A to Z of Making It, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Guitar Heroes and MTV

The huge success of EVH and Randy Rhoads from Southern California in the late seventies and early eighties, created an entire scene of guitarists in LA’s Sunset Strip.

Most of them were classed as imitators.

In a different era only a few of these guitarists would have made it. But these guitarists had something that no other guitarist had before them.

MTV.

A new market was created by music television that needed artists with a “god like” physical look and “love making” stage moves. And in order to satisfy the masses, MTV told the labels to go and get these artists. And major labels signed em in droves.

Dressed up as characters from “The Rocky Horror Show” and big hair, the anti-alpha look went against the alpha style lyrics of sexual domination and standing your ground.

Suddenly, everyone who wanted to be an artist was having their own fifteen minutes of fame contract thrown at them.

MTV went into business with heavy metal and the biggest beneficiaries were vocalists and guitarists.

And Lemmy once said, “the essence of rock and roll is rebellion” and “the only reason for rock and roll to exist is to be the soundtrack for the movie of teenage angst and anger”.

And there was a lot of teenage angst and anger. We snapped up the records and concert tickets and T-shirt’s at an unbelievable pace, fueled by the over exposure that MTV created, along with the various magazines.

Guitarists like Vito Bratta, George Lynch, Warren DeMartini/Robin Crosby, Carlos Cavazo, CC DeVille, Jake E Lee, Joey Allen/Erik Turner, Traci Gunns, Mark Kendall, Vinnie Vincent and Tom Keifer all had moments in the spotlight.

Artists like Lynch and Lee had success with multiple projects, while Keifer had an unbelievable ability to take old blues influences and turn them into popular rock songs. But he got lumped in with the rest of the hair Metal artists.

Warren DeMartini also got classed into this hair metal category but he was an outlier and Vito Bratta for all of his abilities couldn’t shake the EVH clone comparisons and a vocalist who couldn’t shake the DLR and Vince Neil comparisons.

It’s a very subjective viewpoint but for the other guitarists, did they really produce an album’s worth of great material.

Standard
A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

What Happens After The Pinnacle?

Want some advice.

Each style of music regardless of what genre will reach its pinnacle within 3 to 8 years and then a freeze would come across it.

The bands involved in the growth of the will have their best memories and the most defining moments of their musical careers during this growth period. We can use any scene however let’s look at the Eighties LA scene. It began in 1981.

Motley Crue, RATT, WASP and Quiet Riot had the LA Scene cornered at that point in time.

Quiet Riot was a twelve-year overnight success story when they had the first big breakthrough, going to Number 1 with “Metal Health” in 1983 and becoming the first “metal” band to do so in the U.S. That was the bands pinnacle. Within 3 years the band was over.

RATT was also a ten-year overnight success story, when they had their big breakthrough with “Out Of The Cellar” released in 1984. That was the bands pinnacle and within 8 years the band was over.

WASP was an eight year overnight success story when they had their big break through with their self-titled debut in 1984. The band never really stuck together, however Chris Holmes and Blackie Lawless remained until 1990. At that stage, WASP more or less became Blackie Lawless’s solo project and I define “The Crimson Idol” as Blackie Lawless’s and by default WASP’s defining moment.

Motley Crue was a six-year overnight success story when they had their big breakthrough with “Shout At The Devil”, however their defining album was by far “Dr Feelgood” and that album was a twelve-year journey. However a few years after that Vince Neil was out.

Once the pinnacle is reached, after that, a freeze sets in. That freeze happened in 1992 for hard rock music.

It took Motley Crue another 12 years before they achieved the same heights as they did in the Eighties. In between, the members worked hard at their own home movies, cough cough, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee. Solo projects like Methods of Mayhem for Tommy Lee, Vince Neil solo albums, 58 and Brides Of Destruction for Nikki Sixx and eventually finding time to record three Crue albums. One with John Corabi on vocals, one with the band reunited and another with Randy Castillo (RIP) on drums. Then came the all-encompassing book. “The Dirt”. And the resurrection started. If you’re not afraid to go through one door, many more will open there after. And that is what happened to Motley Crue. The book was the door they went through.

And that is what Motley Crue have done, played the game their own way and ended up with riches and power.

Quiet Riot and RATT never re-covered.

WASP/Blackie Lawless realised early on in the Eighties that WASP was a cult band, with a hard-core audience, and it was that audience who Blackie has played for. He didn’t change the WASP sound when Grunge was king. He didn’t change the WASP sound when Industrial and Nu-Metal became king. He just kept on going, realising WASP albums and I am proud to say that I own all of them.

And after the hard rock ice-age was over a new status quo existed.

The previously successful acts need to work even harder to stay successful. The new acts starting off in the new frontier had to work ten times harder.

Because the people that we think are star’s many people around us have no idea who they are.

Standard