On the way into work this morning, I was cranking Black Sabbath's "The Dio Years."
Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking -- Dio? Seriously? But yeah -- honestly, there's something about the Dio era of that band that I really like. My buddy Dave Beckner swears by it, and I have to say he has a point. There's more actual pop songs on "Heaven and Hell" than there is on the entire first ten years of Ozzy's administration. And yeah -- there's a part of me, the part that was raised on Halen and Leppard, the fucking Beavis and Butthead that still lives inside my head, that thinks songs about dragons and wizards and kings and scantily-clad barbarian women are just COOL, huh huh huh. Y'know? Its the kind of stupid crap that you draw pictures of on your high-school notebook, and also it rocks, and you can bang your head to it, and at 7 AM stuck in traffic on the way into Venice for another day where my comps that I worked for days on will get killed or at least changed beyond recognition, it seemed a little transcendent. That's not to say that Ozzy isn't, well, Ozzy, and there's no question that, like, "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" is a BETTER record fundamentally than "Heaven and Hell," but let's just not totally write off the Dio tenure, shall we?
Also, SHRIEKY VOICED LEAD SINGER.
There was some point in the late 90s/early 00s where every american metal singer in the world decided that shrieky voices were, like, for PUSSIES, and started singing like that asshole from Pearl Jam. 'Cause, y'know, its easier to find people to sing like that, because Bob down the street has a pretty good voice and he has a bitchin Camaro we can take to gigs so Julie from high school will finally fuck me, and he's not gonna get all fucking EGO about this shit, 'cause this is MY BAND, and let's not forget it. Any idiot can sing like the guy from Pearl Jam. I'd give you a sound clip to prove it -- I'M an idiot, and I can sing like that. It's low. You don't have to have any chops. You dont' have to have a range. All you have to have is a lotta testosterone and the ability to write shitty lyrics about how crappy stuff is.And what does that get you? Well, Nickelback is what. And that is, by no means, a good thing. I'll take Poison ANY FUCKING DAY over Nickelback. ANY FUCKING DAY.
Because okay, that's the thing, right? Shrieky voiced lead singers write about chicks and dragons and wizards and more chicks and going to California and how Love Hurts and shit like that (I know he didn't write that, but let me riff, here), and all the low-voiced assholes can do is write about how much shit sucks. What's up with that? Is there something about the ability to sing high that makes you HAPPIER ABOUT LIFE? At any rate -- I will posit that metal written by shrieky guys always always trumps metal written by the low guys.
And that brings me to Justin Hawkins. You may remember a band called The Darkness from a few years back. They had a hit called "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" which featured the ULTIMATE shrieky-voiced lead singer, a stringy British dude with a wicked sense of humor called Justin Hawkins, who whooped and shrieked like nobody's business. He was almost Freddie Mercury-like in sheer range, and he was AWESOME.
Then at some point he went into rehab, and then quit the Darkness. And so what do they do? They replace him with a LOW-VOICED GUY, who immediately gets all serious and singing about life sucking and stuff and then the band BLOWS. You see? You see?
Well, the good news is that Justin Hawkins is back, with a COMPLETELY AWESOME BAND called Hot Leg (yes, just the one of them!) and he's just as shrieky and amazing and hilariously over-the-top as he was before. So low guy that joined what's left of the Darkness? You may go to hades, my friend, because here comes Hot Leg. Enjoy.
I've Met Jesus