I Wanna Rock/ Essay

At the end of the 1960’s there was much turmoil from politics. Music experienced psychedelia, folk, and lots of drugs. What came next was quite a turn…

Young men started bands. Influenced by artists who put out their first records in the 1970’s they continued a style and mantra critics saw as a flash in the pan.

Top: Mott The Hoople
Bottom: The New York Dolls.

Glam. Fancy dress. Machismo. Electric guitars. Rock players who had worn t-shirts and jeans now displayed leather and satin. Studded belts and wristbands accessorized the look.

KISS released their debut in 1973. The band’s name was set in glitter. Paul Stanley saw the New York Dolls dress up in satins. He took this style into a much heavier rock music.

Alice Cooper went solo in 1975 unleashing his version of this heavier rock music on the masses. He became one of the leaders in hard rock wearing satin outfits onstage as well as leather.

Slade from England and T-Rex also led the glam charge. The next wave of music would take this even further to create glam metal.

Top: Slade
Bottom: Marc Bolan

The guys who looked like girls in the 1970s like David Bowie or Marc Bolan would evolve into bands that looked fem but played hard with macho looks.

Motley Crue, Poison, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Hanoi Rocks, and Guns n Roses come to fame during this era.

Big hair, leather, spandex nd make-up are it. Labels sign bands like Twisted Sister, Ratt, Winger, Bullet Boys, Warrant and many others in their wake.

Funny enough that KISS retired their trademark makeup at a time when their progeny put it on.

KISS unmasked. (L) Founding members Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley; (R) Bruce Kulick & Eric Carr transformed the band into a hard rock glam act.

I came of age at this time. My first hard rock record was “Blizzard of Ozz” by Ozzy Osbourne, the former lead vocalist of Black Sabbath. Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast ” was my first metal record.

While glam metal started up many bands from the previous era developed into heavy metal—Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Both bands to this day are regarded as the top two acts in all of metal.

Scorpions from Germany also became one of the biggest metal acts in the world. “Rock You Like A Hurricane” was fierce; “Winds Of Change” was a ballad that appealed across the globe.

Scorpions in full leather.

During these years, Rob Halford of Judas Priest wore leather outfits head to toe with studded jewelry. Paul DiAnno, the singer on the first two Iron Maiden albums wore leather pants as did the entire group on their early tours.

Every fan wanted to dress like their heroes. The black leather motorcycle jacket became synonymous with the art form. Guys wore band tee shirts too. The truly passionate wore leather pants as well.

Iron Maiden in 1981.

I attended many concerts during this era. The concerts were KISS shows from the 1970’s brought up to date with new effects and sound equipment. Lighting rigs were state of the art.

When you went to the record shop you could easily pick out the hard rock/metal groups because of their image. A band’s logo was another tell tale sign.

Jagged type with dripping letters highlighted in primary colors were a big part of the logo.

Logos become band identity to the glam metal form.

The albums of these groups sold millions upon millions. There were several records released in the Glam era that are all-time best sellers including Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” and Def Leppard’s “Hysteria”.

Debut albums from Skid Row, Cinderella, Motley Crue, and Poison also sold millions.

Glam’s influence would impact other groups too. From Cheap Trick’s “One On One” to Judas Priest’s “Turbo” the sound of glam metal appealed across the spectrum of sounds.

Billy Squire would have his biggest records, “Don’t Say No”, “Emotions In Motion”, and “Signs Of Life” during the glam metal years.

I went to live shows to see Ratt perform their hits like ‘Round and Round’ and ‘You Think You’re Tough’ but also to be a part of the metal community.

Fans showed up to the Meadowlands arena in New Jersey in full leather outfits! Guys had long hair too. It was amazing.

Metal fans in the 1980’s.

The music happened to be great. The bands that got play on MTV had videos that matched their looks. Twisted Sister’s videos are among the most memorable ever produced.

The outfits, the logos, the hair, and the music made it all possible. Two of the components on every record were anthems and ballads.

KISS had anthems like ‘Rock N Roll All Nite’ and ballads like ‘Beth’. Every 80’s glam metal act would follow suit.

Skid Row had ‘Youth Gone Wild’ and ’18 and Life’; Twisted Sister had ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and ‘The Price’. Quiet Riot would score with cover songs by Slade: ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ and ‘Mama, We’re All Crazee Now’ catapulted them to the top.

Glam metal fans continue to be devoted to their favorites. Today we are drowned by commercial mainstream pop. While not all of it is bad we yearn for heavy guitar chords to return us to former glam glories. There are new listeners today discovering these sounds for the first time.

Having begun to re-listen I have found how much I still love this type of music too. I do not have long hair anymore, but I do love the look and sound of glam.

A couple of bands making great music today are Blind Guardian and Dragonforce. Considered Power Metal I think they use some glam elements in their productions.

Their lyrics are akin to reading a fantasy epic by Tolkien along with guitar instrumentation that updates that glam metal sound from the eighties.

This art form is a form of escapist entertainment that has had its share of adversity.

During the 1980’s there were attempts to censor lyrics which led to labeling records ‘explicit’.

Organized religion especially Catholicism has often been at odds with metal music. What they view as satanic others see as rebellion.

Many metallers are just devil-may-care in their attitude. And sure, some do worship the dark lord, not that there is anything wrong with it.

Ghost are a perfect example of a current group that took all of its former influences from The Doors and Queen to Priest & Maiden producing a fresh blast of glam metal on the dark side. If you love music check them out.

In fact the opposition to all metal music enables it to continue to thrive.

