Satan, Leave That Boy Alone….. Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Saturday, 18 July 2009 17:45

holy_right_front_2Like being a teenager needed to be any tougher. As if terrifying thoughts of losing your virginity, growing a mullet and trying to find a post-school career in Thatcher’s Britain weren’t enough to cause more sleepless nights than the discomfort of lying in puddles of your emissions.

Growing up as a teenage rock fan meant that you followed a slew of simple rules; you had to grow your hair as long as you could, you had to tell everyone in listening distance that “if it wasn’t for rock ‘n’ roll, you would be either dead or in jail”, and you had to buy Kerrang! Magazine - the UK’s very own “Heavy Metal Bible” - religiously every Wednesday morning. If you didn’t have Kerrang! then you didn’t know what was going on in the world of ass-kicking rock music.

Shock rock sheep that we were, we hung on every word typed by the writing staff of that once-great magazine; we bought albums purely because they had garnered glowing reviews in its pages. Basically, we followed the trends that they laid out before us. Sure, there were variations to the paths we sought to follow and, I’m not ashamed to say, it was the hairspray-clouded path to O-zone misery that turned my teenage head…….

But then the hair metal scene threw up - pun intended - a righteous curveball that raised our eyebrows high up into our freshly streaked fringes; Christian Metal. These guys had the chops, the mullets, the voices and the record deals. A new scene born of a virgin birth drowned our confused, hormone-exploding teenage bodies in a yellow and black glow that threatened to expose every little piece of the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle that we all pretended to live as the very path to eternal damnation, with the glowing cock of Satan himself waiting to rear-end us. Simply for listening to Motley Crue…..

So, for a time, I guess you could say that some of us impressionable teens were….er….Christian Rockers. With a deftly-lacquered visual timekeeper and his brother’s angel-like voice, Stryper really made us think that there was another reason for praying other than for that groin ache to finally be given the opportunity for release. I even went to a Barren Cross concert. If I’m honest, I remember absolutely fuck all about it - it really was just another excuse to try and find cute rock chicks who would let me do all the things that Blackie Lawless got to do every single night of his crazy awesome fucking life. Should I have felt guilty for using a Christian rock show as a potential (yeah, right!) sponsored fuckathon? Well, I didn’t and, y’know what, I never did get struck down by some lightning bolt thrown down from the heavens like a celestial javelin. Thinking back, a couple of days later my hair just wouldn’t stay up - maybe this was my punishment?

The Christian Rock thing really was just a trend, then? A Jesus joke to some yuppie record company suits to get us brain-washed teens to buy their product. Well, I sure thought so until I stumbled upon the finest album in the history of, not just Christian Rock, but rock music in fucking general. An album so powerful, so influential, that I feel the hairs on my neck bristle as I think about it……

Roxcene Records in Newport, Wales was a mecca for us teenage hair metal monsters. If I’d have known then what a mallrat was, then I’d have been happy to admit that I was one. One with a Def Leppard influenced mullet.. Every penny that me and my kind earned from part-time jobs, moribund youth training schemes in Thatcher’s Britain, or good old fashioned pocket money was spent – quickly – on vinyl or vhs, with the only requirement being that the guys on the cover had hair bigger than the sports socks stuffed into their spandex. After purchasing these rockin’ releases that were sure to be life altering and awesome, we’d hang around the store all day like a sheep-troubling version of Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Sometimes, when we got home, the albums that we had wasted our money on turned out to be good……

I’ll never forget the moment that I first laid eyes on it. The memory hangs over me like the victim of a bizarre sex act gone awry. Like seeing your first breast or seeing a ghost, this shit never leaves you. It was just another Saturday; a pocket full of cash to be exchanged for metal to feed the empty record deck that lay grumbling back home. I fingered the new releases like a school boy fingers a found dirty book. And, in what I now know was a message from a higher power, this classic album cover jumped out at me like a black cat in a generic horror movie scene……
Jesus H Christ (now that was a cool name for a Christian metal band if ever I heard one), look at it. Look again. You are not imagining it – it really is that special. The band logo makes the timeless Kiss and Iron Maiden logos look like amateur garbage. The album cover itself makes the Sgt Pepper artwork look like crayon scribbles on a retard’s wall. Everything about this album screamed “BUY ME” – so I bought it.. On the bus ride home – X15; seminal Welsh rock ’n’ roll journey – a thought chewed away inside of me like the maggot cock of a TV evangelist; was I wrong about Christian Rock? Was I wrong to question the reason behind the sacking of Tim Gaines? Had I been foolish in telling everyone that the face on the Turin Shroud was that of Billy Gibbons? Could this incredible new rock discovery show me the light that I thought had dimmed to a pin prick in the sky? Damn right!

I’m listening to a copy of this album right now, refreshing any hard rockin’ memories stolen by the demons of time. Over two decades later I still can’t understand how non-believers crucified the production, songs, singing, time keeping and lyrics of this criminally underheard classic record. The W.A.S.P.- like riffs made those soldiers under command sound like pop stars.  The two things that stand out in my mind when thinking about listening to this album for the first time are when I thought I was showing signs of stigmata – turns out I hadn’t washed my hands properly after going to toilet – and the song/call to arms called ‘Satan Leave That Boy Alone’. Punctuation was a mere distraction in the fight against El Diablo. This anthem warned Lucifer that he should leave an un-named male alone as he was on his way to Heaven. The second verse, in a welcome dose of sexual equality, told Lucifer to leave an un-named female alone as she too was on her way to Heaven. How on Earth could doubters claim that the band were simply an ailing metal band jumping on the fashionable Christian rock bandwagon? The album was like a plastic and cardboard bible and the fact that it rocked made it all the more incredible……..

…….but, and believe me this is hard to admit, I lapsed. I let Holy Right, Stryper, Barren Cross, Jesus and his old man slip through the cracks in my journey to future wasted youth. I chased young ladies like the Man chased OJ’s white Bronco. I joined a band and pretended that I had grown up listening to the Stones and the Faces when, in reality, I was growing fingernails in my mother’s expanding belly when ‘Long Player’ was released. I denied those days of buying Ratt records on day of release in favour of watching my bandmate spew blood all over his bathroom floor because we wanted to be Johnny Thunders, maaaan.

What happened to my Holy Right album? Well, every week thrash and sleaze used to collide as I would get a lift to rehearsal with Chris ‘Cross’ Greaves, himself on his way to rehearse with the metal thrashing mad Judgement. Greavo used to drop me off at a US-style diner in rural Wales that stuck out like the John Holmes meal ticket. I’d get picked up by the blood spewing Lloyd Owen James, guitarist (and arguably most handsome member) of cult sleaze rawk ‘n rollers Sister Morphine. We went through a phase of slinging vinyl around the car park – shouldn’t that be parking lot? – of said diner; vinyl that we had once cherished but now felt obliged to take the piss out of. ‘Stand As One’ by Holy Right flew across that fucking car park like a Harrier Jump Jet. I’m sure that at least a couple of cowboy boots ground one side of that righteous vinyl into the gravel. We drove off, laughing, with birds, booze and bad language awaiting our attention. I’d like to think now that the Holy Right record didn’t lie there dying, waiting to finally find its way to vinyl heaven. I’d like to think that a total degenerate picked up that fractured piece of plastic, took it home, gave it a bubble bath, put the needle on the record instead of the vein and saved his, or her, own life…….