Scrap Metal in Connecticut

By Debby Rao, Boston Contributor
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 @ 8:34 PM

The Wolf's Den at Mohegan Sun

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Every once in a while, the stars align and so many special elements combine to bring music fans an unforgettable night in music history. Tonight some of the top performers from the 80's genre united to form the new All Star 80's band Scrap Metal, which features Eric Martin from Mr. Big, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger, Mark Slaughter, and Dave Marshall formerly of Vince Neil solo era.

The popular trend in music these days, is going back to the 80's, whether it be bands remaking 80's covers, 80's band reuniting such as Motley Crue or The Police, or members of 80's bands trying to generate a musical buzz, such as the new All-Star 80's band Scrap Metal, who performed to a sold out crowd in their first concert at the Wolf Den at the Mohegan Sun Casino on February 3rd. Scrap Metal are hoping to bring back the songs and music of a generation that was big on hair, melody, and staying up all night!

As the MTV cameras started to roll, anticipation filled the room, as 80's fans gathered to see their heroes in this up close and personal setting. Tonight's Scrap Metal concert was big on melody, lyrics, and quality musicianship. Scrap Metal hit the stage at 8 P.M. and performed a two-hour set that brought back many musical memories of a time in music that only can be described as magical, and so surreal.

Opening with the Night Ranger song, ”Rock In America", the band was ready to show the fans that 80's rock and roll is indeed alive and well. Gunnar Nelson first orchestrated the idea of putting this band together last year. Gunnar met Eric Martin at the Marine County Fair last year, and told Eric about the vision of Scrap Metal.

I really like the name of the band, as it features a vast array of talent from the 80's, and puts the talented musicians in a new musical setting, in which they can create new music, and take it to a whole new level.

Next up the band performed a Nelson song. This was the first time that I have ever seen the Nelson twins perform. I was very impressed with their quality of musicianship. Their father Rick Nelson was a country legend, and his sons are following in his footsteps. Scrap Metal performed a vast array of Nelson hits which included, ”After The Rain", "More Than Ever", and their big 80's hit, ”Love and Affection".

Gunnar told me, "I am really impressed with the performance. The band didn't really have much time to rehearse, and it can only get better and better."

I was really impressed with the dynamics of the show. Everyone was having a great time, and it really seemed like the musicians had been performing together for years.

I was looking forward to hearing Mark Slaughter perform. The third song, Mark sung the Slaughter hit, ”Mad About You". Mark strolled into the audience, as the MTV cameras followed him, just like the heyday, he even managed to climb on a few tables to serenade the crowd.

A lot of people tend to make fun of the 80's, and the big hair fixation. One of the highlights of the set occurred when Mark made light of hair bands, and pulled out the only stage prop, a can of Aqua Net. He then did his C.C.Deville impersonation. Priceless!

One thing was for certain. Scrap Metal didn't need any pyro, or laser lights; the band relied on pure talent to get them through the set.

Next up the 80's anthem, ”Up All Night". I can't tell you how true to form that song really was. I can remember listening to many 80's bands in Boston performing at Axis and The Channel, and the song brought back a lot of memories.

One of the highlights of the set was the special guest star performance of Eric Martin of the Mr. Big fame. I can remember Eric performing at Axis with Mr. Big. Let me tell you, he hasn't changed a bit. He still looks like a kid. Eric attributes his boyish good looks to happily married life, and trying to be “father of the year” to his twins!

Eric and Scrap Metal performed "Wild World", the cover of the Cat Stevens song. I really enjoyed the acoustic version. Eric's voice sounded as strong as it did back in the day.

Next up the Mr. Big hit, ”To be With You". It was great seeing Eric perform with quality musicians, in this unique musical setting.

Another highlight included the acoustic version of Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger sining,"Goodbye". Kelly has always been one of the great talents behind Night Ranger. The songs was very moving, and emotional.

Mark Slaughter dedicated, ”Fly To The Angels" to our men and women who are fighting to keep our proud nation free. Mark's performance was stellar as he sang his heart out on one of my favorite Slaughter's songs. Mark Slaughter's guitar was a blue PRS, that was given to him by a couple of friends from New Jersey, who attended Fantasy Camp, and were there to see him perform at the Mohegan.

The party was just getting started as Eric Martin returned to perform, ”Daddy" and "Alive and Kickin". Eric's voice is still ever so strong and melodic, and knows how to work an audience. The energy form the audience was rejuvenating, as Kelly sang the Night Ranger hit, ”Sister Christian". Next up Mark Slaughter sang "Burnin' Bridges”.

The chemistry of the band was amazing. You could tell that it felt so good to be playing these hits for an audience that really appreciated these timeless classics. Say what you will about some of the hair bands of the 80's, sure there is a certain stigma that goes along with them. But in retrospect, most of these musicians that emerged out of this era were very talented. They come from a time, when melody and guitar solos were very popular. One of the greatest aspects of this show was the fun element that came along with the performance. No need to sings songs that were depressing, just music that made you feel good, and you could identify with most of the lyrics.

I had the opportunity to discuss Scrap Metal with Eric Martin. This is what he said, "Well when they first said we are thinking about calling it Scrap Metal, I was going, ‘I really don't like that name.’ It is kind of like when all the old rocks stars get put out to pasture. I said I would think of something clever and funny, so I can live with it. So I look at it, "Scrap Metal" are pieces of pop history. That is what all these guys are. Kelly and I were talking recording new material, if it is painless and we don't have to go through the songwriter's gauntlet like from our perspective bands. Where it was, "What do you think of this, it doesn’t kill me?" If we have to go through any of that nightmare, then it is not fun. For everybody, it is just like an outlet to play their songs. It is a bigger and better situation because everybody has a lot of hits. Some of the music now is great. Lyrically, I think it is great, the kids are digging it, but it is a little over the top for me. It is almost like ambiguous lyrics, where it only means something to them and not to me. I don't mean to generalize all of the music, but there are some bands like I really dig. All the music that you hear right now, like the punk/pop rock and roll bands is just a derivative of 80's music."

As one of the most magical shows of this year was just about to come to a close, the band returned to the stage for an encore with Eric Martin singing the AC/DC song "Whole Lotta Rosie". So if you ask if the night was full of nostalgia, I would have to say, “Yes.” Did Scrap Metal live up to all of the hype surrounding their first concert appearance? Yes, they did. Scrap Metal re-energized some of their songs from their previous bands and presented them in a new, exciting way. As Eric Martin told me, "I would like to see these songs stay alive forever," I think his wish just may come true with the new 80's All-star band Scrap Metal.

Scrap Metal Set list:

  • Rock In America
  • After The Rain
  • Mad About You
  • Sing Me Away
  • More Than Ever
  • Up All Night Sleep All Day
  • Wild World
  • To Be With You
  • Spend My Life With You
  • Only Time Will Tell
  • Goodbye
  • Love and Affection
  • Fly to The Angels
  • Daddy
  • Alive and Kickin
  • Sister Christian
  • Burnin Bridges
  • Don't Tell Me You Love Me
  • Whole Lotta Rosie
Photos coming soon!

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