Archive and Search




La Vie Boheme

rent.jpgA few days ago, Heather won two tickets to the touring production of RENT. Since Wednesday's show, I've been looking for a way to work the production into the blog...and now I've found it, thanks to some inventive high school music teachers.

See, I don't really like musical theatre and I never have. I believe theatre is theatre and music is music. Still, I must admit the song "Season's of Love" is basically awesome. Many people consider RENT the rock opera because of the controversial themes of AIDS,  drug addiction and multi-racial relationships, not to mention that the characters are all basically starving artists including a musician. The RENT Orchestra does employ a whole lot of electric guitars, but that's about as Metal as things get.

Enter Craig High School of Janesville, Wisconsin.

Apparently, someone affiliated with the show choir is a little bit glam because the students recently performed Def Leppard's "Rock Brigade." This isn't a well known Lep song, so I assume the choral director must be a big fan. Watch the video at YouTube.

Of course we all know Tommy is the first rock opera, but what about a Metal opera? The music of Queensryche and Dream Theater could easily be adapted to the stage, but would the public pay money to see such an event?

I think someone needs to write a Metal opera based on glam bands of the 80s. There's plenty of material to work with, and if we want to base the opera on a love triangle (is there any other option?) we can use songs like Cinderella's "Nobody's Fool" and Def Leppard's "Women" leading up to the climax . The song "November Rain" can easily serve as the dénouement. For the falling action, something fun (but still West Side Story-esque)  like Motley Crue's "Wild Side."

Just think of the box office sales.






Run a Mile for the Cause

Hear-n-aid_logo.jpgApril is National Autism Awareness month. According to recent statistics, nearly 1 in 150 children will be diagnosed with the potentially debilitating disease. Now VH1 Classic is joining in the fight, airing a special public service announcements.

The 30 second spot features Tommy Lee and Vince Neil (Motley Crue), Roger Daltrey (The Who), Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley (KISS), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Joe Perry and Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), and Ronnie James Dio (Dio & Black Sabbath) speaking about the disease. Watch the PSA at

VH1 Classic will also hold several fund raisers, including a "Pay to Play" event where viewers can go online to  and make a donation to see their favorite video. Proceeds will benefit The Cure Autism Now Foundation.

This isn't the first time rock stars have used celebrity for worthy causes. In 1985, some of the world's largest rock stars convened for Hear n' Aid, a heavier version of Band Aid for famine relief in Africa. Ronnie James Dio, Vivian Campbell (Whitesnake and Def Leppard), and Jimmy Bain (Rainbow & Dio) formed Hear n' Aid for a special one-off recording. Hear n' Aid released the single "Stars" featuring members of Dio, Quiet Riot, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Queensryche, Blue Oyster Cult, Dokken, Night Ranger, Judas Priest, W.A.S.P., Journey, Y &T, Vanilla Fudge and Spinal Tap.

The project raised more than a million dollars and VH1 Classic considers the project the most metal moment in rock history!

Of course, several rock starts participated in "America - A Tribute to Heroes," benefiting victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Bon Jovi performed "Livin' on a Prayer" and U2 performed "Walk On."

Just today, officials announced that Aerosmith will lend their support to the Bulgarian "I Don't Drive Drunk" road safety campaign. Elton John, Rod Stewart and R.E.M. are also joining the campaign. Check out for more information.

Do you have a favorite rock celebrity charity moment?





Heaven's on Fire


Sad news to report, glam fans. Former KISS guitarist Mark St. John died today from a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 51.

St. John didn't have a long stint with KISS, but he did play on Animalize, which is my favorite album by the band.

He appears in the video from "Heaven' s On Fire," my favorite KISS song.

After leaving KISS St. John formed the band White Tiger. That band released one album in 1986.

Here's the video of "Heaven's on Fire" from the 1984 Mercury Records release Animalize.


Good to be Bad

badlands.jpgClicking around YouTube last night, I came across a Badlands video. What a great and grossly underrated band.

Guitarist Jake E. Lee formed Badlands in 1988, after leaving the Ozzy Osbourne band. Lee teamed up with singer Ray Gillen and drummer Eric Singer both of Black Sabbath. The line-up was set when bassist Greg Chaisson joined the group. Badlands earned some critical acclaim, but sales were never huge (according to Wikipedia, the album reached number 57 on the Billboard charts). The band made some music videos in support of their first effort, including support for the single "Winter's Call."

After a tour, Badlands entered the studio to record Voodoo Highway. It was during this time that Eric Singer was replaced by Jeff Martin. Unfortunately, this album didn't fare as well as the debut, and Badlands launched a quick fall into obscurity, thanks in part to weak support from Atlantic Records.

Singer Ray Gillen died of AIDS related complications at the end of 1993. Five years later, the remaining members of Badlands released Dusk.

Today, it's very hard to find the self-titled Badlands debut. The album is out of print, and eBay stores list the disc for upwards of 30 bucks! The price alone illustrates the musical chemistry the boys in Badlands enjoyed. Voodoo Highway and Dusk are also out of print, and also sell for a mint.

It's criminal that great albums go out of print but complete trash stays stocked on store shelves for perpetuity. Today, you can't even purchase a Bandlands single on iTunes.

I should have bought the debut disc back in 1989 when I had the chance. The lessons we learn.






