HAWK HAULING: BACK FROM THE DEAD.

If you’re the kind of person who’s constantly chasing the American dream like Uncle T, it probably means you’ve spent most of 2017 celebrating the 30th Anniversary of OVER THE TOP.

The most beloved arm wrestling motion picture of our eternity is without a doubt the 1987 Sly Stallone mega-classic, Over the Top (no bullshit irony here, either). But as far as Stallone’s run of blockbusters go, this masterpiece was not heralded a “success” compared to others of the genre. Honestly for the life of me, I’ve never known why. This is a movie filled with raw emotion that never ceases to lift me up, pump diesel-fueled power through my veins and send shivers down my gluteus maximus.

Even if you struggled to reach emotional depths that you anticipated an arm wrestling/trucker film to deliver, there are a number of attributes to cherish about this movie. The awe-inspiring American landscapes, A++ soundtrack, blatant advertising placements, masterful montages and bulging brute action are just some of them!

The TNUC lair has seen it’s share of excitement lately by celebrating the film’s big 30th birthday. We’ve been hosting weekly screenings and coed-naked arm wrestling tournaments while execs from Cannon Films make special guest appearances. On weekends TNUC finds the nearest parked big rigs and uses them for workout routines just like our immortal idol, Lincoln Hawk.

While the good times roll at Castle TNUC, there’s one thing that’s always destroyed my brain a little, being a massive Over the Top worshipper…

Please tell me Uncle T isn’t the only person who’s watched the 1989 Fred Savage Nintendo-feast The Wizard and spotted an all-too-familiar big rig during this scene…

The Wizard (1989)

Over the Top (1987)

WAIT A MINUTE?! In just two years time, did Hawk Hauling really expand from a one-man show to an enterprise? Or, on the contrary, did “Spanky” the trucker steal Lincoln Hawk’s precious truck in hopes of gaining a lifetime supply of that Brut cologne that Hawk was moving around the country? The latter seems very unlikely considering Spanky’s friendly good nature. Remember, he’s the trucker pal of Haley’s who helps drive her and her friends to VIDEO ARMAGEDDON.

“MASTER TNUC, PLEASE GIVE US THE ANSWERS”

Well, thanks to the powers of computers, multiple sources confirm that there were in fact (3) 18-wheeler “Hawk Hawling” model trucks used for the film and YES, these metal monsters were all used in both Over the Top and The Wizard!

Take a moment to let that sink in. Now get ready for the real big news of the day.

1965 A64B Autocar model

Rotting away in a Universal lot for over a decade, the three trucks eventually relocated to a scrapyard where they sat again, roasting in the California heat. Then one day a beam of light shined down upon the dying legend. Two absolutely mental Over the Top disciples traveled across the country and purchased the last remaining truck, then hauled the old beast back to their home in West Virginia! (And I thought I was this movie’s biggest supporter!)

Risen from the grave!

Roughly seven years ago new owner Corey Ash began restoring Lincoln Hawk’s legendary big rig with hopes of driving it to Vegas one day for the big arm wrestling championship. Talk about true passion. Talk about eternal power.

Corey, just remember to swing by the TNUC lair and pick us up during this triumphant quest. (We’ll keep everyone updated on the progress of Hawk Hauling).

Happy 30th anniversary, OVER THE TOP.

THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY.

As music lovers and disciples of the riff, we live for unearthing both new and old discoveries.

When it pertains to older music, discovering the kind of rare treasure that when you lower the needle on the record it gives you goosebumps is one of the ultimate highs. Plus much healthier and less expensive than cocaine! Finding a record all on your own is such a jackpot moment and feels like a huge accomplishment. We also get a rise on being able to tell our friends about what bands we consider misunderstood, underrated, overlooked and of course who “should have been HUGE”.

Everyone has a few of these forgotten warriors in mind from yesteryear. Bands who given the right opportunity should have gained more success. The quality of their product was so good and it can be mind boggling wondering what happened. Blame it on on record companies, FM radio, drug addictions, venereal diseases or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. All that really matters now is that at least you found the music.

Those of you familiar with the chrome banshee ripper artwork at the top know exactly where we’re headed. So please, noble savage dudes and nuclear barbarian babes, grab a hold of the frothiest beer in the fridge and welcome ICON.

Phoenix, Arizona’s ICON are one of the most talked about bands that didn’t get enough credit during their all-too-brief lifespan. As a purest, I should just provide everyone a link to their debut LP so you can buy it immediately, but fuck it – you need to hear some of this NOW. Here’s a crucial pumper from the 1984 self-titled album called ‘World War’. (It’s about a future world war set in 1994!)

