I grew up in the 80s and had a mane of my own by the 90s although stylistically I took a hard pass on the hairspray and went more for the speed-metal standard, no-frills, long hair. It started with a Joe Elliot inspired mullet, quickly morphed into a curly Chris Cornell style mop, and rested there until I got tired of it and cut it off somewhere in the mid-90s. Hairstyles aside, let’s talk about some of the bands! There are plenty of bands that didn’t make the list for one reason or another, you’ll find no Poison or Warrant on this list (gasp). I couldn’t stand them from day one and some on the list I won’t bother going into just because they weren’t as influential. Here are a few in no particular order. Albums released in the 80s only. // jump to playlist
KISS – A KISS Army member from the word go in the 70s, I think I was in 4th grade when the Dynasty tour rolled through town. Needless to say, my parents were not taking me to any KISS concert so, over the next few years, I watched in horror as KISS had their troubles leading to Peter and subsequently Ace being replaced. A travesty. Ace was always my favorite so when he left after Creatures Of The Night I lost interest in them almost completely and wrote them off until they reunited with Peter and Ace years later. I was able to catch that show from the 4th row. Totally worth the wait. I almost didn’t include them in this list as I didn’t really pay attention to them in the 80s but I believe they definitely helped pave the way for the ridiculously large stadium shows, hair, and apparel that came with Glam Metal.
RATT – Sadly I never got to see them live. I was a freshman in high school when Out Of The Cellar was released in 1984 and my parents were not willing to make that happen. I remember asking a kid in my class to buy me a t-shirt. He didn’t, it wouldn’t have been the same anyway having not been there. For whatever reason, though I never caught them for any subsequent tour, and they kind of lost me with Reach For The Sky (1988) and Way Cool Junior which made me cringe for them. The EP that was released before Out Of The Cellar is something I’ve been casually searching for. It’s not on Spotify.
Mötley Crüe – I had an Algebra notebook that I had cut pictures out of Creem Magazine and covered the front and back covers with SHOUT AT THE DEVIL promo pics. I was a bit of a quiet nerd in my freshman year having joined the public school after 8 years of Catholic School and I remember some of the “cool kids” thinking it was hilariously awesome that I had this Mötley Crüe notebook. I didn’t get to see them live until the Girls, Girls, Girls tour with Tommy Lee’s rotating drum cage which was pretty fucking awesome. If I had a time machine I’d try to catch that Shout At The Devil gig for sure.
Great White / Tesla – Both these bands only held my interest for two albums for some reason. Great albums, I saw them live together for a double bill and they blew me away with their musical talent. But then GRUNGE I guess. There’s a Great White EP that I can see in my mind that came out before their Once Bitten album that’s not on Spotify. I wish I could find it. SO good.
DOKKEN – George Lynch is one of the guitar players that stood out among the sea of hair for me and coupled with Don’s voice they had a great sound. I was introduced to them by a friend who gave me a cassette with Breaking The Chains on one side and Tooth and Nail on the other. By the time Back For The Attack was released I was ready to see them live, and did. Many years later when I started screen printing rock posters I was lucky enough to do a poster for a Dokken show so I was pretty happy about that.
Guns-N-Roses – Huge fan through Use Your Illusion but never actually saw them live. I had the cassette with the original Robert Williams art on the cover before it was pulled and replaced. It was the album art that made me want to hear the music that came with it. That cassette was lost when someone broke into my van and stole a grip of music. I made dinner for Slash and Duff when they were in town and visited The California Cafe in the Mall of America which is where I worked at the time. Then a few years later one night while I was at First Avenue seeing a show, I don’t remember who, but out of the bathroom walks Slash with Kim Thayil from Soundgarden with a camera crew and a throng of people following them around. So I slid up behind Slash and touched his shoulder very inconspicuously and very gently. So yeah… I touched Slash. Whatever. Don’t judge.
L.A. Guns – Probably the last of the Glam Bands that I gave a shit about, their first two albums are amazing, and then they kind of fell off, although their most recent release is actually pretty damn good. I never got to see them live and they’re one of the Glam Bands that I’d actually be interested in seeing now even though they’re old. They still rock. You should check it out if you like classic L.A. Rock-N-Roll that’s held together over the years.
Van Halen / David Lee Roth – For me, Van Halen ended when DLR left the band. I like some pre-Van Halen Sammy but “Van Haggar” never really did anything for me. Too much synth and no DLR. So I never got to see Van Halen with DLR in front but I did get to see David Lee Roth’s Eat ‘Em And Smile tour with Steve Vai (guitar) /Billy Sheehan (bass) / Greg Bissonette (drums) behind him which was hella-impressive and I saw Van Haggar at Monsters Of Rock which was entirely forgettable. Diamond Dave’s second solo album was just OK and then I lost interest although I continued to follow Steve Vai from there.