The Hellacopters

The Hellacopters

The Hellacopters

By The Grace Of God

Liquor and Poker

In an era when Duran Duran, The Cure and The Smiths are being rediscovered and influencing a new wave for the new millennium, The Hellacopters are copping air guitar grooves from Styx, KISS and Cheap Trick. The band even opened for their heroes, KISS, back in 1997. Yes, they’ve been around that long, even though you’ve probably never heard of them.

The Hellacopters actually formed in 1994, during the Age of Grunge. By The Grace of God is their 5th release, and it is much more arena rock based than their previous releases. In 1999, they put out Payin’ The Dues, which had a gritty edge that was more MC5 and less the Journey vibe their current release puts out. So, what the hell happened? Well, guitarist Dregen left the band to concentrate on his other project, The Backyard Babies. That band is about to embark on a tour with Social Distortion, so my guess is that Dregen took the punk rock influence with him.

Nowadays, the remaining members of the band seem to focus more on their guitar solos and stylish hair. I imagine that they dream of groupies, free booze and big dramatic rock shows. It’s quite easy to imagine them with platform shoes and black and white makeup. Simple yet passionately performed songs, like “Carry Me Home” and “Down on Freestreet,” exemplify the theatrical sound of a forgotten era.

There seems to be a market for this sort of rehashed ’70s and ’80s arena rock, particularly in Europe. You need to look no further than The Darkness to see that. And though they are still struggling to break through here in the states, they already have a Grammy on their mantle from their native Sweden. Still, I doubt that they’ll be adding an American Grammy to their stash anytime soon.

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