Darker, heavier music in the sounds of Steppenwolf and Blue Cheer. Followed by the inspired and inspiring sound of Kiss and Aerosmith. Van Halen begins a decade's worth of dominance for the uniquely party hardy metal of America.

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Episode credited cast:
Michael Anthony ...
Scott Asheton ...
Don Branker ...
Dick Dale ...
John Drake ...
Kevin Estrada ...
Robert Ezrin ...
Tom Hamilton ...
Larry Harris ...
Randy Holden ...


Darker, heavier music in the sounds of Steppenwolf and Blue Cheer. Followed by the inspired and inspiring sound of Kiss and Aerosmith. Van Halen begins a decade's worth of dominance for the uniquely party hardy metal of America.

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19 November 2011 (USA)  »

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Written by Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, Lois Mann
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User Reviews

Deluded hippies, pre-punks, and others species.
28 February 2012 | by (Serbia) – See all my reviews

Dunn wastes an entire three episodes – out of the insufficient 11 he'd been given – on early metal. He should have squeezed those three in two episodes, thereby making more room for some of the more important sub-genres which he had chosen to leave out, like hardcore/crossover or death metal.

That is not to say that these first three episodes aren't interesting. Colorful personalities such as Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, and Iggy Pop are never dull, so their appearances alone should be of note even to viewers who don't listen to any kind of heavy music.

Right at the start, Dunn displays some predictable political bias (left-wing media and all) by stating that "it will be a challenge to have Ted not talk about politics or hunting". Nugent is a well-known Republican, hence this remark. Had Nugent been one of many phony save-the-world liberal "do-gooders" who infest the world of rock music, politics would have been probably ALL that Dunn would have wanted to hear from him – seeing as how Sam went out of his way to interview a Marxist college professor (who personally has practically nothing to do with the metal scene) in episode 6, when he obediently and carefully listened to her rant about Reagan and Thatcher. Nevertheless, I give Dunn/McFayden credit for not chucking out the amusing scene in which Nugent expresses his distaste for Obama. Ted is a unique character, and has never been a sheep who merely jumped on any political or musical band-wagon that happened to be raging at the time. (His political views show that he is a rare individualist; ironically, individualism is precisely what rock's Left pretend to promote – but the moment someone's views digress from theirs, they get upset and reveal their latent intolerance for those who think differently.)

Speaking of deluded left-wing nitwits, here's a quote from MC5's Kramer: "my generation was in agreement that the way our parents were doing things was a complete disaster". Speaking for everyone, Wayne, are we? "My generation was in agreement". So EVERYONE then. If everyone had agreed with the semi-literate Kramer, the 1970s would have seen America turn Communist – but it didn't. (So much for those "words of (aging-hippie) wisdom".) Admittedly though, Kramer isn't entirely wrong; HIS parents had undoubtedly made some disastrous decisions – if you know what I mean. I whole-heartedly recommend to anyone interested in rock – or Spinal Tap – to watch the documentary feature film "MC5: A True Testimonial"; it often comes off as a mockumentary. These guys were some of the silliest, most dull-witted clowns that rock has ever had.

But at least when it comes to the late 60s period Dunn had every right to bring politics into the fray (just as long as it was a left-wing take/view on the period and not Ted's, needless to say). The late-60s/early-70s heavy rock bands were far more politically involved than the first and second generations of metal bands (i.e. NWOBHM and thrash), so it was perfectly valid to focus on that aspect occasionally (even if the views offered on the subject come off as exaggerated, naïve, and childishly rebellious-for-the-sake-of-it).

It was interesting to find out things like how Alice Cooper broke into the charts – namely by mere coincidence and sheer luck, showing that success isn't just about hard work and talent (or a lack of it, such as with Bon Jovi), but about using your elbows and relying on circumstances of which one has little or no control to hopefully play out in one's favour. I was amused by Cooper's story of how his manager referred to the future hit-song "Eighteen" as "very dumb" (hence ideal for the music market), and how the manager requested from the band to make the song "sound even dumber".

What can I say about Aerosmith? I'd always found their biography the real point of interest, as opposed to their music - commercial pap they'd been playing for decades now, rightfully labeled as a mere imitation of the Stones (whose music I also care little for). Watch any Aerosmith documentary about their career-spanning, almost never-ending shenanigans/misadventures with drugs, and you won't be disappointed. This documentary only mildly touches on the subject: a common problem of the ME series, with its extremely limiting 45-minute time-frame that is supposed to cover an entire sub-genre. Each episode seems a little rushed as a result.

The only new thing I learned(?) about Kiss was that Stanley and Simmons actually had some integrity (allegedly) early on in the band's career. That was (or may have been) the case, of course, until they recorded a ballad – against which they were supposedly totally against ever doing – and particularly until the time when they actually sold out in a big way by recording a disco song. Kiss have always been one of the most money-orientated hard rock bands, so it was unusual to hear their band name uttered in the same breath as musical integrity.

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