So much hairspray
March 15, 2016 7:27 PM   Subscribe

 
That's just the hors d'oeuvre, there's a.... link to "Awkward Christian Music Album Covers"
posted by sammyo at 7:41 PM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm going to need everyone to immediately go look at the Awkward Christian Music Album Covers link because I don't think I can bear this alone.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:43 PM on March 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


I like the Judas Priest photo in what appears to be a faux wood-paneled basement. The rest of the band is wearing the leather and studs. Halford is owning them.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:45 PM on March 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


Missing Attila, with lead singer Billy Joel.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:45 PM on March 15, 2016 [5 favorites]




Missing Attila, with lead singer Billy Joel

Wow.

It's like some of the characters from The Dark Crystal halfway through beng processed at an abbatoir.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:50 PM on March 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Also, so many puppets on those Christian album covers - is this some special church they all belong to?
posted by marienbad at 7:50 PM on March 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've got a coffee table book full of cock rock hair band promotional photos. Who wants to touch me?
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:52 PM on March 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


"They see us on stage in tight trousers, and we've got, you know, armadillos in our trousers. It's really quite frightening."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:55 PM on March 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


That's just the hors d'oeuvre, there's a.... link to "Awkward Christian Music Album Covers"

The Unseen Hand could double as a free-market libertarian album. Randroid rock!
posted by teponaztli at 7:55 PM on March 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Couple comments. Re, Christian bands... y'all, I've spent decades in the buckle of the bible belt. There is a long standing tradition of big hair here. Big hair. Because, you see, the higher the hair, the closer you are to God. And I have never seen such gravity defying locks as those sported on those covers. I mean, is that inflatable hair? How does that work? Also, what's with all the puppets and puppet imagery. Surely someone amongst us was forced, perhaps at knifepoint, to listen to one of these.

Hair spray bands, ya know what modern music is missing? Codpieces.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:05 PM on March 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


These are pretty bad. I never understood that look then and I don't now. Sweet fancy Moses those Christian covers hurt but The Miracle at My House and God's Chosen Puppet are more metal than some of the metal ones.

I have that Atilla record and it's surprising how good it is. Not that it's some work of art, but I expected so little and there is actual talent there. But then I'm a MeFi outlier in that I like a bunch of Billy Joel.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 8:08 PM on March 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


The hardest part about bad metal photos is figuring out which are ironically bad, and which are just unintentionally bad.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:09 PM on March 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


See also: basically all the other metal album covers.
posted by pompomtom at 8:12 PM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's missing the Cleveland-area hair metal band my uncle fronted in the 80s.
posted by subdee at 8:12 PM on March 15, 2016


Conditioner is false metal. Be not moved.

Also, we are so gonna score.
posted by petebest at 8:16 PM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


The very rotund gentleman carrying a staff of wood (With a drawing of a kitty?) in one hand, and handling the microphone with the other, seems to have appropriated an Oakland Raiders fan costume.

And yes, that totally makes sense.
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:21 PM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sorry O.P. .... Awkward Christians for the win! (although i very much did like the guys in fur boots)
posted by AGameOfMoans at 8:21 PM on March 15, 2016


Jerry Irby kind of kicks ass, though, you guys.
posted by The World Famous at 8:23 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Looks like there'll be some Nightmaricals at my House tonight.
posted by mannequito at 8:24 PM on March 15, 2016


Somehow I knew we'd be seeing some Stryper tonight.
posted by vverse23 at 8:27 PM on March 15, 2016




So how do you get your hair to look like that?
posted by dilaudid at 8:45 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think one of the Tunnel of Love guys was the piano player at my Catholic High School. So many things make more sense now...so many things.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:17 PM on March 15, 2016


From Brookline, MA... TUNNEL OF LOVE breathes the fire that is the eternal flame of ROCK N ROLL. [WARNING: DO NOT have your volume cranked up when you play, (or DO if screamy reverb jangling floats your boat] (how the hell did Bumble Bug get to be there?)
posted by unliteral at 9:28 PM on March 15, 2016


Also, so many puppets on those Christian album covers - is this some special church they all belong to?

Those are the "show me where he touched you" dolls.

Somehow I knew we'd be seeing some Stryper tonight.

I have this unassailable memory of attending a Stryper concert. 1986 or '87. I was in the front row, seated cross-legged on the floor. In front of the band. In the middle school gym. They tossed guitar picks out into the audience, who were seated in pull-out basketball bleachers. There was a lot of guitar-thrashing, followed by praying with hands raised towards the rafters. Then more thrasing, praying, preening. School-sponsored event. Small town in Texas. Not even kidding.

Except I think maybe we were just convinced it was Stryper, because I can't find any evidence that Stryper was doing a tour of junior high gymnasiums during that era.

