As a teenager, vampiric weirdo Mandy Lion migrated from Germany to Los Angeles with aspirations of becoming a big rock star. The young kid coming to Hollywood with stars in his eyes is a tired old story that often ends in disappointment and failure. Hollywood can be a boulevard of broken dreams. Many have found out the hard way that Hollywood’s streets are not so much paved with gold as they are soaked with hooker tears and hobo piss. But Mandy Lion actually defied the odds and made a name for himself. He was apparently quite popular on the L.A. heavy metal club circuit in the late eighties. Fronting a band called WWIII (and backed by a revolving door of musicians), Lion drew sizable crowds and even caught the eye of legendary manager Don Arden (father of Sharon Osbourne). Arden saw Mandy Lion as a future star — the next Ozzy, even. As his manager, Arden set Lion up with an all new backing band that included Dio vets Vinny Appice (drums) and Jimmy Bain (bass). Future Dio guitarist Tracy G was brought on board to complete the lineup. WWIII was signed to Hollywood Records and their self-titled debut arrived in 1990.
I’m not sure what all the fuss was about over Mandy Lion on the Hollywood scene. He must have put on a great show because his singing sure does leave much to be desired. I’ll give Lion (who dresses like The Undertaker) credit for having his own vocal style. Boy, he liked to growl a lot! Despite the big names backing him, your opinion of the WWIII album will almost certainly depend on your opinion of Lion’s strange form. His gruff tone and over-the-top persona will challenge the limits of your tastes. Personally, I think Lion’s performance is commendable for its originality — but at the end of the day its still comically stupid! His often asinine lyrics might be the biggest joke of all! Take for example, “the harder they come the harder I get!”. Tongue in cheek? Yeah probably. But some can pull off innuendo and some can’t. Bon Scott and David Lee Roth can pull off cheesy innuendos. Mandy Lion, Ted Nugent, and Gene Simmons cannot. They just come across as creepy. But still, I can’t deny Mr. Lion his due credit for the low-brow semi-gem that is Atomic Sex Appeal. I’m only human after all. My score: C