Hair Metal Heaven: Cinderella “If You Don’t Like It”
Ah, one of my favorite deep cuts of Hair Metal. This is Hair Metal having a bad hair day. This is Hair Metal Sweeney Todd would rock out to while practicing his horrific handiwork. If you've only heard Tom Keifer wail away on Cinderella singles released to radio, you'll be pleasantly pleased with this ear shattering escapade in E mixolydian. "If You Don't Like It" delivers bluesy banshee riffs with Tom's trademark sonic screams galloping on an uptempo iron horse.
"If You Don't Like It" is a track off Cinderella's sophomore album Long Cold Winter released in 1988. Long Cold Winter reached #10 on the charts and went double platinum by year's end. The album produced the Hair Metal classic "Gypsy Road" and the power ballad "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" which holds as the highest charting single for Cinderella reaching the #12 slot. Long Cold Winter also included the singles "The Last Mile" and "Coming Home" which just edged in the top 20. "If You Don't Like It" is a fun FU song in the tradition of The Eagle's "Already Gone", Billy Joel's "My Life", and Metallica's "Escape." Tom Keifer carried this grand gospel of youthful declaration of independence to Hair Metal.
I don't need anyone
To tell me how to run my life
Got along alright so far
I don't really think I need to hear your advice
I've got my mind made up know what I wanna do
I'll do it anyway I choose
So just sit back shut up for a minute let me show you what I'm gonna do
Funny how a band name like Cinderella began in a location not exactly red carpet velvet rope glass slipper territory. Guitarist Tom Keifer and bassist Eric Brittingham met in a bar bathroom on Halloween in 1980. There's an "I Just Knew" tale that could stack up to the best of those relationship and wedding story TV shows. Actually Keifer and Brittingham had also revolved through the same Philadelphia area band Saints In Hell earlier.
We can't talk about Cinderella without mentioning fellow brotherly love band Britny Fox. Britney Fox was formed by 2 former Cinderella members: Guitarist Michael Kelly Smith and drummer Tony Destra. It's a Hair Metal fairy tale of the birth of 2 bands like Metallica and Megadeth minus the some kind of soap opera monster of drug abuse that always upstages people's lives.
Just over 2 hours outside Philly in Mechanicsburg, yet another 80's Hair Metal band was cutting their chops on nightclub stages before relocating to L.A.: Poison. Across the state line just south of the PA border in nearby Hagerstown, Maryland, Kix was blowing fuses in the club circuit. This general area was at the crosshairs of the east coast Hair Metal invasion. A decade earlier, the Philly area sprouted some Hall & Oates, who became one of the most successful duos of all time. Afterwards acts out of the Philly area that achieved prominence were R&B/Soul/New Jack Swing group Boyz II Men and Trance Fusion/Jam band the Disco Biscuits.
There's several vocalists in the Hair Metal Howler club I get my regular guilty pleasure fix along with Tom Keifer: "Dizzy" Dean Davidson of Britny Fox and Steve Whiteman from Kix. They continue the vocal styling of 70's rock bands like AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Nazareth which Tom Keifer could easily go back and time and fill in on a gig for Dan McCafferty singing "Hair Of The Dog" and only Dan's mom would probably notice.
"Nobody's Fool" firmly established Cinderella in the subgenre of pissed off maverick glam as their flagship song from their debut album Night Songs which reached the #13 position. The noble tradition continued on Long Cold Winter with "If You Don't Like It":
Take it to your heart gonna tell ya from the start
Gonna send a word or two your way
So just sit back take a ride on your pony
It'll all come back to you one day
There's so many cool parts to this tune: The strummed chords in the intro and overlaying spacious atmospheric whammy bar work, the main riff which becomes the bedrock for the chorus, the pulsating driving rhythm in verse like a steaming locomotive loaded with boxcars of boiling beratement, the slinky blues based snub your nose dalliance of the prechorus. There's even a Jon Bon Jovi sighting at the end of this clip if that's not enough:
As to Cinderella, the band had more in common with her maid rags as the preferred "Royal Ball" stage fashion during the 1980's than fairy tale footwear. Tom Keifer prefers wearing snakeskin boots when strolling down Gypsy Roads anyway, and if you don't like it, he's gone on record here on the probability of a care package arriving during a Long Cold Winter in Hell.
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