Decade of Decadence 

Pop punks Bowling for Soup share their favorite memories from the Aqua Net era.

Bowling for Soup guitarist Chris Burney (far right) - celebrated his 16th birthday at a Ratt concert.
  • Bowling for Soup guitarist Chris Burney (far right) celebrated his 16th birthday at a Ratt concert.
Bowling for Soup's breakthrough hit "1985" may make mention of Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Blondie, but the song is really about the undying appeal of '80s poodle metal. Its protagonist is a desperate housewife named Debbie, who daydreams about shaking her ass on the hood of David Coverdale's 'Vette. In the "1985" video, she gets all Showgirls in front of the Bowling for Soup boys, as they don full-on Mötley Crüe regalia, cheetah-print Spandex and all.

Though you wouldn't guess it from Bowling for Soup's pop-inflected tunes, few bands are better suited to pay tribute to the Aqua Net-abetted headbangers of yesteryear than this bunch. The group's gargantuan guitarist, Chris Burney, celebrated his 16th birthday at a Ratt concert. Although he currently contributes to BFS's bubblegum punk, which rocks about as hard as Poison's "Unskinny Bop," Burney still loves headbanging and hellraising. In honor of his band's tribute to Vince Neil and company, we had him share his own flashback soundtrack of his favorite '80s metal videos and albums:

Slayer, Reign in Blood: "We did a festival in England, and Slayer played before us. I told their manager they were my favorite band since high school, and I always thought it would be the coolest thing in the world to have Slayer punch me in the face. I heard Kerry King was into it, but their manager thought I was a kook and told them not to do it. I'm glad they played first, because Slayer fans are rough on warm-up acts. I don't think there's anything you can do other than rock your ass off and hang in there. The only time we've gotten it bad is when we opened for Pansy Division. There was this table of gay people, and after every song they would yell (lisping) 'Boo, hiss, boo.' We were being discriminated against on the basis of our sexual orientation."

Ratt, "Round and Round": "This is the video with Milton Berle shaking his thing. It would be cool to have Jack Black or Dave Grohl in one of ours. Dave Grohl is like rock's puppy. Nobody doesn't love Dave Grohl to death."

Dio, "Last In Line": "In this video, there's an elevator that takes this kid down into the depths of hell, and he does battle. Dio helps him out, and the kid conquers in the end. Vivian Campbell's guitar solo is supreme."

Iron Maiden, Piece of Mind: "I saw them around when this album came out, and they had the whole stage decked out like an Egyptian tomb. I think our ideal stage show would involve hot tubs all over the stage, and we would move around from one to another. It might be more popular with the band than the audience."

Mötley Crüe, Shout at the Devil: "'Too Young to Fall in Love' was my favorite video -- it was a hoot. I liked bands that used makeup in a nonandrogynous way, with scary dark eye shadow, instead of trying to look like your grandmother. I always stayed away from the makeup, though. I had long hair, but it was shaggy, and I never did anything with it. I would have loved to see the Theater of Pain tour too. That would have been a doozy. I might have even gotten laid after that, because there were a lot of scantily clad hot chicks."

Guns n' Roses, Appetite for Destruction: "At this point, I don't care if Chinese Democracy comes out or not. I think it will sound like a forced-out piece of poo. Appetite was so good, but everything after that was crap. 'November Rain' was just 'Look at us, we've got lots of money to shoot a video, so we're going to do lots of weird stuff.'"

Van Halen, "Hot for Teacher": "I really like 'Panama,' too, because you see them flying through the air, but 'Hot for Teacher' really tells a story. We tried that with 'Bitch Song,' which captured some nice prison man-love moments, but MTV didn't like it."

Metallica, Master of Puppets: "That album was Metallica's pinnacle. The Black Album was horrible, and Load -- God, are you kidding me? I never learned a lot about metal soloing. Someday, I'm going to take lessons. I never even tried to play along with any of this stuff, because I went right to playing my own songs. I have my own style of guitar-playing, though. I'm an illusionist -- I make it look like I'm not even playing."


More by Andrew Miller


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