Thor, with Hognose

While often dismissed as a novelty act, burly Jon-Mikl Thor's melding of glitter rock and metal has garnered him a devout fan base that counts none other than Henry Rollins as a member. Way back in 1977, after a career in bodybuilding that won him both the Mr. America and Mr. Canada titles, Thor transformed into an over-the-top "Rock Warrior." He kept his tongue firmly in cheek to compensate for a -- let's be honest here -- tonally challenged voice. But he more than makes up for that shortcoming with his shows, which are part rock concert, part sword-and-sorcery theatrics, and part feats of strength. (See Thor blow up and explode a hot water bottle! Watch as Thor bends a steel bar in his mouth!) Back in the day, with his chiseled physique, long blond hair and outlandish costumes, he more than resembled the Marvel Comics character, and his savage mien won him many a role in low-budget horror and action flicks. But the march of time -- the road to Valhalla -- affects even Norse gods of thunder, and today Thor more resembles a well-fed Lars Ulrich. So it's perhaps fitting that he's put music back to the forefront. There's a new record (Thor Against the World) and a compilation DVD of live footage, videos and stuff from his golden era (An-THOR-ology 1976-1985). The most bizarre clip features the singer wearing nothing but a horrid '70s moustache and tight spangly blue underwear, crooning in front of a big band on The Merv Griffin Show and, of course, exploding a hot water bottle.
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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero