Punk Goes Metal
by Scott Hefflon
Geez, how many of these things do we need? Punkers suddenly came out of the closet, admitting they liked glam metal (and some of the better stuff), and suddenly they feel compelled to cover it badly, like they do everything else. While a couple tracks here are so out of context for the band (Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me” by Jughead’s Revenge, a band who did Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” pretty mean’n’dirty comes instantly to mind, and ditto with Death by Stereo covering White Lion’s “Little Fighter” – great!) they work, many are just punk bands stumbling their way through songs they claim to like.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Those cheesy, silly-looking glam fruits could really play, K? And their vocalists had a little something called a range, got it? Put it this way: if yer singer can’t hit the fuckin’ notes, the original singer was better than yer bud, so don’t play the fuckin’ song! And finally, could someone please school the labels/bands/whoever on the differences between metal, hard rock and glam rock? I applaud Bigwig for doing such a great job on Slayer’s “War Ensemble” (part very authentic – noise solos and production and roar – part wonderfully silly), and I think I applaud Guttermouth and The Aquabats for digging up St. Madness and Leather Pirate, two bands I’ve never heard of, and I know entirely too much about cheesy ’80s metal/whatever. Musta been come latelies (or I just missed ’em). But if yer really gonna do this thing right, why’s everyone always retreading the same damn ground? There’s plenty to plunder, but mosta these guys barely scratch the glossy surface. And only a few bands (here or on any of these goddamn things) really have what it takes to recreate the song, much less interpret it in any new and meaningful way.
Shit, I dunno, while I’m all into the idea of bands doing covers and stickin’ ’em at the end of their CDs for goofy fun or to show where they came from, most of these comps are 3/4s filler cuz the bands never learn the song well enough to take it anywhere. So they play it fast and pretend they’re too punk to care when they’re really just not good enough to play the damn song.
OK, I’m warming up to A New Found Glory skipping through Warrant’s “Heaven Isn’t Too Far Away” and Strung Out‘s scorching take on Ozzy’s “Bark at the Moon.” The latter’s shredding riffage and double-bass thunder beats the piss outta any metal cover I’ve ever heard of it, so I’m eating my words… And, to get a little scary, The Ataris‘ singer has some Seb in him when he pushes his voice in their cover of Skid Row’s lighter-waving lovefest, “I Remember You.”
To be fair, I think I have a different perspective than most of the young ‘uns who someone somewhere thinks’ll like this cuz I useta sneak into sticky-floored rock clubs in the late ’80s and saw more poofy-haired tinkerbells slaughter these songs than I’d care relate, not to mention I was there the first time and remember seeing them on MTV while putting on my eyeliner to go to the mall… I mean, um, shit… Other bands throwing (devil) signs: Divit, AFI, Link 80, Dynamite Boy, Swindle, Turnedown, Diesel Boy, Rx Bandits, Ten Foot Pole.