Fans ought to know: Touring musicians have always held a treasure trove of what they call "bus tapes" -- hilarious, often off-color and generally curious pieces of music, films and whatnot to get them through those long hours on the road. From that wealth of material comes 'Heavy Metal Parking Lot,' a 1986 documentary that in 17 brief minutes draws a raucous portrait of a crowd of Judas Priest fans outside the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland, prepping for a headbanging evening with their idols.

What we get is an uproarious snapshot of 1980s suburban America, complete with muscle cars, big mall hair and acres of shirtless dudes and those metal-band T-shirts that are fetching big bucks in vintage stores today. And alcohol. And drugs. Which bears mention because, not to put too fine a point on it, this crowd is trashed. One fan muses (rather loudly) that "They should make a joint so big it fits across America!" Another 20-year-old reveals that he's two weeks from reporting for Air Force duty -- as he sticks his tongue down his 13-year-old girlfriend's throat. (That sigh of relief you hear is probably her father's.) Fans ought to know: Touring musicians have always held a treasure trove of what they call "bus tapes" -- hilarious, often off-color and generally curious pieces of music, films and whatnot to get them through those long hours on the road. From that wealth of material comes 'Heavy Metal Parking Lot,' a 1986 documentary that in 17 brief minutes draws a raucous portrait of a crowd of Judas Priest fans outside the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland, prepping for a headbanging evening with their idols.

What we get is an uproarious snapshot of 1980s suburban America, complete with muscle cars, big mall hair, and acres of shirtless dudes and those metal-band T-shirts that are fetching big bucks in vintage stores today. And alcohol. And drugs. Which bears mention because, not to put too fine a point on it, this crowd is trashed. One fan muses (rather loudly) that "They should make a joint so big it fits across America!" Another 20-year-old reveals that he's two weeks from reporting for Air Force duty -- as he sticks his tongue down his 13-year-old girlfriend's throat. (That sigh of relief you hear is probably her father's.)

Suffice to say there's not a lot of discussion of Kierkegaard going on at Capital Centre on this night. Just a bunch of real-life teenagers partying hard and living the rock and roll life, as seen in 'Dazed and Confused' and 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High.' Spicoli and Wooderson, these are your children. Long may they rock!

'Heavy Metal Parking Lot' is available for free at SnagFilms.com.
CATEGORIES Documentaries