This shred-heavy documentary finally focuses on the fringes of LA’s hair metal scene – and it hits streaming next month

Kip Winger, Dee Snider and Dave Sabo all feature in Paramount+’s new hair metal documentary I Wanna Rock: The ’80s Metal Dream
(Image credit: Ebet Roberts / Paul Natkin / Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music / Getty)

A new three-part film documenting the rise and fall of LA’s iconic hair metal scene will debut on Paramount+ on July 18.

I Wanna Rock: The ’80s Metal Dream traces the stories of members of bands including Skid Row, Winger, Twisted Sister, Vixen and The Scream, examining their varying levels of success in the pursuit of fame, fortune and virtuosic fretwork.

The intention of the film seems to be to tell the story of the wider scene, which was awash with talented players, many of whom have been overlooked in favor of the era’s big names (and bigger hair).

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As such, key interviewees include Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, Kip Winger, Janet Gardner (Vixen), Skid Row guitarist Dave 'The Snake' Sabo, alongside John Corabi (The Scream/Mötley Crüe), and manager Vicky Hamilton – who worked with the likes of Poison, Guns N’ Roses and Mötley Crüe across the era. 

As Paramount+ puts it in the press release, the series covers “Five young dreamers chasing stardom in the cutthroat world of ’80s metal. Some will succeed, some will fail, but each will make you see an entirely new side of the metal genre.”

The documentary has been directed by Tyler Measom, who has prior experience covering the era, thanks to his work on 2019 series I Want My MTV

Each of the episodes will cover common themes among the interviewees. The first (I Wanna Be Somebody) examines their early days amid the bubbling shred and metal movement. 

Headed For Heartbreak documents their various turning points and struggles in finding success, while the final instalment, Smells Like Change, looks at the impact of grunge’s arrival on the group.

We’re looking forward to its arrival in July. However, if you can’t wait until then check out our retrospective on the Sunset Strip's golden era.

Or if you’re after the big Guns (quite literally), check out our exclusive extract from Guitar World writers’ Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock’s book about ’80s hard rock and metal, Nothin' But a Good Time, which features interviews from the likes of Nuno Bettencourt, Slash, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jake E. Lee, Tracii Guns, Lita Ford and many, many more key players.

I Wanna Rock: The ’80s Metal Dream series poster

(Image credit: Paramount+)

I Wanna Rock: The 80’s Metal Dream will be available to stream in US via Paramount+ from July 18. For more information, head to Paramount+.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.