Believe it or not, there was a time when a rock critic reviewed concerts and records and thousands of newspaper readers skipped to the entertainment section to check out that person’s opinion on a new album or recent show.
And, if you’re like me and you were (okay, still are) a fan of heavy metal, you gnashed your teeth after reading opinion pieces by the likes of Peter Goddard, long-time music critic for The Toronto Star.
Whether it was Ozzy Osbourne at Maple Leaf Gardens or Motorhead on the Ace of Spades tour at the Danforth Music Hall…I attended both shows…it wasn’t hard to read between the lines:
“I hate this music. I don’t understand how anyone could possibly like this mindless crap.”
Chances are they left the concert after a few songs to head back to the office and type another “wake up kids, check out the new Haircut 100 album instead” review. And, in the late ’80s rock critics coined an insulting categorization for the music they despised: Hair Metal.
Sadly there is a channel on Sirius/XM called Hair Nation that unwittingly perpetuates that derogatory term. Eddie Trunk hosts a call-in show on Hair Nation and even he’s said so called Hair Bands like Cinderella and Poison hate being labelled as such. They are hard rock bands. Big hair and mascara may have been part of the package but it had nothing to do with the music.
When un-glam, mild-mannered Canadians Rush were inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame…long overdue….it was a matter of, “When did Rush become cool?” Um…they always were to us, the rest of you are merely catching up.
Geddy, Alex and Neil, and Iron Maiden and AC/DC are still hugely popular arena acts worldwide. Attracting new generations of idiots. Oh sure, they’re no Haircut 100 but they can charge $100 or more a ticket 30 or 40 years later.
And really, part of the appeal then and now was that we knew critics hated metal so we may have been shocked by a review that began with, “I have seen the future of rock and roll and it’s name is Def Leppard.”
So thanks, Mr. Goddard and your contemporaries. We idiots somehow survived and prospered by largely ignoring your recommendations and condemnations.