Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band - Hulk Rules
A few years ago, a really shitty horror movie called The Ring came out. It was a remake of an equally shitty Japanese movie called Ringu. While the movie was creepy in an atmospheric sort of way, it lacked any sort of depth or real scares. Naomi Watts and the audience spend the entire movie trying to find out what the fuck is going on, but we never really get satisfactory answers. As we learn towards the end, the unkempt little girl who comes out of the tape was apparently evil even before her adoptive mother drowned her. The reason? Some people are "not supposed to have a child". What in the fuck kind of an explanation is that? The antagonist in a horror movie needs to have a good origin. For example, Damien was the son of Satan and Freddy Krueger was a child murderer who was burned alive by vengeful parents. Samara, on the other hand, was evil because a childless couple tempted fate. LAME. While it's a bad premise for a horror movie, the idea that some people simply aren't supposed to have children is still a valid one. Like Bruce Willis, for instance. Anyone who thinks that it's acceptable to give their daughters ridiculous names like Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah probably shouldn't have had them in the first place. By that same token, some people simply weren't meant to ever sing; William Shatner, Serj Tankian, and Edith Bunker immediately spring to mind. Oh, and also Hulk Hogan.
In the 1980s, Hulk Hogan was wrestling's biggest star and a bonafide celebrity in his own right. Had he released his Hulk Rules album then, it probably would have done pretty well. After all, Don Johnson, Frank Stallone, and ALF had Top 40 hits in the 80s, so Hulk probably could have managed to score a hit as well. Unfortunately, The Hulkster released his album in 1995 when wrestling's popularity was at an all-time low. 1994 Congressional hearings on steroid use, in which Hogan provided key testimony, had dealt a devastating blow to wrestling's credibility and popularity. To make matters worse, the product simply wasn't as good as it had been in the past. The WWF had Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon, The Undertaker, and Bret Hart, but it also had a rather weak undercard that included guys like Doink and The Godwinns. Hogan worked for WCW at the time, the only other major wrestling federation and a company which had never quite managed to become as a popular as the WWF. Of course, all of this changed in the summer of 1996 when Hulk Hogan, Kevin "Diesel" Nash, and Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall formed the nWo which revitalized wrestling and made WCW the top wrestling company for an extended amount of time. But in 1995, not too many people gave a shit about wrestling or Hogan. However, that didn't stop Hogan from making an album with his wife Linda, his friend and fellow wrestling personality Jimmy Hart, drummer J. J. Maguire, and other less important people; The Hulkster can't be reasoned with, brother!
What made Hulk decide to do an album? Well, that's easy. Hogan had originally started off as a bass player in a cover band. As the story goes, one night he got his ass kicked by a wrestler in a bar fight and after that he decided to become a wrestler, but he kept playing bass as a hobby. During his heyday, Hogan did a lot of work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visiting children with life-threatening illnesses. His devotion to the cause was so deep that in 1994, the organization presented him with their Celebrity Wish Granter of the Year award which is given to public figures who "have displayed a heart for the children of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and a commitment beyond what could have ever been expected of them". According to Hogan, the inspiration for the album originally rose out of this work. Apparently, a sick boy who Hogan had previously visited had been given ringside seats to an event, but when Hulk looked out into the crowd, the spot was empty. He later learned that the fan had died. This inspired Hulk to write a power ballad in honor of his fallen friend and eventually Hogan and Jimmy Hart decided to turn the project into a whole album. But despite honorable intentions, Hogan's album did not turn out well. If you were to listen to the album now, you'd notice that every song sounds incredibly dated. If you had listened to the album in 1995, you would have noticed the same thing. Apparently, Hogan and Hart don't listen to anything except 80s pop, because they wrote and recorded ten songs that sound like they should be B-sides on Tiffany and MC Hammer singles. Not a single song on the album sounds like it could have possibly been recorded in 1995, but they were. Here's a rundown of the tracks:
1. Hulkster's In The House - Like fucking hell he is. Were anyone else besides Martin Lawrence and ten-year-old white kids still saying "in the house" in 1995? I think not. That being said, if The Hulkster is in fact in the house, why isn't he featured prominently on the fucking track? What kind of an asshole doesn't bother to sing the opening song on his own album? Actually, looking at the unbelievably trite lyrics that the Wrestling Boot Band sing here, it's no fucking wonder that Hulk decided not to take lead vocals on this one. This song wants to be an arena rock anthem, but it's six years too late and it's not even close to being on par with classic anthems like "Cherry Pie" and "I Can't Drive 55". The thing that really fucking bothers me about this song is that the first two verses seem to use a standard AABB rhyme scheme that the third and final verse doesn't even attempt to follow:
We're rocking down the house
The band is playing loud
We're blowing off the roof
And we're gonna rock n' roll
That doesn't even *almost* rhyme. Good job, you fucking douchebags. Mercifully, this song and most other songs on the album clock in at under 3 minutes. This particular song runs 2:29 and the last 35 seconds of that is comprised of the band yelling "Hey hey, ho ho, come on, let's go!" over and over again. Why are the songs so short? I would guess that either Joey Ramone is Hulk's idol or he doesn't know anyone who can write a proper song. In any case, this brevity is definitely a good thing.
