Waxing Nostalgic: METAL MAYHEM! with Night Ranger, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”

Published on May 6th, 2013 in: Music, Waxing Nostalgic |

By Jeffery X Martin


When did the Eighties really begin for you? I like to think that, if you were alive then, you had a musical moment when you knew that decade was going to be different. Maybe there was some kind of herald, a psychopomp guiding the Seventies to its disco-dug grave, a ray of strange black light that entered your ears and dug into your soul. Maybe you had an epiphany.

New Wave seemed a natural progression of what I was already listening to when the decade started. It was organic. It didn’t matter where that genre headed, I was ready for it, completely aurally equipped. The metal, however. . . that sweet, delicious hair metal. . . that, my friends, was a whole ‘nother can of mousse.
The plucked guitar strings, ascending and descending like God winding up a friction-motor toy car. The horrific crunch crunch crunch as every other instrument in the band stomps its way into the tune like a kaiju on a crowded beach. The sudden cohesion as the two separate musical lines blend like recombinant DNA and become this rush, this perfect hurtling thing.

It stops and simply hangs there, like a heavy cloud, ready to pour hot rain onto the busy streets below. The first line is sung, the words of a man in denial, and the keyboard sneaks up on him like whiskey memories of relationships gone more than sour. The guitars rush back in, an angry tide, pushing the singer to even further declarations of what he does not want.

By the time the chorus hits, you’ve been trapped on a para-sail and the boat’s driver has been knocked unconscious. You’re a little battered. A little bruised. When you hear the last line of that refrain and realize how self-protective and obviously emotionally injured that man is, your heart breaks a little, but not much. You don’t have time to grieve. This song won’t slow down.

The dueling guitars in the breakdown, featuring ex-Ozzy guitarist Brad Gillis, are a whirlwind of fingers and sweeps, technical prowess and virtuosity. It was a madness the mainstream hadn’t heard yet from hard rock, having grown used to the sleepy Soma from Foreigner and Kansas. By the time the song careens to the end, a runaway circus train filled with TNT and heartbreak, you’re drained. You’re kaput. Over and out.

Actually, your mileage may vary.

But that was certainly my experience, a twelve-year-old boy who was taught that it was bad to curse left shaking his head wondering what the hell had just happened to him.

That was where the Eighties started for me. The hair, the bandannas, the hammer-ons, I suddenly understood it all. It clicked into place like that last puzzle piece in Superfection.

The band was Night Ranger, a band I have continued to follow even now. While I got better at debauchery as the years went by, I had these guys to think for showing me the door.

For the longest time, my friends, this was The Metal.

What was your Eighties Metal Moment? Hit me up in the comments.

One Response to “Waxing Nostalgic: METAL MAYHEM! with Night Ranger, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me””

  1. Paula:
    May 6th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I have to say that The Cult was my gateway drug into metal.. I had their band poster right next to my Robert Smith poster. The Cult was a rock band but it still somehow fit into my love of Euro Pop. Each element of The Cult was perfect to my ears. The tones of the guitar were inline with what I loved so much about the synthesized sounds coming from my stereo for the previous five years. The Cult gave me solid knowledge of hair metal so that I could gage the difference between Poison and say, Megadeath. I was able to recognize that Poison was a product of a good mix down whereas Megadeath was raw and they were able to play it live just as well as if I was listening to the tape. And so my love of metal flourished. And to be honest, I’ve never really grown out of it. I love, love, love the hair. Not long ago, I went to see Testament at the HOB in New Orleans. I have never seen so many long-hairs! It was amazing. Between the girls and guys at that show, it was just as much a hair fest. And the chivalry was over the top. Long hairs get a bad rap…I should know. But under all that hair are very sensitive souls that would give you the shirt off their back. Just don’t touch the hair.

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