THANKS Caitlin for covering the Scrap Metal concert and providing super links to videos & more! Check out Caitlin and Elizabeth Searle in the Boston Herald together…
An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin McCarthy has two feature films in development: “Wonder Drug” with director Tom Gilroy (“Spring Forward”); and “Resistance” with director Si Wall (“The Dinner Party,” premiering November 2010). She also has a TV series treatment, “Free Skate,” which is currently being considered by top production companies.
“What Goes Around, Comes Around: SCRAP METAL, The Rock’N’Roll Rat Pack is Back!” by Caitlin McCarthy
The 80s are making a serious comeback these days. Sly Stallone currently has the number one movie in the country with “The Expendables.” Leggings are being sought out by teens shopping for school. And radio stations – from rock to Top 40 – are playing all the hits from that decade. The “oldies” have turned into “goodies” that people want.
Which brings me to SCRAP METAL. Known as the “rock and roll rat pack,” SCRAP METAL is a confederacy of multi-platinum artists from the 80s Arena-Rock generation who took over MTV and held the airwaves hostage (in a good way!) for a decade. These “scraps” are all lead singers and front men/women who were the voices and faces of rock’n’roll in America for the good-time rock generation.
SCRAP METAL was created by close friends and rock stars Gunnar Nelson (who with twin brother Matthew Nelson was half of the hit group NELSON) and Mark Slaughter (of the rock group Slaughter). Their bands’ number one mega-hits are still in regular rotation on most radio stations today: “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” (Nelson) and “Up All Night” (Slaughter), just to name two. NELSON also just returned with Mark Slaughter from performing live in Suzhou, China at the Holisland Rock Festival as part of the NELSON 20th Anniversary “After the Rain” tour. This October, NELSON will be performing in the U.K. for the very first time ever at the Firefest in Nottingham. And if that’s not enough, NELSON has a new album coming out soon with Frontiers Records called “The Blond Leading the Blond.”
SCRAP METAL’s only similarity to other “supergroups” is that it is a collection of superstar icons, but that’s where any similarities end. SCRAP METAL shows are unique live concert events — only performed a few times per year because of all the rotating lead front men/women and their challenging tour schedules and other band projects.
Gunnar Nelson came up with the SCRAP METAL name. In an interview with BlastMagazine.net, Gunnar was quoted as saying, “I remember hearing the name years ago as the punch line of a slag from someone who was wearing a lot of flannel at the time; it was 1994, I’d guess. They meant it derogatorily; I just loved it! I think it perfectly describes what we’re going for; it’s descriptive, yes, we’re all key remnants of other bands, and it lets you know we’re the first ones in on the joke, especially with so many other groups out there taking themselves way too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, we take the music and the fans verrry seriously, not just ourselves, and that’s what makes us work. Without a profound sense of humor, you could never have up to eight multi-platinum lead singers in the same room at the same time, let alone in the same band!”
I caught SCRAP METAL’s August 20th show at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den. The line-up featured:
• John Payne / ASIA – Asia’s hit singles include “Only Time Will Tell,” “Heat of the Moment,” “Sole Survivor” and “Wildest Dreams.”
• Steve Plunkett / AUTOGRAPH – hit singles include “Turn Up the Radio,” “Loud and Clear,” “Blondes in Black Cars.”
• Janet Gardner / VIXEN – hit singles include “Cryin’,” “Edge of a Broken Heart.”
• Mark Slaughter / SLAUGHTER – hit singles include “Up All Night,” “Fly to the Angels.”
• Matthew & Gunnar Nelson / NELSON – hit singles “After the Rain,” “Love and Affection,” “More Than Ever.”
These musicians have collectively sold over 50 million records worldwide. To use an abbreviation from today: OMG! And the amazing thing is, every single one of these musicians still has “it” – that indefinable but instantly recognizable star quality.
In this age of auto-tune, it’s thrilling to hear live, perfect pitch singing voices. The musicianship was top-notch as well. Mark Slaughter is a master of guitar-playing. Matthew Nelson rules the bass. Gunnar Nelson alternated between guitar and drums during the show.
Visually, SCRAP METAL won the genetic lottery. They all come across as very nice, intelligent, and humble, too. Some people are blessed – and I saw a collection of them on stage at the SCRAP METAL show.
These musicians know that it’s not enough to be good at their craft. They work hard at maintaining positive relationships with their fans. While waiting in line for the SCRAP METAL show, I met two incredibly sweet and friendly women named Chris and Karen. They have followed Mark Slaughter’s career from when he was the lead singer of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. I said, “Oh, you’re original fans!”
Chris smiled and said, “No, we’re ‘true’ fans.” Karen agreed.
Their responses touched me. What artist doesn’t want a true fan, someone who recognizes and supports him/her over the years? A true fan never goes away, and rejoices when the world “rediscovers” a star that never ceased to shine. I was so impressed with Chris and Karen’s warm personalities that I had my photo taken with them. So Mark Slaughter, if you’re reading this: Chris and Karen make a point of standing in front of your mic every time you play the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den with NELSON and SCRAP METAL. Say hi to them – and maybe even dedicate a song to your “true” fans!
I realize this blog post has been one big valentine to the members of SCRAP METAL. Yes, I heart them all. I promise if you check out one of their shows, you will, too.
Personal note: Thank you Liz Motley, Director of Media & Marketing for NELSON, for providing me with such fabulous background info on SCRAP METAL. You’re a rock star in your own right!
(photos: Caitlin McCarthy and Nelsonkicksass.com)