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THOR
AN-THOR-LOGY, 1976-1985
SMOG VEIL

Jon Mikl Thor has enjoyed one of the most colorful careers in metal, and this retrospective of TV appearances, live footage, short documentaries, ads, and early music videos plays like a real-life This Is Spinal Tap. A self-made cartoon, Thor has starred in cult films bad enough to rate the attention of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 while indulging in flamboyant hard-rock pageantry. He abandoned a career as a successful bodybuilder in the í70s to front Body Rock, a traveling revue of musclemen who performed feats of strength backed by a band. He soon graduated to "blue musicals" and eventually brought his "muscle rock" routine to Vegas, (poorly) crooning showtunish songs for female crowds. "I know what youíre thinking ó itís a crazy way to make a living," he tells Merv Griffinís audience while blowing up a hot-water bottle like a balloon, "but I bet Donny Osmond canít do it." By 1977, he had a Bowie-meets-Conan-the-Barbarian glitter-rock act, bending steel bars to surprisingly tender songs. Trading camp for kitsch in the early í80s, Thor swung hammers and broadswords in a power-metal band: it yielded his biggest hit, "Thunder on the Tundra." And by 1985, he was a legitimate speed-metal star. A film career was right around the corner, but his music career peaked with a sci-fi video for a song called "Knock íEm Down." Like its creator, itís garishly awful and luridly compelling.

Jon Mikl Thor + Intercessor: Another Rock íní Roll Nightmare | Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard Street, Brookline | Aug 3 | 617.734.2501.

BY CARLY CARIOLI


Issue Date: July 29 - August 4, 2005
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