Dangerous (But Worth the Risk)

Poison.jpgEven though I reported this week's ago, has confirmed the rumour: a Poison/RATT summer tour is a sure thing. While both glam powerhouses have yet to finalize all the tour stops many dates are set, including about 35 shed stops. From Billboard:

"The tour, which brings Poison and Ratt onstage together for the first time since 1999, will visit amphitheaters, festivals and fairs in such cities as Boston, Detroit, New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles, says Troy Blakely, who books Poison with the Agency for the Performing Arts."

Yesterday, press agents for Poison announced a June 5th release for the new Capitol album POISON'D. The disc includes covers of Poison's favorite bands like "Little Willy" (Sweet), "I Never Cry" (Alice Cooper), "Rock n' Roll All Nite" (KISS) and "What I Like About You" (The Romantics).

To celebrate this "finalized" tour news, we'll take a look back at the roots of RATT.

Stephen Pearcy formed Mickey Ratt in San Diego in 1978. Pearcy teamed up with guitarist Chris Hager, bassist Matt Thor and drummer John Turner. The band re-located to Los Angeles at the dawn of the eighties, adding guitarist Jake E. Lee to the line-up. Mickey Ratt released the single Dr. Rock /Drivin' on E as a means of self-promotion.

Things get interesting when Mickey Ratt changed its name and all the members left, save for Pearcy. Out of the ashes of Mickey Ratt came both RATT and Rough Cutt. Pearcy created the historic RATT line-up with guitarists Robbin Crosby and Warren DiMartini, bassist Juan Croucier and drummer Bobby Blotzer.

Now, it still took some time for RATT to get a major label deal, especially considering their musical ability as a unit. We all know Out of the Cellar contained the single "Round and Round" forever cementing the band's musical credo.

Of course, all good things must come to an end...or at least evolve. Pearcy left RATT around 1992 and formed the band Arcade (please see "Arcade Fire"). In 1997, a new RATT hit the streets, featuring bassist Robbie Crane who also worked with Vince Neil. A few years, a few more changes, and suddenly John Corabi (!) and Jizzy Pearl find themselves among RATT alumni.

Now, many lifetimes later...the almost original RATT is set to hit the road once again, ready to rock with Poison. At this time, it's not clear if Juan Croucier will join the tour (and guitarist Robbin Crosby died in 2002). It's speculated that John Corabi (!) will replace Crosby on the RATT/Poison tour.
Here's a video for You Think You're Tough from their 1983 self-titled EP.


Wild Boys


While Los Angeles will always be the fertile crescent of glam metal,  Sweden is quickly becoming a breeding ground for hot, new artists.

Today, part three of our roots series, focusing on the goodness that is Hardcore Superstar. The band was formed back in 1997 in Gotenburg, Sweden. They've enjoyed chart success and a major label album deal.

If you're not familiar with Hardcore Superstar, the band members are:

Joakim Berg - vocals
Thomas Silver - guitar
Martin Sandvick - bass
Magnus Andreasson - drums

The band's first album It's Only Rock n Roll, was released in 1997. Since that time, the sleazy boys have released four more albums, including the most recent Hardcore Superstar.

Critics have described Hardcore Superstar like Hanoi Rocks, Faster Pussycat, Motley Crue (!)  and the New York Dolls. The boys have also toured both America and Europe, in support of their 2003 release No Regrets. You can check out their sound at  or

In true glam fashion, these boys are very attractive as evidenced in this video for "We Don't Celebrate Sundays." Check it out...if your heart is strong enough!





Still Hungry

twistedsister.gifContinuing our special series on "roots," today we take a look at the beginnings of Twisted Sister.

This glam quintet started in New York City unlike many of their Sunset Strip counterparts. The boys in Twisted Sister didn't really get famous until Stay Hungry hit stores in 1984. The album enjoyed strong sales, thanks in large part to over-the-top videos for "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock."

Back in 1973, guitarist Jay Jay French formed the band Silverstar, which later became the basis of Twisted Sister. This line-up included:

Michael O'Neill - vocals
Billy Stiger - guitars
Jay Jay French - guitars
Kenny Neill - bass
Mell Anderson - drums

Years later, he teamed up with singer Dee Snider, Eddie Ojeda (guitars), Mark Mendoza (bassist) and A.J. Pero (drums).

There's so much more to Twisted Sister besides Dee's huge pink stage costume. When the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) threatened to censor rock artists for their "depraved behavior," Snider headed to Capitol Hill and argued the case of famous musicians right before the Senate.

Before Stay Hungry, Twisted Sister released Ruff Cuts (EP) and the magnificent Under the Blade. A few years later, the band's popularity waned and Snider left for other projects.

Fast forward to 2001 and a reunited Twisted Sister. A few months ago the glam boys released Twisted Christmas, which turned out to be a surprise hit.

Over the weekend, I learned of a new Twisted Sister DVD compilation. Rhino records plans to release Twisted Sister: The Video Years including "We're Not Gonna Take It," "Can't Stop Rock n' Roll," "I Wanna Rock," "Be Chrool to Your Scuel," and even live performances from a 1984 concert in support of Stay Hungry. A May 22 release date is planned.

Last night I was flipping channels and happened to catch Dee Snider walking around on MTV Cribs. Let me just say, glam rock has been very kind to dear old Dee. His seemingly normal family enjoy a rock star lifestyle in a mansion, complete with about nine cars and a fleet of motorcycles.

Ah, the kids are back.