Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks are phenomenal. They're one of my all-time favorite bands. Everyone thinks they're hair metal but that's one of the biggest misconceptions about them. They predated all of that shit. There's something about them that is genuinely mystifying. They were from Helsinki, Finland. They started in 1979. Guitarist Andy McCoy had been in Briard, a punk band that had released a few 7" records in 1977. Their first album came out in 1981, and by 1985 they had broken up. They did 5 studio albums and an amazing double live LP. Singer Michael Monroe had a very extreme rock star persona that went beyond comic book proportions. All of the stories about them ripping off bands and bands ripping them off are true and understandable but uninteresting at this point. If you look deeper, you will see that they were a very original band that stood alone. There was a drugged-out, hyper-active image to this band that co-existed with a vibe of sophistication. There's something very powerful about a band that look like junkie drag queens and play music that sounds like a hybrid of the Ramones, Little Richard, and African-Psychedelic-Tribal-Punk. Looking at the pictures on the inner sleeve to Back To Mystery City makes you feel like they were the future of rock music at the dawn of the 80's. Unfortunately the death of their second drummer Razzle (who replaced original drummer, Gyp Casino) signaled the end of the band. In December of 1984, he was killed in a car crash caused by Vince Neil, singer of Motley Crue. The two were both drunk speeding around in Neil's car when they crashed head-on onto another vehicle. Razzle was killed instantly and Vince Neil did 15 days in jail. Nowadays, Neil owns his own brand of tequilla. Axl Rose re-released all of their albums on CD over a decade ago, but they've all gone out of print since then. Your best bet is finding them used, preferably on vinyl.

Original Discography:
Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks LP (1981)
Oriental Beat LP (1982)
Self Destruction Blues LP (1983)
Back To Mystery City LP ( 1984)
2 Steps From The Move LP (1984)
All Those Wasted Years 2 LP LIVE (1985)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Summer Of Fear (1978) aka Stranger In Our House

Dir. Wes Craven

Here's a movie I stumbled upon by accident. It turned out to be a TV movie from '78 directed by Wes Craven without me even knowing it at the time. To put into perspective the time frame in which this film was released, think of this: Wes Craven was hot off the heels of The Hills Have Eyes, while Linda Blair was just getting done with Exorcist II: The Heretic. She was just around 19 years of age when this was made. Her hair in this movie is out of control. 70's curling iron teased and sprayed to the max. But then again that's half of the appeal of something like this. I mean, the actual act of diving into a movie like this and actually being willing to give yourself over to the experience is something to be proud of in and of itself. But that's a snobby way of looking at it. I actually really like stuff like this and would be happy to watch it all day long. There's a part in this movie where Linda Blair gets hives on her face and she's so pouty and amazing, I really can't describe how bad-ass it is. This movie is about her being a rich girl on a ranch and her cousin comes to live with her. The cousin is crazy and turns out to be a witch. It was based on a best-selling young adult novel around at the time. Poor Linda starts having trouble with all sorts of stuff including the aforementioned hives breakout as well as a horse riding accident which leads to her horse being put to sleep. She discovers all the evidence she needs after tearing her cousin's belongings apart and in one scene discovering a bizarre sweet potato / yam voodoo doll with hair that looks kinda like her horse. This part of the movie is confusing but good. Eventually there's a conclusion, but you've forgotten why by then. Available at I Luv Video on Airport in the Wes Craven Horror Directors wall on DVD and VHS.

Here's a great clip

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Terror On Tour (1980)

Dir. Don Edmonds

No video box in the world screams "rent me" louder than Terror On Tour. It's a bizarre but understandable brainstorm, combining elements of Kiss and Michael Myers but with a dusty basement drive-in vibe similar to movies like Horror Express. I love this (un)intentional style of film so much. It's one of those movies that is filled with examples of what cro-magnon youth pop culture contained at any given time in history. Like a buried time capsule filled with trash. The type of experience you have watching movies like this gives you a more direct line to understanding what real people were doing and how they do it on a regular basis. This may sound like a line of shit but it's really true. The first time I rented this movie, I felt like I knew what I was in for, and I've got to tell you, I was so right. Those kinds of affirmations are great. This movie used to be available at I Luv Video on Guadalupe on VHS, but I don't know if it is anymore. Your best bet is I Luv on Airport.