The Sunset Strip in Los Angeles quickly became the favorite hangout of glam metal groups. Exuberant hair styles, clothing and make-up with the provocative and licentious attitude to match.Teenagers would roam the streets of Hollywood – eating, drinking, smoking and of course fucking. Los Angeles has always been ground zero for rock and roll. Mostly sweaty dudes! Just to set the record straight .. L.A. punk was too niched and attracted an unwelcomed element. The Sunset Strip rock clubs loathed to book bands like Black Flag and the Circle Jerks for fear of the violence promulgated by adolescent suburban brats that were spectacularized by the media. At the same time, the bath houses of West Hollywood became the breeding ground for male prostitution and AIDS. Musically, it was a “no brainer”.. Program director, Jimmy “The Saint”Christopher created “Pure Rock”   Radio station KNAC  based out of Long Beach (Not KROQ!) which became the music epicenter and started to play Motley Crue, Poison, Ratt and Guns & Roses… all L.A. bands…Hair metal swaggered into the void. Like the Byrds, the Doors, Love, X, and the Germs before them, the eighties hair metal bands were a product of the Sunset Strip rock clubs.  Plenty of American music from the mid to the late eighties sounds good today but plainly speaking hair metal doesn’t—it hadn’t aged gracefully.

Motley Crue 

Its vapid anthems and cloying power  ballads seemed wimpy compared with the hardcore rock from  Metallica, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath that preceded it. It became inconsequential against the grunge scene that swept it into the dustbin of irony. By 1992, the hair metal publicity machines and fan base were switching sides. You’d no longer see posters of Warrant on a teenager’s wall… it would be replaced by pictures of Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam… Never before had the record industry dropped a money making genre of music as sweepingly as it had glam metal… It twas’ that fast!

The grunge look for either gender was a blue-collar uniform of flannel and denim. Like the music, it was accessible and attainable. The hair metal look was just the opposite; it was an explosion of excess. Its emphasis was exaggeration: bigger, higher, tighter, more.

All told, the eighties were closer in spirit to the McCarthyist fifties than to the sixties or seventies, especially for artists. This was the conservative context that spawned hair metal, and while a prominent handful (justly) bemoaned the genre’s misogyny or protested its overt expressions  of often violent sexual acts, drug taking, and flirtations with the occult. Nobody seemed willing to contend with this bizarre elephant in the room: these androgynous deviants wearing spandex bodysuits and lipstick. Female rockers like Lita Ford and Joan Jett were flipping the script on the baroque male glam look by adopting a leather-heavy punk look. Punk femininity looked an awful lot like masculinity.  The conditions that enabled “hair metal drag” to appear during the eighties was Los Angeles’s manifestation to be connected to its Hollywood roots and political progressivism.

As America weeps the era of “Trumpism” the perfect storm for rock and roll has been reestablished by the British rock band… Neon Animal…Their debut album and single, “Bring Back Rock n’ Roll From The Dead” revels and reiterates the ethos of great of rock and roll… and it couldn’t have come at a better time!!! Its white boy gospel… so close to heaven yet so far from God…The space in between the instrumentation is what makes their music come alive! Just when you least expect it the album burrows with cataclysmic fervor with the songs, “Kiss Like Dynamite” and “From Hero To Zero”…

Neon Animal is led by the charismatic front man, Mark Thorn who has a remarkable resemblance to the great Michael Des Barres… Glam Metal’s original “poster child”….  I would be derelict by not mentioning Neon Animal’s guitarist… Miguel Martins … the rhythm duties are left up to, Jonathan Gaglione on bass and K.Lizz on drums….

I’m so honored to have a chat with Neon Animal and got to know them better…. Truly an interesting bunch…

Mark Thorn and Michael Des Barres

Rock Bands of L.A.com:

