Mike Saunders

Last updated

Michael Earl "Mike" Saunders (born May 1952), [1] also known as Metal Mike, is a rock critic and the singer of the Californian punk band Angry Samoans. He is credited with coining the music genre label "heavy metal" in a record review for Humble Pie's As Safe As Yesterday Is in the November 12, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone. (The original text is shown in the VH1 Classic documentary Heavy: The Story of Metal [2] from 2007.) Six months later in 1971, he used the phrase again while reviewing Sir Lord Baltimore's first album, Kingdom Come , in the pages of Creem magazine. [3]

The Angry Samoans are an American punk rock band from the first wave of American punk, formed in August 1978 in Los Angeles, California by early 1970s rock writer "Metal" Mike Saunders, his sibling lead guitarist Bonze Blayk and Gregg Turner, along with original recruits Todd Homer (bass) and Bill Vockeroth (drums).

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

<i>Rolling Stone</i> American magazine focusing on popular culture, based in New York City

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the magazine's publisher, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its musical coverage and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine shifted focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. In recent years, it has resumed its traditional mix of content.



Saunders was born and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1973 with a degree in statistics; eventually he received another bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Saunders kept his day job as an accountant throughout his years as lead singer and guitarist for the Angry Samoans.

Little Rock, Arkansas Capital of Arkansas

Little Rock is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As the county seat of Pulaski County, the city was incorporated on November 7, 1831, on the south bank of the Arkansas River close to the state's geographic center. The city derives its name from a rock formation along the river, named the "Little Rock" by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in the 1720s. The capital of the Arkansas Territory was moved to Little Rock from Arkansas Post in 1821. The city's population was 198,541 in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau. The six-county Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 78th in terms of population in the United States with 738,344 residents according to the 2017 estimate by the United States Census Bureau.

Saunders' political incorrectness and personal attacks in his lyrics earned him (and the Angry Samoans) significant notoriety in the early 1980s, especially due to their song "Get Off the Air", an ad hominem attack upon well-known KROQ-FM DJ Rodney Bingenheimer.

The term political correctness is used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. Since the late 1980s, the term has come to refer to avoiding language or behavior that can be seen as excluding, marginalizing, or insulting groups of people considered disadvantaged or discriminated against, especially groups defined by sex or race. In public discourse and the media, it is generally used as a pejorative, implying that these policies are excessive or unwarranted.

KROQ-FM radio station

KROQ-FM is a radio station licensed to Pasadena, California serving the Greater Los Angeles Area. Owned by Entercom, it broadcasts an alternative rock format, branding itself as The World Famous KROQ.

Rodney Bingenheimer American DJ

Rodney Bingenheimer is an American radio disc jockey who was on the Los Angeles rock station KROQ. He joined SiriusXM's Little Steven's Underground Garage on July 16, 2017. He is notable for helping numerous bands become successful in the American market. His contribution to the music business has been described as important. He developed a reputation for being the first American D.J. to identify new artists and play "edgy new bands" such as Blondie, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, Van Halen, Guns N' Roses, Duran Duran, The Cure, Joan Jett, Hole, Symbol Six, No Doubt, Blur, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, The Bangles, X, Germs and many others.

Saunders played drums in these bands:

VOM was conceived in 1976 as a self-described beat combo featuring the renowned writer and critic Richard Meltzer on vocals, with Gregg Turner on second vocals and "Metal" Mike Saunders on drums. The band also featured Dave Guzman on "tuneless rhythm guitar", Lisa Brenneis ("Gurl") on bass guitar, and Phil Koehn on lead guitar. The name VOM was an abbreviation for "vomit", as their early live act was said by Meltzer and Turner to have included throwing various viscera, cow parts and food substances at the audience to provoke a reaction.

Richard Meltzer is a rock critic, performer, and writer. He is considered by some rock historians to be the first to write real analysis of rock and roll and is credited with inventing "rock criticism".

Maximumrocknroll, often written as Maximum Rocknroll and usually abbreviated as MRR, is a not-for-profit monthly zine of punk subculture. Based in San Francisco, MRR focuses on punk rock and hardcore music, and primarily features artist interviews and music reviews. Op/ed columns and news roundups are regular features as well, including submissions from international contributors. By 1990, it "had become the de facto bible of the scene". MRR is considered to be one of the most important zines in punk, not only because of its wide-ranging coverage, but because it has been a consistent and influential presence in the ever-changing punk community for over three decades. From 1992 to 2011, it published a guide called Book Your Own Fuckin' Life.

Saunders also drummed on all the "Metal Mike" CDs usually missing from Angry Samoans discographies.

Although he maintains that "drums are my best instrument," Saunders has written over 1,000 rock songs in his lifetime, all methodically recorded to mono on oldfashioned Sony portable kitchen-table cassette recorders. [4]


As Metal Mike, he recorded:

Related Research Articles

<i>The Real Thing</i> (Faith No More album) 1989 studio album by Faith No More

The Real Thing is the third studio album by American rock band Faith No More, released on June 20, 1989 by Slash and Reprise Records. It was the first major release by the band not to feature vocalist Chuck Mosley. Instead, the album featured Mike Patton from the experimental/funk band Mr. Bungle. On this album, Faith No More continued to advance their sound range, combining thrash metal, funk, hip hop, progressive rock, synthpop, carousel music, and hard rock, along with what has been described as "a black sense of humor".

