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Mullets Rock!

Is the mullet back in style?

From my own personal observations, the mullet never seems to catch a break from an endless barrage of taunts. From my personal observations, this may also be entirely deserved. Friends, acquaintances, coworkers, even members of my family have been overheard declaring distaste for the mullet. A co-worker of mine wrote a movie script centered around his self-described ‘trailer trash’ roots, in which the mullet was the defining hair style of all adult male characters. Even the schizophrenic street artist/musician Wesley Willis recorded a song called “Cut the Mullet”. You may not have heard of Willis, but he has heard of the Mullet, and his opinion is clear: not a fan.

In the face of all this constant ridicule, the folks at Sony Music have assembled their take on the mullet-head soundtrack, the empowering double CD: Mullets Rock!. Though I have seen plenty of mullets floating around in the country music crowd, this set is mostly classic rock with a little bit of mainstream metal, spanning the 1970s through to the early ’80s.

To be honest, some of this music did absolutely nothing to conjure images of mullets in my mind. In particular, on disc two, we hear ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down,” a song that is very un-rock n’ roll. Images of awkward teenagers grooving at a high school dance in 1979 immediately spring to mind. This is not the track you rip out of your Trans-Am on your way to the 7-11 to buy some Budweiser tall-boy cans and a tin of Kodiak. We could be watching “That ’70s Show” and this song could suddenly be worked into the set.

Another minor point of contention is the inclusion of the Allman Brothers Band’s “No One to Run With.” Rather than drawing on the Allman’s early ’70s material, instead we get a mid-’90s tune that, while just as good as their classics, is better at conjuring images of teenage hippie wanna-be’s puffing on the lawn of a ‘shed’ concert venue like Mansfield’s Tweeter Center. Had something like “Ramblin’ Man” been included, it would make more sense.

Aside from these distractions, Mullets Rock! is probably just what you thought it would be, though with a little less metal than expected. Sure, we got Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight,” Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” and Quiet Riot’s “Bang Your Head,”. But still- no Black Sabbath? No AC/DC? No “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger?

I guess the bottom line is Mullets Rock! Raises questions. I wonder, is this a collection for the mullet-head, or is it for ‘the rest of us’? Is this the music we would expect to hear coming out of that F-150 with the gun rack and the ‘No Fear’ decals, or is it what record executives would like to think we would hear?

After all, the tracks here are very familiar in ‘mainstream’ American society, so that at times it can be difficult to hear this music in the context for which it is intended. A white, short-haired, well-groomed visitor to my apartment took a look at the contents of the disc and remarked with excitement how he loved everything it contained. One of my roommates, who coincidentally also does not have a mullet, simply referred to the CD as ‘bad cock rock.’

Maybe the greatest value in this CD is that it casts some roll-bar-mounted fog lights on the deeper, pressing issues of mullet identity. I mean, mullet-heads aren’t quite as tightly-knit a subculture as Deadheads or Trekkies. I wonder if you can even call mullet-heads a subculture. Would a mullet-head even consider himself a mullet-head? Maybe he would rather think of himself as a father, or a supervisor, or a musician, or just some white dude who just doesn’t care whether he’s ‘hip,’ but likes to rock. Sometimes a few good tunes and some really-really-bad hair is all you need. Forget the philosophy, get your painted denim jacket on and rock. I’m sure the mullet-head would agree.

Mullets Rock!
Track listing

Disc 1:
Mountain “Mississippi Queen”
Deep Purple “Smoke on the Water”
Foreigner “Hot Blooded”
Foghat “Slow Ride”
Billy Squier “The Stroke”
Ted Nugent “Free-For-All”
Brownsville Station “Smokin’ In The Boys Room”
Rick Derringer “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”
Cheap Trick “Surrender”
Loverboy “Working For the Weekend”
Journey “Any Way You Want It”
Eddie Money “Two Tickets To Paradise”
Toto “Hold The Line”
REO Speedwagon “Roll With The Changes”
The Allman Brothers Band “No One to Run With”
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”
George Thorogood & The Destroyers “Bad to the Bone”
Lynyrd Skynyrd “Simple Man”

Disc 2:
Boston “Smokin'”
Molly Hatchet “Flirtin’ With Disaster”
Judas Priest “Living After Midnight”
Twisted Sister “I Wanna Rock”
Quiet Riot “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)”
Blue Oyster Cult “Godzilla”
The Edgar Winter Group “Frankenstein”
Kansas “Carry On Wayward Son”
Grand Funk Railroad “We’re An American Band”
Electric Light Orchestra “Don’t Bring Me Down”
Bachman-Turner Overdrive “Takin’ Care of Business”
The Hollies “Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)”
The Doobie Brothers “Rockin’ Down The Highway”
Ram Jam “Black Betty”
Alice Cooper “School’s Out”
Meat Loaf “Bat Out Of Hell”
Argent “Hold Your Head Up”

April 14, 2003
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