Released: 2007, Cleopatra Records
Back in 2003 the Cleopatra group compiled a pretty massive box set that included four CD's and a book chronicling the 1980's California melodic Metal scene. The book, HOLLYWOOD ROCKS was reprinted in hardcover and released a few years later.
It's pretty nice looking, it's a coffee-table size, lots of color and runs about 208 pages. Not a huge fan of the layout and design, I prefer a more orderly layout with clean lines but this is more like the glam scrap-book from hell, with photos and articles all jumbled together. There doesn't really seem to be any logical sequence or even any sort of organization other than a big beautiful pile of techni-color vomit spewed on the pages. I guess that sort matches the look and feel of the Sunset Strip on a Saturday night; controlled chaos. There are chapters but they are not really that organized, but it’s no big deal.
The bulk of the actual content is an impressive documentation of the era. There are literally tons of photos, quotes, pictures of flyers, reprints of fanzine articles, mini-essays are capturing that brief glimmering, shimmering moment in time.
Looking at HOLLYWOOD ROCKS 20+ years later our Heavy Metal heroes look so… young! The old photos of Axl Rose, for example make him look fresh of the Greyhound bus. Another impressive feature is how...raw and uncommercialized things were in the early stages of the scene. No one had any money and even less business sense, but you get a feel that these early photos and so on are very different from the later era, big-budget, highly structured Hit Parader and Circus photo-shoots. Pair this up with Steven Blush's book, AMERICAN HAIR METAL for a great comparison of styles.
There is not a ton of technical detail, HOLLYWOOD ROCKS is more of an illustrated history. I was very pleased to see that it was not just the 'big' bands featured (Warrant, Poison etc) but many lesser known bands who were churning it out on the Strip such as Lions & Ghosts, Ruby Slippers and Cathouse. The book is not all just about the glam either. They book covers many heavier bands out of the L.A. area such as Steeler, Lizzy Borden, London, Armored Saint, Leatherwolf and of course the granddaddy of them all, W.A.S.P.
HOLLYWOOD ROCKS captures a bygone era by letting the visuals do the talking. It's a fun nostalgia scrapbook piece, maybe even more special for those who were there.