveal is that there is a space station, from which (one assumes) came—spoiler alert one—the giant pod (which occasionally glows from within with bright light) that is being carried around the storage facility on a forklift during portions of the video. Said space station is—spoiler alert two—found to finally be resting on some sort of barren surface, a tangle of jagged rocks partially submerged in mirrored liquid.
Phew! It finally makes sense. No it doesn’t. Why are the members of Def Leppard consigned to soiled bedsheets waving in the breeze of a storage facility? Why are they also part of a computer read-out that involves robots and women and a dog (or is it a leopard)? What does any of this have to do with “casting stones” or “looking for clues”?
I know this is a bit of overkill when it comes to metal, when it comes to elder statesmen like Def Leppard. I can’t help but think, however, that the band thinks this means something. So, in the spirit of closure, I ask you all to tell me: what does it mean to you? To me? Well, I think it means that they are tired vestige of who they once were. And they, like countless other bands I love, have just decided to say: “You know what? It doesn’t matter that much anymore. Sing it. Sell it. Tour it. We can afford to release whatever we want in the name of art. And we will puff it and fluff it and turn it every which way. But, at the end of the day, we are a greatest hits machine that tours for the sake of touring and the money that it generates.” Thing is, I don’t think a band like Def Leppard would ever actually say that . . . to the press or the fans. Funny thing is, this video said it for them and likely in spite of them. Ah, rhetoric. I guess it does betray us, providing stable enough meanings in spite of what we hope to suggest or obscure.
Now, clean your palette: here is Helix’s “Rock You” (warning: there is nudity!):

Wait a sec! Do they mean “rock,” like the music or like the physical object for which one must dig? Ugh. I am done thinking about metal. Too damn difficult.



Def Leppard, 'We Belong' -- New Video

Def Leppard has just released a video for their new single "We Belong." It's from the band's new self-titled album.

"We Belong" is an album highlight for me and I was delighted to see the band make an official video for the clip. I mean, there's no reason not to: money is no object here. They have stacks of cash and can afford to make videos for every song they record until the end of time if they so choose.

I really enjoy "We Belong" because each member of the band gets a singing part. That's very rare but something Def Leppard is easily able to pull off.


Don't Wig Out: M. A. Batio Is Kinda Amazing (Nitro? Not So Much)

Today's post is from our friend HIM.

 When your band is treated like the less enjoyable version of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion, you know something is amiss. When you are compared to Malmsteen, and then try to prove you are better than Yngwie, it is an odd world you inhabit. When your singer is a roided-up fluff-screamer who ends up being the sane part of a marriage, you are definitely not living a normal life.  

Alas, this is the tale of Michael Angelo Batio. Why do I, and why should you, care? Well, partially because his frizz-glam question mark of a band Nitro is reuniting with the skin-smithing of no less than Chris Adler (Lamb of God, Megadeth) behind the wig-glue sprayed kit. Because the poodle of a singer, Gillette, was once married to Lita Ford. That dog is now a dawg, covered in tats and MMA drool . . . and with full custody of two kids who think “Kiss Me Deadly” was written about them. Batio? He belongs to the same club as Blackmore and J. L. Turner. All are clients. One of them because of a medical condition. The other two because of vanity and a fecal-ton of talent.  

I really don’t care about Nitro. They are an odd detour in the history of metal. And what was once an Aqua Net nightmare of bad hair and questionable jeans looks, reunited, like some MMA video game promo:  

I don’t really want to compare Batio to Malmsteen either. That is like comparing meth-induced classical music to a roadside hotel’s shower walls: both have too many scales. And I can’t spank the guitarist for wearing his hair (or his system) how he wants to do so. Like Blackmore, the guy has a right to feel fully hirsute even if genetics (and countless YouTube videos) scream back at him: “WHY?!!!?”  

Much has been made about his (and Gillette’s) instructional videos. Similar snarks have been offered regarding the fact that Batio can play a one, two, four, six and ten neck guitar backwards and forwards, all while balancing his checkbook. Like Malmsteen, is that all skill and no soul? Is it technique without passion? Where do they buy their doughnuts? I digress.  

My simple point (I made it complicated in honor of him) is this: he is a damn good guitar player. I won’t go to old tape of him shredding a jazz ditty. But I will go to fairly recent events where he paid tribute to another oddball guitarist:  


That is some damn fine playing. And I think all twenty people at each event had a great time. I kid. Batio is a badass. But he is a victim of his talent. What makes Blackmore more relevant, if no less eccentric? Simply this: timing, choices, and happenstance. What makes Batio better? He enjoys his slim moments in the sun, and treats his fans with—imagine that?—respect.


BBG! - A Decade Later. We're Going To 11!

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the first post on Bring Back Glam! I can't believe a decade of my life has passed, marked every day by a new post on this site. We sure have shared some good times, big shows, reunions and some sad news as well.

Special thanks to the readers who have been here from the beginning and respect to those we've picked up along the way.

It is cliche to say that life goes by fast, but it's true. I remember sitting on an old hand-me-down recliner in an apartment Eric and I shared, writing the first post for this website. We were in a transition and about to buy our first home. I would bang out articles and watch Metal Mania videos while he worked on finishing the basement of our new place. My first writing space in that house was a spare bedroom, used as a makeshift TV room. The first music interview I ever did took place on the floor of that room, attached to corded phone. If you're wondering, I chatted with Jamie St. James from Black n' Blue (but at the time, he was fronting Warrant). Cringe worthy: I talk about Myspace in that interview!

I've interviewed quite a few folks - for quite a few publications - since that time.

Fast forward to today, and here we are, once again discussing the news of a split in the L.A. Guns world, but Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns are reuniting anyway. Guns n' Roses are expected to announce another year of touring for their big reunion and Metallica has a smash hit new album on their hands. The talks of the death of our beloved music genre were premature, right?

