MARTIN: OK, so what are we reviewing now?
MARTIN: OK, Autograph.
HAL: Sign In Please. That’s the name of the album.
JESSE: What a clever title.
HAL: It’s really a stupid title, because it’s geared to their listeners, who are equally stupid.
JESSE: I was being sarcastic.
MARTIN: I wanna just make a point, that I saw Autograph open for Van Halen once, and you know what I remember the most?
MARTIN: Nothing. They were totally anonymous.
JESSE: Well, then we all saw Autograph open for Van Halen. Was that the last time they were in town?
MARTIN: I don’t remember, maybe. On the back it dedicates itself to “THE MIGHTY VAN HALEN” on the very bottom and…
JESSE: I don’t like this name-dropping shit.
HAL: It does say “THE MIGHTY VAN HALEN”–they thank your usual 180 people on the bottom, and it’s all capital letters–“THE MIGHTY VAN HALEN.”
JESSE: Wait a minute, did they even thank God?
JESSE: Not as mighty as Prince, then.
MARTIN: Think about it, maybe there’s, like, another Van Halen brother who’s, like, really strong. (laughter)
HAL: The mighty Van Halen.
JESSE: Like He-Man Van Halen. (laughter)
MARTIN: Let’s get down to business … let’s decide exactly why this record’s useless.
JESSE: Well, we already listened to that one song. That’s supposed to be a big hit, right?
HAL: “Turn Up The Radio” is supposed to be a hit and … uh…
JESSE: “Nineteen and…”
HAL: No, not “Nineteen and…”
JESSE: Wasn’t that a hit?
HAL: No, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Isn’t Me”âs supposed to be a hit.
JESSE: Well, then why didn’t we listen to that one instead of “Ninteen And Non-Stop”?
MARTIN: Because I thought the title was so good–it reminded me of my high school days.
HAL: What do you think this band’s trying to prove? I mean, they’re obviously going for little kids, right? Because no one mature–or even semi-mature–would bother to pick this thing up.
MARTIN: I think that maybe the Space Court has arrived, and the Space Court has dictated that everybody must put out a good record–and if they do put out the good record, then they’ll be allowed to live. So I think what they’re trying to prove is that they should live with this record. And they failed miserably.
HAL: Well, not only did they fail miserably but they–where are they from, Los Angeles?…
HAL: OK. So they’re from Los Angeles and they’re called Autograph, which is a really stupid name, right?
HAL: Right. In fact the cover looks like the new Dokken album, kind of.
JESSE: Yeah, it does.
MARTIN: Completely anonymous.
HAL: It’s a stupid cover–with a typically stupid logo or symbol. Why do all these bands have to do this? If Autograph is reading this, I really wish they’d send me–Hal Jordan–or one of my pals, you know, Marty Dio or Jesse Grace…
MARTIN: My name is Martin.
HAL: Can’t I call you Marty now, since we constitute a triumvirate of heavy metal wisdom?
MARTIN: Well, speak for yourself
HAL: All right. Well, we constitute a duo of heavy metal wisdom, Jess, and (points at LP cover) look at that dumb symbol–Autograph. If they could just tell us why they have to put these dumb symbols on their covers. And it’s on the back, too.
JESS: I like this guy the best, in the right hand corner.
MARTIN: I think it’s more a case of the band being so ugly, they don’t put themselves on the cover.
JESSE: Well, they put themselves on the back…
HAL: We should address this to Autograph: Look, you guys can’t write songs, you’ve proven it with this album. You look really geeky, and you’ve proven that too. So what the heck are you doing in this business?
MARTIN: Well, I guess this about wraps it up–except I’d like to just add that I think the idea of a song called “Nineteen And Non-Stop” is really good, it’s really funny, you know? (laughter)
JESSE: Well, they started out one song laughing, “Ha-ha, we gotta story to tell ya, ha-ha,” and we all slapped our knees.
MARTIN: Though I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that it might not be what I think–which is, like, lots of times, they play in bars and they play so many songs that are so horrible that by the 19th they start bragging about it. “That’s right, we’re playing song #19, and we’re not gonna stop. And as terrible as it is, the doors are locked and then the gas is gonna come through the vents, and you’re all gonna die!” (laughs) ‘Course, maybe its about a girl or something … but they couldn’t be that stupid.
HAL: Well, no, I’d give them the benefit of the doubt–they might very well be.
JESSE: Hal mentioned something earlier about the “Mule Song”–and I think we should talk about the “Mule Song,” just because it’s there.
HAL: You think Autograph could do the “Mule Song” and do it well?
JESSE: I don’t think anybody could do the “Mule Song” and do it real well.
MARTIN: I don’t think you guys are anticipating the fact that most of our audience won’t realize what a heavy metal classic the “Mule Song” is.
JESSE: And exactly who did it!
