Old-Ass VHS Review, Volume 3: Married With Children – “My Dinner With Anthrax”

Y’know who doesn’t like Married…With Children?   Fascists (for all I know) and self-righteous religious types, that’s who. Since I am neither of those things, I, of course, love it to the ends of the earth. I even wrote a paper about it years ago for a 300-level college history class (and I got an “A” on that sumbitch, too boot!).

Way way back, Indianapolis, Indiana had a TV station known as TTV-4, or to most people, just “Channel 4” (it later became an affiliate for The WB, then a CW affiliate, and just recently, it became Central Indiana’s CBS affiliate, which, for reasons I can’t really explain, seriously fucks with my worldview), which was an independent station that during the day aired cartoons (morning and afternoon), talk shows, original children’s programming, and old TV shows in syndication (The Brady Bunch was one of the most common).  In the evening, movies, Indiana University basketball games, and other syndicated TV shows (Sanford and SonM*A*S*H, the 1960’s Adam West Batman (Julie Newmar’s Catwoman taught me a lot about growing up),  Mama’s Family, Diff’rent Strokes,  etc.), and on Saturday evenings, Hoosier Millionaire, a game show featuring contestants who won their spot on the show by playing the state lottery.

When Married…With Children began airing in syndication on Channel 4,  I was stoked.  The Fox affiliate station in Indianapolis didn’t have a strong enough signal to reach us out in the middle of nowhere (as I’ve mentioned previously in this blog, I grew up without cable television), and the signal from Louisville was weak and not easy to watch (that didn’t stop me from watching it, but it looked static-y and terrible), so I finally got a chance to see one of my favorite shows with an almost cable-TV-like clarity.

When the episode featuring Anthrax aired, I had to tape it, because I knew I might never see it again (living in the pre-internet era was hard, y’all!).  Like many Old-Ass VHS Tapes, I still own this one, and it lives in a box in my basement, only to get trotted out from time to time when I’m feeling nostalgic.  Without further ado, here’s the Old-Ass VHS Review of Season 6, Episode 18 of Married…With Children, “My Dinner With Anthrax” (original airdate: 2/23/92 – Quick note: I started writing this review sometime back in October or so and didn’t get around to finishing it. Then today I randomly decided to finish it, only to realize after finishing that the episode aired 23 years ago today!).


The band’s interaction with Marcy is priceless. Also, dig that RIP Magazine polo shirt!


The Basics:

No case to protect this one.  The tape was originally a 30-ish minute cartoon tape (most likely purchased at Big Lots) entitled Porky Pig and Friends, which featured two Porky Pig cartoons followed by two completely unrelated Warner Brothers cartoons, a cash grab by some unscrupulous company that clearly had no idea (or perhaps did not care) who Porky Pig’s friends actually were. (Side note: one of the other cartoons was called “The Dover Boys at Pimento University”, and it was (and is) hilarious, and you should look it up on your own time.) Written on the label is “Gallagher: Over Your Head”, which I’d taped half of off Channel 4 prior to the airing of “My Dinner With Anthrax”.

The tape begins with the end credits to The Golden Girls, flowing directly into commercials for Miller Genuine Draft Light and the Rad-n-Bad Arenacross Nationals, which the internet tells me were held at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis on February 5, 1993.  The episode begins after this, with the commercials mostly cut out, and it’s pretty straightforward.  If you haven’t seen it, you should; it’s a good one.  I used to think the band members were pretty terrible actors, but honestly, when I watched it recently for this review, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they weren’t as bad as I’d always remembered.

After the episode ends, the tape cuts into a feature on the Phoenix Suns, featuring Gilbert Gottfried.  I used to be a Phoenix Suns fan back in the Charles Barkley days, which is also when I last gave any kind of a shit about basketball.  Sometimes I’m not very good at being from Indiana.

The Extras:

A trailer for National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 was fun to see, as was the commercial for “the new Cutlass Ciera, starting at ‘thirteen nine ninety-five'”.

