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The problem with the current generation of rock academics is that they remember when rock music seemed new. They remind me of my eleventh-grade history teacher—a guy who simply could not fathom why nobody in my class seemed impressed by the Apollo moon landing. As long as I can remember, all good rock bands told lies about themselves and dressed like freaks; that was part of what defined being a rock star.

The reason this slipped under my radar was because Shout at the Devil was released in , a period when the only people who were still buying vinyl were serious music fans. The rest of us got Shout at the Devil on tape. By the look of the photographs, the band is supposed to be in either a hell, or b a realm that is remarkably similar to hell, only less expensive to decorate. Like a conceptual album of the proper variety, Shout at the Devil opens with the aforementioned spoken-word piece In the Beginning.

It describes an evil force the devil?

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This intro leads directly into Shout … shout … shout … shout … shout … shout … shout at the Devil, a textbook metal anthem if there ever was one. However, I suspect Sixx had more high-minded ideas. There are two ways to look at the messages in Shout at the Devil. If anything, it expands the significance, because the product becomes accessible to a wider audience and to the kind of audience who would never look for symbolism on its own. I think it was Brian Eno who said, Only a thousand people bought the first Velvet Underground album, but every one of them became a musician.

Well, millions of people bought Shout at the Devil , and every single one of them remained a person excluding the kids who moved on to Judas Priest and decided to shoot themselves in the face. Nikki and Vince did not seem like people you talked to. I was a myopic white kid who had never drank, never had sex, had never seen drugs, and had never even been in a fight. As far as I could deduce, getting wasted with strippers and beating up cops was their full-time job, so we really had nothing to talk about.

Panama sounded different than most radio fare sort of , and we could tell it improved when it was played at a higher volume, but it was essentially just a good party song in as much as sixth-graders party. In short, I was too stupid to be affected by the greater stupidity of marketing. Part of this confusion was probably due to my youthful unwillingness to accept that all of heavy metal could be classified under a singular umbrella.

Since there was so much loud guitar rock in the s, describing a band as metal was about as precise as describing a farm animal as a mammal. For attentive audiences, the more critical modifier was whatever word preceded metal —these included adjectives like glam, speed, and death. Those designations became even more important when the original precursor—the word heavy —became utterly useless by about Taken out of context, heavy metal tells us very little. In other subcultures, heavy is a drug term constituting anything that requires a great deal of thought.

My ex-girlfriend and I used to smoke pot every day we were together, and—at least for us— heavy could mean a lot of different things. Sometimes it referred to the relationship between God and science; sometimes it referred to who would put new batteries in the remote control; all too often, it referred to locating cereal. Regardless of the scenario, whenever we used the word heavy, it had something to do with taking a hard look at a perplexing, previously ignored problem. Of course, the only time we ever described something as heavy was while we were stoned, which was pretty much all the time, which made for an abundance of perplexing problems and if I recall correctly, we had a tendency to label every especially unsolvable problem as a remarkable drag.

But what makes metal heavy?

Good question. It becomes a particularly difficult issue when you consider that rock fans see a huge difference between the word heavy and the word hard. For example, Led Zeppelin was heavy. Black Sabbath was the heaviest of the heavy although I always seem to remember them being heavier than they actually were; early Soundgarden records are actually heavier than Sab ever was.

Clearly, the hard vs. Here again, I think drugs are the best way to understand the difference. Bands who play heavy music are inevitably referred to as stoner friendly. However, hard bands are not. Find some pot smokers and play Faster Pussycat for them—I assure you, they will freak out. It will literally hurt their brain. Her recovery required a box of Nutter Butter cookies and almost four full hours of Frampton Comes Alive. This seems like a logical connection, but it rarely adds up.

Fargo Rock City : A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota by Chuck Klosterman (2002, Paperback)

A better point of schism is side one of the first Van Halen album, released seven years before we all heard Jump on our clock radios. The Eddie-Jimi battle goes back and forth from poll to poll. Ironically, Eddie always seems to fall back to number two anytime Van Halen releases a new record. This is because almost every new Van Halen album is horrifically disappointing. But Eddie still scores very well whenever people are waiting for a new Van Halen LP, because it makes all those young guitar hopefuls hearken back to Eruption. And for those of you who actually care which of these people is the better player, the answer is Hendrix.

