Chris Jericho wants to save this ’80s metal band from obscurity

(Image credit: Bert Treep)

You’ve probably never heard of Siren, and “nor should you have,”admits their drummer, Ed Aborn. Yet these largely forgotten 80s heavy metallers from Florida are the subjects of a new must-see documentary, I’m Too Old For This Shit: A Heavy Metal Fairy Tale following the group of now 50-something reunited bandmates, as they give their childhood dream one more shot, almost three decades after they first broke up.

It’s not about Siren, it’s not about heavy metal. It’s about what happens when a dream sneaks up on you.

Siren’s Ed Aborn

“It’s not about Siren, it’s not about heavy metal. It’s about what happens when a dream sneaks up on you, even one you’d totally put aside and forgotten about, and it is every bit as sweet to have that dream become real, even if it’s just for the weekend!”

These are the words of software engineer and father-of-two Ed, who, like so many others, had made peace with his dashed dreams of rock’n’roll glory after he left Siren in 1986, playing no part in the two albums that went largely unnoticed before the band called it a day in 1990. It was therefore something of a surprise when he was contacted by almost 30 years later by a group of German fans, who not only proclaimed their passion for Siren, but also invited them to play the 2018 Keep It True Festival alongside old-school heavy metal royalty Raven and Flotsam & Jetsam, in the small town of Lauda-Königshofen, Germany. 

It was even more of a surprise to Ed’s friend, Fozzy frontman and AEW wrestler Chris Jericho, who was blown away to find that the high school band Ed never spoke about had such a loyal overseas following.

“When he told me about this, I thought that for a band that hasn’t existed for 30 years to get a call out of nowhere to play a festival because they have a fanbase… it just doesn’t happen,” reveals Chris, who thought the story so fascinating he decided to send a film crew to the festival to document it all. “The story seemed so outlandish that when I realised it was actually happening, I thought it’ll either be a giant shitshow or the best feelgood story ever. Either way, there’s a documentary in there, so that’s when I got the idea of sending the film crew. What we got what was way better than I ever expected it to be.”

The result, produced by Chris and filmed and directed by Fozzy collaborator Nathan Mowery, is indeed an upbeat tale of triumph in the unlikeliest of circumstances, following Ed as he builds bridges with singer Doug Lee, and recruits early Siren members Gregg Culbertson and Hal Dunn, as well as local guitarist Todd Grubbs, to make a childhood dream a reality, 30 years after the fact. While there’s humour aplenty as the band rehearse, play a warm-up show and travel to Europe, all in the hope that there are enough people who care to make it such an implausible success, there’s also the chance for tears to flow. Never is that more true than on the day of the show when an emotional Gregg surveys the modest but dedicated assembly of festival goers and proclaims it to be “my metal Woodstock.”

“It wouldn’t have mattered if it was 300, 3,000 or 300,000,” Ed admits. “We’d had such a great week, we’d got the vibe from the festival and we were on such a high, that that moment was the embodiment of what we were all feeling. That’s exactly what it felt like.”

Having had such a great time playing together again and with an anthology package of their earliest material released, Siren have continued to maintain the exhilaration of playing music again, releasing new album Back From The Dead in April 2020. Clearly more than grateful for his lot and overflowing with positivity, Ed doesn’t just hope that this most human and relatable of stories offers some respite from the never-ending deluge of misery over the last 12 months. He’s also keen to inspire people to reignite old passions. It might not produce platinum albums, Olympic gold medals or opulent mansions, but if there’s a lesson to be taken from I’m Too Old For This Shit, it’s that such endeavours can bring that simplest pleasures, no matter how old you are.

“It’s not so much having any dreams of taking it to the next level or headlining Wacken,” Ed jokes. “We’re going to do what we can, what we enjoy, and everything we accomplish is going to be another cherry on this cake. We take everything that we get for the blessing that it is. I hope that it will encourage some people to dust off whatever their long-forgotten dreams are. You never know what will happen. It’s not about the success that can happen; it’s about the fun you can have doing what you love!” 

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.