Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dedicated I - Cheesy 80's Metal Edition

Alfred University had a great radio station once upon a time. WALF - 89.5 on your FM dial; 200 watts of stereo power that almost reached outside campus - was the kind of place people imagined college radio was, once upon a time. It had no format, allowing the DJs the opportunity to play whatever they wanted, FCC regulations permitting. Or not, on occasion.

My friend Jim had one of the most eclectic shows on their schedule. When we were juniors, someone - maybe it was him, I don't really remember - found some recordings of old radio serials, and Jim decided to play them during one show. His opening was a mash-up borrowed from, among other things, the opening of that chestnut, the TV Theme Songs LP that was such a huge hit in the mid-1980's. He could play jazz one second, something obscure by Aztec Camera (a truly underrated band) the next.

His good friend Phil had the heavy metal show. Phil found gems amidst the dreck that was heavy metal in the decade that made it popular. When we were seniors, he discovered Auburn, NY's favorite sons, Manowar. They had released an album called Fighting The World whose virtues included a direct rip-off of the cover of KISS's classic Destroyer LP. Don't believe me?

All their songs have a "sword-and-sorcery" theme, as if they hadn't quite escaped the clutches of Robert E. Howard. The cheese factor is extremely high; a bunch of kids from Auburn writing about fighting the world, sharpening their swords, killing the evil hordes is a recipe for hilarity. The opening song, "Defender", was something special. The band had finagled Orson Welles to "narrate" the opening of the song, adding a level of faux-gravitas to their over-the-top songs. This concert clip is pretty cool only because the bass player does a fantastic job on the intro, playing his eight string for all its worth.

Virtual Tin Cup

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