Friday, May 18, 2018

Deadpool Tries To Grow Up, Gets Sequelitis and Survives

Even if you're not sure what the term "sequelitis" means, you've probably seen it. It's when, in an effort to give filmgoers a new experience with a movie franchise, filmmakers and studio executives stuff a movie full of new characters, side plots, and more extreme action scenes.

They mean well. But all too often, it sucks the life out of sequels, leaving behind a bloated, unevenly toned corpse. It often happens when you have a relatively simple first film, and studio idiots think they need to implant some massive, epic mythology to keep things interesting. Examples: Well, every Pirates of the Caribbean sequel immediately come to mind. So does Pacific Rim 2. I'm sure you can think of plenty of additional examples without my help.

Deadpool 2 has a pretty bad case of sequelitis. Tone issues. a whole host of new characters demanding our attention. More action, and beefed-up thematic material, too. And the movie does suffer for it. But DP2 is the rare film that goes to war with Sequelitis, punches that motherfucker in the gonads, and comes out on top.

Deadpool 2 finds our titular hero (Ryan Reynolds) at rock bottom and looking for his place in life. This search leads him to Russell (Julian Dennison), a 14-year-old New Zealander with a fiery mutant talent and an even more explosive temper. 

Oh, and did I mention Cable (Josh Brolin) yet? Yeah. This time-traveling, metal-armed son of a bitch shows up primed to dust Russell to prevent future death and destruction. Deadpool drafts his own team of superpowered bad asses, including the hilarious Peter (Rob Delaney) and the ass-kicking Domino (Zazie Beetz), to save Russell and the day.

Deadpool was a relatively simple flick. DP needs to save his lady from a douchebag bad guy. Pretty straight-forward. DP2 features time travel, several scenes where DP visits some sort of dream world (I can't get too specific here without spoilers), a big-ass prison sequence and a whole backstory for Cable. All that gets squeezed into a runtime of fewer than two hours. That's a lotta shit to do in that amount of time.

That means some things are gonna suffer. Add in this film needs time for jokes, and you've got a very difficult balancing act to handle. Director David Leitch handles all this pretty gamely, but there are chinks in the armor. Some comedic beats could have been cut back. A couple gags (again, can't get detailed without spoiling stuff) get run into the ground. A side plot involving Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) is really out of step with the rest of the movie, tonally. It was the cinematic equivalent of that taste you get in your mouth when you drink orange juice soon after you brush your teeth.

Other issues I had were mostly personal nit-picky type stuff. Dennison bears a resemblance to the fat kid in that one episode of Metalocalypse. Every time he was onscreen, Dethklok was playing in my head. It was kind of cool, but it was also distracting. I also wanted to see more of Negasonic Teenage Warhead. She gets shuffled aside for new characters, and that bummed me out. Lastly, some of the pop culture jokes and references are getting old for me. I mean, how many times can you laugh at Ryan Reynolds cracking Ryan Reynolds jokes?

But there's a lot of jokes that work, and work gut-bustingly well. The DP/Cable fight is as funny as it is brutal. We even get a pretty killer chase scene, and killer chase scenes seem to be getting hard to come by.

Reynolds is golden as DP, to the point where I really hope I never see anyone don the Mouthy Merc's red spandex. Watching him riff with other members of the cast is priceless. Brolin kills it as Cable, a guy I can totally see sitting on his porch in the future demanding that kids get the fuck off his lawn.

Eddie Marsan shows up, which made me smile in spite of his character's creepy shittiness. Oh, and Zazie Beetz as Domino... She made me believe luck is totally a superpower. She's hilarious, bad ass and totally gorgeous.

And then, as a cherry atop this sundae of gory, profane hilarity, there's the mid-credits scene. This is easily the most Deadpool thing ever put on film and it gave something I've wanted to see ever since they announced they were gonna be making Deadpool movies. I almost cried, I was so happy.

Deadpool 2 is as bouncing, fleet or fresh as the first DP flick. It gets lost in meandering side stories and tries too hard to mash together tones that don't work together. But it's still funny and full of awesome comic-booky violence. It even tries to be about something other than making fun of other movies. This attempt at growth doesn't come without pain, but it is completely worth admiring.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Shit I Watched on Netflix, Ep. 2


What is this shit?

Bright is a gritty cop tale set in a world human share with orcs, fairies, and other fantasy creatures. Think something along the lines of Training Day crossed with Lord of the Rings.

What's This Shit All About?