The Highlights:

Anthrax on Married…With Children is a highlight unto itself.

The VHS-ness:

The picture is a little fuzzy throughout, but the quality is pretty good overall, especially considering the age of the tape, and the number of times I’ve watched it.  It does get a bit rolly and choppy when the band starts talking, but I imagine I’ve watched that part more than the rest of the episode.  The sound is decent.

The Bottom Line:

As with my other Old-Ass VHS Tapes, you’re welcome to come over and watch this one with me.  You don’t even have to bring your own beer for this one, since it’s less than 30 minutes long (although if you wanna stay and watch one of the other Old-Ass VHS Tapes afterward, you should probably BYOB).  YouTube doesn’t have the full episode up for free, so here’s a clip.

That’s all for today, friends.  Stay heavy, always.

Lead Us Into Temptation, A Reign of Terror Will Begin: A Thing About Exodus

I’m going to see Testament and Exodus live in April, and I don’t think I could possibly be more excited.  If you’ve spent any significant amount of time on the pages of this blog, you already know of my absolute, unwavering love of everything Testament has ever released.  By comparison, I’ve written significantly less about Exodus, so today I intend to remedy that somewhat.  Some of the things I have written about Exodus have indicated that I think their sonic output is a bit spottier than some other thrash bands, and I still stand by that statement (Impact is Imminent and Force of Habit have some great songs, but they are nowhere near the same level of quality as anything else the band has released).  I also mentioned at some point that I don’t care as much for the Rob Dukes-era version of Exodus, because his vocals are less enjoyable to me.  This attitude was completely adjusted when I saw the band live at Rock on the Range last year, and now I can’t get enough of the Dukes albums, and I really wish I could hear their newest album (Blood In, Blood Out – 2014) with his vocals, because as amazing as the album is, I just think he would’ve utterly destroyed the songs, in the best possible way.

I might not make it out of this alive, y'all.

I might not make it out of this alive, y’all.

Anyhoo, one somewhat-reoccurring theme in Exodus songs is clever wordplay in either the titles or the lyrics (and sometimes in both).  Two examples can be found on their first album, 1985’s undeniable classic Bonded By Blood (“And Then There Were None” and “Deliver Us to Evil”, the latter of which gave this post its title), although the wordplay became much more clever as the band grew, and in fact these first two examples are pretty weak, and are only really being included because the songs are so fucking good that it would literally be a crime to not include them.

Exodus circa 2008 re-recorded the songs from Bonded By Blood and released it under the title Let There Be Blood, and I love those versions just as much (what I’ve learned in the past year or so is that the three different Exodus vocalists don’t really sound so different), so I’ma include them, as well.

After Bonded By Blood, original vocalist, party animal, metal ambassador, and poseur-beater-upper Paul Baloff (RIP) was given the boot, because he couldn’t carry a tune in a dumptruck, and because he was partying a li’l too much, which when you think about the metal scene in the mid-to-late 80’s, is pretty absurd and rather terrifying.  His replacement came in the form of Steve “Zetro” Souza, who was fronting a band called Legacy, who replaced him with young upstart vocalist Chuck Billy and changed their name to Testament, which led to the world receiving two beautiful gifts in 1987, Testament’s debut The Legacy and Exodus’ second album, Pleasures of the Flesh, which was my personal introduction to the band.  There is only one wordplay example on Pleasures, but it hints at what would come later, and it happens to be my favorite song from the album, and is yet another example of thrash metal’s long-standing social awareness.  It’s called “Chemi-kill”.

The follow-up album, 1987’s Fabulous Disaster, contains no cleverly-titled songs, but it is really great, and it had something of a hit single called “The Toxic Waltz”, which received pretty regular rotation on Headbanger’s Ball back in the day, and remains a live staple to this day.  I’m gonna share it just because it’s fucking great.

1990’s Impact is Imminent gave us one wordplay example, album closer “Thrash Under Pressure”, which is one of the better songs on the album.

