Yesterday, I mocked the concert lineup at the Resch Center in Green Bay that featured '80's Hair Metal acts Def Leppard, Poison and Tesla. I used the term "MulletFest" to describe not only the music--but the fans that would be in attendance. Sadly, there were pictures on my Facebook feed posted by friends that may have cut off the mullets they had in the late 1980's of people at the show who refused to give up on the "business in the front, party in the back" look.
Rather than bring back the bad memories of high school, the pictures and videos of the aged rockers trying to relive their glory days actually took me back to September 29th, 1991. That is the day that Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" premiered on MTV's 120 Minutes. For us Generation X'ers, this was our "Beatles on Ed Sullivan" moment. I remember a bunch of us that always watched 120 in our dorm lounge at UW Madison looking at each other like "Who are these guys, and where can I get this album?" (Remember, this was before ITunes, digital downloads and videos streaming on YouTube). Several of us were at the Exclusive Company on State Street the next day to get Nevermind on cassette so we could listen to all of it over and over and over again.
But the best part of that day was that it marked the beginning of the end for lame Hair Metal. Suddenly, bands full of guys wearing leopard print spandex tights, scarves, silk shirts with the sleeves cut off, eye liner, blush and long, tousled hair became ridiculous. Stage shows with constant fireworks and a drum kit that levitated above the crowd and that could be played upside down were seen as clownish. Songs were no longer just about having sex, how good you are at having sex, and what kind of woman you would like to have sex with. Videos weren't filled with scantily-clad, large-breasted blonde women.
Nirvana slaying the hair bands was really inevitable. Much like Elvis supplanted the crooners, the Beatles knocked off the manufactured teen idols of the early '60's and the Sex Pistols and the Ramones mercifully brought an end to the Disco Era. The music had just become so terrible that something great and new just had to bubble up and save the art form. As for those who had built the hair metal industry, many of them moved over to country music--laying the groundwork for today's Bro Country movement--which has about as much to do with Country music as Hair Metal did with Rock.
So I hope those that fired up the Camaros and El Caminos and headed out to the Resch Center last night enjoyed their step back in time. I made sure to put on some Chuck Taylors and a flannel shirt while listening to Nirvana, Social Distortion and Pearl Jam to relive the real glory days of our generation.