Feb 10, 2014

For Those About to Rock - We Salute You

In honor of the whole Throwback Thursday movement that has taken hold of social networking, I decided to load up one of my infamous Pandora stations and blast hair band metal for the duration of the day.  Now let's be upfront in saying - yes, I am aware of the stigmas and bad reputation hair bands have. I have also endured a fair share of ribbing and slighting for having a special place in my heart for hair bands.  In my defense....hey, at least I don't fucking listen to Journey.  In fact, I despise Journey.  After all, I do 
have some standards.  

That being said - the appreciation for hair metal is more of a nostalgic thing.  If memory serves, it started around 5th or 6th grade when Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet and Poison's Look What the Cat Dragged albums gained popularity.  There was a shift in the airwaves as well as MTV if anyone can remember back to when they actually played more videos than shite reality shows.  Rikki Rachtman hosted MTV's Headbanger's Ball on Saturday night, which gave homage to all things heavy metal.   

At the time there were still plenty of limitations associated with living in a very rural area, and radio and television were two key media sources.  There was no Internet - no iTunes - no applications you could download to expand your media horizon.  The next best option was the record store, and goodness knows how many hours I spent browsing through the cassette, vinyl, compact disc selections. I also raided the magazine rack...I know...what in the fuck is a magazine rack?  There was an arsenal of magazines that revolved around music and more specifically hair metal.  Circus - Spin - Rolling Stone even.  They often featured lyrics and centerfolds, and my bedroom walls were absolutely covered with my favorite bands.  My bedroom decor (if you will) went from bands like the Cure, Pet Shop Boys, Echo and the Bunnymen, and A-ha to Slaughter, Poison, and Cinderella.  

I started learning how to play guitar  around the same time so naturally I made every attempt to learn how to play along with my favorite bands and songs.  In my mind, I was a rock star...just like the hairy boys in these bands.  I played almost every single day for hours it seemed.  I don't know how my parents ever put up with the high decibel levels, but they did.  

As a subscriber to Sirius XM - I have the luxury of dialing into the Hair Nation channel whenever I am in the car.  Every once in a while, they will play a song that I haven't heard in years - generally one that evokes nostalgia.  I have such vivid memories of those times - good, bad, and bizarre.  At the time, the songs and/or albums I listened to were burning a permanent image or reminder in my memory banks that would forever remind me of that period in my life.  It also fucks with me a little because it makes me realize how quickly time passes.  After all - it has been nearly twenty-five years since the great heavy metal/hair band invasion.  I think of my original group of friends that I grew up with.  I think of those that were not fortunate enough to live to see today, and mostly I think of the person I was then in compared to the person I am now.  

So here's to you, hair bands.  I thank you for the bad hair, over usage of power chords, and sad song ballads. If you are so inclined, check out my Pandora profile that comes equipped with twenty unique and fun channels.  You can get your hair band/heavy metal thrills through my channel entitled Hairy Balls to the Walls. Check it out at Diddy's Pandora Box.