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A Less Than Epic Share

January 19, 2013

Lately I’ve found myself held back by the idea that, in order for something to warrant sharing, it must matter.  In the context of these writings, this meant that I’d become mired in a failed effort to find an encompassing message or clever musing to anchor a next entry.  Plans to write about a recent thrash/death metal concert I attended with my markedly non-metalhead wife and daughter went by the wayside as I struggled to find the right “weighty” hook.  Offerings on an extended solo drive I took through the American Southwest in late 2012 died on the vine due to my inability to identify an epic inner motivating quest to serve as the narrative foundation for the road trip diary.  Now however, with months having passed since my last written discharge and suffering through my own (mental) version of blue balls, I’ve had an epiphany:

Sometimes simple things completely lacking in deeper meaning can nonetheless be remarkable, share-worthy even.

Unsurprisingly, I owe this newfound understanding to the sudden sledgehammer impact of guitar-driven, hard rocking, dopamine-release-inducing, music.  While driving to work one morning this week, the shuffle-all setting on my iPod deigned to pummel me with a back-to-back cacophony of brain-addling riffage in the form of the songs “Headhunter” by Krokus, followed immediately by Picture’s “Lady Lightning.”  The unexpected gifting of these old-school, gut-busting, patently-ludicrous power metal blasts from the past opened my eyes while assaulting my ears.  Via their over-the-top chugging simplicity, the songs reminded me of the potential potency of the ridiculously silly when it is delivered with heartfelt conviction.  Too insignificant to share?  I think not.  I dare you to listen without smiling, even if only to smugly mock aging headbangers like me who can’t get enough of such glorious absurdity.

Krokus – Headhunter:

Picture – Lady Lightning:

The stories:

I first heard of Swiss rockers Krokus when they opened a four-band show I saw circa early 1981 at Utah’s Bonneville Raceway.  With a bill that included Sammy Hagar, Molly Hatchet, and Cheap Trick, Krokus got completely lost in the shuffle for me.  I remember nothing of them from that concert save for the moment when, in an excited effort to get closer to the fans, the singer jumped off the stage during an especially energetic tune and pranced around for a bit in the five-foot space between the platform and a chain-link fence that held back the crowd.  When the song came to an end, the singer was unable to hoist himself back onto the stage despite multiple hilarious failed attempts.  As a couple of security personnel finally arrived to help him back up, I clearly remember mentally dismissing him as Bugs Bunny might have (What a maroon!).  Two years later, in 1983, Krokus released the Headhunter album from which the power ballad “Screaming in the Night” started to get some radio airplay.  I picked up the LP but didn’t really get around to listening to it until years later.  Now, the album is in semi-regular rotation, with the song “Headhunter” even having found its way onto one of the first mix-CDs I ever made for my metal-worshipping son.

I discovered little-known Dutch group Picture almost by chance.  As a missionary in the city of Huancayo in the central Peruvian highlands in 1984, I’d regularly visit a small shop that, in those days before digital pirating, sold genuine commercial music cassettes.  While thumbing through the bins one day, I came across a cassette sporting a picture of a denim-clad blonde hottie standing behind a bad-ass motorcycle and appearing to be about to throw a brick through a store window.  Obviously losing any free will in the face of such a captivating image, I had purchased the tape and left the store before bothering to note that it was Picture’s 1982 Diamond Dreamer album.  I don’t remember actually listening to the record at all however until rediscovering it in 2011.  Now I wonder what the hell was wrong with me during all those intervening years.  It’s a power metal masterpiece.

Krokus - Headhunter (1983) Picture - Diamond Dreamer (1982)

From → Ideas, Music

3 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    I stumbled on this site and read this funny story. I liked it so much I shared this on my facebook. Thank you!! Laurens Bakker (drummer of Picture)

    • I am honored. The music of you and your bandmates continues to bring me much joy. Hopefully we’ll get more Picture released and available in the States! You’re Touching Me already but Picture’s awesome metal glory needs to touch many more. I encourage folks to check out what Picture is up to now: (http://pictureofficial.com/band.html)

  2. Every time you talk about an unfamiliar band I plug it into Pandora and give it a listen. You are turning me into a heavy metal fan at my ripe old age. I even listen to it as background music while I am working on the computer. By contrast Maun and I went to a concert last Sunday where we heard Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Give that a try if you want to see if your musical taste is as universal as mine seems to be.

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