1992’s Force of Habit was in pretty heavy rotation in my bedroom when it first came out, but these days I just can’t get into it as much.  It has some wicked-bad songs, but it seems to lack the urgency of the first three albums (and it definitely lacks the urgency of everything that has come after).  The album contains no songs that fit within my self-imposed parameters, so I’ll just include the videos for the two singles, “Thorn in My Side” and the anti-suicide anthem “A Good Day to Die”, the latter of which was used in a television show at the time, although I cannot for the life of me remember which show, nor can I find any evidence on the internet of this having ever happened.  I just remember that the main character was a high school kid, and his family was worried about him committing suicide because he was listening to a song called “A Good Day to Die”.  Can anyone help me out with this?  Did I somehow manufacture this entire scenario in my metal-and-caffeine-addled brain?

The band split up after Force of Habit, reforming in 1996 or ’97 with Baloff back on vocals.  They released a live album, the outstanding Another Lesson in Violence, in 1997, and broke up again in 1998, reforming with Baloff again in 2001 to play the Thrash of the Titans concert, which was a benefit for Chuck Billy, who at the time had a rare form of cancer, which he went on to kick the shit out of.  Holy shit, Thrash of the Titans had such an amazing lineup.



But I digress…the band continued to play shows in and around the Bay Area, and plans were made to record a new album with Baloff, but he died in 2002 after suffering a stroke.  Zetro was brought back in emergency-style, so that the band could fill previously made commitments, which led to the recording of the band’s “comeback” album, 2004’s mighty Tempo of the Damned, which is nearly as overrun with clever turns of phrase as it is with badass songs.

The album kicks off with a one-two punch of anti-war diatribes “Scar Spangled Banner” and the absolutely brutal “War is My Shepherd”, which are later followed by the vehemently anti-religious “Shroud of Urine” and a dark tale of revenge against domestic violence called “Sealed With a Fist”.

“America, the violent, the indifferent, God shit his grace on me…we the people, for no people, secure the blessings of tragedy, do ordain we have established the scar spangled banner!”

I didn’t realize “War is My Shepherd” had an official video until just now.  Let’s watch together, shall we?

“You’re cruci-fucked and you’re out of luck if you put your faith in the flock…”

“When she took your hand in marriage, it didn’t mean right across the face…but now that your wedding chamber’s the one the bullet’s in, brave man, look at you, not so tough when the hammer’s cockin…when they carry your body out over the threshold, you’ll wish you never said ‘I do’…”

Zetro left the band again on the eve of a tour that was slated to take the band to Mexico and points south, and harsh words were uttered by guitarist and band leader Gary Holt…words so harsh, in fact, that any chance of a return to the fold seemed completely out of the question.  Enter Rob Dukes.

Dukes made his debut with the band on 2005’s Shovel Headed Kill Machine, which I absolutely love.  The opening track “Raze” is short and sweet, if you replace “sweet” with bitter, angry, and savage.  So…”short and savage”, I guess.  Anyway, it leads into the first example of this albums clever titles and lyrical wordplay, “Deathamphetamine”, a vicious, nightmarish tale of addiction which is a maybe my favorite Dukes-era song, and which should have absolutely been included on my addiction-themed mixtape Obey Your Master, but I was foolishly unfamiliar with the song when I made that mix.  I guess it’ll have to be a bonus track on the Special Anniversary Edition.  Another finalist for the title of Joel’s Favorite Rob Dukes-Era Exodus Song comes later on the same album, and it also happens to fit the theme here.  It’s called “Altered Boy”, and it is outfuckingstanding.

“Chicken hawks of the Catholic church, out to save and destroy, they have become the the priest of burden, and he’s become an altered boy.”  How fucking brilliant is that?!  “Exceedingly fucking brilliant” is the correct answer.

The band took a somewhat different path with their next album, 2007’s The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A.  The songs are a bit more complicated musically, and the lyrics are based around the themes of war and religion, which isn’t necessarily so different for the band, except that the focus on those themes is much more laser-like this time.  It contains a surprising (if you’ve never heard it before) example of Dukes’ vocal abilities in the passionately anti-radical Muslim centerpiece “Children of a Worthless God”, but the only example that fits my parameters for this entry is “The Garden of Bleeding”.

