Foundations Forum 1994
at the Burbank Hilton
by Diane Vinikour
The 7th annual metal jamboree was held at the Burbank Hilton in California. (After this year’s mishap, it may not make it another.) Since the first Foundations Forum in 1988, attendance has steadily increased, bringing writers, labels, bands, and fans worldwide to what is currently the only hard rock convention in existence. During the three days that the festival metallians take over the hotel, informative panels were held during the day on subjects ranging from retail marketing and underground press to tour stories from hell and “Pick Brian’s Brain” (Slagel, president of Metal Blade). They were surprisingly well organized. But once 5 pm hit, the party began and lasted and lasted each night well into the wee hours of morning. From 7 pm until about 1 am, showcases were held in the ballroom that had been successfully transformed into a concert hall with two stages for bands to play on. Among them were, Machine Head, Drown, Bruce Dickinson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Korn, the headliners of the event, Biohazard, along with smaller bands such as Stompbox and Pushmonkey on the sidestage. Such “true metal” incidents occurred, including Yngwie being arrested on the first night of the convention for hitting his wife in the bar (his temper may have been fueled by being called the “donut man” by anyone who had seen Pantera’s Vulgar Video), drunken patrons breaking elevators, and the mandatory setting off of the fire alarm which resulted in the evacuation of the entire conference center.
Also worth mentioning was the “Biohazardmobile.” Yes, Warner Bros. created a car for the band that was driven around Hollywood before the Forum and spent the rest of the week parked inside the convention center. The black, late model Pontiac had been modified, dressed up with dice, fuzzy interior, and their logo painted orange, and was parked amidst “graffiti” that included other Warner labels and bands on the roster and fake dirty needles on the ground. As clever as this display was, one could not help but notice just how much it reeked of money.
All in all, it was a three day party and fest of metal that was fun in every aspect, including the schmoozing from all directions. Metal’s answer to the New Music Seminar is definitely a winner and I don’t plan on missing one again.