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Mixtape From Hell

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Beware the past. When you least expect it you find might yourself face to face with something like this mixtape from hell. I made it when I was a sophomore in high school for my friend Gonz. He must have been cleaning out some shoeboxes or something the other day since he found it and scanned the cover for me. He thought the “stereo” label was humorous. I thought it was funny that I ever thought Quiet Riot was any good. By the time Critical Condition came out we were calling Kevin Dubrow “Old Yeller” and I don’t think anybody I knew even bought the record. There are only so many Slade covers one can take. Plus Dubrow managed to alienate most of the group’s fan base with his insanely stupid comments in magazines like Circus and Hit Parader about most of the other big heavy metal bands from Los Angeles. It didn’t do you very much good to alienate Van Halen fans in those days.

There was just that brief window of time when Metal Health was just what a snotty fourteen year old kid needed to crank up every afternoon after enduring another long school bus ride home. If I remember correctly; Metal Health was the best selling debut of its time surpassing the first Boston album. Yes, I know Quiet Riot put out two records before Metal Health with Randy Rhoads, but those were not released in America. The Randy Rhoads connection was what compelled me to buy Metal Health before it became a huge hit. So I had to make a tape of it for Gonz since he was a metalhead like me. When the album wouldn’t fill the whole side of the tape I decided to add some Molly Hatchet to it.


Once again, school bus riding plays a part. When I was in 7th grade I rode bus 84 and its driver was a young dude into Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Steve Martin. He was always blasting music on the 8 track player, usually Hatchet’s first album. I was one of the last kids off in the afternoon and I spent many days with my face pressed against a window gazing out as “Bounty Hunter” played. I got into punk rock by my junior year of high school, but I’ve never stopped loving the Molly Hatchet album. Flirtin’ With Disaster was the hit, but it just was never as good to my ears. After throwing on the title cut from that album I still had some time left on what was sure to be the best tape ever.

Eddie was calling Gonz’s name. Did you know that his mother went to see Iron Maiden with him once? I believe it was the Powerslave tour. She didn’t go to keep an eye on Gonz. She went because she liked Iron Maiden! I slapped “Revelations” on the mixtape since it was one of my favorite songs of the time. It reminded me of early era Black Sabbbath. A few years later during our high school senior talent show a dude would ride a unicycle while the song played. We thought that was completely righteous and proper. A couple of Iron Maiden songs weren’t enough to complete the tape. Somewhere in my zit incrusted head I must have thought Billy Squier was the perfect artist to follow Iron Maiden on a tape.

I’ll stick by Don’t Say No. It was a swell slab of pop rock petroleum product with crunchy catchy songs throughout. But Emotions In Motion is one flea bitten dog of a record from the terrible Andy Warhol graphics on the outside to the listless rock music within. Hopefully Billy is making tons of dough off people sampling “The Big Beat” from his first solo album The Tale Of The Tape since ever since he appeared wearing pastels and dancing like a goof in “Rock Me Tonight” his career has been one big downhill slide.

I finished the mixtape from hell off with a pair of cuts from Aerosmith’s straight to the cut out bin classic Rock In A Hard Place – their one and only album sans Whitford and Perry. It’s much maligned, but I’ll take it over their “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” crap anytime. It has a good post drug abuse but still strung out vibe.

The mixtape from hell might not have had the best music on it. My attempts at copying the band’s logos shows just how fast I went from being somebody whose artwork was often praised (8th grade) to somebody that could barely hold a pen. I must have spent like what..five minutes on the Wally Records logo if that much. But the mixtape from hell has a pull on me with its ghostly voices from the past more powerful than the music inside. Voices that whisper of days spent daydreaming while doodling electric guitars and band logos on notebooks, wearing parachute pants and bandanas, eating Twix bars for lunch, reading Creem, of thinking I knew it all when I didn’t know a thing, and wishing I was a singer in a rock and roll band. Finally, lest we forget, home taping is killing the recording industry and high school always seems like hell until you get out

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  • http://www.thebeautifullull.com Tom Johnson

    By including them in your ridicule-inducing “mixtape from hell,” are you seriously trying to say that Iron Maiden is not one of the most important and influential metal bands of all time, who are just about as popular today as they were 20 years ago? If so, your credibility as a critic just went down to about zero.

  • http://xraystyle.blogspot.com Bryan McKay

    Important and influential? Yes.
    Popular? Yes.
    Silly? Also a big resounding yes.

