DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE (dblackthorne) wrote,

The Decline of Western Civilization part 2: The Metal Years


The Decline of Western Civilization part 2: The Metal Years
{XXII A.S. Directed by Penelope Spheeris. Starring Steven Tyler & Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley of KISS, Lemmy Kilmeister, Chris Holmes of WASP}

Features interviews with notables in The Heavy Metal genre, fans, groupies, and aspiring musicians, with performances by Odin, Lizzy Borden {still performing}, London {post-Nikki Sixx}, Seduce {who really did possess some talent there}, and Megadeth {before they mega-died}.

Questions range from the plans of the musicians if they are not successful {from what I have seen, most did not - considering their apparent adamance, I wonder how many of them actually became homeless, conformed, became involved in other positions within the music industry, or otherwise died*; among them all. I did recognize Vixen who went on to experience some success with an album}, to the "satanism" angle, which was limited {perhaps thankfully} to 'the devil horns' hand gesture, most comically explained by a christian probation officer as containing the ubiquitous authority of The Devil with the upthrust fingers, and the three pointing down representing the denial of the christian trinity, also containing '666' within the bend of the fingers - I honestly do not believe any of the 'rockers' and 'metalheads' even considered that more involved Occult symbology, and just lift it in the air as a habit, but was probably first used by Ronnie James Dio as relating to Heavy Metal. She also had quite a collection of confiscated gauntlets, studded fingerless gloves, spiked bracelets, and collars - no doubt plenty of records and tapes as well.

A cleaned-up Steven Tyler & Joe Perry of Aerosmith relate tales of their narcotic excesses, a rehabilitated Ozzy Osbourne has an amusingly pleasant morning chat while preparing breakfast {at one point, he misses a glass almost completely while pouring some orange juice and talking about his own alcoholism and drug use}, Alice Cooper in full makeup on the theatrical set takes umbrage at a certain band for what he feels is unjustified replication, KISS' Gene Simmons offers intelligent and concise commentary on the going-on within the industry, Paul Stanley also offers cohesive commentary amongst a bevy of beauties in bed, Lemmy Kilmeister of Motorhead offers gruff realities overlooking Hollywood, and WASP's {at the time} Chris Holmes drunkenly rambles on about his intoxicated exploits as his poor mother sits poolside, progressively becoming more inebriated with two bottles of Vodka - one can readily perceive his unfortunate mental degeneration.

I thought club owner and sharp dresser Bill Gazzarri had quite a remarkably life-loving attitude, offering great opportunities to many bands who may otherwise would have never seen the spotlight, and initiated salacious events such as dance and strip contests for sexy young ladies. His commercials were heavily circulated on 105.5 KNAC at the time, which was the only Heavy Metal radio station in the L.A. area - now there are none. KNAC DJ Tawn Mastrey was also featured herein.

Ultimately, I feel 'The Decline of Western Civilization part 2: The Metal Years' was an accurate, though somewhat limited documentary of the 80's Metal subculture, although I personally would have liked to have seen interviews with Venom, King Diamond, Possessed, Bathory, Manowar, and Celtic Frost as well. Perhaps there will eventually be a part 4, focusing on these 'dark bands'? It would be interesting, but whether or not they are actual Satanists would be another matter altogether. This film concentrates largely on Hollywood 'pop-metal' and Glam rock.

* Incidentally, 'The Decline of Western Civilization part 3' features interviews with some of the homeless street dwellers of Hollywood.


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