Your current single, “Bringing BackFrom The Dead” it’s a bold  statement for a young rock band to pontificate. However, are you afraid that the song will only be looked at as a “novelty record”? If I may make go out on a limb.. Twisted Sister.. “I’m Not Going To Take It” had that “Geo-political” anthem perspective. Your album opens with, “I’m Killing Myself..” which sound like a straight ahead rocker.. Your future will be remembered by the song, “This Is The End”. Miguel is absolutely a beast!
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Mark Thorn:
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Yes i understand how it could be conceived of as a bold statement but as far as i’m concerned it’s  not bold in the slightest. .Whereas “This Is The End ” is a love song about love and love try stand being torn apart between loving 2 people at the same time and philosophizing over the origins of the presiding rule of monogamy in the patriarchal society and hint alluding to the possibility of a social conspiratorial morality that perhaps is not “natural” but a product of a society based on ownership , possession and the potential restrictive implications of that of human relations while culminating in the more extreme repression of women by the state and religion in even more repressive countries and cultures inciting people to burn what’s inside their heads in order to be free….Anyway I’ve digressed slightly! So to recapitulate “This Is The End” is a love song about love and “Bring Back Rock ‘N’ Roll From The Dead” is a love song about rock & roll and my disillusion of it’s demise and decline in what passes for rock ‘n’ roll nowadays and wanting it to make me fall in love when i first heard it, wanting that album review, that article I’ve just read hyping some new band to live up to it, to deliver the goods, the grade. A drug that all those great songs did but sadly I’m 9/10 disappointed. It’s been diluted,watered down, had the soul sucked out of it became too one- dimensional, packaged into this genre, sub-genre like rules have been enforced as to what you can and can’t do stifling it’s creativity, dull in the personalities. It’s often either all anger or feeling sorry for itself and going nowhere. I need something to transcend the mundanity not wanto blow my brains out and drag the rest of the population down with me to wallow and glorify my pathetic despair. I also need magic and to make me wanna fuck. So yeah it’s like falling in love then watching the feeling die but knowing it’s still there somewhere it just needs to be un-earthed and the chorus is an incantation to summon it back to life in the present time while the first verse is the honeymoon period , the romance directly quoting Jim Morrison from “When The Music’s Over ” with “dance on fire as it intends” while the second verse is a critique on the current state of its debased form . I can name names if you like or better still give me my own radio or tv show and playing songs from then and songs from now and let the music do the talking …. So am I/ are we afraid it will be looked at as a novelty song ? No fucking way!

Are we bringing rock ‘n’ roll back from the dead ? Well we’re certainly making it a hell of a lot more alive than most bands on the planet nowTake the song how you like it don’t take it as a requiem take it as a challenge and do something about it. Make “Bring Back Rock ‘N’ Roll From The Dead” your raison d’etre .

With respect to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” song while I appreciate that anthemic quality to it and I had my “I Wanna Rockmoment at school it’s basically just a song about not taking any shit off anyone and the lyrics are not intended specifically for anyone one situation . It’s more a mis-appropriation depending on where you sit on the political fence that the songs been used for campaigning for it’s general up-lifting empowering effect . Personally I don’t see much of a connection at all with our song and we didn’t resort to the church hymn book and steal any of “Come All Ye Faithful” for inspiration either!

Yes, “This Is The End” is an important song and is definitely the most epic on the album in terms of mood, length and a whole host oadjectives that you’ll find in a dictionary! However I think the album is very strong as a whole, each song having a distinct separate identitypersonality if you will. I totally disagree if you’re insinuating that it’s some kind of one-trick pony . Sure Iggy & The Stooges “Raw Power” has it’s “Gimme Danger” but it also has it’s “Search & Destroy” just as Deep Purple’s “In Rock” has it’s “Child In Time” as well as its “Speed King” and I think you can draw similar analogies with our album .

Whether I prefer to listen to one of the aforementioned songs or the latter depends on my mood but at the end of the day we made a collection of songs and the almost unanimous feedback we’ve received for the album from fans & critics alike is confirmation of that.

Yes, Miguel is an absolute beast of a guitarist and the album certainly is enhanced and embellished by his indispensable playing and when he’s drunk and has the guitar plugged in he’s the Beast of beasts!

Jonathan Gaglione:

