Things I Largely Don’t Care For, But Am Chagrinned To Find I Don’t Madly Dislike

I never cared much for late’80s-early ’90s Hair Metal.

If I were a rock historian, I’d say Hair Metal was a snapshot of a particular era – the cha-cha days of the late Reagan / George HW Bush years – and a particular place, a very prosperous and dissolute Los Angeles.   You’ll note that was a time of my life I was neither especially cha-cha nor prosperous, nor, I hasten to add, a the angry teenager I’d been 5-7 years earlier who’d marinated his brain in the Clash, the Kinks, the Who and the like.

So the whole genre sort of left me cold.

Poison?   A lite-metal boy band.

Motley Crue?  A bunch of yobs trying and failing to ape Alice Cooper. And that’s if you leave out Vince Neil’s role in the death of “Razzle” (more below).

Cinderella?  Please.  Waterboard me.

But as with all episodes of this “Love and Hate” series (click the tag below for some history), I’m writing this not to bury hair metal, but to praise it.

Well, some of it.

And I know what you’re gonna say.  “Everyone likes Guns ‘n Roses.  That’s a gimme”.

And indeed you’re right:

Beyond that, though?

When I was at KDWB in ’90-92, listening to the night shift, it occurred to me “Slaughter doesn’t totally suck”:

I mean, if you’re in the mood for some Robert Plant lite. And I was.

Skid Row? Not sure why I didn’t hate them; more relatable to me? Less contrived? More interesting? I have no idea anymore.

But hate them, I did not:

And why not Hanoi Rocks – Finland’s greatest band, and the band that is to hair metal what Creedence Clearwater was to the sixties; a solid rock and roll band with a way with a hook and a single:

Of course, the band took a solid shot in the, well, hairdo when drummer “Razzle” was killed in a car crash with Motley Crue’s Vince Neil; Crue went on, while Hanoi Rocks slowly fizzled, in one of rock history’s greatest injustices.

So yeah – can’t stand LA Hair metal.  Except when I can.

9 thoughts on “Things I Largely Don’t Care For, But Am Chagrinned To Find I Don’t Madly Dislike

  1. You missed my fav: Whitesnake. I lived in San Diego just south of LA during the late 80s/early 90s and I have very, very fond memories of driving a t-top sports car too fast through the mountains with Whitesnake blaring for nobody else to hear.

    Not to say that I don’t agree with you on most of the other bands, but I just about wore out those Whitesnake tapes.

  2. And now I’ll politely demur – coudln’t quite deal with Winger or White Lion.

    And I think Whitesnake was from an earlier subgenre, but I cant remember…

  3. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 08.21.18 : The Other McCain

  4. And I think Whitesnake was from an earlier subgenre, but I cant remember…

    Ok, you want to music geek then…

    When Whitesnake started around ’80, glam metal was a thing and they were considered glam metal. By the mid-80s glam metal bands mostly morphed into hair metal bands (not all, but a large majority). In any case, Whitesnake was hair metal when hair metal was a thing, even if they had originally come from an ancestral style that became hair metal.

    But let’s not go there. Music genre geekery, especially metal music genre geekery, generates more heat than light.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.