Bad Moon Rising

#674: Bad Moon Rising

GETTING MORE TALE #674: Bad Moon Rising

A sequel to Getting More Tale #455:  How to Make a Music Video (The Old-Fashioned Way)

Best buddy Bob and I shot and edited a successful music video for Poison’s “Nothin’ But a Good Time” in the 11th grade.  We were sent to the local Charlie awards, representing our school in a film competition.  We didn’t win one (audio sync issues caused by the unreliable cassette format) but by summer holidays, I was back to the drawing board.

I called up a couple friends:  Danesh and Anand.  They came over and we hashed out an outline for a horror movie.  The truth is, I just wanted an excuse to do another music video but I needed a different concept this time.  It had to be a step up.  That summer, I was enthused about Leatherwolf’s second album, and their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising”.  I thought it was the perfect track for a cheesy horror movie.  Any 80s horror film needed a heavy metal theme song.  Leatherwolf’s “Bad Moon Rising” struck me as perfectly fitting.  “I hope you got your things together, I hope you are quite prepared to die.”  So I had the idea of a double feature:  a horror movie with a heavy metal music video accompanying.  The other guys were into it.

Over a fun afternoon in the basement, we came up with our little movie.  Bob was no longer available.  He would be in college the next year.  It was my first film project without him.  As the film’s lead actor, we chose David Kidd, who was the “drummer” in my Poison video.  He was a drama geek.  His nickname was “Emperor Kiddspeare”.  He’d be perfect.

At the start of grade 12, we approached the Film Education teacher about our new project.  She was not enthused and objected to the music video.  “Why don’t you just use the original song?” she asked about “Bad Moon Rising”, when I explained the concept of the heavy metal tie-in music video.  She just didn’t get it.  The video was the whole seed of the idea!  Maybe she was completely unaware of the metal/horror relationship, based on past movies such as Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm St.  We proceeded with the project anyway.  Trying to make your own horror movie is like a rite of passage.  Hasn’t every school kid tried?

We only shot one scene.  It was a hospital scene where the lead character played by David moved a chair with his mind.  It looked great although we were already short on footage.  We had to loop a couple shots to edit together the full scene.  So we did, and it was a start.

But I had just started my first part time job, at Zehrs at the mall.  This cut into my after school hours and the film project dissolved.  I don’t have the scene we shot; it is lost for good.  So is our script.

For a project of that size, I really needed a partner with the dedication and creativity of Bob, but he was off in college doing his own thing.  We couldn’t get it done in grade 12 without him.  Grade 13 was also hopeless for a film project.*  Everybody was far too busy trying to get into University.  Everybody except Emperor Kiddspeare.  He seemed to go off the rails a bit when he started smoking.  First, he burned a “lucky horseshoe” into his hand with a cigarette lighter.  Then he just stopped showing up for school.  Danesh and I used to (jokingly) calculate the odds that he was dead during Algebra class.  Every once in a while, he would actually show up, throwing all our “calculations” to the wind.  Either way, I didn’t have Bob, and Dave was a write-off.  There would be no more highschool film projects.  Bad Moon Rising was dead in the water.

Emperor Kiddspeare ended up becoming a goth, and is very popular in the local industrial music scene.  The last time I saw him, a decade ago on a sweltering hot July day, he was wearing a full length leather trenchcoat.  Good on him.

* Partially.  One weekend, Bob and I rented a camera and we shot a video for our long-distance girlfriends.  It was called Mike & Bob’s Cross-Kitchener Adventure.  I still have that but it’s not particularly watchable.

REVIEW: Leatherwolf- Leatherwolf (1988)

Found in the late 1990’s at Natural Sound in Kitchener.

 

LEATHERWOLF – Leatherwolf (1988 Island)

I first saw Leatherwolf in a 1988 Hit Parader magazine. Their gimmick was the “triple-axe attack”. Their singer, Michael Olivieri, doubled on guitar so during those twin harmony solos, the rhythm guitar wouldn’t drop out. Yeah, I know, that doesn’t sound like much, now that Maiden have three full time lead guitarists. At the time it was enough to get me interested enough to have a listen. I saw the video for “The Calling” on MuchMusic — instant fan!

This album, originally released on Island records (then home of U2), is quite good.  It’s an amalgam of thrash metal’s heaviness and pounding double bass — and glam rock. An odd mixture, but it works. The first album Endangered Species was pretty straight forward thrash, but this self-titled is tempered by keyboards and ballads.

Leatherwolf commences with some sweet acoustics: “Rise Or Fall” soon kicks into gear with some march-style drums and “Genghis Khan” (Iron Maiden)-style riffing. Then, another time change and the song careens into high gear with thick backing vocals, time changes, and guitar harmonies.  The aforementioned “The Calling” was the anthemic first single. A fist pumper. I love the riff on this one. Very cool and chunky.  The chorus ain’t too shabby either, nor the verses.  Although it’s a bit early for a balld, “Share a Dream” is next.  Most metal guys out there will probably have no problem skipping this too soft keyboard ballad. I don’t mind it, but it’s a jarring change of pace.

At first you might think “Cry Out” is another ballad, but once the intro is over the song nails it. This one is quite the anthem, with plenty of shouted backing vocals, and power to spare.  That was the side closer, and side two was introduced by “Gypsies And Thieves”.  Like the album opener, it’s complex with plenty of changes and fast parts.  Good for getting back on track.  Leatherwolf are a metal band after all, not Bon Jovi!

I was enamored with “Bad Moon Rising”a a teenager.  Yes, the CCR cover, but performed as a fast-paced two-minute thrash rocker. Some won’t like it, as a cover is always a dangerous weapon to behold.  I always thought it would have made a great theme song to an 80’s horror movie.  Remember back when you absolutely had to have a rock theme song in every horror movie?  In fact, in the 12th grade I gathered my friends Anand and Danesh with the intent of creating a student film along those lines.  Unfortunately we only finished one scene before our star one day just decided to stop showing up at school!

“Princess Of Love” is not a ballad, but it is quite keyboard heavy and gothic. Another winner in my books.  “Magical Eyes” is one of the only dull songs on the record.  It’s heavy, but inferior in quality to a song like “Rise Or Fall”.  Skip button territory. Because it would have been folly to end the album on anything but, “Rule The Night” is a metallic anthem. Shout-able choruses redeem the album.  Leatherwolf threatens to run off the rails once or twice, but it always centers itself before it’s too late.

As you have seen, Leatherwolf walks the fine line between thrash metal and commercial pop metal. As such the band never fell in with either camp and broke up after the next album Street Ready, which was actually way better than this one. Some closed-minded listeners didn’t get this strange mixture of seemingly contradictory styles.  That’s too bad.  There’s a lot to like here.  The only real drawback to this CD is the 80’s production values by Kevin Beamish. It’s a little too dense, a little too echo-y.

The band reunited in the 90’s with the live Wide Open CD, and went through several lineup changes in the lead vocals department. Olivieri left to be replaced by former Racer X singer Jeff Martin who did some awesome demos with them (check them out).  Then he in turn was replaced by ex-Crimson Glory singer Wade Black on the studio album World Asylum. When he left, World Asylum was re-recorded with Olivieri back on vocals and retitled New World Asylum! Whew!  And I believe the band are working on new music as you read this.  Stay tuned.

4/5 stars