It’s funny when someone on a forum asks about an artist or band from my hometown, and yet I’m left scratching my ass for answers. Nonetheless, recent mention of Portland hair metal’s most-likely-to spawned a few ruminations from yours truly.
I should know more about The Dan Reed Network than I actually do. Trouble is, they appeared to be (from their photos anyway) another hair metal band, edging onto CHR back when I was donning the one-eyed/trench coat Goth look (before the colorful, candy NuRo thing) and absconding radio for my own nascent record collection. Portland, you see, didn’t have an alternative radio station until 1991, by which point the very meaning of “alternative” had jumped the shark altogether, and I had moved onto prog/art rock and RIO anyway. Yes, I’ve come a long way in the last 20 years, but I’ve not come around to liking that late-’80s CHR/hair metal thang.
Dan Reed, likewise, has come a long ways to. Around 1999/2000, he opened up a nightclub here in Portland called (if memory serves) The Orb*. This club was being touted as a local base for the much-hyped (at the time) electronica scene. Reed had shaved his head and become very adamant in interviews about the obsolescence of guitars in the face of electronics (sorry Dan, that vision had already been realized to the best of its potential some 20 years earlier with the Cold Wave/New Romantic movement, which ‘you’ missed out on while riffing along to the likes of REO Speedwagon.) Now while I’m all for that part of the creative rigmarole called “artistic development”, I really, honestly believe that he was merely trying to grab the wheels of the latest musical trend as revenge against the grunge movement (hey, no argument there) which had fizzled his thunder in a swamp of manure just as things had been heating up for him and his band back in 1990/91.
*I was subsequently informed that his club had been called The Ohm, the former site upon which still half-hangs its dilapidated marquee – like dumped inventory.