Van Halen remains the most influential guitar player of all time, but only because nobody can figure out how to rip Hendrix off. In a now-ancient MTV special about hair bands, Kurt Loder credits Van Halen with introducing a faster, less heavy version of metal that pulled it out of the underground. On this issue, Kurt is absolutely correct. He gave hard rock musical credibility. But it was still metal.


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For reasons no one will ever understand, Van Halen took the majority of their influences from Grand Funk Railroad. And—apparently—this is too bad, because there are about a kajillion horrible bands who claim they were influenced by Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. Maybe Grand Funk Railroad knew something everyone else missed although Autograph completely sucked, so I guess nothing is certain in this world. Over the past two decades, Eddie Van Halen has taken to citing Eric Clapton as the man who made him want to become a guitar player.

This is probably true. On House of Pain, the last cut on , Eddie opens with a delicious guitar intro, and at the very end just before the lyrics start , there is a certain bluesy quality to how he finishes the riff. This, of course, is a good thing.

Fargo Rocks City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota by Chuck Klosterman

Eddie and Eric are certainly among the greatest rock guitarists who ever lived, but for totally different reasons. A lot of that credit must go to David Lee Roth. Roth demanded that Van Halen had to be about a lifestyle, specifically his lifestyle or even more specifically, a lifestyle where you tried to have sex with anything in heels. Philosophically, his sophomoric antics limited Eddie; Mr.

Fargo Rock City

But in tangible terms, it made Eddie better. Instead of being an artist trying to make art, Eddie was forced to become an artist trying to make noise—and the end result was stunning. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join. Save For Later. Create a List. Summary Empirically proving that—no matter where you are—kids wanna rock, this is Chuck Klosterman's hilrious memoir of growing up as a shameless metalhead in Wyndmere, North Dakotoa population: Read on the Scribd mobile app Download the free Scribd mobile app to read anytime, anywhere.

Fargo Rock City by Chuck Klosterman - Read Online

It was three months before I took the time to listen to side two. Start your free 30 days. Page 1 of 1. Klosterman likes to hear himself talk, but it's less annoying in this book. I resonate with Klosterman's musical obsession despite being one generation removed. It wasn't until the early 90s that I started obsessing over albums and liner notes.

In Fargo Rock City, Klosterman pays tribute to the genre he loves—lovingly called "hair metal" today.

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The narrative is a trip through musical and personal landmarks that defined the pre-grunge era. Klosterman's penchant for ridiculous arguments is on full display in this critical tour of s heavy metal. He also makes a surprising number of astute musical observations. For example, he presents an unorthodox yet logical argument for why Bush signalled the death of Grunge.

There is just something about Chuck Klosterman that I just get. Of course I have to preface this review by saying I am a huge rock fan, Motley Crue in particular, and of my top 3 favorite bands of all time 2 are classic glam rock acts, the aforementioned Crue, Bon Jovi, and a band that I actually categorize in the truest sense of that era Hinder. Anyway, I've actually read a few of Mr. Klosterman's books and each one is always better than the last, maybe because there's usually a few years between each book reading, but they are always highly entertaining, and almost always either confirm, or at the very least, give me some new insight on whatever it is he was writing about at the time.

Fargo Rock City begins with Chuck when he first learns about Motley Crue and then continues to tell how metal music and all it's incarnations, glam-, speed-, etc. The first half of the book I was literally cracking up the entire time I was reading. Chuck Klosterman. The year is , and Chuck Klosterman just wants to rock. But he's got problems. For one, he's in the fifth grade. For another, he lives in rural North Dakota. Worst of all, his parents aren't exactly down with the long hairstyle which rocking requires.

And so Klosterman's twisted odyssey begins, a journey spent worshipping at the heavy metal altar of Poison, Lita Ford and Guns N' Roses. In the hilarious, young-man-growing-up-with-a-soundtrack-tradition, FARGO ROCK CITY chronicles Klosterman's formative years through the lens of heavy metal, the irony-deficient genre that, for better or worse, dominated the pop charts throughout the s. For readers of Dave Eggers, Lester Bangs, and Nick Hornby, Klosterman delivers all the goods: from his first dance with a girl and his eye-opening trip to Mandan with the debate team; to his list of 'essential' albums; and his thoughtful analysis of the similarities between Guns 'n' Roses' 'Lies' and the gospels of the New Testament.

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