The vocals are raw and guttural. Lead singer Stephen Clifford sounds like a thirsty wolf at midnight on the prowl for fresh meat. Guitars squeal like a grim reaper grinding down on fretboards with his scythe. The ICON boys are hungry and ready to forge steel on these 10 tracks.

Beyond the strength of the songs, the biggest charm I take away from this record is the production. As far as rude and aggressive hard rock is concerned, this album captures that lean, nasty quality that W.A.S.P. perfected on their first record, and also heard on Mötley’s Shout at the Devil and Ratt’s Out of the Cellar. I’m no producer or engineer, but that guitar tone it sounds like it’s erupting from beneath one of those murky basements with smoke stains and wood paneled walls.

I just feel like this image is so appropriate while cranking these albums. “NSFW”…too late?

It didn’t stop there for ICON. Just a year later saw the band’s second release Night of the Crime. With guidance from producer Eddie Kramer (KISS, Carly Simon, Anthrax) they recorded a more polished effort while harnessing the raw energy of the first record. Many rock fans hail Night of the Crime as one of the most criminally underrated heavy metal albums of the 1980’s.

‘Out for Blood’ is the record’s heaviest number, a rip roaring anthem that leaves no dry eye or dry panty wherever it plays.

Avid TNUC disciples should remember hearing the song on our 2016 Halloween Mixtape Night Beast II. I can’t imagine a better song to hammer down the dusty highway under the crisp summer moonlight. Not a care in the world. Freedom. Lust. Power.

‘Danger Calling’ is one of the more AOR, arena rock-sounding songs on the record but is still a premium slice of white-hot heat. It would’ve fit perfectly on soundtracks for The Wraith (1986), The Legend of Billie Jean (1985) or Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986).

Unfortunately ICON suffered a major blow during the mixing of this album when vocalist Stephen Clifford left the band for personal reasons. The album was released in ’85 through Capitol Records but wasn’t promoted properly due to the downward spiral caused by their singer bolting. With no radio play, magazine coverage or music video, Night of the Crime hardly came up on anyone’s radar.

The band reformed with a different singer and made two albums. From the little that I’ve heard, that replacement singer sounded like a crappy imitation David Coverdale of Whitesnake.

It’s a crying shame but again, at least we have the music to live deep within our loins. If a reunited original lineup of ICON feel like playing at TNUC’s backyard pool party this summer, please contact us pronto.

I’m serious. I’ll buy extra kegs and super soakers.

♦ ♦ ♦

BROTHER QUEST.

Important announcement to make.

After spending nearly a quarter of a century wandering vast oceans, barren lands and dystopian cityscapes, sources finally confirm that our mascot THE MANIMAL’s long lost, biological brother is in fact pop singer Paul Engemann. For proof, all you really need is this music video from his days as lead vocalist in the band Device. Seriously, don’t continue reading without watching the video.

The lion’s mane
Leather chaps
Seductive glares
Single-dangly earring

It all makes sense. Paul mirrors The Manimal’s strongest attributes in both appearance and stage moves. Their resemblance is uncanny and I refuse to believe these two aren’t cut from the same cloth. It’s evidence that would hold up in a courtroom.

Perhaps after being separated at birth, while The Manimal bounced from orphanage to orphanage, eventually being sent to live with a pack of wild dogs in that toxic wasteland he called home for a few years, brother Paul was adopted by a nice family and given all sorts of musical training and lessons, paving the way for his future success.

For The Manimal, his rough start to life shaped what you see, hear and read about at uncletnuc.com. Paul on the other hand had the manicured life which lead to a string of pop and soundtrack hits. Some of his most notable are the multiple collaborations with disco legend Giorgio Moroder, as well as ‘Push It To The Limit’ (Scarface), ‘Brain Power’ (Summer School) and ‘Reach Out’ (Track Theme from the ’84 Olympics). Paul also was lead vocalist in both Device and Animotion.

While the brothers veered down different paths, their biological ruthless attitudes stayed parallel. Watch Paul’s performances to witness the snarling facial expressions he exhibits so effortlessly. They definitely differ in that The Manimal had more of an itch for heavy metal and chasing barbarian babes, while his estranged brother spent a decade crafting pulsating synthesizer music and shooting music videos in abandoned warehouses under misty blue lighting.

Who knows, maybe they’ll cross paths soon and collaborate on a monstrous new dance sensation to sweep the nation and change the face of music forever.

THE TALE OF MANIMAL CONSTRUCTION.


The other day while browsing through old photos at Grandmother TNUC’s house, I came across something completely forgotten about over the last three decades. Granny might be senile and quite the haggard old bird, but once in a while she brings back genuine memories from my hazy past.

