C O L U M N S
Tales from the Jugular
When Manowar and Nickelodeon Collided
I just watched one of the most amazing video pieces in heavy metal history. I really couldn't believe my eyes to see those giants of loincloth power metal, one-time holders of the World's Loudest Band record, the Kings of Metal--Manowar--playing on a Nickelodeon kids' show!
I don't know how international the Nickelodeon network is, but for those who don't know, it's primarily cartoons and kiddy shows. In 1982/3, Manowar made an appearence on the show Livewire. It has to be one of the more interesting bits of promotion in Metal History that VH1 missed in their "40 Most Metal Moments" program, but Maximum Metal is here to swing the hammer down and give you all a guided visual tour of the whole surreal show. I couldn't do this one justice without pics...oh, no, so let's all board the bash bus and see what this is all about.
The scene is the Nickelodeon show "Livewire" in circa 1982/3. The guys are in full gear with furry boots, leather crotches and full stage gear performing "Gloves of Metal". The lighting is no better than a cheap disco show in Podunk, Mississippi, but lead singer (one of my favorites) Eric Adams is facially dramatic and giving it all he's got like he's playing before the Lord of the Renascence Festival trying to score some virgins. Pretty impressive since I read somewhere in an old interview that he had pnemonia or laryngitis, so he doesn't speak later on.
Then when the song finishes, the camera slowly pans back reveal the audience--a studio full of kids and parents; a smattering of applause from a bunch of 9 year olds! Some super dork host with his dial set to "mild banter" and not a clue about the band or metal beyond "Stairway to Heaven" peeks at the Manowar record (Into Glory Ride) tucked under his arm and asks the band to introduce themselves.
Joey DeMaio does all the intro cause Eric has hemmroids or something. The band is introduced from right to left--Scott Columbus, Ross the Boss, Eric Adams, Joey DeMaio--then the Q&A session starts. It's all a bunch of "follow your own dreams/belief in yourself" cliched smalltalk, so I'll just be giving you the overall jist of the dialog, not the full monty.
Host: You are the band that parents love to hate; you gotta be. How has that affected your career?
Joey: It's made us stronger. Our whole message is unity and we get a lot of positive reactions from kids.
Host: You're really popular in Europe and Japan but not so much here. Why is that?
Joey: Radio isn't receptive to our style of music. (Blow your Speakers, anyone?) Europe is smaller where the US is so big and record companies are scared.
That's all for the host, so he turns to the audience.
Little Kid 1: I liked it; I like hard rock, but it was very loud.
Smiling Woman: Is this one of the more mellow numbers?
Joey: Yeah, this is our love song.
Black girl: When you do concerts do you lose out on money because of parents?
Joey: Parents that take the time to listen see what the band is about are as positive as the kids.
Little Kid 2: Did your parents disapprove of you doing metal?
Joey: At first, yeah, till they learned about what we were doing and saw how serious we were.
By now, I'm waiting on somebody to ask if they're all devil worshippers, but nobody has the balls to ask that one lest Ross the Boss break out a broadsword and cut them off. The next question should tell you that the Host doesn't listen to the style.
Host: You're great musicians--why heavy metal, what is it that you like about it?
Joey: It's pretty much the only musical frontier left unexplored. Everything else has run its course, but Heavy Metal is still open to new ideas and sounds and creativity.
Little Kid 3: Do you think metal will go out or stick?
Ross the Boss: The fans come and go but Heavy Metal is here to stay. It's been around since '68 and it will stay around.
Host: Led Zeppelin helped start it??? <---NAME DROPPER!!!
Older Kid Trying To Be A Smarty: You preach unity but you sing about total defiance?
I'm hoping right now that green slime will fall down on smart guys head and the studio will erupt in chaotic laughter, but alas, it is not to be.
Joey: You have to examine what the band is saying. We're not saying you should look to us to find yourself; you should look to yourself to find yourself and you don't have to have any heroes in the world except yourself and everybody is capable of accomplishing what they want through hard work, determination, perserverence and the will to win.
Old Fart: I don't mind the style, though it's not my style. But the volume, we're gonna go deaf and not be able to hear it.
Joey: It's not for everybody. Heavy Metal is Heavy Metal and it appeals to a select crowd. Volume is a part of it. We think its loud, but not noise.
The Host claps politely and says the bands names a couple times so the Nick audience can write it down and rush out and get the record. Exit to commercial. They return and Manowar is performing "Revelation (Death's Angel)" while the credits roll.
Afterwards I thought, "Those poor kids who should have been hearing bubblegum pop music!" But then I started to think like Big Tobacco: we need to start these kids young for proper indoctrination.
So let it be written; so it shall be done.
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