A human cop named Ward (Will Smith) and his partner Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), the first Orc cop in history, are having a really bad night. Ward's fellow officers want him to get Jakoby out of the picture by any means necessary. Then the two cops stumble across a young elf with a wand and get dragged into a web of violence as a multitude of interested parties attempt to wipe them out and take the wand for themselves.

The Good Shit!

Ok, it has to be said right off the bat that this is a fucking fantastic idea for a film. The idea of a world full of a multitude of fantasy creatures interacting with humans in a modern-day setting? Outstanding! The opportunities for deeply engrossing mythology and epic stories are endless. So many fascinating directions a story like this can go in. 

And using fantasy in a modern setting to comment on race relations in the U.S. is pretty damn clever. It provides a chance to talk about racism without offending anyone because characters in the movie are racist against characters that aren't human.  

Also, Jakoby is an interesting, multi-dimensional character. As his arc unspools, he's revealed to be a thoughtful, caring being, easily the most decent and most human entity in the entire movie. 

Finally, the five seconds or so of death metal Jakoby plays before Ward whines "No Orcish music" made me smile.

The Bad Shit!

Let's start with the lazy worldbuilding. It's as if the writer, Max Landis, was too lazy to actually sketch out what would happen if there were really fantasy creatures living in our world. History seems to have continued exactly as it has in the real world, with the only difference being that there are orcs and shit here now. How would having fantasy creatures on earth affect the development of religion? Would pop culture different? Would Shreck still be a thing if it offends Orcs? Landis seems not to have considered this, or maybe he didn't care. That's lazy writing and worldbuilding.

Then there's the actual plot of the movie, which really doesn't go anywhere for, like, the entire second act of the film. Instead of story, we get a seemingly endless procession of pointless gunfights. One thing I learned in my screenwriting classes that I'll never forget is that you have to stop the story to have an action scene. The story just kinda sits around waiting for the action to end so it can move on. That's why overly long battle scenes don't work: they kill the story's momentum. And Bright goes nowhere for like 45 minutes. Yawn.

If that wasn't enough, Jakoby is the only character in Bright that works. Ward is played as this broken-down pathetic mess, but apart from the shit he gets for having an orc partner, there's not really a reason for him to be this way. His home life seems to be fine, apart from the fact that his wife and kid are shit-scared he'll end up dead. He doesn't have it that bad, so his character doesn't really work. The rest of the characters in the flick come off as cardboard cutouts the movie needs to move the plot. They don't have any dynamics of dimensions. 

Lastly, "Fairie lives don't matter today" may be the single lamest line of dialogue my ears have ever heard. That's right. Anakin Skywalker's "I don't like sand" rant from Attack of the Clones is off the hook.

Wrap This Shit Up!

Bright is one of those movies that critics seem to despise but normal movie fans enjoy. I can honestly see both sides of the equation, even if my own reaction falls closer to the critics. It's such a cool concept! Maybe the forthcoming sequel will fix some of the flaws of the original and fill in some of the plot potholes. 

That said, I can't see myself sitting down to watch Bright again unless I am severely chemically altered. Because, regardless of the potential of the premise, I can't recall a movie so full of cool creatures, flying bullets and bloody violence that left me feeling so... bored.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Shit I Watched on Netflix, Ep. I


Ok, this is a new blog feature dedicated to, you guessed it, stuff I've watched on Netflix. And how I felt about it. We good? Cool. LET IT BEGIN!!!

What Is This Shit?

This little animated gem follows an adorable red panda name Retsuko as she slogs through the drudgery of corporate life. To the steam that builds up at work, Retsuko pulls out the microphone she carries in her purse and lets loose some serious death metal scream. Think of it as a mash-up of Hello Kitty and Office with a metallic twist.

What's This Shit About?

Retsuko is a single, 25-year-old office drone who's stuck in corporate wage slave limbo. She hates her boss, Ton, a chauvinistic (literal) pig with a hard-on for golf, and the rest of her dispiriting work environment. When a plan to join a business her friend is starting falls through, Retsuko comes up with a plan to get married and quit her job. Along the way, she learns not to hide her true self and takes the first tentative steps toward contentment.

The Good Shit!

Where do I start? The whole concept behind Aggretsuko amuses me endlessly. It's like the cartoon equivalent of the kawaii metal band Babymetal: a sugary cuteness rush with a kick-ass death metal chaser.

When Retsuko grabs her mic, she goes through a transformation, complete with markings that resemble black metal-style corpse paint, and the energy builds until she finally lets loose. And we, the viewers, get whisked along for the ride.