It was 1989 and times were tough for Uncle T. Not only was he battling through nasty divorces and trying to fix a totaled Lamborghini, but the federal government were inditing him due to the alleged trafficking of cocaine-filled bananas on a cigarette boat through the Panama Canal in ’84. This voyage of the high seas began as the annual, happy TNUC Boob Cruise but swirled into a drug-crazed trip with Uncle T running from mysterious mustached men in leisure suits who wanted him dead. He eventually escaped and returned home.

TNUC realized he needed to stay under the fed’s radar and the idea of starting up a business under a fictitious name crossed his mind. How about construction? In a panic he forged some business documents and created MANIMAL CONSTRUCTION.

Starting a construction company would be no easy feat, but he’d watched a few movies to realize that big burly dudes carrying rebar looked pretty cool, and the idea of heavy metal lunch breaks sitting on giant steel beams 75 stories up in the air looked like pure clean fun. So he posted a few ads in Recycler Magazine looking for party-hardy buff warriors to work for him. After scrounging up all his life savings, MANIMAL CONSTRUCTION was born.

TNUC received a number of phone calls and told the men to meet Monday morning at the new job site. Over the week he sealed a deal with Estate Films, Inc., producers of the popular ‘Rock Video Girls’ home video collection. They needed a new studio built and hired MANIMAL CONSTRUCTION as the low bidder of the job.

My workers showed up as promised and work began right away. Well…after a few morning beers, steroid injections and meatball sandwiches. Safety first!

While Uncle T operated the crane, my crew set foundations and poured concrete. I made sure these guys didn’t pass out from heat exhaustion or cramped up, so I had a couple video vixens prowl around the job site and pass out beers and peanuts. It was a great day. I went home at lunchtime to take care of some business at “the office” and figured the crew could handle things on the site.

When I returned around 3 o’clock there were camera crews, production equipment, dollies, trailers and craft services. Frantic cameramen rushed around while strange music played over the PA. Even my concrete pump crane had even been transformed into a video camera crane. I flipped out and my emotions got the best of me, smashing 2×4’s over people’s heads.

I’d been used, victimized and made a fool of. They faked being interested in working for my company for some silly video shoot! But I’d be lying if I wasn’t a bit intrigued…

A man quickly approached me and introduced himself as Vince McMahon, chairman of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). At the time I knew nothing about the wrestling world, so these wrestling “superstars” were complete strangers. Mr. McMahon pulled me aside and offered a grandiose deal that I couldn’t refuse. For my troubles he promised to provide a large sum of money, plus a chance to star in their new music video for a song called “Piledriver” from Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II. 

Naturally I took the bait and production for the video wrapped that evening. We never actually finished building anything but my new earnings from the WWF (now the WWE) was more than enough to keep me out of trouble. I also had the unique opportunity to meet with all these wrestling neanderthals who I had originally thought were day laborers. Among the crew were Koko B. Ware, Hulk Hogan, The Honky Tonk Man, Billy Jack Haynes, Jimmy Hart, “The Magnificent” Don Muraco and “Superstar” Billy Graham! Above, watch the official music video for “Piledriver” and see if you can spot Uncle T dancing on a stack of lumber!

⊕   ⊕   ⊕

So why are we only now sharing this story? Because it’s WrestleMania week! Meaning that WWE’s WrestleMania 33 airs this Sunday on the WWE Network. WrestleMania is the super bowl of the wrestling world and the TNUC lair is currently getting prepared. I realize that not everyone is a fan of wrestling so I hope this story was at least entertaining enough to keep you engaged.

STRIPPED DOWN SUNDAYS, Part 3.

On today’s installment of Stripped Down Sundays, please start out by finding the nearest hammock, La-Z-Boy, lawn chair or anything to put you into reclining position. Next, set yourself up with a large Piña Colada or any tropical drink. Who cares if it’s nine in the morning? Now close your eyes and drift away to an exotic island where you and a scantily clad dream babe are together for a bungle in the jungle. The band Danger Danger are here to assist with one of their most tantalizing tracks…

“Ol’ King Kong
He had a thing for blondes
The ladies were drivin’ him ape
Then that poor boy slipped
And he lost his grip
From the top of the Empire State”

Of course if you need maximum results, the stripped down acoustic version of this song probably isn’t going to do it. Danger Danger’s best album in their catalogue is 1991’s Screw It!, which contains the song ‘Monkey Business’ in full pumping glory.

Ah, screw it. I know these are our Stripped Down Sundays and we’re supposed to be relaxing by unplugging the guitars and amps, but we’re making an exception today because this is one of Uncle T’s favorite “arena rock” music videos. Gorillas, long butts, denim and lead singer Ted Poley dry humping the air on stage. Enjoy.

Have a blessed Sunday.

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