Posts Tagged ‘heavy metal’

Ever since reading My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Mr. Hendrix has struck a chord in my mind. So as I was going through the list of books to select to purchase for my branch, I came across We Sold Our Souls. Needless to say, I gave it the green light because I am curious to see what delightful ditties this bloke is offering up in this new yarn. Spoiler alert: he did not disappoint. But enough with pleasantries and usual bollocks, and let’s get on with it. Yeah?

All Kris Pulaski ever wanted to do was to play good rock music. Fame and riches were all extras. So back in the 90s (ah yes … flannel, grunge rock, Tamagochi pets, dial-up AOL internet), she was part of ragtag metal band called Dürt Würk and she was living her dream. Then along the way, she and lead singer, Terry Hunt, combined talent and wrote a masterpiece called Troglodyte. And then the shit (slightly) hit the fan. Terry Hunt along with their manager, Rob Anthony, pulled the rug from under the enter party by buying out the rights to Dürt Würk’s music and contracting out all the other members of the band. It was the night (known as Contract Night) that Dürt Würk died and Koffin was born. The funny thing about that is that there is a lot of missing pieces and hours about what happened that night Kris and most of the members of the group can’t seem to recall. So now Kris spends her days at a reception desk at the local Westin Inn as she constantly tangles with the one guest that likes to stroll around, during the early morning hours, naked with a paper bag over his head and urinating in the lobby. How the far the mighty has fallen, since Kris can no longer play rock music since the “contract” forbids her from playing Dürt Würk-type music (translation: she is forbidden to make a living playing rock music). And then Koffin announces its major tour, which not only irritates the hell out of Kris but forces her to reunite with the remaining (exiled) members of Dürt Würk. And then the shit really hits the fan … and things get darker. And for some of us, switching on the lights might be in order. There are murderous assassins driving around in UPS trucks, brainwashing spas, traitorous fans, some otherworldly hellish creatures (which might include the manager) haunting the night, and a conspiracy that is spawned from the depths of Hell itself (literally). On second thought some of these creatures might be from Hell (feel free to imagine Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden screaming this word for a better visual). And all are clamouring to get between Kris and her vengeful mission against Terry Hunt and his new band, Koffin.

Hendrix’s Souls is possibly one of his darkest to boot with enough hibby-jibbies to go around possibly till the next major election. Of course, there is a bit of (deserving) commentary on the late 90s “nu-metal” scene. Yes, we all remember that pile of buggering bollocks (though try as we may to forget it). Aye, as grunge faded into the horizon along came that hybrid abomination of rap and rock merged into (and I vomit into my mouth as I write this) nu-metal. Of course, back then the wanks that touted this rap-rock/nu-metal crap as “new” and “happening” forgot that folks like Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Fishbone (to name a few) had already pioneered that “hybrid” minus the constant whining about not getting laid and other such bollocks. Oh there, there. I think I’ve detoured a wee bit. Souls waste very little effort in sinking its claws into you and drawing you in, and then you find yourself in for quite a ride. And what a ride it is as you get towards the end. The ending reminds of scene from an obscure 80s, heavy-metal themed, adult, animated movie (from Canada,of all places) named Rock and Rule (check it out on Youtube and it features voices of Deborah Harry and Iggy Pop). It may not be your cup of tea, but back in Guyana, there was only one channel on the telly and this was on. So there. Funny thing about Souls is that I kept picturing Joan Jett in the role of Kris Pulaski. Don’t know why … though I might have to do with the fact that Joan Jett played a receptionist at a motel (or was it a bartender???) in the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s Big Driver. Who knows, my brain is weird like that … but I love it. And I know it sounds strange to say but Souls feels like another heavy metal love letter to those of us who miss those days of flannel, spandex, leather and denim. And you can tell by the fact that Hendrix does this quirky thing of naming the chapters in his book with titles of various metal tracks (though there is no chapter with the title “Ride The Lightning”). Good show, Mr. Hendrix. Jolly good show, mate.

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Running Title: Bang Your Head – The Rise And Fall of Heavy Metal

Ah the 80s, New Wave, Transformers, Milli Vanilli, Heavy Metal, Hair Metal, Glam Metal … yes, I know I’ve mentioned Metal a lot … because that’s what most of us remember so much from the 80s. Ok, some of us might have The Best of Debbie Gibson on our MP3 players alongside Van Halen … and I’m pleading the bloomin fifth. For me I lived most of the metal 80s through the telly as I was still stuck in a certain English speaking colony in South America. When I landed in America, it turns out that fate has a sense of humour, since I was sent to high school that was predominantly into rap and hip-hop with literally a handful of us (as you count us on one hand) that dared to walk around the halls in denim jackets that sported decals by Guns N’ Roses, Dokken, Def Leppard, Accept or AC/DC. Aye talk about fun times. Reading Bang Your Head was like being visited by ghosts from your metal past, and boy do some of us do need a visit because that emo bollocks is just not bloody cutting it.
In Bang Your Head, Konow takes us through the world of heavy metal from the late 70s onward to the early to mid 90s when grundge came on the scene. It is somewhat an expose of some of the behind the scenes that was all part of the heavy metal decadence: the egos, the eccentricities, the shadiness, and then there were the heavy metal artists. Bang Your Head takes from the point heavy metal struggled to gain a foothold in the mainstream to the part where artists let their egos get the best of them as many started taking themselves a bit too seriously and some treated the fans like utter crap. Paging Mr. Rose. Some of the stories are laughable and some … well … pretty much answered a ton of “where are they now”questions. A delightful read, and in the end you might find yourselves unsympathetic to many of these tossers and bit more appreciative of others. For some reason, as you read about the heavy metal industry somewhat imploding in view of the Seattle sound (grundge), the song “Don’t Know What You Got Til It’s Gone”, by Cinderella, echoes in your head. Talk about irony. In the mean time that Cinderella song only reminds me of the time a certain girl told me that it was best if we remained “friends” … the night before the prom. I never went to the bloody prom. Sigh. I have detoured. And let you into my life. You poor bastards.
On a brighter note, for those of us that banged our heads in the 80s, are still banging our heads (with less hair) today or just plain bloody posers, then Bang Your Head is the book to have in your literary arsenal. And yes, headbangers do read.

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