And the songs? Pretty brutal and more catchy than The Plague. I already have the refrain from "Shitty Boss" embedded in my brain.

And the show is hilarious, too. Every character gets highlights that draw big-time laughs. The humor is a brilliant mix of the obvious, the absurd, and the quirky. It may not work for everyone, but I fucking loved it!

The Bad Shit!

This may come off as hyperbolic, but I'm having real trouble coming up with any flaws. The closest thing to a negative I can come up is the crude animation style. But it totally fits the tone of the show. Maybe there's just not enough of it. And given how quirky it is, I wouldn't be surprised this is all the Aggretsuko we get.

Wrap This Shit Up!!

I. AM. ADDICTED. This show hits me right in the oddball sweet spot in my brain. I can totally relate to being stuck in a dead-end job you despise. And the show had a good message about being true to yourself, and not hiding who you really are. Plus, it's one season of 10 15-minute episodes. That means you can binge the whole thing in less time than it takes to sit through a Lord of the Rings movie.

So if you hate your job, like cute things, and are looking for a good reason to laugh your ass of, bang your head, and throw up your Devil hours, give Aggretsuko a shot.   

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Recovery Road

Ten days ago, I was having a normal, everyday kind of day. I did some writing. I played some guitar. I pondered whether or not the part of me that still loves Girl X would ever die. You know, everyday shit.

I decided to go get lunch, then chose to sit at the duck park while stuffing my face. I wended my way on the backroads.  I played Weezer really loud and sang along. You know, everyday shit.

Upon arriving home, I sat down to finish a piece of writing. I was in the middle of a swig of water when I noticed the side of my face felt funny. It felt similar to when your foot goes to sleep, that uncomfortable blend warm tingles and porcupine quills. I began to choke on my water, followed by uncontrolled slobbering. While I never lost consciousness, I did feel rather confused.

But I discovered the worst part of it when I tried to speak. I know what I wanted to say, could see the words in my head, but I could not make those words come out of my mouth. It took a good ten minutes for me to slur "Something's wrong." I've never felt frustration like this.

A trip to the emergency room revealed that my heart had thrown a blood clot which traveled to my brain before dissolving. The doctor said the technical term is "transient ischemic attack", or "TIA" for short. I received a cat scan, followed by an MRI. They put me on an anticoagulant to lessen the possibility of future clots. And I get to go see the cardiologist this week to see how to treat the atrial fibrillation which caused this whole mess.

I've had heart trouble my whole life. I was born with it. It's always been a part of life, so I've never been particularly motivated to take care of myself or do any more than the bare minimum to keep myself above ground. On top of that, I live in a country that has THE WORST health care system of any developed nation on Earth. So taking care of this sort of condition properly is massively expensive. So I've chosen to just ignore shit I shouldn't ignore.

My perspective that was radically altered in the wake of my TIA. And the precise moment when everything was a small moment. Upon arriving home from the hospital, I decided to take my meds and go to sleep. I sat at the top of the stair, sharing a long embrace with my mom. She apologized for not being there when I needed her, which was tough to hear. But what really hit me was the fear, regret and failure in her eyes. It was absolutely shattering.

In that moment, I realized that it wasn't my mom's fault. It was completely my failure. But, unlike what normally happens, I didn't feel guilty. I didn't feel worthless. I didn't focus on the damage I had caused or the wounds I'd inflicted. Instead, I was consumed with the determination to do all I can to make sure I never EVER see a look like that on my mom's face again. I don't care enough about myself to get healthy for myself. But I DO care enough about my family to get healthy for them.

So, I FINALLY found motivation beyond just not dying. I found a reason to not just go through the motions. I used to do as little as I could get away with to avoid being hassled. I don't know how I'm going to pay for what I need to do, but I have to do it. My family has done so much more for me than they ever needed to. This is the least I can do for them.     

Saturday, March 10, 2018

That One Time I Had a Story Idea...

So... a long time ago, driving around on an Idaho back road not so far away...

I seem to have my best ideas in one of two places: either whilst driving or riding in cars or whilst sitting on the toilet. As near as I can guess, driving allows me to keep the workaday part of my brain occupied so it doesn't short-circuit my imagination. Meanwhile, the rest of my brain can take off and fly off to where ever the fuck it wants to fly to.

For some reason, I feel completely creatively unfettered while driving. I don't feel a need to impress anyone else with my ideas. I don't need to care if my writer friend like what I come up with. I can just daydream, stretch my mind and explore where the tendrils of my imagination go.