2. American Made - Despite what some total fucking idiot over at We Ain't Cool seems to think, this is not Hulk Hogan's classic WWF theme where we learn what being a "real" American is all about. Jacky-O, you need to add smart and authentic to the list of things that you ain't, because you're a fucking poser; it is very doubtful you actually listened to this album. As I mentioned before, this CD was recorded and released early during Hogan's WCW days. The WWE owns the rights to "Real American" and there is no way that they would have let Hogan use it on this album. "American Made" is Hogan's original entrance music from WCW before he started rubbing shoe polish in his beard and coming out to "Voodoo Child". The song in question is pretty much nothing more than a rip-off "Real American" since WCW was trying to recapture the excitement (and ratings) of Hogan's initial WWF run. Lyrically and musically, the song is eerily similar. It's also not as good.
3. Hulkster's Back - This is easily one of my favorite three tracks on the album. Hogan finally takes lead vocals and it was well worth the wait. The Hulkster raps about nothing in particular over a cheesy pop keyboard beat while he and his wife trade obnoxious one-liners (e.g. "Gimme some, dooooooooowg!"). This track is so incredibly terrible that you can't help but laugh.
4. Wrestling Boot Traveling Band - Jimmy Hart sings this track and it bores me. It's a country song about moving out to California to tan and play music cuz his girl needed some space. I don't like country music, and the fact that "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart is singing it only makes it suck slightly less. Let's move on, unless you want a minute to look over the lyrics.
5. Bad To The Bone - No, it's not a Thorogood cover, because that might have actually still been marketable in 1995. Instead, it's a hard rock track where Jimmy Hart sings about driving around on a motorcycle and being "bad to the bone". This track definitely could have been a hit in the 80s; it's a competent rock song with a decent hook. At the very least, I could envision it appearing on the soundtrack for some crappy 80s comedy, maybe something along the lines of Zapped! or Just One of the Guys. But again, this album came out in 1995, so that didn't happen. This track is also very short. So short, in fact, that they decided to pad it out by putting almost twenty seconds worth of motorcycle revving sounds at the beginning. Or maybe Satan decided for them. Red and yellow are Hogan's trademark colors, but they're also the colors of the fires of Hell.
6. I Want To Be A Hulkamaniac - This is another one of my favorite songs from the album and it's also probably the most infamous track. Hulk Hogan raps about the dangers of drugs, being stupid, and swimming alone. No, I'm not joking. Here's the second verse:
When you're looking for something cool to do
Just pick good friends to be with you
You better watch out where you are at
You may be judged where you hang your hat
Can you feel the music? Can you feel the beat?
You don't need drugs to move your feet
When the dealer tries to push on you
Just tell him what you're gonna do
I want to be a Hulkamaniac, have fun with my family and friends
I want to be a Hulkamaniac, have fun with my family and friends
The Hulkster's advice is vague and superficial at best, much like the famous speech that Polonius gives to Laertes in Hamlet. I am especially frustrated by the line: "When the dealer tries to push on you, just tell him what you're gonna do." OK... so what am I supposed to do? I think I'm either supposed to tell the drug dealer that I don't need drugs to move my feet or that I rather be a Hulkamaniac and have fun with my family and friends, but I don't know which. YOU NEVER FUCKING TOLD ME, YOU RED AND YELLOW BASTARD! The chorus is delivered by Hogan's backup band with such lethargy that it's hard to believe that they sincerely want to be Hulkamaniacs. This could have been a huge hit in the 80s considering that people were able to stomach bands such as Musical Youth, The Outfield, and New Edition back then.
7. Beach Patrol - Dear God, Hogan is rapping again. This time is Hogan is rapping about the beach patrol. What exactly is the the beach patrol? According to the chorus, they like to "party, party, party". Of course, Hogan doesn't rap about partying at all. Instead, he warns you not to touch his girlfriend because he might "lose control". And I thought mental instability was The Ultimate Warrior's gimmick. I also wonder how Hogan's lovely wife Linda feels about The Hulkster hanging out at beaches with various girlfriends. I bet she was pissed. This track is also notable because you get to hear The Hulkster yell "Whoop, there it is!".