Well, to begin with, it’s BRING back Rock ‘n’ Roll, not BRINGINback R’n’r Thought it worth pointing out, since it’s the title of both the album AND the single. You are not the first to insinuate that we may be aiming high with it – earlier in 2017 we rocked up at a meeting with a talent scout from Hassle Records who hinted at the same thing, although he worded it differently. I guess only time will tell if you have a point, but for now all I can tell you is that everywhere we played that song in the past year we had people chanting along and pumping their fists in the air by the end.
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 L.V.:
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I remember when I just started to work with the guys BBRNRFTD was far from being complete. I liked a few riffs that we’ve been playing with, but in general it was nothing special in A. Then there was this one rehearsal and by the the end of the song we all went “Woah, that’s the stuff! “. And even then I personally didn’t consider the song as the first single, but now when the album is out and numerous shows played, imakes perfect sense and it does have the right message and energy. Its Alive!
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Miguel Martins:
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 I think that as artists if we’re ever gonna be the ones censoring ourselves due to fear of how our creations will or will not be taken or interpreted we’d be better off by just putting our guitars down and heading to work at 9AM every morning – this specially if we’re talking about Rock ’n’ Roll. What good art, and specifically what really good Rock ’n’ Roll hasn’t been bold in all of it’s nature? No real artist, no game changer has ever had a quiet voice. Our song is not only our very own mantra for summoning this creative Devil back from it’s grave – in the sense that we see and feel an urgent need for all things to be shaken up, spiced up & mixed up with some real raw feelings, with some honesty, with some of the most natural elements that can dirt & stain away the current sterile, sanitised state of the creative world, whilst having that intense, completely immersive first love as a metaphor in regards to what we’re talking about – as it also has (the  song) consciously became our blue print, our prophetic chant for what’s  ahead when it comes to all things Neon Animal. Some angry criticism and misunderstanding won’t surprise us, neither it will ever stop us. Actually, it’ll drive us more and more as that’s what artists are supposed to do – shake things up, instigate, dig deep into the collective subconscious and then stand firmly in the ring, taking all of them punches from the usual conservatives who fear the change and evolution that’s been seeded by the art itself.
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Rock Bands of L.A.com:

Where did you and Miguel meet? What is his story? He’s a  magnificent guitarist A feather in you cap! A immense sense of swagger. How does the songwriting process work? There’s so many references to death and reversed emotions You don’t seem that frustrated?
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Mark Thorn:
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 Miguel & i met while working in the “iconic” Electric Ballroom in Camden, London which has been around for 80 years now. We bonded over a number of things one being our mutual frustration at having to be subjected to the endless parade of disappointments onstage that were trailed out re-affirming our own belief and dismay as to why those clowns onstage weren’t serving drinks behind the bar and we weren’t showing them how it’s done onstage. So yeah instead of just bitching about things we got into action . Jonathan Gaglione and myself had been playing together in a band previously when Miguel came along. Miguel joined and it sounded like a new band which it was with all the new component parts and when Iv joined it was just too apparent to deny and so Neon Animal was born … Put us onstage with anyone, we’re NOT scared . As for songwriting someone comes up with something that excites us, could be from anyone or anywhere and if igrabs me I’ll put a recording of it on rotation and repeat it and see if i hear any voices or lyrical ideas like i did with “From Hero To Zero ” for example and some of the newer compositions. Then we all put our lab coats on and take it into the operating theatre and play around with it until we have the perfectly fuckable aural Ms Frankenstein!
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Neon Animal
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Mark Thorn:
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Well the first music I remember hearing and being excited about was music from the late 70’s which was aired at home like “Rat Trap” by the Boomtown Rats and Regatta De Blanc by The Police stuff that has stood the test of time and still sounds great today . Their was The Rolling Stones played often on the family stereo and T.Rex , The Doors stuff that you never tire of and some of the 2-tone music which followed the punk movement in the U.K. Then i got heavily into the CBGB’s New York scene thanks to Legs McNeils “Please Kill Me” book, hard rock in the form of early Aerosmith and Alice Cooper followed merging into Guns ‘N’ Roses and then the treasure that is Iggy Pop on the coverpopped out like a glinting diamond among the racks of a local record store …
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Jonathan Gaglione:
I was raised in Milan by English parents, I guess this made for a  bit of a mix when it comes to the music I was exposed to when growing up. My dad is a blues guitarist and was obsessed with Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix to name some, whilst my mum was listening more to 80’s pop music – I think this is where I developed taste for a good fat bassline. When it comes to bass playing there are few Italian artists I really appreciate among which Gabriele Mantegazza from Punkreas and Morgan from Bluvertigo
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Rock Bands of L.A.com:
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Do you have plans to come to America?????
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Mark Thorn:
It’s always been a dream in waiting to tour America as a rock ‘n’ roll band. We’re focusing on writing for the next album at the moment but we have no fixed plans as of yet but we are going to be playing there soon… Next year for example. It’s only a matter of time and that time is coming soon….
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Rock Bands of L.A.com wants to thank all the members of Neon Animal…
https://neonanimal.bandcamp.com/