A bald, King Kong-sized principal pitches a fit in Heaven’s heavy metal video for “Rock School”

By on January 21, 2019

Australian heavy metal band Heaven’s “Rock School” is just one of the great ’80s music videos we found — replete with rebellious teens and vexed and perplexed teachers — in Night Flight’s “Take Off to School Revolt,” which first aired during the Eighties (we have the episode as it appeared in this syndicated replay from 1992). Watch it now on Night Flight Plus.

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Directed by Martin Kahan, and filmed at Great Neck South High School on Long Island in New York, “Rock School” also features a naughty, lingerie-clad teacher and a bald, King Kong-sized principal, seen swillin’ Jack Daniels and pitching a fit — we think he’s probably a former wrestler, given the giant man’s girth and height — while with the band, wearing ripped Levis and lots of black leather, takes on the entire football team, who are wearing weirdo eyeglasses inside their helmets, in a fistfight.

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In a comprehensive report for the National Coalition on Television Violence, a psychiatrist named Dr. Thomas Radecki singled out Heaven’s “Rock School” as being too violent for teens, describing it this way:

“High-school punk stars throw their books in the trash, and they are chased by a school guard with a rifle and a Doberman pinscher [it’s actually a German shepherd]. The principal is wearing a stocking mask, and he really takes a sadistic pleasure in throwing the kids out, and it all ends with the kids and teachers rioting to rock-and-roll.”

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The Australian heavy metal arena-rockers were formed in Adelaide, Australia, in 1980, when Scottish-born lead singer Allan Fryer was joined by four fellow Ozzies to play their first live gig on Guy Fawkes Day.

They’d originally called themselves Fat Lip, the name they’d keep through several personnel changes during the band’s earliest days. Their revolving-door membership would remain Heaven’s biggest challenge during the remainder of the decade.

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Fryer’s family had emigrated from Scotland to Adelaide when he was a teenager, and that’s where he grew up and met his fellow bandmates.

They eventually made the big move from Adelaide, South Australia, across the country to Sydney, on the coast of New South Wales, and from the jump they’d set their sights on heading overseas to make an even bigger impact beyond Australia.

It’s been rumored that Fryer left the band in early 1980 to audition to be AC/DC‘s lead singer, following the tragic sudden death of Bon Scott, a rumor which doesn’t appear to be accurate.

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Fryer’s Fat Lip band finally began to solidify its membership with Bradford Kelly (lead guitar), John Haese (rhythm guitar), Laurie Marlow (bass) and Joe Turtur (drums).

It was during the recording sessions for their debut album, Twilight of Mischief — for a new Aussie record company they’d signed with called DeLuxe (to which INXS had just been signed) — that the band finally changed their name to Heaven.

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The band’s debut would actually be released under three different titles: Twilight of Mischief, Heaven and, in October of 1982, Columbia Records issued the album in America as Bent.

Regardless of the title, that album’s success led to the band making their U.S. premiere in Los Angeles shortly after Christmas in 1982.

Read more about Heaven below.

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Heaven’s band members — who were soon being promoted as the biggest band to emerge from Australia’s heavy metal scene since AC/DC — moved into a house together in Hollywood shortly after landing at LAX.

In January-February of 1983, Heaven — after they’d already successfully supported Iron Maiden on their tour of Australia — played their first major U.S. tour, opening for Judas Priest, followed by a round of headlining dates at smaller venues in March.

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Heaven would also open shows for Mötley Crüe, KISS, Black Sabbath, and Eddie Money, among other ’80s acts.

Soon, in order to fit in with American heavy metal crowds, the band members began wearing studded black leather trousers.

Terry Atkinson, writing about Heaven for the L.A. Times, claimed: “The quintet’s powerful live act should make Heaven a stadium-rock champ before long.”

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Heaven’s second album, Where Angels Fear to Tread, was recorded at Cherokee Studios in L.A. and featured guest contributions from Ronnie James Dio, Lita Ford and Glenn Hughes.

The album was also highlighted by their over-the-top cover of the Diana Ross & the Supremes 1968 hit “Love Child,” but it was the track that closed Side One, “Rock School,” that everyone still remembers, mainly for its free-for-all music video.

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Heaven enjoyed favorable critical response from the heavy metal cognoscenti, and established a fiercely loyal cult following the release of Where Angels Fear to Tread, but despite the external praise there remained internal problems among band members.

In September of 1983, ex-AC/DC bassist Mark Evans replaced lead guitarist Mick Cocks (ex-Rose Tattoo), but even though he’d switched instruments to ascend into Heaven, Evans didn’t stay with the band very long, departing in July 1984.

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Drummer Turtur also left the band in ’84, and Heaven eventually called it a day later that same year.

Allan Fryer — who later moved to Dallas, Texas, where he lived for more than thirty years — kept various versions of Heaven going in different incarnations, recording and touring until his death from cancer in June of 2015.

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Night Flight’s “Take Off to School Revolt” — which also features rowdy schoolroom and teacher-themed music videos by Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Madam X, Kick Axe, the Police, the Stray Cats, the J. Geils Band, 38 Special, and Eagles bassist Timothy B. Schmidt — is streaming now on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.