Sunday, June 17, 2012

80s Metal: Heavy Metal Parking Lot versus Rock of Ages

Evidently there's a Hollywood adaptation of the 80s metal jukebox musical Rock of Ages that's hitting the theaters.  Apart from seeing Tom Cruise channel his couch-jumping energy into playing an Axl Rose manqué, I have no interest in seeing it.  In these types of musicals the original songs get pasteurized and homogenized worse than Velveeta, and in this case, the source material (hair metal) ain't all that great to begin with.

It all looks to be a pretty unrealistic, air-brushed, and sanitized version of the whole 80s metal scene.  I should know, because metal ruled my small Nebraska town growing up.  This was not the music of glamor, but of dirtbag burnouts slamming back big-mouth hand grenade bottles of Mickey's Malt Liquor while blasting Motley Crue from their Camaro car stereos.

Listen up kiddos, if you want a glimpse of the real thing, check out the guerrilla documentary/anthropological field report known as Heavy Metal Parking Lot.  It is what it says: a bunch of footage shot in 1986 in the parking lot of an arena before a Judas Priest concert.  (Notice that these are the true metal fans out for a true metal band, not suburban teeny-boppers with mall hair hoping to see Jon Bon Jovi shake his be-spandexed little ass.)  The makers of the film have provided us with a one-of-a-kind document of a bygone age, and entertainment that's much more fun (and disturbing) than anything Hollywood can conjure.  These sixteen minutes are also a powerful reminder of the dangers of nostalgia.

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