In the late eighties, I had just come off of a New Kids On The Block frenzy, and when they fizzled, I was looking for the next big crush. I had a friend with an older sister who was into metal, and therefore she was the expert who led me down the path to obsession. One time at her house, we watched endless hours of Headbanger's Ball, and the combination of over-sexualized, hyper-masculinity mixed with traditionally feminine dress like makeup, long hair, and bright colored-clothing whipped my young teen psyche into a frenzy.
But, honestly, it wasn't just about the guys--it was even more so about the music. Here was something loud, upbeat with lyrics that didn't kid around. Even to this day, I have no patience for low-temp, low key music (sorry Iron And Wine, Elliott Smith, and Bon Iver). And these lyrics really meant business; everything was about what said singer was going to do to a woman's body, where he was going to stick it, and on many occasions, a sweet pining for love. Guys who would take charge AND are sensitive! Swoon!
As a young impressionable teen, I fell right into the marketing ploy that this kind of rock 'n' roll was fun. Anyone who tried to get in the way was a total square. The teased hair and tight miniskirt groupie girls were the luckiest girls in the world: they got to have fun and hang out with the hottest guys in the universe! My friend and I would actually spend the most time scrutinizing the girls who got to be in the videos and tear them apart over our obsessive jealousy. It was only until later that I realized what these women's experiences probably were, and the bands' struggles. (Seriously, read The Dirt. It's fascinating and tragic.)
Although I don't quite agree with Archphoenix's enthusiasm for the movie, I couldn't help but get excited to hear some of my favorite songs get some attention ("I Wanna Know What Love Is" being one of my favorites.) There seemed to be six gazillion songs featured in the film, and about gazillion also would have been welcome. Here are some of my favorite hair metal songs that didn't make the cut:
Warrant, "Cherry Pie"
My sexual education was fairly accelerated: I was an advanced reader and read many young adult books at about seven and started reading "adult" books at nine or ten. V.C. Andrews taught me a lot about sex, so by the time Warrant rolled out this feminist anthem and the video got heavy rotation on MTV, I was savvy enough to get the symbolism of the band spraying the girl with the fire hose and what Cherry Pie actually was. Also, RIP Jani Lane.
Trixter, "Give It To Me Good"
Trixter was basically the boy band of hair metal. Adorable teenagers from New Jersey (I actually remembered that from memory) just hanging out and being adorable singing upbeat songs.
Motley Crue, "Home Sweet Home"
I'm surprised there was no Motley Crue in Rock Of Ages; something tells me they wouldn't be willing to give up the rights to their songs. The ultimate "behind the scenes on tour" video that show the crazy life of a rocker on tour. Vince Neil kissing the crotch of the poster is an iconic image that will be burned into my mind forever.
Jackyl, "The Lumberjack"
Sometimes I thought I dreamt of this band. What would you call this, redneck metal? All I know is that I got in trouble for buying this cassette without my parents permission. My mother found it and discovered there was also a track called "She Loves My Cock." Awkward!
Winger, "Miles Away"
Oh, Kyp Winger. So sensitive. Fun fact: Kip is now writing a full-length ballet.
Nelson, "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection"
Oh, Nelson. In case you cared, I preferred Matthew over Gunnar (Matthew has the bangs). I am extremely ashamed of how much I loved Nelson. My god, I couldn't even make it through the whole video for shame of myself and their choice of outfits. Nelson seemed like a very safe hair metal band to worship. They seemed to be way sweeter and not so much into the drugs.
Poison, "Life Goes On"
Poison was featured heavily in Rock Of Ages, but they were way more about just havin' a good time. Oh Bret Michaels, you sexy diabetic beast. I am fully confident that the character of Stacee Jaxx was based on him (at least in the stage version).
Tesla, "Love Song"
I feel sort of bad for Tesla; they are often lumped into the hair band category, when in fact, their music is more of a rock/country/soul blend. Although Jeff Keith is not doing anyone any favors with those footprint-print leggings. Love will find a way, you guys!