Martin Popoff interviewed on Alternative Nation!
Martin Popoff, author of Kickstart My Heart: A Motley Crue Day-by-Day, spoke with Alternative Nation about his recent books and also about his love for punk and alt-rock. Read below to see what they had to say!
In the Crüe book, ‘Kickstart My Heart,’ there is a quote from Nikki Sixx in which he recalls being able to tell that Nirvana was going to alter the landscape of rock n’ roll around the release of ‘Nevermind,’ which I found interesting.
Yeah, you always wonder how much truth there is to something like that, when you’re looking back. I can’t remember the exact quote and I’m too lazy to look it up, but there’s a significant difference about saying something like that around ‘Bleach’ or around ‘Nevermind.’ I mean, I couldn’t care less if they were going to alter the landscape or not, but I knew instantly the moment I heard ‘Bleach,’ that this was a cool, incendiary form of punky, heavy metal, and there were things that Kurt was doing on the guitar there that by some definitions were heavier than anything we’d heard out of any hair metal band. Plus the vocals, the lyrics, I don’t ascribe too much of pontificating about emotion or anger or intensity or energy on these things, but let’s just say the overall vibe was of anarchy, of a need to retool metal. Grunge was already a good three years old by the time ‘Nevermind’ was going to pop up on big huge bad Geffen, home of the bad wind that was Guns N’ Roses.
Although you seem to write primarily about heavy metal, do you enjoy
alt-rock and punk, as well?
Definitely, although alt rock can mean a million different things. And so
can punk, I suppose, and the only punk that I really care about and am an
expert on is the original punk of 1976 to 1979. I know and love all of that
up and down, and I can see having a few punk books in me. And I do indeed have a Ramones coffee table book coming out in the next few months. I’m gearing up to write ‘Who Invented Punk?,’ having done a whole bunch of research on that, and it’s a story I find fascinating. That will be the companion book to my insane ‘Who Invented Heavy Metal?’ book out last June, and I may even do ‘Who Invented Thrash?.’ Alternative rock, however? I just get carsick thinking about that term. I’m more interested in the meanings and the bands that fill up the spaces known as new wave and post punk.
After reading ‘The Big Book of Hair Metal,’ I felt like it was a good
companion piece to my book, ‘Grunge is Dead,’ as it sets the stage for what happened in the ’90s in rock music and was interesting to read what was going on concurrently in LA and Seattle throughout the ’80s and early ’90s. I seem to think that for the most part, there is “good glam rock” (the early to mid ’70s variety) and “bad glam rock” (the mid to late ’80s variety). Do you agree? Disagree?
No, couple things here. First off, the first glam rock, as it existed in the
UK from about 1971 to 1974, really has very little to do with the LA glam
rock of the late ’80s. They basically just had the same name. And even
there, few people call hair metal “glam rock.” That music from the UK was all over the board, and seldom heavy, except a little bit, Mott the Hoople,
Slade, and quite a bit, Sweet. The only thing they had in common was going for an androgynous look, along with makeup. To me, the more interesting comparison of good and bad is the quality of the originals from LA, wild card Van Halen, but then not wild card, Ratt and Dokken, and then the insipid nature of all the copycats through most of the rotten core of the middle ’80s (especially Bon Jovi), and then, what somebody could do a whole book on, the super high quality of the hair metal bands as they learned and matured and even got influenced by their own distaste for the ’80s, but also learning from grunge or other alternative forms of metal, stuff happening in California like Jane’s Addiction and Faith No More, and made what I think are pretty well, the best bank of hair metal albums, which arrived in 1992 1993, with 1992 being a particularly good year. Basically every crappy hair metal band from the ’80s made some of their best music in the early 90s, and then new bands like Love/Hate, Collision, Saigon Kick, I Love You, Liquid Jesus, even people like King’s X, Skid Row. I think this is one of the great unwritten stories of hair metal, how, once the pendulum swung to Seattle, a bunch of bands in LA were making really good music.
Finish reading the rest of the interview over at AltenativeNation.net