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Harper Metal News Book Read Along (Part III)

"Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion"


In the second half of Part I, titled “Everybody Wants Some!!”, Chapters 6 - 13 of “Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion”, focus on the early years of the bands Motley Crue, Ratt, Stryper, W.A.S.P., Cinderella and Poison in the early 1980's. This part of the book continues to also focus mainly on the clubs in Los Angeles where most of these bands played. There were Northeast based bands covered in the book that were exceptions to this however. Before they hit it big, Poison got their start in Pennsylvania before relocating to Los Angeles. And Cinderella was based in Philadelphia and New Jersey.


Here are some great quotes from the book that really do an excellent job of describing the early 1980's metal scene, which was mainly located at the music clubs in Los Angeles at the time.


In Chapter 6, journalist Bob Nalbandian said, "The thing about a lot of these L.A. bands is that when they became famous, they weren't new bands. You hear about, you know, Motley Crue, and it's a "brand-new band that just came out..." People didn't know the history. They didn't know that Nikki Sixx had been in (the band) London and all these different bands."


Here is a funny quote from Chapter 8. L.A. music club Whiskey a Go Go booking agent Deedee Keel said, "(The guys in Motley Crue) took all my phone books (from my office). I said, "What the hell? Why are you guys taking my phone books? And (Motley Crue drummer) Tommy (Lee) said, "We don't have any toilet paper."" I like this quote because not only is it hilarious, but it also illustrates how poor these musicians were at the time, and that despite this, they were willing to make huge sacrifices in their quest to become successful musicians.


Here are two great quotes from Chapter 10 that are also about the huge drive and work ethic these bands had in the early 1980's in their efforts to achieve success for their respective bands.


Brian Slagel, owner of Metal Blade Records, said, "It was a total DIY effort in the beginning, way before the (record) labels got into it. And it was a great scene back then. Very independent minded. I think the later versions of that stuff, the bands wanted to do it because they saw Motley (Crue) and Ratt become rock stars and they wanted to become rock stars. But for the early guys it was all about the music and the shows. Nobody there was thinking, I'm gonna do this and be rich and be a rock star. They were trying to do a show and make it someting other than just guys in jeans and T-shirts. And Motley (Crue) and W.A.S.P., they were doing production. It was above what anybody else was doing on a theatrical level."


Alan Niven has held several management jobs in the music industry, including being an executive with Greenworld Distribution and Enigma Records, and as a manager of the bands Guns N' Roses and Great White. Alan Niven said of this early 1980's music scene, "The record companies wanted Duran Duran. They wanted new wave. Nobody took rock 'n' roll seriously. They thought it was passe. So if you wanted to get further you had to be self-determining. You had to have some imagination. You had to have a little bit of wheel and deal. Because that was the only way that you were going to start building your following."


“Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion” continues to be a fantastic and very entertaining read, and I am looking forward to reading Part II of the book, which is titled, "Feel the Noize". I will start covering Part II of the book with Part IV of my book read along blog. Stay tuned!

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