The greatest thing about the 80’s was Glam Metal…to a point.
For the most part, the rock & roll of the eighties, whether you call it Heavy Metal, Glam Metal, or whatnot, it was upbeat and positive. It was about sex, drugs, and rock & roll! Who didn’t like those three things? My drug of choice was beer by the way. Well, except for the two years that hottie in Pennsylvania made me quit drinking.
Towards the end of the decade, you could actually dance to most of it.
I think Van Halen was the genesis of the Glam Metal movement. Prior to that, we had heavy metal, some of it was visually appealing, Led Zeppelin, I think got the ball rolling. Then later versions of The Scorpions and Judas Priest may have pushed the snowball a little further down the hill. I will even give Queen and all their glitz some credit.
But David Lee Roth and his hair along with Eddie Van Halen’s unique guitar work made heavy metal about big hair and flashy guitar playing. Their success made all others want to be like them.
I was still in high school when freshly minted Glam Metal bands started to burst onto the scene. My parents moved from Minneapolis to Lakeville just before my sophomore year, then jumped to the completely opposite side of the metro area, and bought a house in Coon Rapids just before my Senior Year.
I left my future wife back in Lakeville, because my parents forced me to enroll in Coon Rapids. What this meant was, when I could scratch together enough gas money, I would drive down to Lakeville, spend some time with the girlfriend, then drive home.
What does this have to do with the emergence of Glam Metal in the early 80’s? Well, it was during that drive from Coon Rapids to Lakeville, then back that I started to hear the first songs of this new genre.
Ratts “Round and Round” blasted from the boom box in the back of that old Skylark. It didn’t have a radio, so I played music from a battery eating boom box that fell over every time I stopped to hard. Minneapolis was half way between the two, and I would often stop off on the way home to see the old gang.
I don’t remember whose garage it was, but most of them hung out in a loft in that garage. Instead of taking the quicker route, up I35 W. I would head up Cedar Ave, past Lake Nokomis, and detour to the garage everyone was hanging out in.
They would sit up there, smoke cigarettes and occasionally something else and bitch about what assholes their parents where. One day I poked my head up, and Chris, Jeff, and a few others were there, hanging out. Their own boom box blasting out the rock n roll, not so loud we couldn’t talk, but loud enough so we could call ourselves metal heads.
Chris looked at me as I settled in.
“What do you think of that new song from Dokken?”
The song was “Breaking the Chains” and showed up on the radio about the same time as Ratts “Round and Round”.