Hard To Believe There Are Still Hair Metal Bands I’ve Never Heard Of…

A FEW WEEKS AGO, the Sensational Mobile was outfitted with a new car stereo, MP3 player and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. For years the car had been limping along with a broken CD player and an AM/FM radio. I didn’t really care that much, but seeing as the Vega family was fixing to take a ten hour drive together, the thought of suffering either in silence or to the accompaniment of radio static was determined to be unacceptable.

Post-trip, the ten hour drive is a distant memory, but the new car audio gear is still with us. Now keep in mind, I don’t really listen to music anymore. Our home audio/visual equipment is dominated most of the day by Miss Sensational I and/or II, so the precious little time I get to audioize or visualize is instead spent playing video games or watching streaming video/DVDs.

Similarly, in the car, music selection (now that music selection is available) is determined almost exclusively by the Miss Sensationals. Still, in my few solo driving moments since rehabbing our car stereo, I’ve enjoyed satellite radio.

I’m sure it’s an evil corporate entity that is going to steal your teddy bear and warp your vinyl collection, but I don’t really care. It’s got, among other things, a dedicated ‘hair metal’ station and a dedicated ‘old school hip hop’ station, the two main channels I listen to.

The point of interest today is the hair metal channel. I think it’s called Hair Nation? I was listening to it this morning on the way home from taking the kids to school. Being a hesher from way back, or at least a wanna-be, I usually know all of the tunes that are played on Hair Nation like the back of my hand. But today, I heard not one, but TWO tracks, back to back from bands I’d never heard of before (or at least had forgotten ever hearing about).

It was kind of weird. Classic 80s hair metal was one of those terrains I thought had been strip-mined to the core. Everything exposed, everything exhausted, nothing new under the sun, etc. BUT I WAS WRONG! Here were TWO bands reaching out from the 1980s and into 2012 with their (to me) shiny brand newness.

The first, was a band called Baton Rouge:

As you can see/hear, they appear to be by-the-numbers, bad Aerosmith ‘boogie’-ish crap with cookie cutter riffs, Hagar-esque hair-soul vocals, perms, and rock poses studied in the mirror. These are the kind of guys who might have sold you guitar picks or drum sticks at the local music store back in the day. Academic blues rock with pick harmonics and clumsy sexual innuendos. This video, too, watching it right now, is one of the worst I’ve ever seen, particularly the bit where the woman turns into a baby. I think I’m put off from thoughts of the opposite sex for at least a week. Not sure if that’s what they had in mind? Pretty weak band name, too, all things considered.

The second, was a band called Keel:

These guys are on a different, ‘tuffer’ end of the hair metal spectrum than Baton Rouge, but still basically suck. Uninspired, Accept-ish type crap (not saying Accept is crap, Accept is great, just saying Keel’s take on Accept is crap). They seem to be trying for that ‘Balls to the Wall’ kind of anthemic sound, but end up sounding instead anemic and hollow. Not to mention, the singer creeps me out with his Zombie Jazzercise Instructor schtick. Even in a genre where generic and cliche is often a good thing, their “Right to Rock” is mindnumbingly parodic as a call to arms, though I still like this better than its successor a year later, the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right (To Party!). Ugh. It’s funny that the “Right to Rock” video features a theme about how SOON, IN THE NOT TOO DISTANT FUTURE, ROCK WILL BE DRIVEN UNDERGROUND! Don’t worry, Keel. The future is now, and you are on fucking Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Chill.

So, two new (to me) bands from the hallowed days/scene of 1980s hair metal. Both are god awful, but at least they gave me the momentary thrill of knowing there were still two hair metal bands out there for me to discover at age 35. Thanks Baton Rouge and Keel. Wake me up when it’s time for it to happen again.

In parting, here’s some Loudness to get the taste of the above out of your mouth:


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