AC/DC: Fly On The Wall
BON JOVI: Breakout
GIRLSCHOOL: Play Dirty Live
HANOI ROCKS: All Those Wasted Years
IRON MAIDEN: Behind The Iron Curtain
VARIOUS ARTISTS: New From London
(all Sony Video)
Oddly enough, the last time each of these bands played here in Detroit, I was home washing my hair. Thus Iâ€™m enormously grateful for this opportunity to see every single one of them in what must be the best setting possible: my house. You can bet it was a week I wonâ€™t soon forget!
For starters, there’s Helix. They sure stink. This Video 45 includes an imaginative remake of Crazy Elephant’s “Gimme Gimme Good Lovinâ€™â€ that must be the controversial video everyone’s always talking about. They just “play” while beautiful girls parade around for no reason other than Helix is quite ugly and they look better. There are three other videos, including one that features a female body-builder who looks pretty good, too. All told, Helix is very bad and shouldn’t be allowed to make records anymore.
Next up is Bon Jovi. At least these guys aren’t ugly. Their music’s no good, though; you can’t really call it heavy metal, because there’s a trace of melody and actual “song structure” in the five videos included here. Wasn’t “Runaway” sort of popular? Anyway, I’m amazed at how mundane these videos are. I would be embarrassed if I were them.
Just between you and me, aren’t Iron Maiden unbelievable? Behind The Iron Curtain depicts the British metal quintet in–and I’m not making this up–Poland. It’s a “documentary” of the guys’ “Eastern European Leg” of their so-called “World Slavery Tour ’84, ” and it’s mind-bogglingly dumb. First of all, the band is shown playing too much–with all that gorgeous scenery, why waste valuable time on lead singer Bruce Dickinson, whose leotards make him look something of a sissy in the first place? Mind you, musically the band is not altogether bad–both of Maiden’s guitarists are capable players, though not exactly inspirational. And I suppose it’s a blessing in disguise that the lyrics Dickinson attempts to sing are indecipherable most of the time. What’s especially annoying, though, is that voice of his! Plainly, he has no business singing in any sort of band whatsoever. He’s no good.
On a more positive note, Girlschool are girls. Play Dirty Live comes wrapped in a box bearing an artist’s rendition of Girlschool as feline, erotic she-beasts, if you will. Unfortunately, as former guitarist Kelly Johnson is no longer a part of the band, the artist has, shall we say, overstated his case rather dramatically. There is nothing very pleasant to look at in Play Dirty Live, nor is there anything exceptional to hear. Guitarist Kim McAuliffe, who founded the band, introduces each and every one of the band’s songs in a manner reminiscent of Slade’s Noddy Holder–who, of course, did his own introducing many years ago. Furthermore, the audience at London‘s Marquee, where this live performance was taped, seems dim-witted, dull and generally unenthusiastic. And the band seems quite aware of it. Perhaps shows later in the month were better.
New From London is actually a “variety” show, featuring live performances by metal bands like DiAnno and Sledgehammer, odd bands like Freur, Amazulu and King Kurt, and Australia’s spectacular Moodists–whose two numbers, “Machine Machineâ€ and “That’s How You’ll Cry,â€ are certainly this compilationâ€™s highlight. I’m not sure about this, but I believe DiAnno is named after its lead singer, who was once a member of Iron Maiden but got kicked out or something. One look at him and you’ll know why. There’s two ways to look at this sort of thing: 1) thereâ€™s something here for everybody, or, more likely, 2) no one in his right mind could watch every band here without wanting to brutally strangle at least three of them.
And AC/DC‘s Fly On The Wall is quite imaginative, actually. Itâ€™s a 27-minute “creative shortâ€ featuring the song of the same name, “Danger,â€ â€œSink The Pink,” “Stand Upâ€ and â€œShakeYour Foundations.â€ I wonâ€™t disclose the plot, as such, but I will say that AC/DC are certainly the best metal band here, and this videotape is surprisingly good. I recommend it highly.
The best of the bunch is Hanoi Rocks‘ All Those Wasted Years. Never exactly a metal band, Hanoi–seen here in 1983 in London’s Marquee–seem rooted in that Rolling Stones, New York Dolls type of chug that, when viewed in the company of these other tapes is very much welcome. Beginning with a version of â€œPipelineâ€ and ending with the Stoogesâ€™ â€œI Feel Alright,â€ â€œTrain Kept A Rollinâ€™,â€ â€œUnder My Wheelsâ€ and â€œBlitzkrieg Bop,â€ All Those Wasted Years documents a band that was in the process of successfully combining many disparate factions of music into one complete whole. The tapeâ€™s name is even more ironic with the death of drummer Razzle last year.
In summation, I would very much like to join an up-and-coming heavy metal band and make a lot of money. I guess thatâ€™s about it.
(CREEM, April 1986)