The resurgence of bell-bottoms and Izod shirts prove the old adage that what was once hip can become hip again. Some of the biggest hair bands from the 1980s are taking advantage of this phenomenon with the third annual Glam Slam Metal Jam concert tour. The Glam Slam Metal Jam pairs three or four fabulous 80’s hair bands and puts them on tour for the summer. This year’s lineup includes Quiet Riot, Warrant, and the headliner Poison. Poison was once hailed by VH-1 as the “Number one glam metal band of all time.”
The glam metal road trip included Scott Simon, Greg Fairbank, Chris Graham and his wife, and myself. After we parked and set up our cooler, I set out to interview our fellow glam metal fans. I wanted to get a sense of why they came to see the Glam Metal Jam and to hear some of their favorite hair band memories.
My first interview was three guys who claimed that Poison was, at its core, a “chick band” and they were only at the concert to get girls. They actually used a more derogatory term which I won’t mention. As the proud owners of fifteen teeth (total), seven tattoos (each), no shirts, and enough body odor for a small European country, I wished them luck and went on my way.
I wanted to investigate this “Poison as chick band” story a little further. I cornered two female Poison experts who assured me that most guys actually like Poison, they are just afraid to admit it. I knew they were experts because of their outfits. One of the women wore ripped jeans, hi-top sneakers, a Poison tattoo, feathered hair, and a 1987 black Poison concert t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off. When I jokingly asked her who stole her sleeves, she just gave me a blank stare, bolstering evidence of the negative effects of long-term marijuana use.
My next interview was with a David Lee Roth look-a-like. He described his look as, “totally f*ckin’ Poison”: ripped jeans, a black velvet shirt (unbuttoned), a gold chain, and white hi-top sneakers. His favorite Poison story was as follows. In 1986, he and his buddies formed a hair band called Valentine Roxx. Poison was in their hometown and the members of Roxx went to the band’s hotel to catch a glimpse of the rock stars. As they were roaming the hotel halls, the hotel maids mistook Roxx for Poison and let the Roxx guys into Poison’s hotel room. The members of Roxx proceeded to rob all of Poison’s clothes and drug paraphernalia. Nice. We high-fived and I went on my way.
My final interview was with a group of 12 girls in their early 30s. Their favorite hair band memories included being mooned by Kip Winger, going on tour with Dangerous Toys, one of them kissing Phil from Pantera, and catching a guitar pic thrown by Poison guitarist C.C. DeVille. I was also lucky enough to view a photo album that captured all their favorite memories from high school in the 80’s. The pictures included the girls in various Madonna and Pat Benatar phases mugging with Bruce Kuylich from KISS and standing in front of the house belonging to Skid Row heartthrob Rachel Bolin. When I asked about their favorite Poison memories, the two most memorable responses were, “getting pregnant in high school-twice” and “being grounded from 1985 to 1990.”
Although I thoroughly enjoyed my conversations in this glam metal parking lot, I was here to see the bands. While I was disappointed by the relative lack of height and body in the hair of the various band members, all three bands put on excellent shows.
Quiet Riot stuck to the classics such as “Bang Your Head” and “Cum on Feel the Noisz.” When Quiet Riot released a “Greatest Hits” album in 1996 and then a “Super Hits” album in 1999, I think they realized their song writing years had passed. Although Quiet Riot released a new album recently, they didn’t burden the audience with of the new material.
Although Warrant banged out hits such as “Cherry Pie” and “Down Boys”, their show was more notable for the lead singer’s foul mouth.
Here is a quick Warrant quiz
Which of the following lines did Warrant’s lead singer utter:
a) Boston, how the f*ck are you?
b) Thank you so f*ckin’ much!
c) You guys are absolutely f*ckin’ rockin’!
d) Scream `till your throat bleeds! It’s time to f*ckin’ rock!
e) If I offended you, you probably shouldn’t have fuckin’ come here in the first place!
f) None of the above
g) All of the above
The answer, of course, is g.
The Poison show was electrifying. Poison banged out “I Want Action”, “Nothin’ But A Good Time”, and closed with the classic ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” The only downside was that Poison insisted on playing a few songs from its new album. The first was entitled “I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine.” It was about as good as the title implies. The second song was entitled “I Want To Be A Big Rock Star.” Poison apparently co-wrote this song with a bunch of second graders. The song’s chorus is “I want to be a big rock star, I want to drive a big, black car.” The rest of the song deftly rhymes monosyllabic words such as bills and hills, guitar (okay that’s two syllables) and star, far and star, fool and cool, VIP and me, and wall and call. The crowd’s response was understandably tepid.
We filed out of the Tweeter Center quite content, wondering who would play in next year’s Glam Slam Metal Jam.