Now I feel cheated on multiple levels. Not just the god one.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:49 PM on March 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


You see, when baby Jesus comes down from heaven he must choose the proper nest to rest in after his long journey -- he will try out several nests of hair until he finds one that is suitable. He will speak through a ventriloquist dummy until it is time for him to emerge from his resting place, where he will then travel the world with the Karatist Preacher, help the poor and karate-chop sinners in the throat.

I am so going to hell
posted by littlesq at 9:50 PM on March 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


Mock the rest if you want to, but I'm going to have to stand up for that Louvin Brothers album, which is legitimately a classic.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:19 PM on March 15, 2016 [10 favorites]


I'm not saying that black people are inherently better than white people. I'm just saying that this is the first time I've ever seen black people in metal band getup, in my whole life.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:21 PM on March 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Mock the rest if you want to, but I'm going to have to stand up for that Louvin Brothers album, which is legitimately a classic.

One of my all-time favorite albums!

Fun fact: I always thought that devil was a graphic, but according to the liner notes, it was actually a huge plywood cutout standing behind them.
posted by teponaztli at 10:36 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]




I'm not saying it's not awkward, but from that first link these guys, are X Japan, a legendary Japanese metal band.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:39 PM on March 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


so many little leather panties
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:41 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The dudes next to Tunnel of Love look so familiar (cause I was a teen glam metal fan in the 1980s.) Anyone know who it is?
posted by vespabelle at 10:49 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying that black people are inherently better than white people. I'm just saying that this is the first time I've ever seen black people in metal band getup, in my whole life.

Who are they??
posted by cmoj at 11:14 PM on March 15, 2016


"There was a lot of guitar-thrashing, followed by praying with hands raised towards the rafters. Then more thrasing, praying, preening. School-sponsored event. Small town in Texas. Not even kidding."

I also grew up in that kind of small town -- in my case, one that's a few miles outside Texas. I guess I must be about ten years older than you. The only time in my experience a rock band of any sort performed during school hours in my high school during an assembly was in about 1979, and it was a Christian metal group.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:26 PM on March 15, 2016


Glad an accordion was involved.
posted by boilermonster at 12:05 AM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying that black people are inherently better than white people. I'm just saying that this is the first time I've ever seen black people in metal band getup, in my whole life.

You’re too young, and didn’t hang out at the right places.
posted by bongo_x at 12:22 AM on March 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


Awkward Metal Band, or this year's Eurovision hopeful? I'm sure I've seen some of these faces in previous years' competitions.
posted by seawallrunner at 12:27 AM on March 16, 2016


Wait a minute wait a minute wait a minute.

Can we all just take a moment to digest just how much VENTRILOQUISM is being offered to us, in the Christian records, in the form of AUDIO RECORDINGS???
posted by eyesontheroad at 1:23 AM on March 16, 2016 [25 favorites]


Someone in the early 2000's tagged bar bathrooms up and down the west coast with "listen to manowar" stickers and they were the best.
posted by deadbilly at 1:39 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to come out and say that the Manowar pics don't really belong there. They blow right past awkward straight into a type of awesome, and if you know the band at all, you know to what extent they own the aesthetics.
posted by jklaiho at 2:13 AM on March 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think Manowar are due for a "Some Kind of Monster" type documentary. Working title: "A Chink In the Armour." This will probably never happen though, as they don't even allow photographers at their gigs anymore. But still! A boy can dream, can't he?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 2:22 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Someone pointed out the resemblance from another photo, but seriously, second from the right, is that not Ted Cruz? We may have found his secret identity...
posted by Green Winnebago at 3:16 AM on March 16, 2016


The hardest part about bad metal photos is figuring out which are ironically bad, and which are just unintentionally bad.

Well most of them look like they're having a blast, so I guess it doesn't matter! In other words, I don't get what's supposed to be 'awkward' about these. I say, party on, crazy humans.

obligatory link to Heavy Metal Parking Lot
posted by heatvision at 3:45 AM on March 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm just going to come out and say that the Manowar pics don't really belong there. They blow right past awkward straight into a type of awesome, and if you know the band at all, you know to what extent they own the aesthetics.

There are, I believe, three Manowar pictures on the page. Because that's how awesome they are. Also, the Judas Priest and Misfats pictures need to be removed from that page.
posted by NoMich at 4:48 AM on March 16, 2016


Cruz - or possibly Crüze - is a hella metal name. Trump works, too, and would also fit a god rock band...

And now I'm seeing the whole GOP pantomime through that filter: the incoherence, the faux aggression, the crowd-pleasing posturing, the beyond-bad-taste lyrics. If everyone involved just wore more leather, spandex and facepaint, it would make a great deal more sense. Even the drug/ego/money-driven metal band internal politics - splits, grudges, grandiose side projects - maps well.

