GETTING MORE TALE #681: Bad Lessons
Parents of the 80s were always concerned about the impressions that their kids were getting from music videos. Objectifying women? Drug and alcohol use? Absolutely a concern. But what about other misleading lessons from the music video age?
Bad Lesson #1: You can play guitar with gloves on!
You’re guilty, Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P.! You too, Jeff Pilson of Dokken! You both played your instruments in music videos while wearing full leather gloves. As children, we simply assumed if it got cold outside, you could continue to play your guitar with gloves on. I’m not talking fingerless gloves, but full coverage.
It doesn’t really look cold in that Dokken video for “Burning Like a Flame”. Why the gloves, Jeff? George Lynch isn’t even wearing a shirt.
Bad Lesson #2: Great hair just happens.
How many music videos of the 80s showed the band members doing up their hair? None! Probably due to the “hairspray” stigma of the 80s. Some videos showed the band members literally getting out of bed, with hair intact. I assumed that once you grew your hair long enough and had it cut by a professional, it would just automatically look cool every morning. Naturally, I had bad hair for years. Thanks, rock stars. Don’t be embarrassed by your hair care products!
Bad Lesson #3: Guitars are eeeeasy to play!
Since we didn’t fully comprehend that music videos were mimed, and not an actual performance, we assumed guitars were easy to play! After all, they made it look so easy! C.C. DeVille could jump around and swing his guitar everywhere without missing a note. Others would just…hit their guitars…and the song played on! Paul Stanley seemed to play his without even touching it. You can imagine how we felt when we actually bought our first guitars ourselves. Hitting it didn’t play a song, it just made a hitting sound. We were lied to!
Players like DeVille and Jeff Labar of Cinderella also made it look far too easy to swing your guitars over your shoulders. We damaged some necks and some ceilings trying to imitate these guys. We learned you had to buy strap locks or watch your guitar get launched skyward.
Bad Lesson #4: Adulthood involves walking the streets at night with your boyz.
As young impressionable kids, we didn’t know what adulthood was really about. We saw our dads go to work every day. Mom worked hard too. But what about before they met and got married and settled down to have kids? What was life like at that stage? Judging by Dokken, Journey or Motley Crue videos, adulthood meant walking around town a lot with your buds. Some bands even cruised in cars! Is this what growing up looked like?
“Don’t Go Away Mad” (by the most Mötleyest of Crües) is guilty on two counts: plenty of downtown walkin’, and Vince waking up with hair perfectly coiffed.
Bad Lesson #5: Getting arrested is no big deal!
David Lee Roth was led away in handcuffs in the “Panama” music video. Bobby Dall of Poison got arrested in one of their clips, too. Let’s not forget Sammy Hagar getting busted for speeding in “I Can’t Drive 55”. But it’s all good – the guys were all there at the end of the songs. No big deal!
It was never the alcohol, or devil worship, or women that made rock videos dangerous. Turns out it was the mundane stuff. Who knew long hair was so hard to upkeep? They never told us that. How naive we were!