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VOM was conceived in 1976 as a self-described beat combo featuring the renowned writer and critic Richard Meltzer on vocals, with Gregg Turner on second vocals and "Metal" Mike Saunders on drums. The band also featured Dave Guzman on "tuneless rhythm guitar", Lisa Brenneis on bass guitar, and Phil Koehn on lead guitar. The name VOM was an abbreviation for "vomit", as their early live act was said by Meltzer and Turner to have included throwing various viscera, cow parts and food substances at the audience to provoke a reaction. Both Meltzer and Saunders had already contributed to music as a whole in very distinct conduits. Richard Meltzer had written The Aesthetics of Rock which was certainly the first serious discussion of rock music in long format as an art form. Mike Saunders was credited for coining the term 'heavy metal' as a sub-genre while writing for Rolling Stone. In 1970 he wrote: "Here [Humble Pie] were a noisy, unmelodic, heavy metal-leaden shit-rock band, with the loud and noisy parts beyond doubt," in a review of As Safe As Yesterday Is. "This album," he continues, "more of the same 27th-rate heavy metal crap, is worse than the first two put together, though I know that sounds incredible." Though Saunders himself states that the title is "right there" in Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" and the term predates even this in William S. Burroughs' novel The Wild Boys, Saunders was the first to lend it to the new hard rock of Led Zeppelin, Blue Öyster Cult and Black Sabbath.
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