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Hello, Mr. Brownstone.

Does the prevalence of drug use in the 80s correlate to the success of hair bands?

Think about this: 60s and the summer of love, drug use among musicians was common. The  music wasn't heavy, except in tone and message. In the 70s, the drugs got a little harder, and so did the music.

Led Zeppelin, perhaps the greatest rock band of all time, preferred acid, cocaine and alcohol as their poison of choice.

Then came the 1980s. The decade of decadence. It seemed like every rock band on the Sunset Strip and beyond were into every designer (and non-designer) drug under the sun.

This drug use shaped the music and the way bands were marketed.

Once thought of as the drug of junkies, 80s musicians (and not just hair band types) turned to heroin as a way to escape "normal" life. Under the guise of a numb stupor, some of the best rock anthems were born. And then every star (if they wanted to survive) had to kick the habit, undergo some rehab, and suffer all over again.

Musicians destroyed their bodies, their brains, and the chemical balances that keep people from murdering a room full of innocent strangers.

So they turned back to music as an outlet. And most fell off the wagon. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The harder the drugs, the harder the rock.

Think about it. Listen to music over the past four decades. As the riffs get harder and harder, the drugs get easier  to obtain. Is that a coincidence? Of course not. Am I condoning drug use? Absolutely not. In fact, I'm vehemently opposed to drug use. But that doesn't change the fact that people - millions of people - turn to drugs everyday.

What we have here is a jumping off point. This could be a major cultural study in both psychology and irony.

First, irony. Anti-drug campaigns were bigger in the 1980s than any other time in history, but musicians were pretty open about addiction and the party lifestyle.

I'm leaving psychology for another day because I have another entire entry for this topic.

BREAKING NEWS: Tawny Kitaen enters drug rehab program. Back in May,  police nabbed Kitaen with 15 grams of cocaine. She was charged with felony possession. Kitaen pleaded guilty, and will be allowed to change her initial plea of guilty to not guilty in exchange for time in rehab.

You might recall her famous roles in the Whitesnake videos, and her marriage to the band's lead singer David Coverdale.



When Love and Hate Collide

I truly have a love/hate relationship with VH1 Classic. I enjoy watching my hair band videos. I enjoy the rock documentaries and learn how classic albums were produced. What I hate is the constant repetition, the endless commercials and  worthless promotion.

Or the errors. Errors about music history on a music channel are unforgivable.

During metal week, the channel aired a countdown of the 100 best hard rock groups of all time. Def Leppard came in at number 31. During the short biography that came with the entry, the announcer said "the highs were highs, and the lows were even lower. Drummer Rick Allen lost his arm and guitarist Steve Clark died of alcohol abuse in 1988." That's all well and good except the band on was on tour in support of Hysteria in 1988, and Steve Clark was along for the ride. He died in 1991, while working on the Adrenalize album. There were other mistakes, but this one is the most unforgivable.

The channel also has a bad habit of ":selling" a pet album within fake shows. The series, "Hanging With" is nothing more than a 30 minute infomercial featuring musicians.

Not that musicians don't deserve promotion or air time, but relentless commercial tactics just drive fans nuts.  It's annoying when you can feel a commercial coming. I get it. Commercials pay bills, and networks don't come cheap. But constant commercial and merchandising doesn't just settle salaries; they also cheapen the overall product.

On VH1 Classic, the product is music.

Oh, how unfortunate.



New Acquisition

Purchase: The Dirt, Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band.

I'm pretty excited to read the authorized biography of Motley Crue. The book is over 400 pages and includes color pictures! It's a New York Times bestseller, just one more indication that glam is coming back. That, and the fact that while at the bookstore two men standing near me were wishing that Slayer was on the cover of Metal Edge magazine.

A personal review is forthcoming.

More on the Crue:

Drummer Tommy Lee launches a new clothing line based on his many tattoos. The line is called "People's Liberation for Tommy Lee (PL for TL). Apparently, clothing maker People 's Liberation, Inc., makes high-end clothes. I guess that means a pair of jeans costs more than a hundred bucks. I don't spend a hundred dollars on jeans, but I might look at the clothes to see Tommy's tattoos up close.

