Bang Your Head: The Raise and Fall of Heavy Metal
Written by David Konow
Three Rivers Press – 2002
480 Pages, $16.00
Written before his outstanding tome on horror films Reel Terror, author David Konow wrote another fantastic book that covers the world of heavy metal in its heyday. Konow is one of the guys that can talk about the music form because he is passionate about it.
I’ve been a listener of heavy metal since its inception, so I know the music very well. What struck me most about this paperback is the overall careless attitude the majority of the musicians held about their success. It’s almost if as all the rock stars from the 80s felt they were entitled to act like spoiled little brats; trashing hotel rooms and blowing money because they could. Rampant drug/alcohol abuse, inhabited sex and generally acting like teenagers fighting amongst themselves.
The worse part of their immature actions was that many of the groups we came to love split up and we lost music that could have been. If those folks would have been more mature and appreciated what they had, maybe this type of music would have carried on a bit longer and the fickle listeners would have not turned against them. But in some ways it’s almost as they deserved to go down.
This volume has far too many good stories for me to relay them here. I will say Konow talks about the greats like; Alice Cooper, Kiss, Van Halen, AC-DC and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. He especially focuses in on his home turf of the Los Angles scene with all the famous bar-clubs that broke bands like Ratt, Quiet Riot, Dokken and Poison. Konow origins thrash metal with Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth. Then he moves onto Pantera, Guns & Roses and so many more.
Konow has interviewed not only the musicians, but record producers, band managers, record label executives, MTV hosts, groupies and fans to get a complete overview of this rocking story.
I found much of it funny, some of it dramatic, definitely nostalgic and quite a bit of it sad and in some ways tragic.
The coolest thing about this written work is that it will give you a chance to go back to a time where the type of music I love to listen to was more out in the open whether it be on radio, live, when MTV actually showed videos and when these bands were at their prime, making their best music.
Live it again by reading the rise and fall of heavy metal in Bang Your Head.