As for why the potty is such a good place to find inspiration, well, your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, a few years ago I had an idea I quite liked. It was different for me, a little more substantive and not just more of the same heavy metal and sci-fi inflected comedy I usually write. I was fascinated by the question the story would pose. Even though I felt it would be a hard sell should I ever decide to do anything with it or show it to anyone else, I was intrigued enough that I thought I should at least give it a shot.

But life distracted me, as life so often distracts all of us, and I put the idea on the backburner. The recent end of my closest friendship has me asking some same question I was asking when I was putting that story together. I'm seriously thinking about dusting it off and writing it out. Before I do, I wanted to pitch it to whoever actually reads my blog (, like... maybe Clifton?...) so youse guys can see where my head is at. Here goes:


The story opens with a man desperately struggling to save the space station he currently inhabits from becoming a midnight snack for a black hole. Obviously, gravity ALWAYS wins, so homeboy and his ship are sucked down and spaghettified into particles. All is dark and silent and complete.

Until it isn't. We come out of the black hole on the other side of the universe. It is now that we meet our protagonist, subatomic particle J3L2404, a particle with a murky memory. (Yes, that's a reference to Fargo.) J3L is floating through the vacuum of space with no purpose, although he feels pulled in another direction, in search of something he can't remember but that he feels strongly that he lost.

As J3L tries to go his own way, everything he tries to be a part of falls apart and the longing and feeling he's missing something torment him more and more intensely. After growing tired of being pulled in too many directions a once, he gives in and begins to chase this mysterious goal. He eventually finds that the pull he was feeling was emanating from X9P3390, a particle he's entangled with and had been bonded to for his entire existence. They reunite and everyone lives happily ever after. So some such shit.

This story has several obvious problems, chief among them being making the main characters work. I mean, who the fuck's gonna buy into anthropomorphic subatomic particles? But if I can get those characters working, I have the opportunity to research questions I've always wanted answered. Do we really have any choice in who we're attracted to? Is there someone out there I'm gonna end up with, whether I want to or not? If we're fated to orbit in pairs, how can we be happy if we can't find an orbital partner?

I'm not gonna pretend that this is scientifically accurate. I'm no physicist. I'm not even very smart. I would have to do research into quantum mechanics, entanglement, and the behavior of little tiny particles. But George Lucas once said he wanted Star Wars to be artistically accurate, not scientifically accurate. And I think that applies here.

So what do you think? What are you doing with that baseball bat?! Wait. Did that really piss you off THAT MUCH?! Dude, chill the fuck out! Seriously, you want some aspirin- (Whack... Thud...)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

You Handed Me the Scissors

"I miss all the things we could have done..."

That's how I found out that you were gone, moved clear across the country. That's how you chose to tell me that you abandoned me. That was the last straw. That was reality kicking me in the head, the very instant I FINALLY woke up and began to realize that it was time to cut you out of my life. Completely.

Let's jump in the Way-Back machine real quick and survey how we got here. I met you through a writing group of which I was once a member. It was actually quite some time before we actually spoke to one another. I remember thinking you were really attractive, but I had nothing to say to you, no reason to try to get your attention. For months, you were nice window dressing for our monthly writers meetings and nothing else.

Then, someone referred me to you, as someone who could help you with a screenplay you were working on. I agreed out of a sense of obligation. Like, if I have this knowledge, it's my duty to share it with anyone who needs it. With great power comes great responsibility, right?

So I met with you. And this didn't unfold the way two people getting to know one another usually goes. Nope. Almost immediately, I recognized that you were different. Special. We had conversations I always wanted to have with a woman. No bullshit about church or your kids or your exes. We talked about art cinema, astronomy, and spirituality. We talked about ghosts and dreams and aliens and all kinds of other crazy shit. We talked about life and love. It was awesome. YOU were awesome.

Before long, I was feeling something beyond a friendly attachment for you. I loved you. Full-blown fucking LOVED you. I saw a future of us together, traveling and adventuring together, holding each other, finding peace and enlightenment together.

I tried to keep a ceiling on my feelings cuz I wasn't deluded enough to think I had a legitimate shot with you. I fought it for months, and it fucking hurt. I finally gave myself permission to feel love for you. I knew I had no shot, but it was nice to something to hope for. For the first time in a long time, I didn't feel rudderless.

