Thursday, July 27, 2006

From the pages of Hit Parader

This month I was looking at the cover story of the October, 1985 issue of Hit Parader. The article is called "the Kings of shock rock" and it talks about then current bands like WASP, Twisted Sister and Motley Crue as well as earlier bands like Kiss and of course Alice Cooper. Although I am not sure what shock refers to in this article because the Crue and Twisted Sister never really got into stage theatrics like WASP and Alice Cooper. Even stage theatrics for Kiss was mainly just Gene with his fire breathing and blood spitting. Alice Cooper got away from stage theatrics in the early 80's when he was trying different styles of music, but he inevitably returned to them in the mid-80's and fans loved it. WASP did blood, skulls, torture racks and throwing out raw meat between say 82-85. Eventually they tried to get away from the theatrics, but this was a hard image for to shake off and I think some people had trouble taking the band seriously. Even though by 89 they were trying to take their own music more serious. Twisted Sister of course tanked it big time in the fall of 1985 when Come out and play bombed and their big headlining tour was cancelled after just a few weeks. They had a big city themed stage set for this tour, but very few people saw it due to the lack of ticket sales. Motley Crue were never that attached to their early image because they were able to shake it when Theater of pain hit and the band took on a more sparkly glam image. Kiss were huge in the 70' s and they had the make-up costumes and Gene's stage antics listed above. Their popularity was sinking by the early 80's so they had a big idea and they took off the make-up. That's right, the gimmick of "no gimmick" and it worked as Kiss re-invented themselves to some extent and they squeezed right in with the 80's metal scene. Then of course in the mid-90's they jumped back into the make-up bag and covered their faces again and people rushed to see them play live. So perhaps it depends on the individual as to whether or not gimmicks that shock fans will work.

10 Comments:

Blogger OnMyWatch said...

I see what you mean that Motley wasn't very shocking. Now, something even more shocking was Wham having 2 songs in the top 5 on billboard charts. and parents wondered why we listened to the devil's music. ;)

As far as Twisted Sister, the most shocking thing to me was how much Christina Aguilera resembled Dee Snider in that Lady Marmalade video.

4:56 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

I guess shock is defined by the times. Monty Python and Benny Hill used to be shocking; now you see more than that on Entertainment Tonight.

The most shcoking thing about the Crue is that they all lived past 1992.

-- david

5:05 AM  
Anonymous fred charles said...

I remember that Nikki Sixx used to light himself on fire but I doubt that this qualifies as shock rock.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Onmywatch-Did you know that a company actually makes a Dee Snider halloween costumes? Why buy one when you could make your own out of a mop head, yellow paint, pink and black rags and an old bone? Well, maybe that's not such a good idea either.

David-Actually I believe Nikki Sixx was the one who had an overdose in 1988 and his heart stopped beating for a minute so he barely made it. Of course Mick has to be propped up on tour now due to health problems.

Fred- I think that just qualifies as stupid.

Lizzy Borden was not mentioned in the article I talked about, but they used a lot of stage theatrics at one time. They used axes, blood and they had Santa Claus come out on stage and the band would beat him with baseball bats.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous fred charles said...

It had to be the drugs. You can probably still dig up old photos of Nikki with his legs on fire.

One thing that always bothered me about Motley Crue is that they always talked about how punk and hard they are but that didn't stop them from removing the pentagram from the original version of Shout At The Devil. I wish I had my origial vinyl copy of it. It's probaly worth something.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

In every generation, there's always one or two bands that are, or were, considered to be "shocking". In my day, it was Steppenwolf and/or The Doors; even Question Mark and the Mysterians were looked at with a jaundiced eye. Then, after you've aged a few years, you look back and wonder what the big deal was. I guess it's all perception..

10:40 AM  
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