Review – Hair I Go Again

“First and last chances happen only once”

Much like the roadside aftermath of a major accident, Hair I Go Again has that “I know there’s something terrible going on and nothing good will come of it, but I can’t look away” vibe.  The documentary of two middle aged friends facing a mid-life crisis, or crossroads as they are trying to sell it, is rife with moments that will leave you shaking your head and wondering why these two guys would decide to share this experience with the rest of the world.  Friends Steve McClure and Kyle Kruger embark on a journey to achieve the Rock Star status they (never actually) came so close to in the 80’s with their glam band, Tryxx.

You have to give Kruger some credit for being as dedicated as he is thick skinned. The opening credits have him showing a picture of the Tampa based band in all of their 80’s glam glory to a bevy of lesser known, one hit wonder type bands whose names were so unfamiliar to me I can’t even recall them here sprinkled with a few known names.  These old school or has been, depending on your perspective, artists are literally ripping on the band’s image and relative unknown status directly to Kruger’s face, some even seem to not even realize that he is in the picture. It’s hilariously pathetic and sets you up for the train wreck that you just cannot look away from.

So here is the background that brings us to a movie that at times had me wondering if it was actually a “mockumentary” and that these guys were going to turn out to be actors, especially when the majority of musicians they are interviewing are from such obscure bands the names almost seem made up.  McClure and Kruger, in awe of bands like Judas Priest, Poison, and Motley Crue, start a band called Convict that play some show before falling apart.  Being good buds, the pair try again and create a decent ensemble full of the big hair, tight pants, and over the top stage presence you would expect from some Florida teens in the mid 1980’s.  The main goal being that they would become so successful that they would find themselves opening up for Motley Crue, which seems to be Tryxx main objective.  Again, considering the decade and age of participants, a reasonable, yet not easily attainable, teenage dream.

Fast forward to now and the duo cannot even remember why the band broke up, no big drama, nothing theatrical just, ya know, it was 1987, or so they think, as far as they can recall, they just never really put forth the effort.  Even though their friendship has remained, the rest of the band has since moved on and despite the fact that over the course of the past 25 plus years neither McClure or Kruger have continued their musical pursuit beyond attending concerts, they decide the 9-5 grind they have has become boring and it’s time to pursue a Reunion Tour and album. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of leaving the corporate world to pursue your dreams is definitely an idea I support but even some of the lesser known talent they interview throughout the movie scoff at their idea knowing how hard it was for them to obtain what little status they had and they at least have been going at it for the past two decades.

The tone of those interviews vary from encouraging to mockery, but most leave you feeling like these people are laughing at them and not with them.  At times, the advice being given by these aging, lesser known rockers, sounds like the kind of stuff you would say to a younger, up and coming band hungry for success but even then you can pick up on a slightly condescending tone.  I wasn’t sure if this was a strategic tactic to get the audience on their side, like if we make light of this and laugh at ourselves then the audience will be left with nothing but empathy and support but for me, that was not the case.

I get it, this is the underdog story and you want to see them triumph, right? Nope. You don’t find out until much later in the movie that not only haven’t these guys continued to practice and hone their skills, but that they are now having to attend guitar and vocal lessons.  After only one lesson each, they are off and ready to make an album, but alas, they don’t have a band as the other former members have turned down the offer to participate.  Bad luck too since that included the most talented member as well as the only one that actually continued to play and be in bands. Tough break.  But what McClure and Kruger lack in talent, they make up for in dedication, so it’s off to form a new band. Surprise! They are having a hard time recruiting members!

If not for the help of Ron Keel, The Metal Cowboy, a sponsorship from Peavey Electronics, and the financial support of a pair of generous fans, this story could have been over before it started.  While their goal might seem crazy, I will never judge for pursuing your passion, but I might throw you some shade when you mention not pursuing that passion for the past 30 years of your life.  These two guys clearly have a special friendship, Kruger has the dedication to be more than he is, and the both seem determined to not be plagued for the rest of their years by that burning question “what if?”  However, neither are masking some hidden talent nor do they stand out amongst the vast amount of local, modern metal bands that you can find right in your own backyard.

While in the end they are able to get some songs recorded and play a couple shows, it doesn’t feel like it’s because they won people over with their talent. They didn’t walk up to someone and give them their demo and wow them. Kruger spends his free time “pounding the pavement” and contacting venue after venue. However, you get the sense that their connection to Ron Keel and the fact that they are making a movie is more so the selling point rather than quality of the product they put out.  So kudos for being able to realize a dream but let us not forget that neither of these resemble the original goal of opening for a headlining, mainstream band.

Despite the lack of raw talent, the movie itself is a glimpse into the kind of bravery and courage needed to leave the traditional workplace behind and pursue a childhood dream when you are well into adulthood.  It tells a story of how far your fanaticism for something can take you and how good it can feel to sacrifice so much and have it pay off, even just a little, in the end.  While these two guys are definitely not the next up and coming rock stars of 2016, they certainly made an entertaining and interesting documentary that is sure to appeal to metal fans for the nostalgia alone.  Throughout the movie they redirect mid-life crisis to mid-life crossroads and mid-life challenge and if it is a crossroads, I’d say they might be better steering away from the boulevard of broken dreams since they seem to lack the musical talent to go anywhere other than a highway to hell.

Producer and star of Hair I Go Again, Kyle Kruger will be in town hosting a screening of the rock doc at the Philly MOCA, 531 N. 12th Street, Tuesday, May 3rd at 7:30. Presented by Totally Driven Radio, tickets are available here hairigoagain.eventbrite.com for only$12.60.

 

 

Heather Fox, is an aspiring cook and artist in her free time. By day she teaches Literacy for the Boys&Girls Club of Philadelphia and by night she dons the role of foXXXy contin, hard hitting blocker for South Jersey Roller Derby. This native Philadelphian and self-proclaimed Geek Girl, resides in Port Richmond where she continues to feed her love of pop culture with all things horror, comic book, and Star Wars related.
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