Here’s what I remember of Derek St. Holmes: listening to “Stranglehold” over and over while doing curls with red Kmart weights in front of a full-length mirror in my stuffy attic bedroom nine million years ago.
I wasn’t even that into Ted Nugent, whose band St. Holmes fronted. But there was something about “Stranglehold” that was different from A.) everything else on the radio – the song clocks in at an alarmingly heroic 8:22 – and also from B.) my obsessions at the time: Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsteen, The Scorpions, y’know, garish, wanky hair-metal. “Stranglehold” seemed genuinely severe rather than just blustery, ominous rather than merely plodding. The swampy, dirty song shifts tone and tempo dramatically, from quiet and menacing one second to loud and menacing the next, and Sweaty Teddy, of course, rips off an epic solo that’s both macho and also somewhat – for lack of a better word – vulnerable (perhaps the first and last time you’ll ever see that word associated with anything remotely related to Right-Said Ted).