Hair metal. Not to be confused with metal hair. It wasn’t just a fashion statement, it was a genre. This post will by no means be comprehensive: I’m not an expert in this kind of music, and you all will laugh at my credentials when I confess that one of my favorites was probably Ratt’s “Round and Round” (but I don’t have any covers of it). Loved the video. Anything with Rodney D. is killer.
Anyhoo, I realized the other day that I have a bunch of hairrock covers and assorted goodies, and thought they might make for a pretty decent A to Z post. So, here ’tis. A buncha cuts and a zip of the savefile songs.
A is for All Along the Watchtower-Pearl Jam (in zip file). This song is a fitting first cut. Bob Dylan was arguably the father of metal because Jimi covered this song, and it became a signature tune for Hendrix, enabling him to reach wide audiences and melt eardrums around the world. Kurt Cobain killed heavy metal in the ’90s, but it was Pearl Jam who took grunge to the next level, not only because they were a better band with a better vocalist, but because they survived the ’90s. Pearl Jam brought metal through grunge back to its classic rock roots: Last year’s eponymous album, one of their best, was solid rock and roll, through and through.
B is for barely metal. It’s also for Bon Jovi, who embraced the hair but didn’t really have the licks and the screaming. Living on Prayer (Bon Jovi)-Matt Nathanson (live)
C is for CSS. Pretend We’re Dead (L7 cover)-Cansei de Ser Sexy L7 aren’t really metal, but the cover of one of their albums has these two hands shaking hands, one is a skeleton, and the shapes of the hands form an L and a 7. Neat, huh? Grrrrrl rock!
D is for Drive By Truckers-Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Van Halen). In zip file.
E is for the Poison cover Every Rose Has Its Thorn, done country-style by Rex Hobart & The Misery Boys (in the zip file). Country versions of metal are pretty easy to imagine. I don’t know how many of you watched Dee Schneider of Twisted Sister kick everyone’s collective asses on “Gone Country.” There’s more Hank Williams spirit than John Rich and the rest of the cast have all put together in just one of Dee’s little fingers. (The middle one, of course.)
F is for Ford. No, not Ford motors, Lita, of The Runaways (the band that also spawned more-real-rocker-than-glam-rocker Joan Jett). Kiss Me Deadly (Lita Ford cover)-Matt Nathanson (live)
G is for the Game. Pour It Out (R.I.P. Billboard)-Game (Using Dream On by Aerosmith) (in zip file). Eminem also used an Aerosmith sample, but he did so on a proper album ’cause he can afford to pay a jigallion bucks in royalties.
H is for Hot for Teacher (Van Halen)-The Shins. Every metalhead wanted to be able to shred like Eddie. And in my opinion, nobody’s ever been able to be that good. Ever. Nowadays, most college bands would rather be The Shins than Van Halen. So sad.
I is for I’m Eighteen (Alice Cooper)-Drive By Truckers (in zip file).
J is for Jailbreak-Jason Isbell of Drive By Truckers (in zip file). Two by the DBTs–probably one of the best live band around these days.
K is for Kick Out The Chairs (Who Made Who Remix)-Munk. The Bad Brains cover meets Angus Young. Most of my metal-tending buddies loved Bad Brains.
L is for, inevitably, Led Zeppelin. Here brought to embarassing living color by Tiny Tim, in the zip file.
M is for South of Heaven (Slayer)-Modest Mouse
N is for the Next Wave of headbangers. There’s a bunch of shredding motherfuckers who’ve come to light in the past few years, and some of my favorites are represented below:
Marnie Stern looks nothing like her music.
Precious Metal-Marnie Stern.
Lost in You-The Fame* (in zip file)
*The Fame are actually a lot closer to ’80s hair bands than you might think, because they seem to be one-hit-wonders. “Lost In You” is a kick ass tune, but to my knowledge, they’ve never followed it up. Guys, if you’re out there, prove me wrong!
O is for a golden Oldie: Blue Suede Shoes by Motorhead. The Carl Perkins classic goes metal! (Some will comment, probably, that Motorhead aren’t metal. To them I say: Fuck off!)
P is for Purple Rain-Ben Harper (live). No, Prince isn’t metal. But his solos on this album beat just about any others of the ’80s, didn’t they?
R is for Rush! Spirit of the Radio (Rush)-Ted Leo
S is for the alt-metal god Billy Corgan’s first band. Heavy Metal Machine-Smashing Pumpkins (live)
T is for Tales of Brave Ulysses (Cream)-Screaming Trees. Cream metal? Technically, no, of course, but if you’re into heavy metal you have to also be into Wheels of Fire. If you’re not, you’re a poser shmuck.
U is for underrated. Def Leppard were actually a very solid band, a fact undercut by their hair-metal fanbase. Pour Some Sugar On Me (Def Leppard)-The Station. Emmy Grymer’s Pour Some Sugar On Me is in the zip file, as a bonus.
V is for more Van Halen covers in the zip file: Jump! by Aztec Camera and by Mary Lou Lord!
W is for zip file, because Z is taken.
X is for Iron Man Jam (Iron Butterfly)-Xavier Rudd
Y, Y and Z are for . . . YYZ (Rush cover)-Foo Fighters