Michael A. Moodian of the Huffington Post reports:

Eddie Trunk is one of American hard rock radio’s most recognized voices. The New Jersey native, an industry veteran for decades, launched the country’s first heavy metal and hard rock radio show (in 1983), managed rock stars, was vice president of Megaforce Records, and was the host of VH1’s That Metal Show. His latest program Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk, airs on Hair Nation and Volume, Sirius XM stations. Trunk is the definition of a rock ‘n’ roll guy.

Hair Nation features 1980s bands such as Mötley Crüe, Dokken, and Cinderella, groups whose most commercially successful period occurred approximately 30 years ago. While Ronald Reagan sold arms to Iran to fund the contras’ effort in Nicaragua, ignored the AIDS epidemic, and cut aid to the poor, Def Leppard, Poison, and Ratt dominated the radio airwaves and MTV. These acts, also known as glam or lite metal bands, have become labeled—perhaps affectionately, perhaps jokingly—hair bands in reference to the hairstyles they proudly displayed during a time of Nintendo Entertainment Systems. Hair bands are known for outlandish perms, big bangs, backcombing, and lots of hairspray.

Despite the fact that glam rock is decades removed from the mainstream, Trunk’s show and others on the station are very popular and widely listened to. “This music has become a new generation’s classic rock. As much as in some areas it’s still marginalized it can’t be denied it impacted a massive amount of people,” said Trunk. “These artists sold millions of albums and lived on TV screens on MTV. If you are between 40 and 50 years old this is what you grew up with, and it’s being celebrated by those people as well as their kids who are discovering it through their parents…”

…Glam metal’s best were featured at a September music festival in Irvine, Calif., titled the Sirius XM Hair Nation Festival. The concert included notable acts such as Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil, Poison frontman and The Celebrity Apprentice participant Bret Michaels, Slaughter, Lita Ford, the great Yngwie Malmsteen, and many more.

“Hair Nation really set the table nicely, honoring 20 national acts to play day and night for tens of thousands of people. It brought us back to the days of playing sheds and arenas following around Guns N’ Roses and Skid Row,” Chip Z’Nuff, lead vocalist and bass player for Enuff Z’Nuff, said.

What struck me about Hair Nation was that this style of music has not been considered mainstream for at least 25 years, yet there is still significant demand to see these bands perform, as thousands attended the festival.

“It does not surprise me as all those bands collectively have sold over 100 million records. It shows the power of MTV/VH1 Classics and rock radio who played these bands every day in front of massive audiences and Sirius XM radio who supports rock every day,” shared Z’Nuff.

“The music is timeless. Metal and hair metal have so many hooks, like really great popular music through the years. People have so many memories associated with each album and song. Like any great music genre, it stands the test of time,” stated Joe Truck, guitarist of Circus of Power, one of the festival’s performing acts. “I’m a fan of music and it’s truly a blessing that fans still support this genre of music,” added Kristy Majors, guitarist of Pretty Boy Floyd, also a festival act. “Niche music will never lose a fan base. It’s a particular lifestyle and sound that transcends to younger generations.”

A separate but related takeaway is that glam’s popularity in the mid-1980s to early-1990s represented the last time in the United States that musicianship was truly valued by the masses. This does not mean that there was not quality work to emerge from grunge, mainstream alternative rock, and nu metal of the 1990s. But it is hard to deny that the guitarists, drummers, and bassists of the glam movement are immensely talented at their respective instruments. That is simply not the case with contemporary mainstream bands, as one rarely even hears guitar solos when listening to new rock music on the radio.

Trunk opined, “I feel every era had some great moments; however, the eighties may have been the last era of the rock stars. And without question some amazingly talented artists came from that time and are still great at what they do.” He elaborated, “But as long as they keep getting put into this ‘hair’ branding people sadly can’t see beyond it. The impact of MTV cannot be overstated when talking about this genre. It broke many of these acts, but it also left people thinking of the visual of the time almost more than the quality of the songs and playing.”

Trunk hates the term hair band. “I honestly think it’s ridiculous and I also think many forget it is an offensive and derogatory term to describe this era of music as style over substance… I think every era has its signature look and sound, and every era has good and bad bands,” the broadcast veteran said. “I do feel some of the movement of new rock I am hearing is clearly a throwback and influence from the eighties. Again the people who grew up with this music now have kids 20 years old and they grew up on their parents’ music. I see more and more attempting to start bands in the spirit of this music.”

Read more at the Huffington Post.


Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

9 Responses

Leave us a comment

  • Rattlehead on

    There were a lot of great, successful, and talented bands and musicians that came out of the glam, or “hair band” period. They owe a lot of their success due to constant rotation on MTV. But there also were a lot of bands that simply got on MTV because of their “look”, nothing more.

    I found it silly the way some successful pre glam period bands transitioned into the glam period. Ozzy, the Prince of Darkness, got a hair perm. Gene Simmons, the Demon, never could find the right stage presence and continued stomping the stage and sticking out his tongue like the old demon he used to be. Judas Priest also got hair perms and started to sprinkle different colors into their traditional black leather clothing.

    I agree with Eddie that that period may be the last of the “rock star”. I believe the internet and social media eliminated the rock star mystique, as we once knew it. But for me, the 80’s were the most fun music period. Driving to Los Angeles with my friends to the small clubs and seeing the likes of Steeler, Odin, Witch, Sin, Keel, Stryper, Poison, WASP, Yngwie, Warrior, Loudness, Y&T, and countless other bands. Gosh, that time period was great!

    • Dana on

      I agree, Rattlehead, the 80’s had some great bands, period.

      Some of the best albums came out during that decade, such as my three favorite albums of all time: Screaming for Vengeance, Pyromania and Blue Murder. Plus countless others.

      Get out my memba berries.

      D 🙂

  • TheLaw on

    You guys hit the nail right on the head.

    To preface: I’m 23 now.

    When I was 8, my parents took me to a Pat Benatar concert at Pine Knob. Bands like System Of A Down and Green Day ran the scene where I live and over the years I found myself discovering bands like Bon Jovi, Van Halen and Warrant. Most kids wanted to play XBOX, but at 12, I wanted to go to local spots to watch 80s metal coverbands. Fast forward to the present where I am now the lead guitar player in Detroits biggest 80’s (lest I mention hair) metal tribute, RockStar. When I’m onstage, I watch the younger fans and how they react to the sights, sounds and party atmosphere. This music is affecting these kids and they are getting inspired just as I was. It’s coming back, guys. It’s coming back quicker than you might know, and I’m thankful for that.


    • Dana on

      Good on you. A man with discerning taste. 🙂

      D 🙂

  • Mark Ellis on

    Aside from the obligatory leftist jab at the great President Reagan, this is a good piece. Though a child of the sixties, I found the eighties to be a great time in music. I’ve got hundreds of cassettes in my basement from that era, including, yes, the Priest album (?) with Turbo Lover.

  • Nathan Denney on

    The Ronald Reagen dig was a bit unnecessary but this is the Huffington Post. I like to keep politics out of my music.

    • Tyger of Pan Tang on

      Actually, that’s one of the reasons our music scene is ignored to this day. The Professional Music Critic has to keep music and everything else political, at all times.

      So we’re no fun for them.

Leave a Reply