Possessed (band) American death metal band

Possessed is an American death metal band, originally formed in 1983. Noted for their fast style of playing and Jeff Becerra's growled vocals, they are often called the first band in the death metal genre. The band is also notable for featuring Larry LaLonde, who was the guitarist of Possessed during the mid-1980s, and went on to join Primus.

Lard is an American hardcore punk/industrial band founded in 1988 as a side project by Jello Biafra, Al Jourgensen, Paul Barker, and Jeff Ward .. Over the years, several other members of Ministry played with Lard, namely Bill Rieflin, Mike Scaccia, and Rey Washam.

Gang Green is a rock band originally from Braintree, Massachusetts. Chris Doherty (guitar), Bill Manley (bass) and Mike Dean (drums) started the band in 1980 and broke up in 1983. Doherty reformed Gang Green the following year, and band experienced numerous lineup changes until its dissolution for the second time in 1992. Doherty has been the band’s only constant member, and has kept Gang Green active from 2005 onwards. The band was influential in the formation of the East Coast hardcore scene and went on to become one of the forerunners of crossover thrash and speed metal in the late 1980s.

White Noise Records was a record label founded in Los Angeles in 1978 by artists Ronn and Louise Spencer, writers Nicole Panter and Jim Bickhart, attorneys Gordon Rubin and Peter Paterno, and publicist Bob Merlis.

<i>The Magicians Birthday</i> 1972 studio album by Uriah Heep

The Magician's Birthday is the fifth album by British rock band Uriah Heep, released in November 1972 by Bronze Records in the UK and Mercury Records in the US. The concept was "based loosely on a short story" written by keyboardist Ken Hensley in June and July 1972.

Steakknife are a German punk rock band established in 1991.

Sir Lord Baltimore

Sir Lord Baltimore was an American heavy metal band from Brooklyn, New York, United States, formed in 1968 by lead vocalist and drummer John Garner, guitarist Louis Dambra, and bassist Gary Justin. Some have cited the 1971 review of their debut record, Kingdom Come, in Creem magazine as containing the first documented use of the term "heavy metal" to refer to a style of music; the truth is the same reviewer used the term when reviewing a Humble Pie album in Rolling Stone six months earlier. Sir Lord Baltimore featured a drumming lead singer, traditionally a rarity in rock and metal music. The band is also the first band to be categorized as heavy metal. The group has been called "the godfathers of stoner rock."

<i>Inside My Brain</i> album by Angry Samoans

Inside My Brain is the debut extended play by the American punk rock band Angry Samoans, released in 1980 by Bad Trip Records. The most infamous song on the EP, "Get Off the Air", was directed at influential KROQ-FM DJ Rodney Bingenheimer.

<i>Back from Samoa</i> album by Angry Samoans

Back from Samoa is the debut full-length album by the American punk rock band Angry Samoans. It was initially released in 1982 on Bad Trip Records.

Judgement Day is a three piece "string metal" band from Oakland, California.

<i>Kingdom Come</i> (Sir Lord Baltimore album) 1970 studio album by Sir Lord Baltimore

Kingdom Come is the debut studio album by American heavy metal band Sir Lord Baltimore, released on Mercury Records in 1970.

Year of Desolation is an American metal band formed in Indiana in 2001. They are influenced by classic rock and heavy metal, and have year and years of touring under their belts. They have 4 releases, with a critically acclaimed release on Prosthetic Records with a video for the song "Suffer Thy Nemesis" on youtube.

<i>As Safe as Yesterday Is</i> 1969 studio album by Humble Pie

As Safe as Yesterday Is is the debut album by rock band Humble Pie, released in the UK in August 1969. The album peaked at number 32 in the UK album chart.

Stu Marshall Australian musician

Stu Marshall is a guitarist from Sydney, Australia. He is a member of Sydney heavy metal band Empires of Eden and Paindivision.

TKO is a hard rock and heavy metal band from Seattle, Washington, which was mainly active between 1977-1986. The group's lead vocalist and only consistent member is Brad Sinsel.

<i>STP Not LSD</i> 1988 studio album by Angry Samoans

STP Not LSD is the third album by the American punk rock band Angry Samoans, released in 1988 on PVC Records. The album was re-issued in 1990 by Triple X Records.


  1. "Michael (Mike) Earl Saunders (1952–) aka: "Metal Mike"". The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
  2. "Heavy: The Story of Metal | Show Cast, Episodes, Guides, Trailers, Web Exclusives, Previews". VH1.com. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  3. Saunders, Mike, Kingdom Come review Archived 2007-03-08 at the Wayback Machine ., Creem , May 1971. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  4. Blayk, bonze Anne Rose, "How Angry Was My Samoa...", ANGRY SAMOANS official website, June 1998. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
Facebook Global online social networking service

Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company. It is based in Menlo Park, California. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, along with fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Amazon, Apple, and Google.