Freakin’ Sweet: The 80’s Metal/Pop Mash Up of ROCK SUGAR

Back in the 80’s, I loved a single from rockabilly band Elvis Hitler titled “Green Haze.”  Basically that Detroit quartet sung the “Green Acres” theme song to a heavy metal rendition of “Purple Haze.”  Incredibly, the words scanned to the tune with spooky precision (hear that gem here).

I didn’t know it then, but that was my first introduction to the concept of the mash-up: a blend of two or more songs to create something simultaneously familiar and new.  Google “Music Mashups” and you will get almost a million and  a half hits outlining all sorts of DJ mixes and underground bootlegs.  The titles of the mixes usually clue you in to their content.  “Boulevard of Broken Songs” mixes Green Day, Oasis and Travis.  “Rapture Riders” blends Blondie and the Doors.  This genre is a direct byproducts of our digital age, as DJ’s use Sound Forge and other programs to create their own unique mixes and beats.

Which brings me, however circuitously, to Rock Sugar. Rock Sugar is a wonderfully hilarious fake band that combines the hair metal excess with the pop treacle of the artistically-barren 1980’s music scene.  The band’s website offers an involved backstory explaining how they came to develop their singular musical style.  Check out their video for “Don’t Stop the Sandman” which cross polinates Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”  Unlike DJ mixes, this hair metal band actually performs the music with all the overweening posturing of Poison in their heyday, and the result is nothing short of deliriously catchy and stupid.

So today, on a Hump Day that also signals the beginning of the Lenten season of abstinence for Catholics, take a minute to experience this wholly disposable exercise in musical silliness.  If you’re so inclined, download the album and pump your fist to instant classics like “Shook Me Like A Prayer” and “I Love Sugar On Me.”

It’s post modern, tech empowered, head banging musical lunacy.  And pretty freakin’ sweet to boot.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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