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One Hot Mama


Happy Mother's Day, dear readers.

In honor of the holiday, a look at the career of one of the hottest moms in glam rock: Lita Ford.

Born in the U.K. as Carmelita Rosanna Ford, "Lita" started playing guitar young and was a teenage member of the all-girl group, The Runaways (Joan Jett was also a member).

Starting an unsuccessful solo career at the dawn of the 80s, Lita bopped around the Sunset Strip and was involved with many other glam musicians, including Nikki Sixx. [For eight degrees of separation, future Motley Crue drummer Randy Castillo actually introduced Nikki to Lita]. She also dated Joe Lynn Turner and Tony Iommi and married crazy Chris Holmes. She's currently married to Jim Gillette of Nitro, and they have two kids together.

Her most successful album is the 1988 self-titled release on the RCA label. That album featured "Kiss Me Deadly."

Most recently, Lita lent her voice to "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on the Twisted Sister Christmas album.






The Hollywood Glambangers

beast.jpgHave you read Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal by Ian Christe yet?

I picked up a first edition hardback at a second-hand store. So far, I've found the book an invaluable resource for all things Metal.

First, it's important to note the book is 399 pages long (including an excellent index). The book is sectioned off into historical chapters, meaning you won't lose knowledge if you don't read chronologically.

Not surprisingly, I read chapter ten "The Hollywood Glambangers" before anything else. This chapter didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, still, it's good to see glam history in print. As godfathers of the Sunset Strip hysteria, Christe dedicates a large portion of this chapter to Van Halen and Motley Crue. Naturally, bands like Poison and even Danger Danger get their due. Christe also looks at how MTV spawned this glam music of a generation, and how labels were quick to jump on the Metal bandwagon. Sadly, there is a hint of sarcasm throughout this chapter which undermines Christe's ethos. An established journalist, Christe knows the importance of leaving opinion at the door but in some phrasing, his thoughts on glam are pretty evident. While I appreciate that Christe prefer Slayer to Slaughter, I don't understand the negativity launched toward glam that -quite honestly - put Metal on the map.

That noted, I must admit Sound of the Beast is still an excellent read. Other subjects which earned their own chapter include the P.M.R.C., The New Wave of British Heavy Metal, The Teen Terrorists of Norwegian Black Metal and an extensive chapter on the 90s and the "Black" album. I must say that for all the cynicism in the glam chapter, Christe gives Metallica their due for selling out and commercializing their sound. While the "Black" album helped make Metallica household names a lot fans hated the new, slick sound. Fans hated even more that the band started churning out music videos left and right, appeared at every awards show imaginable, toured with Veruca Salt and tried to take down Napster.

At the very beginning of Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal, there is a flow chart, explaining the most important historical moments in Metal history. Not surprising, the chart begins at February 13, 1970 and the day Black Sabbath hit the market. It chronicles the formation of Judas Priest and Motorhead, the death of guitarist Randy Rhodes, Quiet Riot's triumphant rise to the top of the Billboard charts, the debut of Headbanger's Ball on MTV and the day Motley Crue released Girls, Girls, Girls. As the chart whips through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, you notice a decline in the popularity of Metal as music magazines fold, MTV stops playing videos and the members of Metallica cut their hair. Coming full circle, the chart ends with The Osbournes on MTV.

While researching the book, I found Yes, the book is truly interactive as Christe has a nice website, featuring text excerpts and even a corrections page. When I first opened the book to a random page I spotted a grammar error. Sure enough, that error is listed on the corrections page. Apparently, Christe employed the help of every day readers to find mistakes before the first edition paperbacks were printed. Even more exciting, is that Christe has a radio show on SIRIUS Satellite Radio called "Hard Attack." I don't subscribe to the service, or I'd definitely check it out.

Christe makes music, too. Give a listen at







Countdown to Infinity

chastain.jpgEditor's Note: This review was originally written for Metal Express Radio. Since Chastain is in the same vein as Yngwie Malmsteen, I thought you glam readers might be interested. Enjoy!

A talented musician, David T. Chastain uses his decades of experience playing guitar to produce a quality, instrumental album. No virgin to the recording industry, Chastain develops new talent through his Leviathan Records label in addition to his own discography, now more than 50 titles long. As such, Countdown To Infinity features Chastain on guitar and bass, plus the work of Mike Haid on the drum kit.

Opening with the appropriately titled “Rambuntious Delicacy,” the fast-paced guitar work is a throwback to classic Rock influences. More Neoclassical than Traditional Metal, Chastain is able to bridge a gap between genres and appeal to fans of quality guitar work. “Attack of the Mechonrites” is more of the same with a faster tempo. Here, Chastain really shreds and exhibits his years of dedication to the guitar.