“Endless orchards dot the land, of corpses up on spikes.  Beauty’s in the eye of the beheaded on a pike…”

The companion album, Exhibit B: The Human Condition, appeared in 2010, and it contains no punny songs, but it does contain a song about school shootings called “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)”, the lyrics to which, you may recall, got a man in Kentucky arrested last year, after he shared them on his facebook page.  I actually just bought this album yesterday, and I’m looking forward to digging into it.  Hopefully I won’t end up on any watch lists.

At some point, Gary Holt must have had a change of heart, as Dukes was unceremoniously relieved of his duties last year and Zetro came back on board.  Quick aside: you should also check out Dukes’ current band, Generation Kill.  They kick ass, too.  Anyway, the resulting album, Blood In, Blood Out, is as good as nearly any other album in the band’s catalog, although as stated above, I would love to hear it with Dukes’ voice.  It also contains no songs that fit my theme, but I would be remiss to not share the searing title track, as well as one of my favorite songs ever from the band, “Body Harvest”, a grim little ditty based on the urban legend about the guy who wakes up in a bathtub filled with ice, only to find that his kidneys have been taken from him by black marketeers.

“Let’s start the pit that time forgot.” I can not fucking wait to “rage and make Paul Baloff proud” on April 21.

That’s all I got for now.  Enjoy some Exodus, and seriously, if you know anything about the TV show that may or may not have existed in the early 90’s, and may or may not have featured that Exodus song, please let me know.  Until next time, stay heavy, you heavy fuckers!



You Know I’m a Dreamer, But My Heart’s of Gold: A Thing About Butt Rock

A couple of days ago, a co-worker asked me about my opinion of the “hair metal” genre, and I replied with the gusto which is the norm when anyone asks me what I think about pretty much any genre of music, which is to say, I believe he may have regretted asking me.  Continuing along the usual path of such an occurrence, here we are over 48 hours later, and I’m still giving the question entirely too much thought.  This leads me to believe that I need to write it out, because it’s a good way to elucidate my thoughts and it’s a good way to get it all out of my head, and, perhaps most importantly, because if I’m not gonna write in this blog, what’s the point of keeping it?

I’ll start by saying that I’ve always disliked the terms “glam metal” and “hair metal”, because when people hear those terms, they think of bands like Poison, and regardless of your opinion of Poison, you have to admit that calling them “metal” is about as accurate as calling Taylor Swift “country”.  Both are obviously examples of pop music – perhaps metal-influenced pop when talking about Poison (and that’s on their very heaviest stuff), or in the case of Ms. Swift, perhaps country-flavored pop, but at their cores, Poison and Taylor Swift are clearly both pop acts.  I’ve heard the term “cock rock” in the past, and although I am a sucker for a good rhyme, I don’t entirely like that term.  My wife refers to the stuff as “butt rock”, and so far that’s the term I’ve preferred, so from here on, this is the term I’ll use.

Not metal at all.

So many dudes thought these chicks were hot the first time they saw this album cover.

I have no interest in giving a history lesson on the origins and early days of butt rock, but it’s worth noting that the New York Dolls, Kiss, and Aerosmith were all early influences on the auditory, visual, and theatrical stylings of what we’ve come to know (and love?) as butt rock, as was Van Halen, with EVH’s blazing guitar wizardry/wankery and DLR’s high kicks and soul-shattering wails.  Def Leppard began to bring in poppier elements on their second album (High ‘n’ Dry – 1981), Twisted Sister released their debut album Under the Blade in 1982, and Quiet Riot released the first butt rock-tinged album to reach number one on the Billboard charts (Metal Health) in 1983, but they were all musically much heavier than what would begin to surface a few short years later.