  • http://www.wallybangs.blogspot.com wallybangs

    Did you read the whole thing Tom. I know I was dealing with some abstract thoughts here but the mixtape is called from hell because it was made during high school therefore the last line of the post “high school always seems like hell until you get out”. Let’s see: I ridiculed myself for liking Quiet Riot, I made fun of Kevin Dubrow (shooting fish in a barrel there), and I lambasted Billy Squier. I’d say comparing Iron Maiden to Black Sabbath along with saying that “Revelations” was my favorite tune at the time is pretty nice, not to mention the line about hearing “Revelations” being played while a dude rode a unicycle being “righteous and proper”. Maybe my next post should be more along the lines of “Me like this and me don’t like that.”

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    >>It didn’t do you very much good to alienate Van Halen fans in those days

    However, today I think it can be a healing experience for all :-)

    I’ve got to read the rest later.

    Iron Maiden were not very influential musically. They were amazing though and Eddie’s comic book persona likely drew a lot fans in.

    I’m an Iron Maiden fan, but a lot of it sounds the same. But there are some real gems.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    I work with a guy who worships Eddie Van Halen, and I think I might just mean that literally. It still doesn’t pay to alienate Van Halen fans.

    In fact, maybe more than ever. Because the remaining fans are really hardcore.

  • Eric Olsen

    dude, I’m with you – I was there on all these, though not so much the Iron Maiden. Speaking of Billy, you ever hear his pre-solo band Piper, Wally? There first one is some really classic power pop.

  • http://www.thebeautifullull.com Tom Johnson

    Of course Iron Maiden was silly, at least in terms of stage production – most of the stuff that hit arenas, especially metal, was pretty silly when it came to that. The music, however, is incredible, and for metal, the lyrics were pretty intelligent (if these bands got beyond talking about sex and drugs it was an impressive feat, it seems, and while it may be a cliche now, the literary subject matter Maiden employed was pretty novel at the time.) And, come on, they have, hands down, the best mascot of all time.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    A “Real” band doesn’t need a mascot.

    Ha – juz kiddinlin there.

    Does Tawny Kitaen (spx) count? Problably not.

  • http://www.wallybangs.blogspot.com wallybangs

    When Powerslave came out we made our senior English class teacher play the Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner song in class. It was a good way to kill almost twenty minutes.

  • http://www.thebeautifullull.com Tom Johnson

    At my high school, one of the teachers was actually known for playing “Mariner” for her students in the poetry sections of her English classes. I had her for a later English class and can verify how damned cool she was – and she was decades beyond Iron Maiden’s target audience.

  • http://livinblog.blogspot.com/ Joe Battista

    Iron Maiden in high school English classes? I thought Rush had an exclusive deal with all the schools for poetry time.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    they have, hands down, the best mascot of all time.

    c’mon tom, better than those dancing furry bunnies for The Flaming Lips?

    ;-)

  • http://www.wallybangs.blogspot.com wallybangs

    Speaking of Billy, you ever hear his pre-solo band Piper, Wally?

    Yep, Piper were a pretty good power pop combo.

    Eddie could eat the Flaming Lip’s bunnies for lunch and still be hungry.

  • BRICKLAYER

    Dude, this tape rules. Can I get a copy?

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Dude, your bus driver was Otto, man ….

    That is all.

  • Eric Olsen

    best bus driver line: “Will the passengers please refrain from KILLING MY SOUL?”

    Second best: “Thank you Farmer Very Unhelpful”

    these lines are from … ?

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Best bus driver in a film:

    Chris Farley in Billy Madison.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    “I know they’re called fingers, but I’ve never seen em fing … Whoa, there they go.”

    “Stop bogarting our Lord, man …”

    “Whoa man, your mom is hot…”

    That is all.

  • http://www.wallybangs.blogspot.com wally bangs

    Dude, your bus driver was Otto, man ….

    I never thought about that, but he was certainly a prototype. He only had one rule and it was ironclad. He liked complete silence when we boarded the bus in the afternoon to go home. And I do mean complete. One stupid giggle would mean we would ride home in silence. It only happened a couple of times. But other than that the dude was a riot. He had one of those pictures of Mickey Mouse flipping off Khomeini in his window (it was during the Iran hostage deal) and he used to piss off the science teacher in the class next to mine because he would always blow his air horn before going to the elementary school around the block. She got the junior high school to threaten to fire him if didn’t quit because it was such a disruption to her class. It never bothered me. It meant I only had twenty minutes left in the hell hole for the day. Now the day that the teacher next door barged into my class demanding to know if any of us kids knew who was blowing the horn every day was a disruption. So if you’re out there Mrs. Lamb – you suck!

  • Eric Olsen

    no one knows where my bus driver lines are from?

  • http://www.wallybangs.blogspot.com wally bangs

    “Will the passengers please refrain from KILLING MY SOUL?”

    Shaun Of The Dead?

  • Eric Olsen