Thank you again for reading. I'm looking forward to another year of new music, crazy news story and snark. Let's get rocked. Oh, and if you want the latest details on Phil Lewis, here you go:



Phil Lewis Quits LA Guns Via Social Media

Phil Lewis has quit LA Guns and he announced his departure from the band via Facebook. This is pretty shocking. The question is obviously... why? To play with Tracii Guns again full-time I assume, but time will tell. 

Here's what he wrote:

"Dear friends and fans, with a heavy heart, I have to inform you that as of January 1, 2017 I will no longer be a member of this lineup. I feel I have gone as far as I can in this band, and unless I get out and focus on myself and something new that has a future, I'm going to stagnate.

For the last five years, I've been enthusiastic to record a new record. 'Hollywood Forever' really recharged my batteries and made me feel very proud to be in this band, but it feels like so long ago now. At this stage, I want to walk away with at least a little dignity.

I want to thank you all for your solid support throughout the last 15 years. We've had the pleasure and honor of playing so many wonderful countries, and I've always made a point of getting out and meeting some of the best, most loyal fans in the business. Your smiling faces will always be a huge part of my adventure, and I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. What's the point of making records or playing shows if you don't have fans for feedback, and I feel blessed to have so many cool people who treasure the music as much as I do as a part of our fan base.

I will continue writing, recording, and performing in the future. I have some solid plans, and I'm also open to where fate will take me on my musical adventure, and I sincerely hope if I'm anywhere near you, you'll come out and say hi and hear what I'm doing.

I love rock and roll, it's been my religion and salvation for many decades, and I feel the fire burning in my soul to do more. I have no plans on slowing down or retiring anytime soon, so please don't be sad.

Wish me luck and please stay in touch. Goodbye."




M3 Festival Announces Bands

A reunited RATT, KIX and Loverboy will headline. The festival will take place April 28 and 29 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. This lineup doesn't do much for me. I've seen all these bands, with the exception of Loverboy and Vain and they just aren't worth flights and hotel. I'm sure it will be a fun weekend regardless. Here's the poster:


Catty Much? Not So Sweet Sounds Regarding Sweet Sounds

Today's post is from our friend HIM.
Stumbling about the interwebs in a turkey-induced state of lethargy, I happened upon one of my “read it and cringe” routines, Metal Sludge. Like a tamer version of Blabbermouth (in terms of viewer postings, which never show up in my browser!), it operates like a feral adolescent’s mildly tepid dream when it comes to punching up the funny re: content. They oversell the jokes too often and adopt a Tuff posture that is, at times, a bit painful to read. But I am a reader. And this post is related to one of their posts.
Michael Sweet strikes me as a gifted man. He has skills I, and many of his peers, never will. He generally abides by the Godly edicts that have marked his, and his band Stryper’s, path. I liked him with George Lynch. Enjoyed his funny poke at metal-cum-country cluelessness on his recent single, “Radio,” and have grown to appreciate what God’s bumblebees were doing back when I was too blindered to give them a fair hearing.
Sebastian Bach (as even my recent posts would suggest) is a different sort of savage animal. Blessed with luck, looks, and an amazing set of pipes, he is the reason people remember Skid Row. But he is long since out of that band and long past his prime as re: any of the aforementioned attributes. He runs cold, then hot, then wine-induced in a series of fading swirls along the tail end of a career that has been, at the least, interesting. He occasionally finds time to shine, can be witty and on point. But, too often, he comes across as a prima donna no long capable of projecting—in literal and figurative senses--the gifts that would give him room to gloat.
So when the Sludge highlights a high and then provides a low I find it interesting. The high is the praise that rockers like Sweet (and Hale, etc.) have showered upon the young wunderkind, 15-year old Moriah Formica. This girl has a gift, for both mimicry and outright musicianship. She nails Heart. She does justice to some Stryper songs. Heck, she even slays on Skid Row’s “I Remember You"

Here, though, is where things get not-so-Sweet. The usually mannered Sweet comments on Formica’s prodigious talent with the following: “This kid is the future of rock "So proud of her and honored to have her on my new album – Moriah Formica kills this and in my humble opinion, smokes the original singer.

Okay, that is both praise and a plug. Nothing untoward there. But the slam on Bach? That seems beneath Sweet and more . . . well, more like something a delusional Bach might say, has said, and will say again about countless other people. Moreover, it reduced Sweet to that oh so easy level of taking a swipe without really being catty (which is the flip side of a term coined in reference to dogs, mind you). There is no cleverness in hitting Bach while his angel’s trend increasingly down.
The other problem is this: it isn’t even true (as far as “humble opinions” go). In his prime, Bach was one of those talents who could smoke most challengers. Recall those gifts I made reference to earlier. And if Sweet took an honest look at his career and presence at the same time Bach was killing it, he might come in for some harsh introspection (irrespective of the fact that I now admire some of his youthful work). So it becomes a dumb game of the Pope calling the papacy black (for those who like a bit of a genus/species tweak to the old adage).
The biggest problem is, however, the following: he diminishes Formica’s incredible talent by pulling her into the maw of an all-too-familiar case of old metallers slap-fighting with each other over pieces of ever-diminishing turf (a topic worthy of more coverage on my new website, “The Outsider”). She deserves to be evaluated on her talents, even when sitting in with or paying tribute to others. She doesn’t need some old dude using her as evidence for a “humble” opinion that, even if true, is anything but. It is unbecoming on a host of levels.
Bach is a disaster already in process. Sweet is a man with gifts he has nurtured. Formica might have a shot if she is guided along the right—and rocky—path that is today’s music business. Leave her out of it, Sweet. When you lower yourself to the level of the person you critique, you are only looking in a mirror.