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Todd’s Truly Trivial Tidbits: HEAVY METAL EDITION
(this list goes to 11)…

I’m no Eddie Trunk, but I’ve been known to dive into the Oft-Misunderstood world of Heavy Metal music, beginning early with a Kiss fascination.

So, here I am, about to rock you with a hurricane of some pretty geeky Heavy Metal factoids.

For those about to read, I salute you…

1) Bryan Adams, Metal God
While he never really went Metal himself (Summer of 666 anyone?), Adams did contribute a handful of numbers for less-squeaky-clean performers, like Krokus, Kiss, and my personal favorite, Mötley Crüe.

By 1997, mega-rockers Mötley Crüe had failed to capture the record and tour sales their label enjoyed in the 80s.  So they brought back Vince Neil to lead their vocals, who had last been heard on their 1989 Dr. Feelgood.  Their seventh album Generation Swine attempted to mix harder rock with some very overproduced pop and electronic influences.

The highlight of the album, however, is the extremely un-Mötley power-ballad “Glitter.”  Not only is it co-written by Adams, but backing vocals and guitar are supplied by Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander of Cheap Trick.  From its very un-Mötley opening synth-loops to its aerosol-emotion chorus, it’s truly an awkward guilty pleasure.

One year after the failure of Generation Swine, a Greatest Hits album was pressed containing a more typical power-ballad remix of “Glitter” that removes the synthesizer completely.  The album was reissued in 2009 and removed the song completely.

2) Whole Lotta Love From Detroit Horror Fans
I escaped the Led Zeppelin craze somehow until I got to college, where I believe Zep was required to be on constant rotation by at least one floor of every dorm on campus.

But I have a good excuse to be, still to this day, a little frightened by the band, and not by the kind of creepy sadness of “Stairway to Heaven” or the rising licks of “Kashmir.”

As any kid who grew up in the Detroit area during the 80s can tell you, it was the bizarre opening credit sequence on WXON TV-20’s weekend horror show that put Zeppelin in a rank alongside Goblin for pure terror.

Oddly enough, the bizarre theme comes from Whole Lotta Love‘s infamous freak-out instrumental centerpiece.  To this day, I can’t listen to the track without picturing clips from Bob Clark’s awesome zombie flick Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.

3) Disney Dabbles With The Devil

In 1989, The Walt Disney Company had just launched what was basically another “Touchstone Pictures” called “Hollywood Pictures” for the purpose of more adult fare.

To attempt the same s
uccess in the music industry, they formed Hollywood Records in 1990.

While the label has finally come into its own, producing massive hits often for Disney Channel stars like Hilary Duff, Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cyrus, it took an awful long time to get there.

Most folks would be surprised to know that one of the labels very first acts was a reformation of rocker Mandy Lion’s World War Three, whose self titled album opens with the awesomely insidious little number “Time for Terror.”

If Miley Cyrus is looking for an opportunity to sing something from her label’s back-catalogue, I can only suggest this one whole-heartingly…

4) Alice Cooper – No More Mr. Nine Iron

Alice Cooper is a born-again golfer.

No, seriously.

The rock legend claims golf has kept him clean and sober for years.

He even has a handicap of seven and shares some of his swinging secrets in the book “Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: My 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict!”

Along came a golfer!

5) Soundtrack Slayer
It’s an unwritten, but known rule that every movie soundtrack must contain at least one cover song.  The soundtrack to 1987’s Less Than Zero has a handful of them.  While “Hazy Shade of Winter” by The Bangles almost made it to #1 on the charts, Slayer’s cover of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda Da-Vida” goes largely forgotten.

The album is notable, however, for combining Metal and Hip-Hop, and with good reason.  Most of it was produced by Def Jam founder Rick Rubin, who brought together Run DMC and Aerosmith.  Aerosmith does their duty on the soundtrack, but also appearing are Glenn Danzig and a cover of a Kiss classic by Poison.

6) Imitation of Tap
Metallica’s 1991 self-titled album is black.

Really black.  As in, how much black can it get?  The answer is none.

None more black.

When asked by Spinal Tap on camera if the band was meant as a homage to their own black album, they had to fess up.

I mean, how can you not be inspired by the greatest fictional album cover of all time by a fictional band?

7) Too Much Horror Business

Speaking of Metallica, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett is one of my favorite geeks in the music industry, having collected a mass amount of horror memorabilia that would make Forrest Ackerman jealous.

Not only does he own the a Donnie Darko bunny mask, but also Bela Lugosi’s annotated script to Dracula.

You too can drool over Hammett’s collection, at least in book form with his coffee-table book Too Much Horror Business.

8) Can We Talk to GWAR?
To promote their second album Scumdogs of the Universe, GWAR talked to Joan Rivers to expand on their core audience…

On a sad, side-note, David Murray Brockie (seen here as GWAR lead vocalist Oderus Urungus passed away in March from a heroin overdose.

9) Anthrax Mixed With Meat Loaf

Scott Ian, lead singer for Anthrax (and VH-1 personality) is married to Pearl Aday, daughter of Meat Loaf.

This is one of my all-time favorite music trivia tidbits, by the way.

Right after the fact that his full name is Scott Ian Rosenfeld and he’s from Bayside Queens.

10) Ramble On, Strider.  Good dog.

The connections between Tolkien and led Zeppelin are aplenty, with some of the more overt examples in their songs themselves.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were both big fans of The Lord of the Rings and songs like “Misty Mountain Hop,” “The Battle of Evermore,” and “Ramble On”directly reference key characters in the Tolkien universe.

Best fan fact by far — Plant named his dog Strider.

I’ve always wondered if he called him Aragorn when disciplining the pooch.

Better yet, the tune “Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp”off their third album mentions Stride, declaring”ain’t no companion like a blue eyed merle.”

11) He Blinded Them With Science
Credited with keyboards on Def Leppard’s classic Pyromania is a gentleman named Booker T. Boffin.

At the time of its release, Booker was better known as hyperactive New Wave artist Thomas Dolby.

A few years later, Dolby would top this oddball contribution by composing some awful music for Howard the Duck and making a cameo as “Rock Club Bartender” in the film.

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