Friday, May 02, 2003

Almond, Steve; My Life in Heavy Metal, Grove Press, 1st PB edition, 2003

The stories are problematic from the get go. In the title story, the character talks about the “vast spandex-and-umlaut circuit” of clubs and bands he reviews for the paper he writes for. He then goes on to list a number of bands, calling them late 80s hair-bands: “Ratt, Poison, Winger, Warrant… Queensryche… .” I’d quibble w/ Queensryche being a hair metal band, and in fact they do take an umlaut over the y! Which was left out of the book. Quite an oversight since he referenced the ubiquitous umlaut in the previous sentence. Later, Poison, whose biggest hit was undoubtably the still popular “Talk Dirty to Me,” is called a ballad band. Granted, they did have a hit with the ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” specifically at a time when MTV was playing almost exclusively power ballad videos.

There are also some historical timeline problems. He talks about going to a Jon Bon Jovi solo show. Later, the character has a dispute with his girlfriend over attending her best friend’s wedding or a Guns N’ Roses show. G n’ R is referenced, in a long paragraph that I will not quote, as being THE band that was going to save heavy metal from pouty pretty-boys like Kip Winger. The problem is this: the Bon Jovi solo material came out in 1990. By 1988 GnR were already huge, and had obviously not made any major changes in the world of hair metal. But, this Guns N’ Roses material is more implied than actually stated, and perhaps the author’s intent was otherwise.

“Her name was Claudia, pronounced in the beautiful Spanish manner, as three distinct, rolling syllables…” Dude, I DEFY you to find the name Claudia not pronounced with three syllables.

The descriptions of sex are so timid, I’d think this writer was afraid of offending my mother. They’re so hesitant that various times I had to go back and re-read them to understand what was going on. I should not be glazing over at the sexy parts!

So far, this book is a MONUMENTAL disappointment.


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