Vains of Jenna is part of the Swedish (yes, Swedish) sleaze-rock revival…sleaze rock being an American phenomenon from the ’80s known for cheap lyrics and fast guitars. Call it glam metal, big-hair rock, whatever. It was all kind of the same deal. Lots of posturing and male primping, with hair extensions, high voices, makeup, leotards, chains, and black nail polish. And if a guitar player could play solos at warp speed, we said he could “shred.”
Maybe it’s the Guns N’ Roses vibe in their music, but the Vains caught the ear of Gilby Clarke, who took them under his wing and helped them out in the studio. Bam Margera (late of Jackass and a fan of Nordic rock) has since signed them to his Filthy Note label. With MySpace plays teetering on the one million mark (828,762 as of this writing), Vains of Jenna landed on the CrueFest 2006 stage and got to ignite some of that old glam magic at one of the ’80s epicenters of rock, Hollywood’s Whisky A Go Go. They’ve also fronted shows for Ratt and Poison, original sleaze-rock stars from back in the day. The Swedish rockers are slightly more melodic than the current pack but feature the same grinder vocals and impeccable rapid guitar ascensions.
“Vains of Jenna” is a band name without a meaning. “I woke up…and saw this piece of paper with ten different band names on it,” bassist J.P. White told Sleaze Roxx. “Vains of Jenna was the first band on the paper that I thought looked cool.”
Why the urge to revive sleaze? Great rock — what’s not to like? But as for men wearing spandex and eye shadow and singing high-pitched vaguely misogynistic lyrics, I think that’s a master’s thesis in rock anthropology just waiting to be written.
VAINS OF JENNA, Brick By Brick, Friday, September 12, 8 p.m. 619-275-5483. $10.