Last week, DM brought you grindcore pioneers Napalm Death on children’s TV in the UK. Today, we bring you the kid-vid appearance of the utterly ridiculous Manowar, the single most over-the-top expression of every tacky masculinity-mythologizing hard rock cliché, kitchen-sinked into one band that does its best to always appear as though they’d just stepped out of a Frank Frazetta painting. They gave a performance and interview on Nickelodeon’s often admirably daring Livewire in 1983. (Nickelodeon really needs to offer a home-video compilation of all the musical guests on that show. I would buy that in a second.)
So here’s the thing: yes, Manowar are massively boneheaded. The whole berserker/Conan/I-kill-what-I-eat-and-I-eat-it-raw sartorial vibe stinks of trying too hard, and their musical output is merely B-minus power metal when they’re at their absolute best—if this is the sort of music you’re feeling, Dio’s Holy Diver does the job way, WAY better, so why settle? But dammit, I have a huuuuuge soft spot for wishfully grandiose heavy metal lyrics about how magnificent heavy metal is and how being a heavy metal fan is a man’s noblest calling. Seriously, what other genre outside of metal and hip-hop ever indulges in that level of self-glorification? Try to imagine an elderly Mississippi tenant farmer in 1931 signing about how it was super awesome to have the blues and live in soul-crushing poverty, and how anyone who didn’t was just a puny little half-man. That never happened. Here are some of the lyrics to “Gloves of Metal” from Manowar’s second album Into Glory Ride.
Hear the pounding army of the night
The call of metal summons us tonight.
And gather we on this site
To behold the power and the might.
We wear leather, we wear spikes, we rule the night.
Off with the lights, hear the screams
See the banging heads awaken to their dreams.
The sound of metal so loud it cracks the beams
Played by warriors called the Metal Kings.
A hero’s welcome for those who heed the call.
We are together, we are all.
With hands high fists fill the air
Against the world we stand.
Hands high forever we’ll be there.
Gloves of Metal rule tonight.
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
FUCK YEAH, GLOVES OF METAL RULE TONIGHT!
Livewire previously on Dangerous Minds:
Ramones drop some truth on a little know-it-all (a young Marilyn Manson?) on Nickelodeon, 1981