Mean Man: The Story of Chris Holmes (Video 2021) Poster

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6/10
So happy Chris Holmes is alive
BandSAboutMovies3 February 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Anyone who watched The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years can tell you that Chris Holmes is the highlight of that film. When we finished watching it, my wife asked when he died. I said, "Believe it or not, Chris Holmes is still alive."

As the guitarist for W.A.S.P. - if you've seen The Dungeonmaster, they're in it - Holmes was as much a maniac on stage as off. He wasn't a founding member, as the band rose out of the ashes of Blackie Lawless and Randy Piper's other band, Circus Circus, along with Rik Fox (who soon left to be in the band Steeler) and Tony Richards (who left the band Dante Fox to join, which became Great White).

By the time the band's self-titled first album was released, Holmes had joined, also played on The Last Command, the band's best selling record and one that brought Steve Riley from Keel* and King Kobra bassist Johnny Rod into the lineup.

Although Inside the Electric Circus was a commercial success (and critical failure) and The Headless Children was a critical success (and at the time, a commercial failure), Holmes wouldn't last. He married Lita Ford and then left the band, saying, that he wanted to "have fun, you know." Lawless responded by saying, "Some guys want to stay at home and wear aprons." He would also claim that he was going to play the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, which sounds like a completely ridiculous apocryphal story.

While Holmes would rejoin for a brief period from 1996-2001, he and Lawless were not destined to get along.

The movie finds the guitarist reflecting on a life of the highest highs and lowest lows, as he has lost the publishing rights of his own songs and must start over again with a new band named Mean Man while living with his mother-in-law in Nice, France. Unlike other films like I Am Thor, Holmes doesn't come across as a buffoon or unaware of his place in the world.

This is a man that weather the storm of the Sunset Strip, of six DUIs, of sex, drugs and rock and roll, yet has remained alive, despite all common sense saying that there's no way that should be true. Yet here he is, hugging his dog Ugg, enjoying being married and screaming at cars in traffic. It's too good to be true, but sometimes, that actually happens.

*Ironically, Rik Fox's band he left for, Steeler, had Keel singing. And Yngwie Malmsteen on guitar, if you're keeping score at home.
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9/10
STILL ROCKIN'
kirbylee70-599-52617919 April 2021
Warning: Spoilers
One lesson you would think most musical performers would know by now is not to trust your management in the world of contracts. The list of management that has taken money from the artists they represent is long and wide and goes back to the early days of rock and roll if not before. Unfortunately those lessons were not learned by the heavy metal rockers of the 70s and 80s. Among those taken advantage of was Chris Holmes, lead guitarist for W. A. S. P.

Now Holmes is on the road again promoting a new band and telling his story in the documentary MEAN MAN: THE STORY OF CHRIS HOLMES. What many documentaries like this do is combine long ago footage in a linear format to tell the story of the person being discussed using the timeline to show their ups and downs. This one is different in that it starts at the end with Holmes in the middle of touring and promoting his new band, Mean Man.

This band provides Holmes with the chance to not only be the lead guitarist but the lead singer as well. With a past history of lead vocalists who feel the attention should always be directed their way, Holmes has learned the lesson that it's best if he just does it himself. Truth be told he does a good job of it.

So we start with this look at what's taking place now. Holmes on tour in a car, far removed from the days of busses and roadies looking after everything. He's now managed by his wife Catherine-Sarah, the woman he says is responsible for his being alive today. But you can't only focus on the here and now. Holmes long history gets looked at as well.

As a rail thin young man Holmes only wanted to be a rock star. After playing in several small bands he got a chance at something big. Called by Blackie Lawless the pair untied to form W. A. S. P. The band not only had a classic heavy metal sound they had a dynamic stage presence as well with the over the top antics of Lawless and the showmanship of Holmes. Their popularity only increased when they became notorious for songs that included profanities and album covers that featured things like a codpiece with a buzz saw blade coming out of it.

Watching the movie you realize that this is going to be one side of the story. Even so while observing Holmes and hearing people who knew him and were part of the band back then you get the impression that this side is factual on all levels. As their popularity grew Lawless wanted the focus to be on him and none of the other band members. While the rest were happy to talk to fans and sign autographs, Lawless made himself unavailable and then chastised Holmes for catering to the fans.

Towards the end Lawless did his best to cut Holmes out of everything. Holmes notoriously did a piece in the film THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION: THE METAL YEARS that was controversial and is talked about to this day. But Lawless didn't approve and was angered by it. The buildup and frustrations felt by Holmes led to his departing the band. What he learned the hard way was that he'd signed over all the publishing rights to all of his songs. To this day he doesn't get a penny for any of them.

Now rather than just assume this is someone with a grudge the director brings in more people to back up the claim. Other band members. A roadie who worked and toured with the band. Other bands that saw firsthand what was going on. It doesn't paint a pretty picture.

Holmes went on to other bands but none of them shone as brightly as W. A. S. P. Eventually he became an alcoholic until a reunion of the band set him straight. That was short lived as old habits of credit where it wasn't due kicked in once more. He worked construction and other jobs but eventually found his love of performing return. Now he's back.

The majority of the film focuses on a tour Holmes and his band Mean Man took in Europe. No arena dates but plenty of clubs that feature heavy metal bands are on that tour. Holmes is now sober and glad that he's still able to walk. More than that he's still able to play and sounds great. This documentary is his story. It's one that needs to be told. And with any luck it will teach future performers to take care of business off stage as well as one.
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9/10
What a good bloke
msn664914 May 2021
The first thing, good bloke. I really enjoyed this story and glad Chris is doing ok. I hate it when people take advantage of others like Blackie did to Chris. Under all the tough and rough he's a big softie, which is why he is good. I thought Axle was bad in the day. Blackie's ten times worse.
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5/10
Where's the story?
Chris Holmes life is probably a pretty interesting story, unfortunately you're not going to learn all that much in this documentary. What you get instead is a promotional video for his new band, who pretty much suck, sorry. Otherwise we are shown a guy who had genuine talent, but no business sense. They parade a bunch of other semi successful musicians, roadies,friends and fans from WASPs heyday to tell you what a sweet great guy he is, but it's pretty easy to read between the lines. It's pretty obvious to me Holmes only has himself and his addictions and bad behavior to blame for where he is today and that part of his story I would be interested to hear more about.
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3/10
Washed up
pguarin21 June 2021
Not quite sure what the point of this was. Just an angry, mean, disgruntled Lemmy wannabe that should just quit and enjoy the weather in the south of France with his lovely wife and never try to sing anything, ever.
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4/10
Nothing Gained, Everything Lost...
NoCarGarciaparra23 July 2021
Sub-average Doc on a man who's more infamous for chugging a bottle of vodka in a swimming pool during the 'Decline of Western Civilization Part II - The Metal Years' than he is for playing guitar in W. A. S. P..

At one time, documentaries were more about the stories that deserved them and not as a marketing tool of sympathy for those who signed bad deals, have personal demons, didn't have the staying power or basically screwed it up themselves. These docs are a dime-a-dozen these days since the success of 'Anvil: The Story of Anvil' with copious artists & bands jumping on the bandwagon. Alcohol and drug problems, 6 DUI's, relocating to a foreign country where you & your wife move in with her parents, not even attempting to learn the language and "singing" & playing because you are forced to do it doesn't exactly document a story of success.
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