Ratt and W.A.S.P. followed with heavy-ish albums (Out of the Cellar and W.A.S.P., respectively) in 1984, and in 1985, previously heavy sleaze rockers Mötley Crüe released their pop-slathered third album, Theatre of Pain, and soon the floodgates opened, with the likes of Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Poison, Stryper, and, eventually, Firehouse, Britney Fox, and (shudder) Winger exploding to top of the charts.  Established, reputable hard rock and metal acts like Whitesnake, Scorpions, Judas Priest, and Ozzy Osbourne began to incorporate elements of butt rock into their sound and image, and soon, 9 out of 10 people in the United States of America thought that “The Final Countdown” was a heavy metal song.

More directly to the original question, re: my opinions on butt rock, I like some of it, because I have ears and I’m not dumb (even if I did just misspell “dumb” four times), and because I was a kid when it was huge, so, nostalgia.  I will rarely listen to Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” or Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me” on purpose, but when I do (or if they come on when I’m somewhere else), I will enjoy the fuck out of them.  I am especially a sucker for a well executed power ballad – Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home” and “Without You”, Enuff Z’nuff’s “Fly High Michelle”, Mr. Big’s “To Be With You”, and Extreme’s “More Than Words” are a few butt rock slow jams which I am unashamed to admit that I find to be particularly sweet.  It’s important to remember, however, that not a single one of these bands is a heavy metal band, nor are any of these songs heavy metal songs, no matter what Chuck Klosterman thinks.

Looking beyond individual songs, though, there are a few bands found under the “glam metal” umbrella that I legitimately enjoy.  I absolutely adore Faster Pussycat’s second album, Wake Me When It’s Over (1989), and I consider Cinderella to be the Deftones of the “hair metal” genre, in that both bands are much, much more talented than a majority of their peers in their respective genres.  Cinderella’s second album, in particular (1988’s Long Cold Winter) is a beautifully crafted piece of work so deeply steeped in the blues that I sometimes get a little bit sad just thinking about it.  I also really enjoy everything from Def Leppard up to and including 1987’s Hysteria, even if that album is as absurdly overproduced as it is absurdly multi-platinum, and I enjoy a few of the songs that came after that.

And it should go without saying that I love Guns ‘n’ Roses, but I’ll mention them here anyway, because even though they transcended the genre from the very first notes of “Welcome to the Jungle”, they still often get lumped in with shit like Warrant and Slaughter (both of which have songs I enjoy), but Appetite for Destruction is obviously one of the greatest albums released by any band or artist in the 1980’s.

I don’t know what else I can really say about the genre as a whole that hasn’t already been said in a more educated and intelligent manner somewhere else [see the “Glam Metal” episode of VH1 Classic’s excellent 11-part series Metal Evolution, for starters (part 12, “Extreme Metal”, was too extreme for VH1 Classic, and is available to purchase online, which you should do as soon as you finish reading this piece)], so I’ll just share some of my favorite butt rock songs with you, the reader.

I’ll begin with a few of the bands and/or songs mentioned above.

Faster Pussycat had a couple of hits off Wake Me When It’s Over, both of which are great (“Poison Ivy” and “House of Pain”, the latter of which is a sort of “Cat’s in the Cradle” for the MTV generation, and boasted a video directed by a young Michael Bay), but it’s two of the deeper cuts that really make this album stand out.  “Cryin’ Shame” is inspired by the true story of Ricky Kasso, a Long Island teenager who murdered a friend because Satan told him to (it’s also from whence the title of the album comes), and “Tattoo” is more straightforward butt rock, but it’s a really fun song, about an overly obsessed old flame who shows up in town with “my name tattooed on the backside of her frame”.

Cinderella released four singles from Long Cold Winter, with “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” being the biggest (unless you’ve been deaf since May 20, 1988, there’s no way you haven’t heard it), and “Gypsy Road” being the most like their more raw debut, Night Songs (1986), but “Coming Home”, which reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, is definitely my favorite song from this album.  The title track is also great, and feels especially relevant right now, with much of the United States getting absolutely blasted by shitty winter weather.

With no added pomp, because Def Leppard requires none, here are a couple of my favorite Def Leppard songs, “Photograph”, from Pyromania (1983), and “Animal”, from the aforementioned Hysteria.