MARTIN: Don’t they know that it was Champion Jack Dupree?
HAL: But isn’t it kind of like a public service to mention the “Mule Song”? Like we mentioned Belfegore last month?
JESSE: And I think we should continue to mention Belfegore.
MARTIN: I wouldn’t compare Belfegore to the “Mule Song”–because Belfegore’s entire album is great, and as far as the “Mule Song” goes, it’s just like one classic track.
JESSE: I’ll bet you Belfegore could do a helluva job with the “Mule Song,” though.
JESSE: Yeah. “I sure hope it rains tomorrow!”
MARTIN: (makes mule sound) Come to think of it, it’s really silly to talk about such great things as the “Mule Song” and Belfegore in the same mention as Autograph. There’s no point. Let’s not bother writing about that at all.
HAL: In fact, do you think we should even bother to review this album? I mean, should we even print it, even though we’ve already reviewed it?
MARTIN: Let’s do it–because, like, we’re taking up a lot of valuable space in the magazine, and I think it’s probably a public service to our readers who want to read about Autograph. If they like Autograph, tell it like it is about Autograph as a service to them.
JESSE: O.K. I think what we should make everyone aware of is that this album is so bad and so terrible that I betcha sooner or later Autograph will be on the cover of CREEM! (laughter)
MARTIN: Them’s fightin’ words, partner.
HAL: Look at these guys. I mean, what do you think their I.Q. is?
MARTIN: Let’s take guesses.
HAL: I would actually guess in the 90s. That would be my guess.
MARTIN: Well, let’s face it. The average I.Q.is 100, and there’s five of them, and let’s say they’re all stupid … if they’re all normal, their total I.Q. would be 500. And if we said that they have a total I.Q. of about 500, that would be too nice. So I think it’s safe to say that they have a probable I.Q. of 10.
MARTIN: Of course.
HAL: I wonder how they got an opening for Van Halen–because you know, they’re absolutely terrible. And Van Halen’s pretty good. You think Van Halen just wanted a really terrible band to contrast themselves with?
MARTIN: No, I would never think that guys as great as Van Halen would want to do something like that.
HAL: Well, no wonder they thanked the “THE MIGHTY VAN HALEN!”
MARTIN: Wait a minute, I suddenly figured it out … look at the logo of Autograph…
JESSE: It’s the letter A.
MARTIN: Now flip it over.
HAL: That’s the letter V!
MARTIN: Need we say more? (laughter)
HAL: I don’t know, I just wish there was something we could say. I get the feeling that we don’t like this band at all.
JESSE: But we listened to them. We did listen to ’em. And we’ve seen them live!
HAL: I guess we did, but we can’t remember.
JESSE: I remember. You see, I didn’t like Van Halen that night, but…
JESSE: Van Halen looked like God next to this band.
MARTIN: They’d look like God next to anybody!
HAL: You know, I don’t want to seem like we have a grudge against these guys, but we should be a little more… I mean we can’t print that Autograph should be killed, can we?
MARTIN: Let’s just take a chance and say yes. I think they should be summarily executed!
JESSE: I think you guys are going overboard. You’re being super-fascist. You shouldn’t kill âem!
MARTIN: Let’s maim them.
HAL: Can we put them on an island with lepers?
MARTIN: No! Best of all, we’ll lock them in a recording studio and make them listen to their record over and over and over again, until they whimper!
HAL: That would be hideous torture! I wonder what they personally thought when they finished this piece of junk.
JESSE: We could nail their arm to a tree and set the tree on fire!
HAL: You think if you talked to them they would actually like this? And defend their record, and say how cool they are?
MARTIN: They’d laugh and have a beer and they’d say, “You know something, we put this out to rip off the kids, we could care less! In five years we’re gonna take all the money and buy real estate somewhere!”
HAL: I suspect you’re close to the truth.
MARTIN: Naw. That could happen, but not in the world of rock ‘n’ roll.
HAL: (looks at the cover) I guess I’d have to say that Steve Plunket, he’s the neatest looking guy.
MARTIN: Well listen, we’re rambling. So we’re gonna have to wrap this up. Let’s have a few final words about Autograph.
JESSE: OK, why don’t we go up to the top of the parking ramp over there and shoot people in Birmingham? (laughter)
MARTIN: Do you have any final words?
HAL: No. I guess I’d like to say we can’t take the chance to say that they should–they shouldn’t be killed, but they should like kinda die of a mysterious disease. Something that like kills you within a month. And then they’d die and the world would be a better place for all of us!
JESSE: I recently wished that someone would die. I know that’s an evil thought but…
MARTIN: How utterly fascinating! I would like for their record to be #1 on the charts in December of 1985. However, I would like the world to end in November of the same year.
–Martin Dio, Hal Jordan and Jesse Grace
(CREEM CLOSE-UP: METAL ROCK âNâ ROLL, June 1985)