Monday, June 11, 2007

Thor: The Legendary Rock Warrior

Another weird sideline that came to mind when putting together the Secret Theme last week was Thor. I asked about the comic book character, based obviously upon the Norse god, but I have to chuckle when I think Thor owing to the "Legendary Rock Warrior." (Link to the band's site; they're still active!)

John Mikl Thor is the only bodybuilder to have won both the Mr. Canada and Mr. America competitions ( is there a Mr. St. Pierre et Miquelon..?). More than that - oh so much more than that - he's a glam/metal/disco frontman of a band... also called Thor. Why, it makes me want to start a band called QuizMaster Chris.

The shirtless, leather-clad Thor performed on TV for the ladies (?) in the '70s and possibly early '80s, but never took off commercially. He just didn't have the chops of the likes of the Starland Vocal Band. His performance on Merv Griffin's show in 1976 was jaw-dropping; a little song (with the house band, who don't do rock well), a little striptease, a little turn on the catwalk, a little comedy, a little Festivus-style Feats of Strength. You should also enjoy the video of "Keep the Dogs Away" from 1977 (title track of what's considered his best LP), or the similar "Sleeping Giant." Wow.

Thor is also an actor, in the sense that Paris Hilton is both a singer and actress, and starred in the 1987 turkey Rock'n'Roll Nightmare, which managed to get an average rating of 3.0 on a scale of 10 from a sample of 236 people on the IMDB. I'm no statistician, but those sound like damning numbers to me.

For some mp3s of Keep the Dogs Away, check out this WFMU Beware of the Blog entry from last November. Give your ears something new to hear, by Odin! I have to say I've heard worse. This is somewhere in the mid-ground of disco-era KISS, T. Rex, Spinal Tap and the garage band down the street. Later albums have, I've read, followed the trends in hair metal and post-hair metal, both poorly.

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