METAL MADNESS Monday Focus: Kix, BLOW MY FUSE
By 1988, the glammed-out and pop-friendly sound known as "hair metal" was still ruling rock and roll, even with the much grimier and grittier likes of Nirvana and the Seattle "grunge" sound hot on its heels just a few short years later. For the band Kix, 1988 would mark the Maryland rockers biggest and most successful album: Blow My Fuse.
With three albums already under their bedazzled and studded belts, Kix teamed up with producer Tom Werman (famous for his work on early Cheap Trick LPs) to take a big swing at the charts by mixing a full-fledged power ballad to the band's repertoire: "Don't Close Your Eyes." The high-flying anti-suicide tune featuring the impressive vocals of singer Steve Whiteman paid off enormously for the band, surging up the charts to peak at #11 on the Hot 100 for the week of December 16, 1989. The #1 song in America that week: Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." The album was officially certified Platinum in the year 2000.
"Yeah, that was like a big sigh of relief. We finally got out of the van and onto a tour bus," Whiteman remembered in a 2020 interview. "We're playing arenas with our peers and people that we love, getting out in front of hundreds of people, we were on MTV, went to Japan, the UK. It was a huge time in our career. Then we made the Hot Wire album and the whole grunge thing started to take over. It was like, 'OK. There's a new party in town, and you guys aren't invited,'" he laughed. "Even though MTV was playing 'Girl Money' and a couple of videos that were getting some airplay, the grunge thing just came in and took over."