It's 1986. A small band in Hollywood, California is all set to open for Alice Cooper. Gig time aproaches. No sign of their singer. They pull their set as a blues jam without their singer. This would be a recurring theme for Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose over the next several years. Although his behavior angered his bandmates, the early 90s Use Your Illusion tour would be the most successful in history, and would lead bassist Duff McKagan to later say "We would play stadiums in some countries and be more powerful than the fucking government. We could say 'Revolution!' and ya know what? In 15 minutes, there would be a revolution!"
Fast-forward 18 years. Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan, guitarist Slash, and drummer from "Use Your Illusion" and "The Spaghetti Incident?" Matt Sorrum still rock harder than any other. They, along with Slash's old pall Dave Kushner and Stone Temple Pilots mouthpiece Scott Weiland, now make up another of the worlds biggest bands: Velvet Revolver. VR have been touring for nearly a year in support of their freshman album "Contraband." It went platinum in a matter of months, and has already spawned two number one singles, as well as landed three Grammy nods. Raking in the cash, Velvet Revolver show that old-school, balls-out rock n roll will still sell tickets.
Another current crown of the metal scene are the little-known Brides Of Destrction. Founded by Tracii Guns, of Hollywood Rose (which became Guns N Roses after his departure) and LA Guns fame, and Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx (who has now left the Brides to join the Crue once more), the Brides struck gold with rock newcomer London LeGrand. His golden pipes and scathing lyrics brought an edge to the Brides not seen in music for years. Rounded out by relative unknown Scott Coogan on the drums, the Brides released their debut, "Here Come The Brides," last March. Their following is small but loyal, even after Sixx's departure. They are now in the studio writing and recording their sophmore effort. As singer London LeGrand told me in a private message on the band's message board, the new album will be "a completely new style for [the Brides]." Keep an eye out, they should be huge some day. And if not, the loyal and growing following will have to stick with what they have: an unknown musical treasure to call all their own.
And of course, there was Damageplan. They were a truely magnificent band. Pat Lachman's vocals on their only album, "New Found Power." Drummer Vinnie Paul through down beats like none other. Bobzilla Kakaha's bass thundered through the already strong material. And of course, there was the living god of the six string, the universally loved, universally hailed, and now universally mourned "Dimebag" Darrel Abbot. His guitars were just as awesome as on the works of Pantera. Dime left his mark on music forever with Pantera, and his work with Damageplan will forever be overlooked in favor of his more legendary Pantera work. I would say, though, that Damageplan's "New Found Power" was superior to any Pantera album. Pantera's songs may have been better, but this album as a whole schooled most, if not all, of Pantera's albums.
Metal's resurgence is upon us. Damageplan and the Brides Of Destruction are just two of many great bands being left out of the mainstream. Velvet Revolver have made it big, but they are just the tip of the heavy metal iceberg of old-school rockers bringing about a new wave of should-be legendary hard rock out there. The Brides, Damgaeplan, and so many others should be legends. Although they may not be in the main stream, true fans of metal will always recognize these such bands as the true masters of their trade: the gods of the hard rock genre.