So many hair metal bands in the record bins, so little time to differentiate the wheat from the chaff. Well, if we may, allow us to lay some hair metal bands on you that you can be proud to play for your friends.
If not for a thirty-second taste of "Loco-Emotion" on American Bandstand's "Rate A Record" segment and seeing their ad in the back of Hit Parader every month, I would have kept right on walking past their album in the record bins and never known the ballsy genius of the band's second album, Cool Kids. Imagine if Atlantic records signed a hard rock act and then decided to change every thing about them in order to land that much-coveted hit single and the band said, "You want a hit? Here's ten of 'em!"
Of course, once given the goods, Atlantic totally putzed out on their end of the deal. That is until five long years later when they finally managed to break a power ballad.
I remember seeing their second album, Wasted Youth, noticing the band was signed to Don Arden's Jet label, and muttering, "Poor saps never knew what hit them". They would implode within months of the album's release as guitarist Phil Collen jumped ship to the much more fruitful Def Leppard camp and singer Phil Lewis would move to Hollywood and start L.A. Guns, thereby relegating Girl to the list of bands dudes were in before they got famous.
I can't listen to the band's music anymore without cursing Vince Neil, but, for a time, these Finnish glam rockers were the cat's meow and poised to take a swat at these shores thanks to a deal with Epic Records. I'd caught the bug a year earlier upon procuring the band's Back To Mystery City via mail order. Based upon the album art, my teenage mind surmised that they must surely sound like the New York Dolls meet Lords of The New Church and what I wound up hearing 6-8 weeks later was just Stones-y and Faces-y enough to make me a full gonzo fan of the band for life.
One glance at the live clip above and you just might realize wear Guns n Roses got their look...and sound.
I'm as surprised as you are to see a Canadian band on this list and I'm the dude writing this thing. maybe it has something to do with the memory that flashes into my mind anytime I hear the band's music. It was the '80s and I was DJ'ing a joint that had, on this particular night, hired a traveling strip show for the evening's entertainment.
My job on this night, according to my boss, was to play music in between each stripper's act and to film the activity on the in-house video system so those in the cheap seats could see what they were missing.
Their manager was the sort of dude you took one look at and said "Yep, he manages strippers". After playing "Honeymoon Suite's "Feel It Again", Mr. Mullet came up to me and asked what song I was playing.
Two sets later, I sneak in some more Honeymoon Suite, this time "New Girl Now", and the guy comes up to me again and asks the same question.
Two months later, the strip show makes a return engagement and this time, his strippers dance to not one, not two, but three Honeymoon Suite songs that night. While the band never broke big in the States, let me tell you, they're mighty popular on the rural midwest strip club circuit!
What the Stooges were to punk, New York's Starz were to hair metal. Releasing four studio albums for Capitol between 76-78, the band hit the Top 40 with "Cherry Baby" and succeeded in dooming themselves to the soft rock no-zip sorting bin in the process.
Subsequent catalog reissues from the likes of Metal Blade have tried their best to deliver some posthumous love for a band who found themselves managed by the powerful Bill Aucoin and playing third fiddle to his other acts Kiss and Piper (featuring Billy Squier)
If you like your rock sugary sweet with demented lyrics, grab yourself a copy of their second opus, Violation and stay tuned for a new studio album from the boys this year courtesy of Frontiers Records.