Perhaps the highlight of Countdown To Infinity is the near epic “Demonic Harmonic Justice Lullaby.” With a beginning close to Melodic Metal of the 1980s and bridge work rivaling Carlos Santana on a good day, music fans will appreciate the speed and agility of Chastain’s solo work and song writing ability.

The album's title track, “Countdown to Infinity,” clocks in at less than four minutes, earning the distinction of shortest song on the album. It features a catchy hook and solid rhythmic bass thanks to Haid’s consistent stick skills. The liner notes for Countdown To Infinity feature gems of knowledge and increase the listener’s appreciation for each track. “The Sky Is Melting” features an introduction written more than three decades ago. With this album, a great musical interlude finds a home.

The most Metal track on Countdown To Infinity is “Temptress of Illusions.” Featuring licks and grooves you might hear on an AC/DC album, “Temptress of Illusions” is likely to earn substantial airplay on Metal radio stations.

All in all, Chastain does a good job of keeping Countdown to Infinity diverse and interesting. Instead of falling into the trap of repetition like many instrumental albums, Chastain creates enough interest in his scores to keep even the biggest Metalhead satisfied.


All in the Name Of...

megaphone.gifDid you ever notice glam bands like to brand themselves in song? If music is a product meant for mass consumption then it makes sense that artists scream their band name as part of lyrics.

Take, for instance, Skid Row. In the song "Youth Gone Wild" the band sings:

"I said 'Hey man, there's something that you oughta know.
I tell ya Park Avenue leads to Skid Row.'"

I love this part of the video, too. All the members together, shouting out the lyrics. So hot. In fact, the pairing of the lyrics, guitar work and video make "Youth Gone Wild" my favorite Skid Row song.

The Bulletboys brand their music too. In their remake of the O'Jays classic "For the Love of Money," Marq Torien shouts "Bulletboys Sing!" I love this, too.

RATT famously mentions their band name in the lyrics to their hit "Wanted Man."

"Human target, In my eyes
I've got you, well in my sights
And by the rope, you will hang
It's your neck, from this Ratt gang."

When bands remake other famous songs, it's necessary to put an original stamp on the track. Poison does this well with their Grand Funk Railroad remake of "We're An American Band." The real lyrics are:

"They said, 'Come on dudes, let's get it on!'
And we proceeded to tear that hotel down"

In the Bret and Co. version, the lyrics are: "And Poison proceeded to tear that hotel down" 

What about lyrics that mention a certain band member...and not the band name? In the Motley Crue remake of the Brownsville Station hit, Vince Neil sings:

"Checkin' out the halls makin' sure the coast is clear
Lookin' in the stalls--nah, there ain't nobody here
My buddies Sixx, Mick & Tom
To get caught would surely be the death of us all."

Of course, this isn't really a lyrics change because Brownsville Station mentions their member names as well, but you get my point.

Do you have a favorite song that mentions a band or musician name?


World Upside Down

houseoflords.jpgThe House of Lords is the upper house of Parliament in the United Kingdom, made up of members of the nobility and high-ranking clergy.

House of Lords is also a great glam band, formed in Los Angeles back in 1988. The band formed from the ashes of Giuffria, namesake of keyboardist Gregg Giuffria.

Originally signed to Simmons Records (yes, that Simmons), the band underwent several line-up changes before settling on the name House of Lords and releasing a self titled album.

The original line-up included Giuffria, vocalist James Christian, guitarist Lanny Cordola, bassist Chuck Wright and drummer Ken Mary. The debut album peaked at #78 on the Billboard chart. Perhaps the best known track on House of Lords is "I Wanna Be Loved." The albums SAHARA and Demons Down followed, each less successful than the predecessor.

Several personnel and label changes sent House of Lords into hiatus, but recently an all new lineup burst back on the music with two new albums. The phenomenal World Upside Down was released in May 2006 and the nostalgic "greatest hits" Live in the UK was released earlier this year.

You can hear samples at
By the way, bassist Chuck Wright is back with Quiet Riot. He played on their massively successful Metal Health album. After an extended break from the band he returned for the recent Rehab.

Here's a video for House of Lords "I Just Wanna Be Loved."





Living Is A Luxury

Vince_Neil_Exposed.jpgFor the past week, I've been listening to Vince Neil's first solo effort Exposed. If you don't own this disc, click the link and add to your Amazon cart. This album is a must own for every Motley Crue fan.