8. Hulk's The One - Linda lays down Motown-style track about her sadomasochistic relationship with The Hulkster. She begs her husband to "please be bad to [her]" and talks about being her down on her knees. We also learn more about the Hulk's anger management problems that were referenced in "Beach Patrol" as Linda mentions how Hogan knocked her lights out and how she "should have called the police", although not in that order. Despite all this, she maintains that Hulk is the only guy for her. Of course, we never find out if she's the only girl for him. I'd guess probably not. When Hulkamania is running wild on the road, sometimes The Hulkster gets lonely, and the training and the prayers and the vitamins aren't enough, so sometimes the red and yellow needs some action on the side, brother! Linda Bollea, whatcha gunna do when Hulkamania philanders on you?
9. Hulkster In Heaven - Well, this is it, the track that inspired Hulk Hogan do an album in the first place, his tribute to a fallen fan. I'll say this right out: this song sucks. From the cheesy synthesized horns to the horrible lyrics to over-the-top backup singers, this song blows goats. Despite being indescribably bad, this is still one of my favorite tracks on the album because it delivers the single greatest line on the album: "I used to tear my shirt, but now you've torn my heart." What the fuck was going through Hogan's mind when he wrote that? Granted, it is better than most of the ballads that Chicago wrote, but how can anyone be expected not to laugh at that? This is the type of track where Hogan should have broken character and let his real feelings out, but he couldn't be bothered to do that. I don't think Hogan knows how to be anything other than a cartoon character anymore. I love the character, but it's not always appropriate. I'm reminded of something Denis Leary said in his No Cure For Cancer routine:
Did you hear about Jim Henson's funeral here in New York City, huh? Huh!? Kermit The Frog and Big Bird sang "It's Not Easy Being Green" at Jim Henson's funeral. If I'm 56 years old when I kick the bucket and a fucking SOCK is singing at MY funeral, I'm gonna pop outta that coffin and go "Hey, what the hell is this about? Sammy Davis Jr. got Frank Sinatra, I get a fucking sock!? I'm pissed off now!"
By the same token, I don't think some kid who just died of cancer or whatever the fuck it was really wanted to be eulogized by Hulk Hogan. I would, but I'm sick in the head. I want to be buried in a coffin made entirely of Hacksaw Jim Duggan's 2x4s after a service performed by Jake "The Snake" Roberts with a eulogy by Hulk Hogan. And I want The Undertaker to carve my headstone out of Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake's stomach. Also, Roddy Piper and Paul Bearer should be pallbearers and Torrie Wilson should throw herself on the coffin. That's normal, right? Nevermind. Perhaps the most troubling part of this song is that Hogan seems to spend more time talking about himself than the kid who died. In one line, Hulk even croons that the spotlight is not on him. The Hulkster also promises that when he "comes to Heaven", they'll tag up again. That seems a little presumptuous to me. What makes the man responsible for Mr. Nanny think that he's good enough to get into heaven? He's certainly a good American, but unfortunately for him, America doesn't have control of Heaven. At least, not yet. But if God doesn't allow a free election by 2009, we may have to send some troops up there to depose him; Americans will not tolerate tyranny in this world or the next.
10. Hulk Rules - The last song on the album is the rocking title track. Is it just me or does putting the title track last seem weird? Like every other song on the album, this song is about just how much Hulk rules. If you mess with him, he'll kick your ass. If you're his friend, he'll help you kick other people's asses. After nine other Hulkarific tracks, I can't think of anything interesting to say about this track. It's just not as funny as "Hulkster's Back" or even "Hulk's The One", but it does deserve some recognition for being the most straightforward track on the album.
So there it is, Hulk Hogan's Hulk Rules. After listening to the whole album, I'm still not sure who Hulk's target audience was. A track like "I Want To Be A Hulkamaniac" is clearly aimed at Hulk's younger fans, but songs like "Wrestling Boot Traveling Band" and "Hulk's The One" have no discernable audience outside of people who found this CD in a clearance bin at FYE. A Hulk Hogan CD is going to sell entirely on novelty factor. The problem with Hulk Rules is that there was nothing novel about emulating 80s rock and old school rap in 1995. Weird Al Yankovic could have gotten away with it because he's a satirist, but Hulk was dead fucking serious. Amazingly enough, this album somehow broke into the top ten on the Billboard Children's Charts. I guess that douchebag Nietzsche was right: God really is dead. The good news is that Hulk's love can bring Him back again. The bad news is that Hulk's love is kinda like the Pet Sematary. Now let's never ever speak of this again.
You can read the full lyrics for the album HERE. They're a hell of a lot funnier than anything else I could say about the album.
Posted by: Syd Lexia