VH-1 Insults metal


The programming of VH-1 leaves a lot to be desired at the best of times, mainly through disastrous programming usually aimed at the lives of disgusting celebrities. The once exclusive music channel rarely airs any worthwhile content regarding music these days and when they do it’s in the form of shows like "40 Least Metal Moments" or "Forty Worst Metal Songs" ever, two shows which reached the bottom of the barrel in terms of obnoxiousness, snobbery, ignorance and total waste of celluloid. I’ve become used to hard rock and metal being parodied and mocked, but these plumbed the depths. To watch a supposed group of metal "experts" and pathetic tenth-rate celebrities slam great music was something hard to ignore.

It’s hard to decide which show was worse. Both were utterly predictable in their content, as artists like Winger, Michael Bolton, Europe, Warrant, Britny Fox, Whitesnake etc were made laughing stocks for the umpteenth time. While the content of both shows were unredeemable, certain moments were worse than others. The flaws in the shows arguments infuriated me. For no apparent reason Whitesnake’s "Here I Go Again" was chosen as one of metal’s worst songs. A selection of underwhelming stand up comedians, actors and snob journalists hurled insults at Whitesnake vocalist David Coverdale, saying it’s impossible for him to be by himself with all the groupies chasing him? Who’s Coverdale kidding? The songs a sham right? If VH-1 or any of the guests had done their research they would know the track was first written for 1982’s "Saint And Sinners," later remade for 1987’s self titled album. The song was written after Coverdale separated from his first wife. So therefore he was alone. How hard was it to mention that? Lazy. Sickening.

Of course the token Winger insults were in full flow on both shows. Firstly on "Least Metal Moments" Kip Winger was ridiculed for his ballet skills. Then on "Forty Worst Songs" to everyones surprise," "Seventeen" was selected as a contender for the title. The obvious references to underage sex and Kip being a deviant were spewed forth, while his love of ballet was seen as somewhat gay. If anyone deserves a fair go it’s Winger. A great band, Kip Winger is arguably one of the last great frontmen of hard rock. Rugged, handsome, talented, he represented rock at its purest. Armed with an impeccable gift for stunning melody and underrated heaviness, he is still misunderstood nearly twenty years later. Is it because of a fat nerd on Beavis And Butthead wearing his shirt? Or because we take things too seriously? Writing songs about underage girls was once the norm. Winger will always be a class act in my eye.

The other key artist to be knocked around was Michael Bolton. While none of his songs mad the top forty he was included naturally as one of metal’s least moments. Taken to task by pricks like Dee Snider, Scott Ian and pathetic "metal expert" Eric Bohnenstiel, Bolton was accused of basically containing no talent, the man a fraud. No. Not at all. Bolton’s three albums from 1983 to 1987 are an undisputed trio of AOR classics, almost unmatched in the genre. He blazed a hard rock trail few could match in his time spent in the field. He is perhaps one of the top three vocalists of our time, with a voice few could dream of matching. For these people to demean him drives me to almost primitive anger. The way in which his name is mentioned with disdain is truly vile. Then to add insult he was shot down for writing Kiss" "Forever," which was number three I believe on the worst song list. Then he was included on the "Fifty Worst Songs Ever" for "Can I Touch You There." It’s okay. I know a legend when I see one. Michael Bolton is. To those who know he is "Sir."

Another source of frustration was the repeated double standards of the guests. During the forty worst how they would attack a song for being too excessive in content, for example Britny Fox’s "Girlschool" or Warrant’s "Cherry Pie," which were seen as sexist and vulgar, purely throwaway party rock. Then a minute later they would bash a track like Cinderella’s "Nobody’s Fool" for being too serious, claiming metal’s supposed to be about girls, getting wasted and good times. So what’s it to be then? Make your minds up. You can’t have it both ways. Even more ridiculous were the guests lambasting Manowar for "Blow Your Speakers." "How can you play if your speakers are blown up?" they asked without any hints of sarcasm.

If anyone cares, Europe’s "The Final Countdown" was the number one selection for worst metal track ever, while Vince Neil doing the chicken dance was the least metal moment ever. Europe were savaged on both shows as weakling Scandanavian pretty boys, and treated with less respect than a serial rapist. The tone of the criticism aimed at them suggested "The Final Countdown" was released yesterday instead of 1986, forgetting that Europe were a tough metal act prior to that album, especially circa 1984’s "Wings Of Tomorrow." But given the inaccuracies and biased nature of the content, mentioning that would have been superfluous.

I wish I could have been invited to add comments to these shows. None of them would have been aired. How the artists interviewed could masquerade as if they believed in what they were saying is beyond me. To see Jerry Dixon and Steven Sweet of Warrant insulting bands and their unmetal indiscretions only to be belittled for "Cherry Pie" is flabbergasting. That these programs were allowed to be aired is even more so.