Monday, February 9, 2009

Schon & Hammer - "No More Lies" (forgotten song)

Once again we return to the realm of forgotten videos from the early days of MTV. Schon & Hammer was a collaboration between Neil Schon (lead guitarist for Journey) and Jan Hammer (of Miami Vice Theme fame). "No More Lies" is the first song on their second (and final) studio LP, 1982's ironically titled "Here to Stay".

The song is ok with a decent hook, but it's at best a guilty pleasure. But there are several larger issues that make this fun to revisit.

1. The video is a perfect early 80s time capsule and seems to come from one of the 4-5 video "templates" available at the time. For example, watch the video, then watch Ric Ocasek's "Something to Grab For". The resemblance is uncanny.

2. You have to love that 1982 was a time when Jan Hammer -- bald, mid-30s, and remarkably unsexy, could be featured in the video (as the image above captures). Neil struts around giving the viewer some beefcake, but it is as if neither Jan nor the video producer noticed that Jan doesn't look like Neil.

3. Finally, this is a perfect example of a common phenomena: a hard rock / heavy metal guitarist trapped in "pop" band. Listening to Neil Schon solo during Journey songs, I always got the feeling that while he knew his current gig was paying the bills, he really just wanted to shred. Gary Richrath of REO Speedwagon and Tommy Shaw* of Styx are two other prominent examples. The ballads sell, but they don't rock. "No More Lies" rocks a little harder than your average Journey song.

I recall seeing this on MTV just a couple of times. And while it was hardly a staple (few probably remember it at all), it is interesting how sometimes the lesser known examples actually produce more nostalgia.

Link: YouTube.

* "`But Kilroy -- what about the young people?' ... I'm going to die in Texas."

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