There are now a multitude of radio stations that play it and magazines publish articles everyday updating a listener following that spans the entire world.

Loudwire, Rock N Roll Garage, Metal Voice are a few of the websites that publish every day.

Sirius XM has Ozzy’s Boneyard that plays classic metal.

I think it’s time for glam and metal to make a return. Perhaps 2020 will see it rise again. Tool topped the charts with “Fear Inoculum ” this year. A good sign for metal.

Evan’s Gate/For The Misfits

A picture of yours truly at the TimeWarner Center in New York. 
An exhibit of Maurice Sendak’s art for auction at Southeby’s.

Introducing my blog.

Following 13 entries I decided to create this formal welcome.  For everyone who has ever felt like a misfit.  Perhaps you are living in a part of the country that puts you in the political minority;  you dress differently than what is proscribed; you love music that hardly ever touches the mainstream;  you read a lot;  history is not your story.

I was born in Manhattan in the 1960’s.  My parents are college educated lifelong New Yorkers.  They are still married.  All four of their children including myself were never left wanting.  We are all adults now.  We were middle class.  Our parents were never out of work.  We never went hungry.  Each kid was made to feel loved every day.  I have 2 older brothers and one younger sister.  Raised in The Bronx.  The neighborhood was quite suburban as it was the northernmost part of the city bordered by one of the largest parks. 

We had our struggles.  Politics, music, books, art, and history were all a part of life.  This was not an elite way of life.  A big city has many more resources at its disposal to educate people.  Of course when you are a kid you cannot fully appreciate what it all means.  Then you grow up.  Every day you have more joy than sorrow because you have critical thinking skills that will see you through.

Today we have technology.  If you can write and think critically about a variety of topics and ideas you can blog.

My education was not easy.  Kindergarten through grade 12 in public schools that became increasingly too crowded did not help.  Early exposure to college was great.  I moved away from home for the first time. I was eighteen when I entered college.  My graduation did not happen until decades later.  The politics of the times was not to my liking so I dropped out.  When I did graduate college I was an adult.  My degree was in media studies.  This is my credential for writing about topics ranging from our current media age problems to our political turmoil.  My undying passion for heavy music stems from my dislike of the system.

I am a misfit.  Being gay does not put you into the mainstream.  Things are way better today.  But multitudes of people sacrificed a lot to make it happen.  People who do not fit neatly into the schemes of others are championed here.

Heavy metal music, LGBTQ life, mutlicultural politics, banned books, art, and critiques of our all too powerful media companies are all a  part of this blog.  I love discussing these things.  This is my outlet for protest and greater understanding.  

I hope you will enjoy reading and responding here!  We may be misfits to the outside but here we all fit together.

PhantomFashion 30/Art Review

This year Phantom of the Opera turned 30!  To celebrate theater’s longest-running musical the Museum of the City of New York has a 30 day exhibit of 30 phantom masks that were custom designed. There is a silent auction for each piece.  It runs from October 30th until November 30th.

Visit BroadwayCares.org/Phantom to bid. And now here are some of my favorites in this unique show:

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As you can see they are each one of a kind creations.  Above we see a L.A. inspired mask with palms, sunset, and phantom style graffiti.  Below is Zang Toi’s wonderful white feathered accents perfect for masquerade.

This charitable endeavor was made possible by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Bank of America and The Phantom of the Opera.

Visit broadwaycares.org, http://www.mcny.org, Facebook.com/MuseumofCityNY for more information about this exhibit.

Harry Potter: A History Of Magic/Art Review

 

HPNYHS

In conjunction with the British library this new exhibition celebrates the 20th anniversary of the publication of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”.  Connecting the lavish fantasy world of Harry with the very real world of magic is the mission here.  I declare the curators have succeeded.  With the show split up into all of the different subjects in the fictional Hogwart’s curriculum young and old alike will learn the history behind the objects featured in the books.

Around 160 artifacts are featured.  On display outside the exhibition space are costumes and props from the “Cursed Child” play .  A signed copy of Half-Blood Prince was shipped via Queen Mary in a giant steamer strunk which is also seen with accompanying video of its journey from England to America.  This signifies quite well the odyssey this series is still experiencing.

Fans will love the Potter ephemera here, especially factoids about the books.  My favorite explains how the British publisher Bloomsbury published only 500 copies of the first book as per their policy with children’s books.  As we all know now the Harry Potter series is now the biggest selling children’s lit series in history.  This fact alone merits an exhibit of this kind.

For the little wizards in your family this experience is not hands-on save for one or two touch screen items and a replica statue of a griffin.

Among the artifacts are a fabulous scroll instructing how to create the sorcerer’s stone in seven steps, a real witch’s cauldron and broomstick.  Alchemy, Dark Arts, Astronomy, Herbology, etc. are all represented with their own section.

Mary Dupre’s original art for all of the novels are displayed to great effect.  As well as Jim McKay’s new illustrations for the recently published storybook editions.  Original art, manuscripts, and letters from J.K. Rowling are quite impressive too.  You will see how she mapped out every character to create this entirely new realm of the fantastic.

This leads to the last section that promotes the new film, “Fantastic Beats and the Curse of Grimwald”  along with items from the current play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”.

Parents be forewarned: you exit through the gift shop after passing all the international editions of the books.  Beyond the $21 ticket price are separate programs related to Harry Potter including readings, meet-ups, and classes.

You are strongly advised to purchase timed tickets on the museum’s website.  The link is provided here:  http://www.nyhistory.org.

 

phoenix
Harry Potter: A History Of Magic at the New York Historical Society