Over the last two countdowns, I’ve been closing things out with a music-themed Youtube video that ties into Halloween in some way. I didn’t originally intend to do it each year and I have no clue how long I’ll keep it up. All I do know is that this video was the perfect closer to the 2010 countdown:
To provide a little background on the video, the uploader has a Halloween tradition where he dresses up as a musician who has influenced him and plays a ukulele cover of one of their songs. In 2006, he chose to dress as Jon Mikl Thor.
But his dressing up for Halloween isn’t the only reason I chose this video. After all, Thor has been discussed here before due to his work in films like Zombie Nightmare and Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare and his live shows often feature him changing into a variety of cool Halloween masks over the course of the show. Also, many of Thor’s music videos (as seen in the 2005 An-THOR-logy DVD) involve him battling alien invaders and other evil forces. Although he’s not what you’d call a “horror rocker,” he has done his fair share of songs about vampires, ghosts, beast women and the like.
I suggest reading his official biography page or Wikipedia entry for the full details on his career, but here’s a brief summary: Jon Mikl Thor was originally a bodybuilder, eventually becoming the only Canadian ever to claim both the titles of “Mr. Canada” and “Mr. USA” in the 70’s. But the music bug bit Thor, and he formed a band. Although initially using names like “Mikl Body Rock” and “Thor and the Imps,” the name eventually became simply “Thor.” In between bouts of guitar playing, the singing strongman would perform feats of strength, like inflating hot water bottles (much harder than it sounds) and bending metal bars held between his teeth! Although the band drifted apart in the late 80’s as Thor branched out into more behind-the-scenes work and a few movie roles, Thor returned with a vengeance in the late 90’s and has been rocking to this day.
I’ve often said that Thor straddles the line between awesome and cheesy, and I love his music for it. Sure, the lyrics in songs like “Thunderhawk” can get pretty goofy at times, but the backing music is pretty damn good and others songs like “Intercessor,” “We Live to Rock,” “Thunder on the Tundra” and “Keep the Dogs Away” will rock your face off. You might smirk sometimes, but you will rock out. Stuff like Dragonforce’s “Through the Fire and the Flames” and Hotshot’s “Always in My Heart,” make me laugh hysterically and aren’t terribly played, but I would never think for a second of buying one of their CDs. But that’s not the case with Thor.
I fully believe that this mix of serious and silly is fully intentional, too. I mean, do you really think he’d allow a cover like this on one of his albums if he was dead serious about his work? The plug for his VM Sports clothing line is a great touch.
In addition to the above linked most recent release, his 1985 album Only the Strong has been re-released. If you look at his output (especially the stuff mentioned here at the local), you’ll see he has one hell of an imagination. Hopefully, this will all mean more Thor in future.