Vince recorded Exposed after his split with the world's most notorious rock band. As we know, the remaining members of Motley Crue replaced Vince with John Corabi. Not to be outdone, Vince created a super group of sorts as support musicians. He also enlisted the song writing talents of dynamic duo Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades (Shaw/Blades, Damn Yankees).

Exposed was released in 1993 on the Warner Bros. label and peaked at number 13 on the Billboard chart.

The track listing looks like this:

Look In Her Eyes
Sister Of Pain
Can't Have Your Cake
Fine, Fine Wine
The Edge
Can't Change Me
Set Me Free
Living Is A Luxury
You're Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come)
Gettin' Hard

Of all the tracks, "Sister of Pain" is the strongest and most Motley-esque. Musicians backing Vince include guitarists Steve Stevens and Dave Marshall, bassist Robbie Crane and drummer Vik Foxx. Steve Stevens really shines on this album, especially during "Sister of Pain." Debut single "You're Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come)" is a fun, upbeat track, but there are better songs on this disc (this track was originally recorded for the Encino Man soundtrack). Check out "Can't Have Your Cake" and "Living is a Luxury." Ballad "Can't Change Me" is good for a spin and proves that Vince really can sing (all nay sayers be damned!).

A little background now on the Vince Neil band. Steve Stevens is an accomplished guitarist that oozes good looks. He's played for Vince and Billy Idol, and has enjoyed a fairly successful solo career. Dave Marshall has played with Fiona and Slaughter and Robbie Crane is best known for his work with Love/Hate. Drummer Vik Foxx was the original drummer for Enuff Z'nuff.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this album a solid 9. Here's a video for the single "Can't Change Me." Enjoy!


Mullets Rock! Too!

mulltets.jpgCompilation albums are increasingly popular in the single driven music world. Mullets Rock! Too! features some of the most famous hard rock hits from the seventies and eighties.

Packaged in glam pink and featuring cartoon characters of men and women sporting mullets, the album is really a soundtrack for a generation.

Featuring tracks as famous as Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” and Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian,” the mullet crowd also digs deep, featuring lesser known tracks such as Aldo Nova’s “Fantasy” and Ace Frehley’s “Do Ya.”

The album begins strong, featuring the Ted Nugent rocker “Wang Dang Sweet Pootang.” The famous opening riff gives listeners a taste of what is to come. While this isn’t Uncle Ted’s best known song, it’s still loud enough to get die-hard mullet-heads in the mood for some down home rock.

For ease of listening, the producers divided the 18 track album into two categories: Psyched!  and Bummed!  This warning allows the listener to avoid an all out rollercoaster of emotion if the heart’s recently done time.

Mullets Rock Too! is the follow-up to the massively successful, two disc Mullets Rock! Featuring glam power ballads like “The Flame” by Cheap Trick and “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)" by Cinderella, the compilation producers do a fairly excellent job of selecting the cream of the mullet crop.

Sadly, even great albums typically leave room for improvement, and this is the case with  Mullets Rock Too!  Two tracks in particular seem out of place: “Love Stinks” by the J. Geils Band and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” While both songs are iconic 80s hits, neither truly represent the mullet mentality.

After a series of real rockers, a pair of near misses and some great power ballads, Mullets Rock Too!  ends on a high note with the Kansas hit “Dust in the Wind.” Nearly as reflective as any Lynyrd Skynyrd track, “Dust in the Wind” is the perfect ending to a string of songs bemoaning heartache. Crossing over into multi-genres by using acoustic guitars, Kansas was able to ride the wave of success with this unconventional sounding melodic rock track. Thirty years later, mullet lovers are still rocking to Kansas and “Dust in the Wind.”

The full track listing looks like this:

Wang Dang Sweet Poontang (Ted Nugent)
Do Ya (Ace Frehley)
More Than a Feeling (Boston)
I Just Want to Make Love to You (Foghat)
Baby Hold On (Eddie Money)
Jane (Jefferson Starship)
Fantasy  (Aldo Nova)
Burnin' For You (Blue Oyster Cult)
I Hate Myself For Loving You (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) 
Love Stinks (J Geils Band)
Love Hurts (Nazareth)
The Flame (Cheap Trick)
Take It On the Run (REO Speedwagon)
Sister Christian (Night Ranger)
Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler)
Don't Know What You Got (Til It's Gone) (Cinderella)
Tuesday's Gone (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Dust in the Wind (Kansas)

I rate this album 7.5 out of 10. You probably already own all these tracks. Still, this concept album proves fun for a spin from time to time.