August 1986 - Heavy Metal via the pages of Hit Parader magazine
Ready for the August edition of "MetalMike reads an old magazine?" OK, let's have at it, then! The August 1986 issue of Hit Parader hit the newsstands with a cover photo of Robert Plant and the tagline "Led Zeppelin Born Again?" I feel like a broken record (a bigger concern 30 years ago than today) but predicting the reformation of Led Zeppelin was becoming a cottage industry by 1986. To be fair, it was only 6 years after the band originally broke up and all the former members remained very active musically but had always said that without John Bonham there could be no Led Zeppelin. It's like the journalists of the day thought that if they predicted it enough times, Page, Plant and Jones would break under the pressure of expectation and reform just to get people off their backs. Other bands featured in this month's issue included the monthly updates of Van Halen, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Dokken, Quiet Riot and Dio. Metallica appeared for the second month in a row, obviously the start of what was to become their dominance of the 80s Metal scene. Foldouts (centerfolds) this month included Dio and Lita Ford (at least one is a woman this month!) Open the cover and here are ads for Laney amplifiers as played by Ace Frehley. How big was the dump truck full of money they backed up to his place in Connecticut to get him to appear in an ad for Laney amps and Washburn guitars when everyone knows he still plays a Gibson Les Paul and uses Marshall amps? Anyway, the new Accept album, Russian Roulette, is also available on Portrait records, cassettes and compact discs.
Breaking News! Ronnie James Dio has fired guitarist Vivian Campbell who he claims wanted to play Reggae because "the Irish love their Reggae." Profile much, Ronnie? Anyway, Tony Iommi says new vocalist Ray Gillan will steer Sabbath back to prominence (Gillen lasted less than a year and provided laughter on one track from Sabbath's Eternal Idol album) and Motley Crue are working on their fourth album, rumored to be about mind control (that album turned out to be Girls, Girls, Girls and unless using their minds to get girls to take off their clothes was the central theme, I think mind control was the last thing that album was about). On brighter notes, Queensryche is finishing up Rage for Order and Iron Maiden Somewhere in Time. Next up is an article on Fastway where their third album Waiting for the Roar is compared with their debut. When "Fast" Eddie Clarke responds to the question of if he likes the album and he replies "if you want to know...I do, I like it a great deal" you just know he's lying through his teeth and hates it because it sucked. That's followed with a 2-page ad from Metal Blade for the bands Sound Barrier (notable for having three African-American members) and Lizzy Borden. Quality notwithstanding at least it is actual Heavy Metal. Throwaway articles on Zeno Roth (former Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth's brother) and Motley Crue lead to a feature on Metallica. Say what you want but at that time (Master of Puppets had just been released) these guys played some of the heaviest stuff around and were a great influence on fans and bands alike if for no other reason than they brought a lot of NWOBHM bands increased exposure with their covers. It's actually a pretty informative interview with Lars, one of the last before he started believing everything written about the band even if he didn't actually say it.
Next up we can read how Van Halen's 5150 is better than 1984, how Dokken doesn't want to be easily dismissed and how Krokus' Change of Address album is the beginning of a new era for the band. Based on the photo of the band dressed in brightly colored pleather and long scarves, we don't know if that new era is Krokus turning into the Swiss version of Motley Crue or Aerosmith. In the interview vocalist Marc Storace claims that people constantly compare Krokus to AC/DC because they aren't American or British because if they were "they wouldn't have these problems". Marc, the only way to avoid these "problems" is to stop sounding like AC/DC. Lost in these fluff interviews is a half-page ad for a US tour that sends chills down my spine today; Celtic Frost, Voivod and Running Wild. Holy shit, I can't believe I missed that. Where's Dr. Who and the Tardis? The increasingly pointless Celebrity Rate-a-Record column features the annoying Dave Meniketti from Y&T rating singles from Night Ranger, Pat Benetar, Starship, Scritti Politti and Heart. Does he at least savage any of this crap? Nope. Why do I even read this column? See the depths I'll sink to for the readers of The Metal Crypt?
The main article predicting the reformation of Led Zeppelin seems to be hinged on the remaining members appearing at the Live Aid benefit concert in 1985, but mostly the article outlines what the individual musicians are doing APART from Led Zeppelin. Secret jam sessions producing music sounding like early Zeppelin are hinted at, but as we know today never resulted in anything. Maybe this will be the last month of this for a while (but don't bet on it). Articles on Bon Jovi's rise to stadium heroes (I saw them open for both Scorpions and RATT back in the 80s), Priest chatting up how great Turbo is and Fiona. Fiona? Why the hell is Fiona here?? Jeez, this issue is going downhill in a hurry. Hit Parader one-times King Kobra and Kick Axe get squeezed in between regulars like RATT, Quite Riot and W.A.S.P. with not one any more than a drawn-out ad for new albums. OK, where's Import Reviews? That's what I read this for anyway. Song lyrics, classifieds (in case you missed your chance to score 40 brand new towels for $1.75 last month, you're in luck! The ad is still here this month!), reviews of gear and now the back cover. No import reviews? Well, this sucks. I read this stupid issue TWICE; once back in 1986 and again in 2016 and no Import Reviews. Son of a bitch. I hope you enjoyed my misery at forcing my way through this month's Hit Parader a lot more than I enjoyed actually doing it. September better be an improvement.
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