At the 1991 American Music Awards, the nominees for best hard rock band were Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and Firehouse. And the winner was… Firehouse. This would be us hair metal fans’ last triumph until sixteen years later when we realized that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Because bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains were soon building steam by bringing a new flavor to hard rock, while the beloved glam-metal bands were slowly but surely becoming extinct. Dial MTV which featured all these terrific bands went bye-bye so more exposure could be given to the up and coming grunge scene in th early 90’s. No more fist in the air, bang your head, make love to the nearest stripper music on the radio or the Billboard charts. We were supposed to think more when we listened to hard rock, wear flannel shirts to make us appear that we just didn’t give a shit and it should be about the music and not the appearance, and sing along to songs about how life sucked and how we needed to stand up to our government. I didn’t care about kids named Jeremy who wanted to kill their classmates because they didn’t fit in, I cared about Suzy and her all day sucker! I cared about nothing but a good time! I didn’t want to think when I listened to hard rock, I wanted to bang my head because metal health drove me mad!
Now I’m a fan of fluff, I’ll admit it. Always have been and always will. A song doesn’t need to have a variety of chords or mind-bending lyrics for me to appreciate it. I’ll take a song for what it’s worth, but hope it has a great melody to make me feel either excitement if it’s upbeat or full of sappiness if it’s a ballad. Music wasn’t fun anymore in the nineties, maybe because I was not willing to adapt back then and was advancing a less rapid rate than the other kids my age or because it was so damn depressing. All I wanted to listen to were the disco classics of the 70s, the cheesy syntho-pop 80’s tunes, and the hair metal anthems. Bands like Rage Against The Machine and Stone Temple Pilots (bands that I actually would begin to appreciate later on!) weren’t doing anything for me back then. I was bitter and agitated and wanted my fluff back!! Even if those hair metal guys looked utterly ridiculous with the hair and make-up, the music was uplifting and fun. But it all went to shit once Nirvana’s Smells Likes Teen Spirit began getting regular airplay on MTV. So you NOW know why it pains me to say good things about Nirvana! Nirvana’s influence was so extreme that the glam-metal bands had to keep up by attempting their grungy sound. Have you ever heard Def Leppard’s Slang or Dokken’s Hell To Pay LP’s? Horrible in every sense of the word! The albums sounded like nails scratched across a chalk board. Kidz Bop albums were outselling them. And worst of all, the fans were quickly giving up on them and forced to adapt to the new music scene and consider Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam to be good hard rock.
The music world keeps talking about a hair metal revival, and it’s slowly but surely going make it’s comeback. Only in substance, not style as the bands gave up on the mascara and hairspray. Although it never really went away, just that it became more of a cult thing that you had to search for, which is fine by me! Bands like Buckcherry, The Darkness, and Airbourne did their best to represent that glam-metal sound, and they did a fine job. Buckcherry sounds like 80’s Aerosmith, The Darkness was a cross between Def Leppard and Queen, and Airbourne was a carbon copy (YAY!)of AC/DC. One band that was praised as bringing the glam rock scene back was Hinder. I didn’t pick up on this. For music critics to say that their hit song Lips Of An Angel was an iconic ballad held in the same regard as Every Rose Has It’s Thorn, Heaven by Poison, or Love Of A Lifetime by Firehouse was a huge slap in the face. (Note: I will admit their new single, Use Me, does have me a bit more curious about their sophomore album)
With the success of video game franchises like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and with the hard rock of today really having no substance, the kids are beginning to catch on to these bands. Rocklahoma (an annual summer music festival featuring all of the bands of my youth) has been getting lots of press and bringing these music to new generations. You see kids everyday sporting T-shirts of bands like Iron Maiden, Poison, Extreme, and others. This is actually sort of bothering me. Now I don’t care if these kids wear the shirts and other apparel if they are genuinely interested in learning about these bands and downloading the classic singles and albums. I have a problem when kids are wearing AC/DC and Poison shirts because it’s the cool trend and they like the band’s logo!!! You have to stay loyal and genuinely care in order for me to respect your opinions of this kind of music. I liked having my little niche of music taste, and sometime I get selfish and don’t want to share it. But if we can all unite and bang our heads, that’s cool! If we all play air guitar together, this means we aren’t using our hands to punch each other in the face or text messaging every five seconds (which isn’t a bad thing!) Rock and roll all nite and party every day! It’s not just a song lyric, it’s a way of life!