WISDOM OF THE METAL GODS Mike Daly

 

 

The erstwhile
Whiskeytown guitarist brews up some chicken soup for the inveterate cock
rocker’s soul.

 

 

 

BY RANDY HARWARD

 

It’s about nothin’ but a good time, and bein’ a turbo lover.
That’s why 80s arena rock-a/k/a butt rock, cock rock, ass metal, hair metal,
mousse metal-fell out of favor after dominating airwaves, MTV and stadiums for
a decade. But arena rock wasn’t all pap, was it? Was there not something
worthwhile in the music, something to edify and uplift? Leave it to a
Whiskeytown alum to find it: Mike Daly’s Time
Flies When You’re In A Coma… The Wisdom of the Metal Gods
(Plume) quotes
lyrics like Shakespearean verse and Tony Robbins affirmations. Whether it’s
ironic or otherwise, it works to inspire and elicit laughs from the reader. So
before you give metal a wholesale dismissal, heed the words of Ronnie James
Dio: Don’t dance in darkness. You may
stumble and you’re sure to fall.

 

***

 

WHY, WHY, SEE

 

The point of Time
Flies…
was to “goof on self-help,” says Daly. It quickly became something
else. While walking down 2nd Avenue in Manhattan, listening to a
friend vacillate between indecision and resolve over a move to France, he said,
“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Astonished, his
friend asked if he’d just quoted Rush to her. He had, and he continued to quote
metal lyrics to friends until, again talking with his 2nd Avenue
companion, Daly wondered aloud about producing a one-a-day calendar of
inspirational and hilarious metal lyrics. “She was like, ‘Oh my god. That’s the
greatest idea ever.’ I laughed, but she was like, ‘No. Focus. This is really good.'”

 

 

PROPA-GAUDY

 

Which Bible for the moussed-out pouters and leather daddies
did Daly read? “Ah, Hit Parader. I
liked [HP] the best, and for no
appreciable reason. Except for two things. Number one is that I bought a really
cool earring [from its classifieds] that was a tooth. I thought that was the
coolest shit ever, but now I’m horrified I ever had it. And the other reason was
that HP had all the Mark Weiss photos,
which is how I found him.”

 

 

STALK PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Weiss-one of rock’s famed shutterbugs-contributes scores of
full-bleed photos from hair metal’s heyday to Time Flies, and Daly actually tracked him down for the project. “As
a kid, I loved his photos and then this guy I work with a lot said, ‘Oh, I know
Mark Weiss.’ I was like, ‘Oh my god.
Alright! Let’s do it.” Surprisingly Weiss had never done a book. He
enthusiastically supplied “twenty, thirty photos of each band. And they were
all awesome.”

 

 

AND JUSTICE FOR…

 

Daly’s first concert was Metallica opening for Ozzy, but that
wasn’t how it was supposed to go down. Two years before, Daly won Duran Duran
tickets on New Jersey’s Z100, “but I convinced them to give me Van Halen tickets
instead.” His parents had other ideas. “They were like, ‘No fuckin’ way.'” Daly
was forced to sell the tix-at face value-to his dad’s friend’s kid. Walking through
that parking lot at the Metallica show, Daly figured it was for the best ‘cause
if his dad saw Van Halen’s raunchy show, “there was no way they would ever let me go to another concert. But I always
think, God, I could’ve seen [VH] with
Dave in their prime, man…

 

 

PRETTY BOYS

 

Daly’s ex-bandmate Ryan Adams famously embraces le roque du coque. Back in the
Whiskeytown days, says Daly, “we used to listen to that shit all the time. One
time Ryan bought a Pretty Boy Floyd tape at a truck stop, and we were cranking
it in the van. And Caitlin, fuckin’ flipping out, took the tape and threw it
out the window. And I remember cranking Ride
the Lightning
in the back of the bus one night, me and Ryan jumping
around-probably drunk-to “Trapped Under Ice” and the “Ride the Lightning.” And
then we get onstage and like, [sings softly] “Sixteen days…” Totally, totally
funny. But we grew up on this shit and we were into it unironically.

 

 

TONITE: WHISKEYTOWN
AT THE WHISKY!

 

Y’know, Whiskeytown actually sounds like the name of a
Sunset Strip band. Daly does not dispute this. “Yeah, right?” The first time Whiskeytown played the Strip’s
notorious butt rock flashpoint, the Whisky-a-Go-Go, was a religious experience
for him. “I remember that show, so
clearly
,” he says. “This is the Whisky,
man. This is where Van Halen started.”

 

 

WHIS-DOM

 

People find inspiration and affirmation in Whiskeytown
songs. Is there a Whiskeytown lyric Daly would put in his book? “There’s a good
question. I’ll give you two. One is from “Under Your Breath”: Sometimes I wish I were deaf/so I wouldn’t
have to hear what you said under your breath.
And I always loved a line in
“My Hometown”: Whatever it takes/not to have
to sweat it on a classified ad
. I always thought that was one of his
greatest lines. In the context of the metal book, they’re just words of wisdom.”

 

 

GET YUKS, INFLUENCE
PEOPLE

 

So, Mike Daly, do you sit in the lotus position and meditate
on any of these nuggets? “In this day and age there’s the Stryper zen question:
They say money talks/If so, what does it
say?
That’s a good one for the bond traders right now. And Anthrax: Talking to you is like clapping with one
hand
. The greatest insult the world doesn’t know. That is so freakin’ genius.”

 

 

WISDOM OF THE EMO
GODS?

 

Here’s a scary thought: Where ass-metal was, but is no
longer, the red-headed stepchild of the music world, what does that say for
today’s most hated genre? Will emo songs one day be held so reverently? “Absolutely,
100%, no-no-no doubt about it. When enough time has passed… I’m sure Pete Wentz
will be the one putting out the book. That’s definitely gonna happen.” [laughs]

 

 

LIKE CLAPPING WITH
ONE HAND

 

Time Flies…has
been selling “real well.” The reviews are raves, except one. “We only got one
super-bad review. It’s from LitMob.com, and the guy completely didn’t get it. He
just said, ‘What an unbelievably stupid book this is.’ Like, how can I try to
tell him that these guys have any freakin’ insight? And as an example, he uses
the Black Sabbath quote, Perhaps you
think that when you’re dead you just stay in your grave?
[To which] he said,
‘Why, yes, as a matter of fact I do. So does Salman Rushdie.’ It was so
awesome. It was like my grandmother reviewed the book… and took everything
completely at face value. As many great reviews as we’ve gotten… that’s my favorite.”

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: John Vlautin]

 

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