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R.I.P. Sammi Curr (1947 – 1986)


Sammi Curr
1947 – 1986

One metal legend that I’ve never really discussed has been “Rock’s Chosen Warrior” — Sammi Curr.  A former student at Lakeridge High School, Sammi’s aspirations went higher than being stuck in his small town. It’s no secret that Sammi was an angry young man growing up. He cared little for authority and used his rebellious nature to propel himself to the top of the heavy metal heap in the mid-1980s. With his dangerous attitude and shock rock antics, he became a rock icon, a living legend, and amassed a large loyal teenage fanbase.

Sammi was a controversial figure during his time. While popular with teenagers, his music, lyrics and stage show were extremely controversial with parents, schools, politicians and members of the religious community. In a time when bands like Megadeth, W.A.S.P. and Motley Crue ruled the airwaves, it was Sammi Curr that felt the wrath of the media and concerned citizens the most.

That’s not to say that Sammi didn’t encourage the controversy though. Ego was another driving factor for Curr. He thrived on the adoration of his young fans and on the hatred of his detractors. Like many rock stars, Sammi wanted the attention and he lived the image of the “bad boy” to its fullest. You can’t drink blood straight from a snake’s mouth onstage and not expect some people to get up in arms about it.

Spending the majority of his music career signed to Waste City Records, some of Curr’s most loved (and despised) songs are “Trick or Treat”, “Fuck With Fire”, “Burn in Metal” and “Torture’s Too Kind”. It was in those last three songs that he used the technique of backmasking. Whether done for fun and as a gimmick or if there was a more sinister intention there, I don’t know. There are many who will argue either side.

In October 1986, Sammi petitioned to play a free concert at his old high school’s Halloween dance. He was denied this opportunity by the PTA and died just days before Halloween, under mysterious circumstances, in a hotel fire.

Sammi’s final album was to be called Songs in the Key of Death but it has never been released to the public in its entirety. The demos were set to debut on a local radio station in Sammi’s hometown at midnight on Halloween (per Sammi’s request) in 1986 but there was a malfunction with the broadcast. The demos have since gone missing.

Sammi Curr lived fast and died young. Perhaps for someone him, there was no other way.

“You cannot legislate morality, or music, or people’s minds… or we’ll bring you down, man!” – Sammi Curr

SHOCKER – The Music: A Shocking Sampler

Shocker – No More Mr. Nice Guy – The Music: A Shocking Sampler (1989, SBK/Alive/Capitol Records)

Track Listing:
1. “No More Mr. Nice Guy” * – Megadeth – 3:02
2. “Sword and Stone” * – Bonfire – 3:57
3. “Demon Bell” ** – Dangerous Toys – 3:56
4. “Love Tranfusion” – Iggy Pop – 4:22
5. “Shocker” * – Dudes of Wrath – 3:58

Produced by: Desmond Child * & Max Norman **

So years ago, while on a big slasher movie kick, one night I took home Wes Craven’s Shocker from the video store I worked at. The idea of the movie was (I think) to create the next horror icon. Well, that didn’t happen because the movie isn’t very good, but it did produce an awesome rock soundtrack, so off on an online hunt for the Original Soundtrack to Shocker I was.

Unfortunately, I won’t be talking about the “Original Soundtrack”, instead all I have to offer is “A Shocking Sampler” because I got screwed over on my very first eBay transaction years ago. The seller listed the soundtrack and gave details on the each track and the artist, but when the CD arrived, all I had in my hands was a soundtrack sampler. All attempts to get my money back or to have the seller send me what he actually listed failed. And to top it off, the CD was scratched and skipped/stopped on almost all of the 5 songs.

As far as a “sampler” goes, this is a great CD. The whole soundtrack is good, but for me, there are six standout cuts and 5 of them are here. The missing link would be Saraya’s “Timeless Love”. Oh well, maybe I’ll someday get my hands on the full soundtrack.

Anyway, this great mix of metal and hair metal. Megadeth does a great version of Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Shocker” is definitely my favorite song by the mysterious band called the Dudes of Wrath.

What was up with these secretive supergroups anyway in the 80s? First, Skrapp Mettle and now Dudes of Wrath. The Dudes of Wrath were Paul Stanley (quite obvious on the vocals), along with Desmond Child and rounding out the group were Tommy Lee, Vivian Campbell, Rudy Sarzo and some dude called Guy Man-Dude (!). If Wikipedia is to be believed, Alice Cooper, Michael Anthony, and Kane Roberts provided backing vocals for the song.

Oh, by the way, thanks to my video store connections, I was able to use our buffing machine to get the scratches out (took four or five tries) and the CD plays perfect now.

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