Apparently, Crue bassist Nikki Sixx  is writing his own memoir called The Heroin Diaries. The book was due by this Christmas, but has been pushed back to summer. It's drawn from journals Sixx wrote while in rehab during the 80s. I'll probably buy and read that too.

And since we're talking about Motley Crue, "Wild Side" is my song obsession of the week.  Originally off Girls, Girls, Girls, the song sets the mood for the album, tackling issues of sleaze, drug use, and the rise and  fall of society.

I enjoy my metal with a message.






A Word of Advice...

If you party like a rock star, you're going to feel like one the next morning.




Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery

Real musicians. A sell-out show on the Sunset Strip every night. A major budget commercial. Poison in 1988? RATT in 1984?

Nope, Metal Skool, 2006.

The glam metal cover band has a real album and was featured in a Discover Card commercial as the band "Danger Kitty." The four musicians are the real deal. The singer, "Michael Star" (real name Ralph Saenz) was the lead singer for L.A. Guns. The guitarist, bassist and drummer also played for famous (or semi-famous) bands.

Metal Skool is glam all the way: big hair, spandex, money, women and management issues. Before the moniker "Metal Skool," the band was known as "Metal Shop." Trademark issues and fighting led the members to a lawsuit, and a new name.

Metal Skool boasts the longest running metal show on the Sunset Strip, and was recently named the best cover band in the world. Musicians like Steven Tyler, Axl Rose, Kelly Clarkson, and Taime Downe have all jammed with the band onstage.


Check out the cover of the band's debut CD Hole Patrol. Reminds me of Poison's Look What the Cat Dragged In...or Motley Crue's Shout at the Devil.

If I ever win the lottery, I would definitely hire Metal Skool for a private party. 

The band has a website, but it's very raunchy and very tongue-in-cheek. Checkout, but don't complain to me if you're offended.

Metal Skool is bringing back glam!




And the Glammy Goes To...

I personally believe each one of us has a life soundtrack.

A handful of tracks that represent significant life moments, attitudes or moods.

While the soundtrack would theoretically change over time, I've compiled a list of songs I think best fit my personality and current life situation.

1) Dream On - Aerosmith

2) Boderline - Alison Krauss and Union Station

3) Turn Up the Radio - Autograph

4) Under Pressure - Queen and David Bowie

5) Home Sweet Home - Motley Crue

6) California Love - 2Pac and Dr. Dre

7) Round and Round - RATT

8) Hysteria - Def Leppard

9) We've Only Just Begun - The Carpenters

10) Kashmir - Led Zeppelin

Do you have a life soundtrack? Do our songs intersect?




Who Killed the Fun?

Why isn't rock n' roll fun anymore? The answer, I think, is because there's no longer such a thing as rock n' roll.

In the heyday of glam, musicians knew how to party and have a good time. Their lifestyles carried right over into their lyrics. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case.

Modern artists that fall under the broad category of rock tend to write songs that just whine, talking about depression, other mental illnesses or hating their families. What's rock about that? Rock music - loud music - is supposed to be an escape from everyday life.

The music of the 90s was the anti-glam. Lyrics were serious;  suddenly it wasn't cool  to go to a stadium concert and dance. Music videos had to have a plot, and for prominent grunge acts this meant a full blown5 act play.

Take, for example, Nirvana's video for "Heart Shaped Box." The video is said to represent terminally ill children, and the strained marriage of Courtney Love and Curt Kobain.

Give me a break.

The video was over the top to sell albums.  It cost more than million dollars to produce and received heavy rotation on MTV.

80s glam bands didn't spend that much cash on videos, and some acts like Warrant, Def Leppard and Poison were successful enough that it WAS an option.

Their videos, full of party images, fire, blazing guitar solos and women - yes women - were an extension of their lyrics. The party didn't stop when the album was pressed.

That train kept right on a'rollin through every stadium tour in America. Just as it should be.