And that's where the problems started. Once it got out that I was in love with you (through a series of events that was a clusterfuck in its own right), it was time to do the Disappointment Tango. I don't know why finding out you didn't reciprocate my feelings for you was such a blow. It certainly wasn't a surprise. But it was a definite blow, and I tried to handle it in as mature a way as I could. We were friends, close friends. I wouldn't have fallen for you if we weren't friends. I believe that's how love starts: it begins as friendship and blossoms into something deeper, more intimate, and more profound.

So, I made the decision to keep you in my life in spite of the fact that you didn't love me the way I loved you. And, GOOD GOD, did I ever suffer for that decision. The low point? The day you asked me to hang out and you brought along the guy you just started dating. I had no idea that was going on, so when you two started putting your hands all over each other, it was like someone dropping an anvil on my nutsack.

I should've moved on then. I tried. I gave you back the paintings you painted for me. But after a couple of weeks without you in my life, I caved. I justified coming back because you didn't mean to hurt me. You just didn't think. You didn't consider what seeing you hanging all over some other dude would do to me. If I didn't know you better, I would think what you did was incredibly cruel and heartless. But I knew you well enough to know it wasn't malicious.

So I came back. Then some jackass you were dating decided to lie to you about me and run his mouth about me to my friends. When I tried to talk to you about it, you flipped it around on me and it became an argument about why I was the asshole.

Then there were all the times you got pissed at me for things I never even did. And the times you took off without telling me. No chance to say goodbye. No chance for closure. There were all the times you flaunted your love life in front of me. Oh my Lord. Did I really let you do all this shit to me? What was wrong with me?

Oh, but it gets worse. What about all the new age bullshit I tried to study and understand, despite the fact that I don't believe in any of that crystals, chakras, energy bullshit. There was all the stuff I tried to feign belief in just so I could be closer to what I thought you wanted. I was soooooooo dishonest. I lost my love for life. I lost my edge as an artist. I lost who I really am. For what? What the fuck was I holding on to?

Well, that's easy to answer. There was a point in our friendship where you were leaving on a trip to Hawaii. I knew you wanted the fuck out of Idaho, and I figured you wouldn't come back. As we conversed, I told you that I didn't know if I wanted to marry you, or date you forever. I just wanted a chance. And you said that the timing was bad but at some point in the future, you might actually give me a chance.

I clung to that like a drowning sailor clings to a piece of ship debris. I soooooo believed you. You have no idea how much power that one statement had over me. So, I hung on. Through all the shitty boyfriends who mistreated and abused you. Through all the pain of not being able to be what I wanted to be to you. It took years for me to finally realize that my chance would never come. And through that time, I got my heart broken over and over and over.

But everything ends, and so that's where we find ourselves now. I got over the desire to be your boyfriend, although I never got over being attracted to you.  I realized you and I would never work. Eventually, I began to question whether I even needed you in my life anymore. Then you left and forced me to wake up and realize I needed to completely sever that tie.

And after waking up, I realized that how blind and stupid I've been. What hurts the most is the knowledge that I have no one to blame but myself. I chose you over and over and over. I sabotaged my own personal progress in hopes of being able to be available when you needed me. I was stupid. I was blinded by fantasy. I completely recalibrated my definition of friendship to accommodate my relationship with you.

I lost important relationships because I was too blind to see things from their perspectives. I completely centered my life around you, and you couldn't even treat me the way friends treat friends. And it's my fault. I wasn't strong enough to walk away from you. I didn't love myself enough to do what was best for me. I lied to you about how you impacted my life. I was a complete asshole. On and on and on...

And yet, I've also come to realize that while I bear the ultimate responsibility, you definitely didn't help. I always drove you around, and while I was happy to do it, you never made any effort to come see me. When I needed someone to talk to, you were never there. Whenever we had issues to talk about, you never listened to me. My feeling were never important to you. Friendship is supposed to be a two-way street, but your lane was super wide, and my lane was basically nonexistent.

I saw a meme or something like that around the time I was stripping myself away from another friendship that had become toxic. It said "If I cut you out of my life, chances are you handed me the scissors." That seems to fit here. Although I take the blame for not standing up for myself and not being honest with you, the way you treated me ultimately led me to walk away. You've left before and have always come back. But this time, I really hope you stay gone. Even if you don't, you're no longer part of my life. I'm finally ready to move on.

In other words, snip snip, motherfucker. Sorry for the novel. Phewwww. Who else needs a drink?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hair Metal Justified #3

Most of the records I look at in this series are here because I think they’re great pieces of music that undeservedly get overlooked because of the “hair metal” stigma attached to them. But not this record. This one’s here because I LOVE it and that’s the only reason it’s here. Let us begin.

