Los Angeles has a rich history of rock and roll. Inside Metal: Pioneers of L.A. Hard Rock and Metal delivers candid interviews with some icons of rock that give fans a more in depth look at the scene. The two volume title includes interviews with Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Stephen Pearcy (Ratt), Carlos Cavazo (Quiet Riot, Ratt, Snow), Jack Russell (Great White, Dante Fox), Don Dokken (Dokken), Dave Meniketti (Y&T) and more.
The stories and antidotes told are really intriguing and make me wish I lived in Los Angeles in the Seventies and Eighties. It’s a completely different scene now. I moved to Los Angeles in 2008 in hopes of making it with my rock band at the time. We had the look and sound of classic rock and made a name for ourselves rather quickly. However, we learned fast how the industry works now. Most clubs have a “pay to play” mentality (which is a complete ripoff), and the amount of actual rock bands performing is even more disappointing. Sure, there are some good ones, but the majority of today’s acts aren’t even rock. Electronics have taken over and have degraded rock and roll, in my opinion. Inside Metal teaches us that genres didn’t exist in Los Angeles during the golden days of rock and roll.
“There was no hip hop. There were no boy bands. There was no punk. There was nothing. It was rock and roll. That was the game,” says Bad Moon’s Pat McKeon. “You either played rock and roll or you didn’t play. So if you wanted to be a musician, you were playing rock and roll and competition was stiff. We got paid!”
“You either played rock and roll or you didn’t play.”
Rock and roll is more than just music, it’s an experience. Thousands of people used to pack the streets of Sunset Blvd in anticipation of hearing great music. Inside Metal gives fans a real behind the scenes look at the LA rock scene’s boom. The film talks about the Sunset Strip’s importance in rock and roll and how English bands such as Yes, Mott The Hoople, Free, Led Zeppelin, Traffic and more played their first Los Angeles show at the Whisky A Go Go before performing throughout the city.
However, the Sunset Strip isn’t the only focus of the film. It discusses how bands like Van Halen and Metallica got their start in nearby Pasadena and Orange County, respectively. The Palladium, Starwood and Santa Monica Civic Center were popular places to perform back then and would often be packed with teenagers on the weekends.
Inside Metal also discusses the the boom of the glam movement that was inspired by David Bowie and the fashion industry. It started in the late Seventies and grew to the glam metal movement that launched the careers of Poison, Cinderella, Warrant and more.
If you’re a rock and/or metal fan, this is a documentary you must see! There are actually three parts to the Inside Metal series with the third subtitled The LA Metal Scene Explodes. All three are available on DVD, but AXS TV is showing the first two parts on December 18th as part of its Merry Metal-Thon that concludes with a tribute to Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, who passed away on December 28, 2015, due to complications from prostate cancer.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Owner & Founder of The Music Universe and Atolma Productions.