Flash Metal Suicide: The Toilet Boys
This week: a cross-dressing classic that represents everything that's good and noble and true about rock
“We’re living ‘til it’s over like the angels do” – Blue Halo
In the latter part of the 90s, I was in and out of rehab every six months or so. I’m not bragging, man, it’s just a fact. So while I was out chasing bottles of vodka with bottles of cough medicine and/or getting tossed into the drunk tank for the weekend, rock'n'roll was falling to pieces right before my bloodshot eyes. There was nothing I could do about it, really. I woulda helped If I could’ve. How or why nu-metal came to fruition at the tail-end of the alt-rock decade is a debate for another day. I mean, sometimes a plague of locusts destroys your town, there’s no real reason why. It just happens. And that’s what happened.
Click on the radio in ’99 and you’d hear waves of rap-rock crossover and screamy-mopey “metal” bands that were as far away from Manowar or even Guns N’ Roses as you and I are from our glory days. Nu-metal was an attempt by the record labels create the next grunge, only this time they snatched the movement not from the soggy climes of a hip town like Seattle, but from suburban shopping malls. Nu-metal was the sound of bored, middle-class rage, the empty threats of teenagers in oversized t-shirts raging against nothing in particular. I don’t want to dwell on it too much, but some of the biggest “rock” acts of the year included Korn, Limp Bizkit, Staind and Static X. It was exactly like the flash metal land-rush of the mid 80’s only much, much worse. And that’s what life was like. No wonder I drank.
So, did no one protest this march of the horribles? Was no one able to stand up for real rock n’ roll in 1999? Well, there was a minor but significant wave of AC/DC rip-offs who released albums that year: Buckcherry, New American Shame, Loudmouth, American Pearl, Nashville Pussy. Only the former made any real headway on the radio, though. Scandinavian action rock was bubbling up in the underground – The Hellacopters and Gluecifer released a split EP, Respect the Rock America to warn us of our impending doom – and stoner rock was slowly creeping through the desert. But otherwise, no. No one did. Except for one band. One band had the guts to stand-up for rock n’ roll and shout from the rooftops that it was still alive and well. That band? The Toilet Boys.