And just because I think that too few people know these songs, I’ma share “New Thing” and “Fly High Michelle” from Enuff Z’nuff (who are so much better than their name and appearance would understandably lead you to believe).  Both videos are utter shit, but I dig the songs quite a bit, especially “Fly High Michelle”.

There are a few songs that fall under the “power ballad” tag that I can not imagine getting tired of.  First and foremost is “Wind of Change” by German hard rock juggernaut Scorpions.  Hearing this song causes a memory flood so fearsome that I can barely stay afloat.  It literally does not matter what I might doing or who I might be talking to, if I hear “Wind of Change”, I can guarantee you that the song is getting more of my attention than anything or anyone else around me.

White Lion was/is a total cheesefest, but “When the Children Cry” gives me goosebumps.  Part of that is no doubt linked to memories of my sixth-grade friend Amber, who really loved the song, and who was killed in a car accident during our senior year in high school.  Amber was a rad person, and she always stood up for me when the dummies in our class told me the music I listened to was satanic.  We drifted apart during grade 7, but she’ll always have a place in my heart, and I’ll think of her every time I hear White Lion, and especially this song.

Rest easy, Amber.

I’ve accidentally made myself sad, so I’m gonna wrap this up.  I didn’t really know where it was going anyway.  What do you think about butt rock, power ballads, and the songs and bands I’ve mentioned?  Feel free to share your opinions in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and remember, to stay heavy, even when you’re listening to “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”.

P.S. Modern butt rock revival acts like The Darkness and Steel Panther can all fuck off.

More Loose Ends and Random Bits

I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while now, and I wish I could say for certain that I’m back at it on a regular basis, but unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to do it up properly, so for now, I’ll continue sporadically updating on what I’ve been up to since my last update.

The main thing I’ve been up to that pertains to metal is that I am now also writing for Global Thrash Assault, an awesome website run by fellow thrash fanatic Chad.  I’ve written two reviews so far, both for albums by bands I’d never even heard of until Chad sent me the assignments, and I’ve really enjoyed both of them.  Greek thrashers Biotoxic Warfare lay down some dark and angry blackened thrash on their full-length debut Lobotomized, and Italian “Moshing Maniax” Blindeath combine dirty NWOBHM-style proto-thrash with balls out mid-to-late 80’s pure thrash metal and deliver an adrenaline-fueled kick to the crotch called Into the Slaughter that you’ll return to again and again.  Both albums are highly recommended.

One odd/interesting thing I’ve noticed during my relative blogging silence is that my post entitled “The Ten Best Thrash Metal Ballads of All Time” has been viewed at least once every single day since I first posted it back in mid-September, lending considerable evidence to my assertion that lists are the only thing most people read on the internet these days.  I noticed a couple of days ago that it was the second link listed if you search “thrash metal ballads” on the Google, which was very exciting, and I just now searched it on Google again to make sure it was still number two, and it is, in fact, number one now, which is obviously even more exciting.  So thanks, whoever keeps looking at my nearly five month old post!

Also, at least once a week, someone finds my blog by searching the internet for some variation of “bill kelliher haircut” or “brent hinds tattoo”, which I find endlessly amusing, and I can only assume that most of those people have not become regular readers of Stay Heavy.

I’ve got a ton of topics cookin in my brain, and eventually you’ll see the continuation of the Voivod saga, another Old-Ass VHS Review or two, some more reviews, some more mixtapes (which I will clearly refer to as “The Best (Whatever) of All Time” now, so that people will actually look at them), some more Metal in the Mainstream adventures, and a whole lot more.

That’s all I got for now.  Here’s some live Exodus with metal madman Paul Baloff on vocals, because today is the thirteenth anniversary of his death from a stroke at the age of 41.  The song begins at around 2:30.

“…and it ain’t about no trout!  This song is called…”

RIP, you crazy fucker.

Stay heavy.  It’s what Paul Baloff would’ve wanted.