This came up on Twitter last week. I have no idea why. But it spurred this post. (Memo: If you have no interest in hair bands or the 80s, skip down to the sports and nonsense below).
As a wannabe musician in the early 80s, my initial influences were Ted Nugent, Kiss, Queen, Judas Priest, Blue Oyster Cult, Zeppelin, The Who and Cheap Trick. Those interests led me to be part of more than one Hair Band. Yes, big hair, makeup, hairspray, gender confusion, screaming guitars and even more screaming vocals. That was us.
So we never quite made it, but it was a glorious time. (My SportsCenter highlight was filling in for a friend in LA and opening for LA Guns in 1985).
The era spawned a lot of Hair Bands that went on to big commercial successes. Guns and Roses and Motley Crue were probably the biggest, but bands like Ratt, Cinderella, Bon Jovi…they were all essentially Hair-era bands.
So I decided to compile a list of 10 Hair Bands you have probably never heard of but are worth a listen. At least for one song. And yes, I did have to dig through my old collection of cassette tapes — yes, cassettes — to find some of these. Most only had one or two songs worth mentioning, so I included those.
These are in no particular order, but if you are bored someday and want to check out some different music from another time, these are your guys:
- Kix. A Baltimore-based band that actually started in the late 70s, but they did not achieve much commercial success until late in the hair band era in 1988. Blow My Fuse, Cold Blood and the anti-suicide ballad Don’t Close Your Eyes were their biggest hits. Blow My Fuse is still on my workout playlist and the song still rocks.
- Killer Dwarfs. A Canadian band that started around 1980, but really took off in 1986 with Stand Tall. Dirty Weapons in 1990 might be my favorite song of theirs.
- White Lion. Achieved some commercial success in the mid-1980s thanks to the hideously awful ballad When The Children Cry. But what stood out about this band was the amazing guitar work of Vito Bratta. Bratta was a cult figure axe-slinger whose riffs were amazing. The guitar work on Wait is some of the best you will ever hear.
- Junkyard. This band is still around, but they were a little late to the Hair party, debuting in the late 80s with a self-titled album. Simple Man and Hollywood were terrific songs and worth checking out even now.
- Y&T. Like a lot of these bands, Y&T was an overnight sensation that had been together for more than a decade. Their best song, Mean Streak, was released in 1983, although they would achieve more commercial success later.
- Fastway. Formed initially by former Motorhead guitarist Eddie Clarke, they recruited unknown singer Dave King, whose powerful voice carried the band. The band had some success until King left before 1990. He is now lead singer for Flogging Molly. But Fastway’s Say What You Will remains one of the better rock songs of the era.
- Zebra. Actually saw these guys at Cardi’s way back in the day. Based in New Orleans, they had a different sound, a more Zeppelin-like approach. Tell Me What You Want and Who’s Behind the Door were the big hits.
- Krokus. Another band that popped in the early 80s, they were heavily influenced by AC/DC. Their cover of The Guess Who’s American Woman got them some air play, and Long Stick Goes Boom and Screamin in the Night were also hits. They also did a pretty cool cover of Ballroom Blitz.
- Faster Pussycat. Might have been too commercially successful to be on this list, but one of my all-time favorites. Their cover of Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain is one of the best covers you will ever hear. Also love Poison Ivy, House of Pain and When There’s a Whip There’s a Way. A reunited version of the group still tours.
- Bullet Boys. They were hyped as the “next Van Halen,” except they lacked that pesky Eddie Van Halen. They really did not have much in the way of a discography. But Smooth Up is one of the best sex songs of the era.
What I love about all these bands with the exception of Zebra — they all wound up changing lineups multiple times over disagreements. That’s music, right? Let me know some of your favorites…Well, if you read this, you now have a bunch of songs to go check out. If not…
Eight is not enough: The Rockets won their eighth straight, but the bigger story was James Harden, who had a rather pedestrian (for him) triple double with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists in an easy win over Sacramento. Harden now has as many triple doubles in 340 games with the Rockets as the legendary Hakeem Olajuwon had in 1,177 games. And don’t look now but the Rockets have the longest winning streak in the NBA.
Give me headline: God bless our friends at the Chronicle. They try so hard to come up with stuff that makes Brock Osweiler not look like a complete disaster. The headline makes him sound like a positive. Really.
Gambling: We will have a guide this weekend and there are several bowls we like a lot. Will not do a full bowl guide — if you are in a pool you will need to listen to the show for that — but will include them as we go on the site.
Quick question: We have tweaked the updates a little to open the links in new tabs. Like or dislike? Please let me know. Otherwise we will keep doing it.
In case you missed it: Our good friend Disco Biscuit (@ on twitter) is reviewing downtown and Montrose area bars for the site. In her first effort she tackles Griff’s. I second the comment on steak night.
And finally…You are a guy. You are out having a good time. Three hot girls want to buy you drinks and ply you with alcohol. Note to self: Bad things are going to happen to you. With scissors. Sure reads like these three were witches. Real ones, not what you call your wife when she is being a dickweed. Which leads us to this…
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I hate witches. Humans had the right idea, burning them at the stake.”
― Charlaine Harris,