How ironic that bands which hardly ever sang about Satan all sold their souls for success.
Glam metal was for the 80s metal scene more-or-less what nu-metal was for the 90s: a thoroughly commercial, predictable, image-orientated, contrived, hence to the most part musically-speaking useless sub-genre, receiving almost instant backing by major labels which are usually quick to recognize a truly awful (hence profitable) music style, sniffing out like animals the huge potential that resides in almost every garbage-heap. In the early 80s, major-label scouts, cash-hungry producers and other sleazoids had stuck their noses into every pile of trash they could find, rummaging around through tons of dung, until finally finding the next putrid-smelling product that could entrance the hype-happy, tone-deaf masses until they got sick of it and moved on to the next fad.
I would never deny GM a place in a docu-series such as ME. Crap as it was, it was metal (sort of). However, when one considers which metal genres Dunn/McFadyen barely even mentioned, let alone had entire episodes dedicated to, something's wrong. Industrial metal, alternative metal, death metal, and even black metal (which is also crap, but at least heavy) deserve far more screen time than glam. Dunn might argue that alternative metal is more about the alternative scene than metal, but what is GM? Essentially pop tunes with a little bit of distortion thrown in more fitting for a TV-series covering the evolution of pop. It seems Dunn/McFadyen focused more on genres that sold millions rather than on the musically relevant genres that garnered far less media attention. That's the wrong approach: after all, this is a series about metal, anyway not well known for its commercial success. Hence the episodes on GM and nu-metal, and none on some infinitely more important ones on Dunn's evolution tree.
Speaking of episode 8, Dunn starts off and ends episode 5 almost the same way that he introduced and concluded episode 8 with. He started off both by admitting (to his credit) that he disliked glam/nu, but finished each of these episodes by taking on a more diplomatic, "peace-offering" sort of tone, stating how he had "realized that this genre has a rightful place on the metal tree". Episodes 5 and 8 though aren't the only ones to cover garbage. There was episode 10, too, which delved into the painfully moronic world of so-called "power metal".
In defense of this episode (though not GM itself), even though GM had almost nothing to offer musically, it was an over-the-top scene always good for a laugh. Perhaps it was harder to laugh back in the 80s, when this rubbish was omnipresent, but now one can sit back and enjoy watching these once-upon-a-time sell-outs as they struggle(d) to come to terms with the fact that their audience had shrunk to less than a tenth of what it once was. You can see it on their drug/booze-ravaged faces plain as day: the disappointment, sadness and regret whenever Dunn mentions the fall of GM. Besides, this episode offers a sort of morality lesson (as corny as that may sound) inasmuch as it shows the consequences of striking a Faustian deal. Greed, decadence, and artistic sloth lead to the inevitable comeuppance which rocked and shocked the world of nearly ever singer and guitarist who dressed up as a Sunset Boulevard female prostitute. In that sense, hookers and glammers are quite similar: selling themselves for a quick buck.
Another point of interest GM raises, which is briefly mentioned, is the unusual situation of L.A. witnessing the almost concurrent rise of two distinctly different metal movements, glam and thrash, both of which defined much of the 80s. A whole episode could be easily devoted to anecdotes related to this "conflict".
They could have spent half the episode focusing on Motley Crue, and it wouldn't have been too long. I recommend looking up documentaries on this insanely retarded band, you won't be either bored or disappointed. Besides, MC were one of few glam bands that actually sounded metal, and musically they were better (though that's not saying much) than the other transvestites on the scene.
The theme of selling out permeates the episode. Quiet Riot's singer recorded their breakthrough hit with hatred in his eyes, so much did he detest the song their new producer had imposed on them in fact pretty much giving them an ultimatum: either you record this song, or we have no deal. Dokken recounts how much the band despised having to play the ballads. Although, I have to wonder if some of these former female impersonators aren't trying to make excuses, perhaps pretending to have hated playing these ballads, trying to pin ALL of the blame on the record companies; it's hard to tell.
Not David Coverdale, though. He claims he "wouldn't change a thing". Coverdale's sell-out was far more tasteless/annoying than that of younger musicians who hadn't had a career beforehand. He didn't have to sell out (especially in such a ridiculous way), even allowing a commercial crap-making corporate-guru to re-mould Whitesnake into such a cold junk-making machine. I remember hating Whitesnake far more than any of the others, because they had made decent music in the 70s. (He was in Deep Purple even, frcrissakes.) In a way, their videos and songs were more extreme in their badness than those of all the others (except perhaps Winger and Warrant). Alice Cooper is another big name who'd sold out to this sound, though this wasn't mentioned.
Yet again Dunn/McFadyen allow snippets of the Deena Weinstein interview to make it in the show. She says nothing that anyone older than 8 doesn't already know: "ballads sold glam albums". You don't say. Deena, is this what you read up on Wikipedia just hours before Dunn came to your house for the interview?
Time will eventually erase all memories of Warrant, Winger, Bon Jovi, L.A. Guns, Def Leppard, Cinderella, Poison and all the other pungent audio s**t-cocktails of the period.
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