Lawrence Parlier

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From The Hawkins Publishing website

Posted by [email protected] on November 29, 2013 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Metal & Mayhem- The World of Sierra Court Blues-Lawrence Parlier-Guest Blogger & Author

11/18/2013


   Sierra Court Blues is a novel set in the early 1990’s about a group of young adults at odds with society and completely out of control. They had filthy mouths and did too many drugs. They used sex as an escape and, at times, a weapon. They were musicians and artists that reveled in the hedonism of the metal lifestyle. They were rebels, outsiders who were not on the fast track to college or destined for wealth. Although, they were savagely intelligent, restless, and desperate to find a way to give their lives meaning. They had no illusions about what the world wanted from them. They were intimately aware of the drudgery of their blue collar future and at that confounded age, could not bear the thought of submitting to it. So, they went wild.
   While the novel is a fictional account, the sentiment was very real, with the characters drawn from my own group of friends and acquaintances. After my manuscript was accepted for publication, my editor noted that the characters appeared to be living the lives of people in their 30’s, that they seemed too advanced for their age. “That,” I replied, “is exactly the point.”
Like my own peers, the characters portrayed in Sierra Court Blues grew up too fast. Ours was a generation of latchkey kids who came home from school to empty homes as the necessities of Reaganomics drew both parents into the workforce.
In that peculiar void of absentee parenting, we grew to rely more on ourselves and, by turn, became more involved with each other. We developed deep bonds and created our own secret world that few parents had the time or energy to investigate. We found solace in each other’s arms and escape in the decadence of metal. We partied like rock stars before the ink was dry on our high school I.D. cards. We were burdened by responsibilities we did not ask for and burned out on a world in which we had little say. To say that we were jaded would be a serious understatement.
   We just wanted to have fun; everything else was tedium.
   Of course, the repercussions of this unbidden freedom quickly came home to roost. Teen pregnancy skyrocketed in the late 80’s to an all-time high in 1991. Drug and alcohol abuse statistics placed the age of the average user in their late teens. Nancy Reagan may have been telling us to “just say no”, but not everyone was listening or willing to tell anyone the truth about it.
   So as the 90’s dawned, the group portrayed in Sierra Court Blues came to age playing way above their heads. They were thoughtful and sensitive, but also obsessed with their own lifestyle and desires. The main character, Bo, struggles with his gamble of choosing his band over his toxic marriage and growing family. He cannot divorce himself from the idea of stardom. For him, fame is the answer to all of his problems. He wanted it so badly he eschews anything that threatens his search, blinding him to his best friends own growing obsession. The harder they push toward achieving their goals, the more they lose track of reality.
   Somehow, reality has a way of striking back when you least expect it. The best lessons taught by the Universe are the ones you never see coming and sometimes, those lessons come at much too high of a price. Those lessons are reserved for the ones that are hardest to teach.

    Just ask Bo.

    

 

 

 

 

 

From The Hawkins Publishing website

Posted by [email protected] on November 29, 2013 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Reflecting on the Hard Luck Muse: A History in Metal- Guest Blogger-Lawrence Parlier

11/04/2013

Heavy metal got its start in 1968 when Steppenwolf uttered the urge for “heavy metal thunder.” The term is a reflection of a William Burroughs’ character from the novel The Soft Machine: Uranium Willie, the Heavy Metal Kid.

The British quickly came to embody the sound of heavy metal. Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and most importantly, Black Sabbath, set the parameters for what heavy metal music should be. In America bands such as Alice Cooper, The MC-5, and Blue Cheer pushed the limits in terms of sheer bombast and the theater of a concert experience.

 

Little by little bands adopted the heavy metal mantle and bands such as Judas Priest, Rainbow and Motorhead set the pace for metal during the 70’s. Their sound moved further away from the blues influence and re-defined the heavy sound. By the the late 70’s heavy metal exploded. Bands from all over the world got into the game as the genre took deep root in youth culture. Metal was becoming a global community and moving quickly into the spotlight.
By the early 80’s metal was king. Groups such as The Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, and Ozzy Osbourne’s solo group were selling out arenas world-wide. In Los Angeles, the glam metal of the Sunset Strip scene debuted in the guise of Motley Crue. Metal, in its swiftly varying forms, emerged from San Francisco’s Metallica to New York’s Anthrax and all points in between.
By 1990 heavy metal, as an entity, was the largest selling concert and merchandising draw of all genres of music. Metal had turned into big business and everyone wanted a piece of the pie, but the music slowly became diluted through the growing interference of commerce. Metal collapsed under the weight of its own growing hubris and fell away to grunge.
While being down, it was far from being out. During the the mid-90’s metal re-grouped in the underground. Only the purists remained. After the fall, all of the posers had been shaken loose. Now was the time of Korn and Coal Chamber, while White Zombie raged out of New York City. Tool wove a glorious mystery in their chosen anonymity. Metal was on the rise again in a tempered, purer form.
Into the new century, metal has survived and thrived in the music of Slipknot, Mudvayne and Mastodon, and in a thousand heavy bands working across the country. While metal does not enjoy the sales that it once did, the fan base is solid and the support remains. The community is much tighter now since the fall from the bandwagon. For all of metal's wild and varied incarnations, one question remains….What is metal? What is it about the music that inspires such rabid enthusiasm? The secret of heavy metal lies in its power.

The power is in its music. The power is in its voice. Metal’s power lies in its ability to enchant the disenchanted, to make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. Its power is in its unity, its message is that we all belong. Metal is a haven for the disenfranchised and for those living on the edge. It gives solace to the disquieted and grants the meek a voice. It offers an escape from the incessant mire of a world gone mad and soothes a weary soul. It is a panacea for the afflicted.
Heavy metal concerts are a cathartic experience. Ones aggression and stress are channeled in a healthy atmosphere and you are released back into the world with a slightly lightened load. It is more of a religious experience than entertainment. The response to the music is visceral. There is something in the DNA of our tribal past that identifies with and creates the rhythms therein.

More of oneself is invested in the connection to the music and, thus, more is gained. Metal is about personal virtuosity and good old fashioned rebellion. It begs you to think for yourself and to stand for what you believe in. So, you can say what you will about the music, but its principles are beyond reproach.

 

 

 

Lawrence Parlier's List of Top 20 Genre Defining Metal Songs

Billion Dollar Babies-Alice Cooper

Space Truckin-Deep Purple

Hand of Doom-Black Sabbath

Gates of Babylon-Rainbow

Ace of Spades-Motorhead

You Got Another Thing Coming-Judas Priest

Believer-Ozzy Osbourne

Too Young to Fall in Love-Motley Crue

Phantom Lord-Metallica

Wasted Years-Iron Maiden

Skullcrusher-Overkill

Angel of Death-Slayer

Hanger 18-Megadeth

Hall of the Mountain King-Savatage

WTPMF-White Zombie

46 and 2-Tool

Freak on a Leash-Korn

The Heretic Song-Slipknot

Tourniquet-Evanescence

Oblivion-Mastodon

 

 

 


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