Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Do You Smell Something Burning?"

Here's a band with the complete package. They've got the looks, the clothes, the attitude, the hair and even the right poses. All the photographer needed to do was to crank the smoke machine to 11 and let them work their magic. If we get nothing else from this fine photo, it should at least stand as a shining example of what a decent (i.e. not laughably goofy) promo photo should look like.

Unfortunately, these dudes weren't able to make it on looks alone. And this is why their photo ended up on my blog. OK, yeah, a couple of the bands whose pics I've thrown up here did sell an album or two, but most just contributed a track to a comp or issued a self-released EP. Their 15 minutes was fleeting.

I do know who these guys are and though they pretty much went nowhere back in the '80s, they are back together today. Which begs the question: why? Maybe they just felt that if these guys or these guys did it, they could too. Twenty years from now I'll be posting a photo of 5 fortysomething dudes asking if anyone remembers their equally obscure reunion.

Update: Once again Ian Christe comes through with the correct answer, the Bay Area's very own Ruffians. Their closest brush with "fame" was having vocalist Carl Albert (pictured above, and sadly now deceased) go on to front Vicious Rumors. And as I mentioned above, Ruffians have reunited and are still playing in the Bay Area.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Make us look cool or we won't help you out of that deep hole!"

I know, kind of a lame title for this post, but some days you have it and some days you don't. There a number of things I find comical about this photo, not the least of which is the perspective it was taken from--shot to accentuate the crotches of the band's tight-fitting jeans. Nice.

And then there's the Franknstein monster on the right who looks like he borrowed his granny's rabbit fur coat for the shoot. I mean, WTF is that?!? I may have to get an official ruling on this, but I'm pretty sure that is not metal. At all.

My final concern has to do with the odd, washed-out nature of the contrast on this--I think--B&W photo. Did they mean to make it look vaguely pink (or whatever)? And, if so, why? To obscure the fact that they were a raggedy bunch of heshers (do I see a mustache?) who had to discover the hard way that even playing in a band wasn't gonna get them any action from the ladies? Who knows.

More importantly, does anyone know who this band is?

UPDATE: My apologies to Boleslaw for getting to this update a little slowly, but you know it's the holidays and all. Anyway, congrats for FINALLY figuring out that this is Florida band Atomic Opera. I'm a little surprised it took so long since Ian Christe did a small post about the band a few years ago (which is here). Atomic Opera were contemporaries of Savatage, Siren, Nasty Savage and other mid-’80s FLA metal bands, though obviously they were all from different cities/scenes. Ian had AO's two-song demo posted at his site, but I don't know if that link is good anymore. Maybe if you ask nicely, he'll repost.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Dude Who Sat Behind Me in Math Class"

"Lynott" left a comment in a previous post about one of the guys in the band looking like the "dude that sat behind me in math class," and it made me think two things: 1) I was that dude in high school, and 2) anyone reading this probably either remembers someone like that, or was that person.

This fairly unremarkable promo photo--nothing particularly cheesy or cool, a band decked out in basic denim and leather, hanging out in a bar--struck me as a collection of five "dudes who sat behind me in math class."

Anyway, I actually used to correspond with this band back in the day. If/when someone figures it out, I'll see if I can't dig out one of the letters (written on the band's personalized stationary, natch) and post it.

(And ignore that "19 Denmark" in the bottom right corner, it's not a clue as to the country of origin or name of this band.)

Update: This is one the longest unsolved posts so far. (There's still this one.) . Anyway, Keir was flipping through his NWOBHM Encyclopedia--the lucky bastard--and he came across this exact picture. It's Soldier. And unless you went to school in the UK, none of these dudes probably sat behind you in math class. I know I said I'd try to dig out some of the correspondence I had with this band, but I've so far been unsuccessful. Maybe I just made the whole thing up in my head. Hard to say. Anyway, Soldier were one of those obscure-for-a-reason NWOBHM bands. Weren't horrible, weren't amazing. They more or less peaked with their debut single "Sheralee," a power ballad released by Heavy Metal Records in 1982. They issued a couple of demos after that and then faded away...until their inevitable reunion in 2003. They even issued a new album in 2005 called Sins of the Warrior.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dudes Look Like (Ugly) Ladies

This photo must have been taken around the time of glam/hair metal's peak, when the more the dudes in the band looked like chicks, the more popular they were. And even if the band wasn't popular, they could, for a brief time at least, get away with looking completely androgynous. It was a relatively short window of time, though, and inevitably bands had to outdo each other, leading to these kinds of shenanigans. (Thank god grunge eventually put a stop to the escalating ridiculousness.)

An interesting side note about these gals is that they had the same exact band name as a much more influential (though not necessarily popular or well-known) band from the early '80s. As far as I know, there was never a dispute over the name.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no shame in actually knowing what band this is, but if you'd prefer to post a reply anonymously, that's cool with me. I understand.

Update: Well, I was starting to think that I had stumped everyone with the last few posts, but Keir correctly guessed that this is indeed Sweet Savage from Dallas, Texas. For a good laugh, I'd suggest checking out the ridiculously longwinded bio on their MySpace page. By their own account they were "this close" to being megastars. If only...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bonus Election Day Post

Here's a band that loves its country. So much, in fact, it decided to have a promo photo taken in front of Old Glory. Good for them! Here's hoping that wherever they are today, they took part in the democratic process and voted. And if you're a registered American voter, please do the same.

UPDATE: Since Keir finally figured out that the other post that links to this is Siren, I figured I should update this as well. Yes, this is also Siren, proud patriots before it was cool to be a proud patriot. Although vocalist Doug Lee went on to front German band Mekong Delta. What's up with that?