Opening up is hard to do. This is especially true when it comes to a man's record collection. I share these records with you not to show off (after all my collection is no longer what it once was), but to tell you the stories that go along with these records. These are not my most prized vinyl possessions, but ones that I thought would be worth sharing with our fellow readers. Here we go...
Out of all the hard rock/almost-metal compilations that were put in South America during 1988 by CBS records, this one is one of my favorites. The title translates to "heavy metal", and the fine airbrush work on those letters lets you know this record is no joke. But what about the music you ask? Not only does this album feature blazing tracks by none of the leading bands of the time, it features some of the hottest homoerotic artwork known to man. Just look at those glistening abs, those leather pants and other assorted gear that make this fine leather daddy one of the finest welders around. Not content with a simple guitar strap, this guy uses a chain to keep his flying V (Michael Schenker signature model Aria Pro?) in check. How can he play while he's wearing a godamned welding mask? If you need to ask...you'll never understand. He shreds SO hard, that sparks come out! It's also worth mentioning that the diagonal text on the left edge of the cover says "fill your head with rock", as in rock music. This tagline was a bit of a mixed message when I first bought this record. Here I was, now wearing my welding helmet like the guy on the cover, but then I have to take it off to fill it up with rocks? What? Lastly, it's worth mentioning that 220 Volt's lackluster appearance on this compilation album still doesn't take away from their earlier work in South American compilation albums, namely their track "Heavy Christmas". Haven't heard it? Go listen to it now!
Oh man, I can remember it like it was yesterday...I was hanging out with Russell and the boys from Forbidden on the side of a highway somewhere in the midwest, trying to figure out what to do next. I'd been on the road with those guys for two months, and times were rough. There was little time for fun during that tour, since nearly every moment was spent dealing with double-talking club owners, angry record label reps, or the occasional overweight female fan that Paul took a liking to. Anyway, that hot summer night we all sat around and heard the bad news from Rick (tour manager/mechanic). The van had broken down again, and this time it was serious. Apparently the intake manifold had cracked, and with it had gone the water pump. The band was broke, and had no money for the repairs. So, the only way to continue was to lighten the load. They were going to share a van with a band from Texas (whose name I can't remember to save my life) to finish up the tour. Space was going to be very tight, so I was released of my duties as a roadie. I was let go unceremoniously, with only this signed 12" single (as a thank you from the band) and $20 towards a Greyhound ticket home.
Okay, that's all a big lie. I bought this signed 12" at a local record store for $1.25.
Remember Mythic, the all girl death metal band? I barely do. I pretty much only remember them because of this record. My brother once saw them at a Cleveland Metal Fest, where they played with a casket on stage. That's about all I remember. What's important is that they were some of the pioneers of what I call "Metal Mama Jeans", which are basically like Mom Jeans (from the SNL commercial) but for metal babes. If you went to death metal shows in 1992, you saw black denim clad ladies like this everywhere, rocking their tucked-in Kreator t shirts. Just look at how insanely high these girls were able to get those pants! They are like denim sorcerers! There's enough zipper in one pair of Metal Mama Jeans for twenty sleeping bags! Man, nothing turns a man on like a cooch-pouch on a metal babe.
Unlike the Forbidden story, this one is real and thus perhaps less exciting. But it's still pretty good. My brother and I went to see Danzig in 1992, and we waited for a few hours in the cold to have this record autographed. As Eerie Von and John Christ came out of the club from sound checking, we got them to sign the record. We waited a bit longer, and were suddenly told by security that we would have to go across the street and wait over there until Glen came out. The security strategy was that as soon as Glen came out of the club's back door, we'd be allowed to approach him for autographs. But only once he came out, would we be allowed to cross the street and go toward him. I'm not sure where this unbelievably stupid security approach came from, or why on earth we followed it. I'm embarrassed even typing it out. By the way, I hope you're not imagining a mob scene with buff dudes and hot babes like you saw in the Danzig home videos. This was more like 9 teenagers shivering in the cold, holding Sharpies. So what happened was that Glenn came out, and we all rushed toward him like fat housewives on one of those shows where you run through a supermarket putting crap in the cart in order to win. While I was still standing on the other side of the street, Glenn looked strong and menacing... though a bit small. I thought this was to be expected, since I was far away from him. I mean, you can see a 747 flying over you house, and it looks about as big as a matchbox right? But you know that in reality, the thing is huge. That was not the case with Glenn. As I got closer and closer, he actually got smaller. I finally figured out that this tiny little man was indeed shorter than I was. In the spirit of full disclosure I should tell you that I am short. I'm exactly 5' 7 1/4" (I went to the doctor recently and was measured). The day Glenn Danzig signed this record, I was not done growing yet and was maybe 5' 6", if that. I remember standing next to him as he signed the record, thinking to myself "Oh my god, I'm taller than Glenn Danzig." I have proof of this, since a picture of that moment exists. In that picture I'm wearing an awful Raiders beanie (my fashion sense at the time fell somewhere between the Cavalera brothers, and the movies Blood In Blood Out and American Me), and with that awful hat on my head I'm easily three inches taller than the tiny evil-dwarf that is Danzig. I felt so good that day, not only was I taller than someone on planet earth, but that someone was Danzig.
On a closing note I should mention that Chuck never signed the record. While other members came out of the club and later from the bus, Chuck was in the bus the whole time. He refused to come out, and kept peering through the tour bus windows from time to time. Thinking back on it, I see his point. Why on earth would he want to endure stupid teenagers like me asking him to sign a record? I completely understand that now..but back then I was angry as hell.