Heavy duty

Local bands pound out power metal compilation for a good cause Charity and heavy metal are not what you'd call a likely pair. But that's the irreverent charm of Come on Feel the Metal, a two-CD compilation of 35 local bands covering metal-rock hits of the '70s and '80s. Net proceeds from sales of the album - released Tuesday by Dallas' Crystal Clear Sound - benefit the American Cancer Society. Local acts have banded together on compilation CDs ranging from KDGE-FM's popular Tales From the Edge series to such Denton-produced collections as 1994's Welcome to Hell's Lobby and the recent Grease tribute, Sandy Does Dallas. But Come on Feel the Metal is the local music scene's most ambitious compilation, snaring contributions from major-label graduates (Tripping Daisy, the Toadies, Hagfish, Deep Blue Something), revered veterans (Andy Timmons and the Pawn Kings, Little Jack Melody) and up-and-comers (Buck Jones, Grand Street Cryers). The renditions range from faithful to far-flung: Hagfish rampages through AC/DC's Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap); Fort Worth's Cowboys and Indians do a country-swing version of metal maniac Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever; Denton pop-polka act Brave Combo offers a schmaltzy take on Foreigner's Double Vision; and Caulk deconstructs Journey's Any Way You Want It into a dirge. But Come on Feel the Metal is more than a kitschy keepsake. The performances may be lighthearted, but the participants took the cause seriously. In the liner notes, more than half of the bands and technical personnel dedicated their tracks to loved ones stricken by cancer. "Everyone knows at least one person that's died from cancer or had it and lived through it," says compilation creator of Hagfish, whose father died of cancer six years ago. "Everyone can relate." Cancer runs in the family for production coordinator Sherri Gesin, who recruited many of the bands that perform on the collection. Her mother has survived breast cancer. She shyly admits to being the curvaceous model on the CD cover - a voluntary gesture that became an offbeat affirmation. "My doctor thought I had breast cancer," she says. "At that time I was 29. What they thought was cancer wound up being stress-related. But I've had to change my lifestyle in some ways. It may not be a serious record, but the cause is serious." All bands donated their performances. Studio time valued at more than $25,000 was donated by Crystal Clear Sound, Dallas Sound Lab, Big Green, Nomad and Last Beat. Song royalties must still be paid to the composers, but the rate is less than 7 cents per song, says production coordinator David Dennard. The double-CD is selling for a relatively inexpensive $14.99 at stores including Blockbuster Music and Borders. The initial pressing is 2,000 copies. Manufacturing costs run approximately $5 per disc, with additional costs for promotional materials and other elements. Executive producer Sam Paulos says he hopes to contribute about $5 per CD to the American Cancer Society. That's an impressive take, says John Carlin, spokesman and founder of the New York-based Red Hot Organization, which has released 12 compilation CDs designed to fund AIDS research, including 1990's Red Hot + Blue, a tribute to Cole Porter featuring, among others, Sinead O'Connor and U2. The latest one is Silencio=Muerte: Red Hot + Latin, which teams Laurie Anderson and David Byrne with such Latin rock acts as Cafe Tacuba and Aterciopelados. Benefit CDs are important socially as well as financially, Mr. Carlin says. "Anybody that uses their celebrity to promote something more than the sale of commodities is great," he says. Besides, the amount of money contributed is not the only issue, says Ruth Nixon, development director of the American Cancer Society in Dallas. "Anything is always helpful - even a single $5 contribution is meaningful," she says. "But it's the promotion that's valuable. We try to reach everyone, but usually we reach the white-collar, upper-middle class, not young rock 'n' roll people. So this is very much an opportunity for us." PERFORMANCE INFORMATION Feel the Metal benefit performances will be staged Thursday (Centro-matic, Buck Jones, Slow Roosevelt, Pervis, Mess), May 15 (Stinkbug, Caulk, Cresta, Little Jack Melody, Quickserv Johnny) and May 29 (Jive, Pump 'N Ethyl, Voyeurs, Blender, Wasteland, Andy Timmons, UFOFU, Cowboys and Indians) at Trees, 2709 Elm St. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $5. Call (214) 748-5009. By Teresa Gubbins / The Dallas Morning News 04/29/97