There was this record store in my hometown called Rainbow Records and Tapes. I spent A LOT of time there and got to know the staff pretty well. Because I grew up in a town that was like 90% Mormon, I didn’t know anybody who liked metal, even the lightweight stuff. Everybody seemed to like stuff like Depeche Mode or (ugh) country.

But there was one girl at Rainbow who was into metal, and one day when I waltzed through the door, she told me about this new record by a band called Heaven’s Edge. She popped her copy into the store’s stereo and I was immediately interested. Heaven’s Edge walked the sonic line between the typical metal-light of bands like Poison and Warrant and heavier metal alloys like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I picked up a copy and drove like a bat out of hell to get home so I could play loud on my bedroom radio. (At the time, the stereo in my car wasn’t working. It was hell.)

Heaven’s Edge’s debut came out in 1990, toward the end of the reign of hair metal. The record showcased the riffing of axe men Reggie Wu and Steven Parry (not the Journey dude), the voice of Mark Evans and the booming rhythmic work of bassist G.G. Guidotti and basher David Rath. Wu handled the majority of the solo work, and he apparently went to the Vinnie Vincent school of shredding, where you never play just two notes when you have room for twenty. The songs aren’t very deep, but that was par for the course with glam metal. Still, why did I love this record so much?

The first reason I think this band stuck for me in their sound. That is on full display on the song “Up Against the Wall”. The guitars are loud and grinding, like the guitars on a good Judas Priest song. Rath’s drumming is rock-solid and Wu’s leads have a liquid metal lunacy and precision that a lot of guitarists of the day couldn't touch. And Evan’s voice is in that perfect cocky rocker guy zone that makes wanna punch the air and scream “fuck yeah!”

Another reason I loved this band is because they had a little range when it came to subject matter. “Find Another Way” is like the ultimate broken-hearted optimist anthem, as Evan begs the object of his affection for another chance. It’s not a happy song, but it is hopeful.

The next track, “Up Against the Wall”, finds Evans dodging the angry daddy of an underage girl he hooked up with. He seems to realize just what a dumbass he is, but he keep acting stupid anyway.

“Bad Reputation” and “Daddy’s Little Girl” lament the decisions that led a nice girl down the path to misbehavior, though these songs sound a little too slut-shamey to my older, slightly wiser ears.  

Anyway, you get the idea.

Along with the range in subject matter, Heaven’s Edge was good at mixing tempo and intensity. While there are plenty of hefty mid-tempo jams on the record, the band slows down for the ballad “Hold On Tonight”, which isn’t too original but can still stand toe to toe with any other ballad from the era.

Elsewhere, HE turns on the jets for the rollicking “Can’t Catch Me” and locks into a bluesy grove to kick off “Is That All You Want”. Other bands tried to mix things up, but the Heaven’s Edge boys had the skills to actually pull it off.

HE never broke big, I think for two primary reasons. First, they came out when the market was already saturated with cut rate butt rockers. And grunge came along to knock metal out of the spotlight a short time later. Heaven’s Edge never got the time to really establish themselves.

The second reason Heaven’s Edge never broke big is that they didn’t really stand out from the rest of the hair metal pack visually. They look pretty plain. They might have been able to play the working class rockers of the hair metal scene, but that role was already filled pretty well by Tesla. Other bands that got big back then had more extreme looks. They were easier to spot. HE may have been thinking “We’re here to play, not pose”, but I do think their lack of a more discernible visual aesthetic ended up letting them down.

Whatever the reason, it’s kinda sad Heaven’s Edge never got big, because I think they were a road sign pointing to where hair metal was headed. A rougher, more metallic sound that engaged those who love sharp musical chops just as much as it did lovers of sticky melodic hooks. It’s not extra-special, but this band did have more talent than a lot of other rank-and-file hair rockers. Evans, in particular was a much better singer than guys like Bret Michaels and Jani Lane. Although when he tries to hit those super high notes, it kinda hurts the ears.

Anyway, I still love this record, and it feels kinda cool to be able to share them because they feel like some secret that I’m in on and few others have any idea this band ever existed. I hope, if you choose to watch the vids and listen to the songs I mention, that you enjoy what you hear. I know that this is a band that, when a certain mood hits me, I’m always gonna spin.

Next time: Jake E. Lee joins forces with Ray Gillen and Eric Singer to give us the badass debut by their band, Badlands!