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American Hair Metal Paperback – October 1, 2006

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American Hair Metal + The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade + Inside Metal: Pioneers Of L.A. Rock And Metal
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Readers familiar with the charms of Penelope Spheeris' film The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, in particular, will want to check out Blush's wonderfully illustrated survey of that much-lamented scourge of 1980s MTV, hair metal. Spheeris let stars from such bands as KISS and Poison describe their lives and careers, and the results were often comical. Blush has members of the similar Motley Crue, Van Halen, and others, as well as of Poison again, testify amid color photos of themselves in action. In general, these guys croaked harmless lyrics to bombastic, bass-heavy accompaniment while tromping about in spandex and architecturally adventurous hairstyles. The pix (by the likes of hair-metal-lensing specialists William Haines, Frank White, and Eddie Malluk) tell as much, if not more, of the subgenre's story as the actual music. An excellent visual presentation on a pop phenomenon just beginning to attract critical interest, this vital piece of rock semiotics, so to speak, verifies how strong the attraction of monumental vacuity can be. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Captures the hair-metal (a.k.a. glam-metal) movement in all its teased-out, heavily mascaraed, spandex-clad glory. -- asap/Associated Press, November 21, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Feral House (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193259518X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932595185
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Blush has written three books on the subject of Rock: American Hardcore (Feral House, 2001), a history of the early-80s Hardcore Punk scene; American Hair Metal (Feral House, 2006), a visual tribute to big-haired rockers; and .45 Dangerous Minds (Creation, 2005), a collection of interviews with Pop Culture's most notorious. His writing has appeared in over 25 publications, including Spin, Details, Interview, Village Voice, and The Times Of London. For over 15 years he published the cult magazine Seconds, and still serves as contributing editor to Paper. For years he worked as a New York club DJ/promoter, noted for his "Röck Cändy" parties at Don Hill's and sound design for fashion designer Stephen Sprouse. Blush wrote and produced the American Hardcore documentary film (Sony Picture Classics, 2006), and followed that with an expanded and revised Second Edition of the American Hardcore book (Feral House, 2010).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
There has never been a genre of music at once more popular and at the same time more maligned than the Hair Metal of the late 80's and 90's. These enormously popular bands sold millions of records and sold-out arenas all over the world. While particularly popular with the female teenage audience, there were more males into these bands than they'd ever care to admit. At the same time, the hardcore metal fans vilified these bands as commercial pop-metal and trashed them for their often androgynous appearances. Perhaps no form of music, with the exception of Disco, was more shallow than Hair Metal and yet the bands relished this status. They left it to other bands to sing their message of anti-war or anti-government. The Hair Metal bands stood for sex, drugs, and Rock-n-Roll and didn't pretense to anything else. Still, there's no disputing the fact that 15 - 20 years later, these bands remain very popular and many continue to tour although perhaps with different members.

Steven Blush's book isn't an expose` on Hair Metal nor a history of the music. Rather, this is a collection of 160 outrageous photos from those glory days accompanied by period comments from the band members. Some of these bands like Motley Crue, Poison, Ratt, and Cinderella became household names and the biggest acts of the era. But the book also features lesser-known groups such as female metal bands Vixen and Poison Dollies.

You'll read as these members openly talk about their lives, drug and alcohol use, and their promiscuous sex lives. Sebastian Bach comments, "We come into towns, make friends, get welcomed with open arms and hopefully open legs!" Mick Brown of Dokken said in 1987, " We've already screwed every girl in L.A...I did a lot of social work!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anon on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed Steven Blush's previous book American Hardcore and had high hopes for American Hair Metal as well (being fan of both these genres). However, I was very disappointed when the book arrived in the post as it looked more like a hipster coffee table book than an actual good read. Opening the book I wasn't wrong either. This book is mainly full of page-size pictures with few quotes scattered here and there. No context, stories etc. In the introduction Blush mentions that he decided against the idea of interviewing ex-hair metalers as most of them were probably too embarrassed to speak about their past (having moved on to being family people now). This is almost like admitting defeat before he's even started! A bit of investigative writing would have been great. OK, so the photos are great but I can't see this book appealing to any serious fans of metal. One for the ironic-generation I guess. For the rest of you - just try Google Images instead.

For something similar (but much better) go for Mötley Crüe's The Dirt instead. Also check out Penelope Spheeris' brilliant film on the same subject: The Decline Of The Western Civilization Part 2.

One last thing: who the heck calls it "hair metal" anyway? We certainly didn't call it that back in the day. Is this just another lazy media term for an otherwise glamtastic genre?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jarrod Paul on November 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Being a 12 year old boy in 1988 made me a prime candidate for loving hair metal. and I loved the hell out of all those bands. from Poison to Guns n Roses...Whitesnake to Def Leppard....ect...naturally, I fell in love the book, American Hairmetal. it is ridiculously amazing and just plain retarded all at once. These guys were so stupid. The quotes alone are worth the price of admission but placed with the got yourself one hot coffee table book. Its funny to look back on my one time "heroes" and laugh at the tight spandex, the make-up, the hairspray, and the coked out faces that made up these "metal gods" I looked up to. Back then, I didnt realize how homo-erotic these dudes were... ITS REALLY GREAT..... and all they wanna do is rock out, get high and get laid!! What ever happened to killer party music with huge drums, shredding guitar solos, hairy, make up caked men in spandex, and huge, huge hooks??? IT DIED! Thankfully, American Hairmetal is here to remind us how uncool we once were.

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Neil Johnson on January 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am without a doubt one of the biggest fans of hair bands/hair metal. It was the soundtrack to my youth and I still listen to these bands regularly to this day. That being said, I remember this style of music in its entirety, not just for Pour Some Sugar On Me and Kickstart My Heart. Those are great tunes by great bands, no doubt, but the scene encompassed so much more. That is why this book is a must have for anyone who celebrates this style of music just as I do. The band on the cover is Nitro. Not Poison or Motley Crue, rather a band few have ever heard of unless they were hair metal junkies. The cover is a good indication of what you will find inside. Sure, there are plenty of photographs and quotes from the eras heavy hitters (Poison, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake etc.), but you will also find PLENTY of photographs of the eras long forgotten names (Black N' Blue, Roxx Gang, Faster Pussycat, Tuff and many more). The book is more or less a photo album accompanied by quotes from the artists that were said during the genre's heyday. There are a few brief paragraphs detailing the rise and fall of hair metal and the author also included a hair band "directory". I purchased this book as soon as it was released and have paged through it dozens of times.
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