The Trump codpiece alone would probably guarantee the general.

I think it's time for the Spinal Tap/House Of Cards crossover movie.
posted by Devonian at 4:51 AM on March 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Why don't any of the album covers have "Buy now on iTunes" links? :(
posted by subliminable at 5:11 AM on March 16, 2016


Manowar were just a massive hit away from being offered a video-game tie-in with Sega, and it would be exactly like Golden Axe, except with 4 well-oiled dudes. At least that's what my first impression of them back in the early 90s suggested.

A fun story about Karatist Preacher - God's Power: In here there's a cult with huge "PODER DE DEUS" (lit. "God's Power") backlit sign sprawling across the windows. Just a few meters away, there's a Karate dojo. And I Iaugh. Everytime.

Also, It's the new game from Activision: Guitar Jesus vs Superman.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:33 AM on March 16, 2016


The Trump codpiece alone would probably guarantee the general.

I'm now picturing Trump in full Immortan Joe regalia, and it works. From squeezing into the fake muscle suit to the "mediocre" throwaway insult to the utter contempt towards women, it totally works.

Someone needs to photoshop up an Immortan Donald ASAP.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:01 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Someone pointed out the resemblance from another photo, but seriously, second from the right, is that not Ted Cruz? We may have found his secret identity...

Nah, Styper were popular once.
posted by Mezentian at 6:02 AM on March 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm not saying that black people are inherently better than white people. I'm just saying that this is the first time I've ever seen black people in metal band getup, in my whole life.
posted by DoctorFedora

Who are they??
posted by cmoj

They are Black Death from Cleveland, Ohio. Here's an interview at Vice with singer Siki Spacek from last November.
posted by Boxenmacher at 6:10 AM on March 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Every one of those Christian music album titles could either be a euphemism for something filthy or a strain of marijuana.
posted by echocollate at 6:11 AM on March 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


"I'm putting together a hard rocking metal band and I'm looking for musicians. I'll be playing my fretless bass, because I doubt anyone else rocks even half as hard as I do. You should hear my amazing solo. Oh, and only guys from the Ivies, not the minor Ivies. They're lame."
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:23 AM on March 16, 2016


Can we all just take a moment to digest just how much VENTRILOQUISM is being offered to us, in the Christian records, in the form of AUDIO RECORDINGS???

It works on the RADIO too.
posted by Paul Slade at 6:29 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


According to my husband, whose father was a Baptist music minister for a church and thus grew up deep in this culture, puppets and karate preachers were totally a thing he grew up with. Apparently his church had not one but two karate preachers preach at his church, and he grew up listening to some puppet tell Bible stories? Sing songs? But the horrific thing was that it was named Uncle Cousin? I don't know, I may have blacked out at some point during the story.
posted by PussKillian at 6:30 AM on March 16, 2016 [12 favorites]


I think I know some of the people in a few of these photos.
posted by slogger at 6:35 AM on March 16, 2016


Maybe if they used the karate on the dummies?

But back in the dawn of video games- I'm talking Atari 2600 here - I knew a guy who was totally going to be a video game preacher. That was how he was going to connect with the kids and save their souls. He was all like, they may not think much of my strong gospel message at first, but they'll respect how I can play. So, in order to serve God better, he spent a lot of time practicing.

Basically, he was just a fundamentalist who really, really liked his Atari. If you're really into something in the Bible Belt, sooner or later, you find a way to make it about Jesus. If only because it's kind of suspicious that you're spending all that time and energy on something if it isn't about Jesus.
posted by Naberius at 6:51 AM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Leotrotsky, there is no need for photoshop, just google image search "immortan trump cosplay".
posted by fings at 6:52 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Satan speaks through dummies.
posted by echocollate at 7:00 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Baptist Karate Preacher is my new metal band name.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:12 AM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can't favorite this enough. I'm probably *in* one of those pix. Gah.

totally forgot about manowar, whoah
posted by sidereal at 7:26 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


vespabelle - it's Tigertailz!
posted by bibliogrrl at 7:33 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


From the comments on the Christian albums: "The bigger the hair, the closer to God."

Amen to that, brother.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:46 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'll be playing my fretless bass, because I doubt anyone else rocks even half as hard as I do. You should hear my amazing solo. Oh, and only guys from the Ivies, not the minor Ivies. They're lame.

I played the fretless bass professionally for 15 years before I went and got a DEA from the Sorbonne, but I've got a sore leg now, so I guess I'm lame.

Been rumbled here!
posted by Wolof at 7:56 AM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was this in the 80s. In those days, at least at first, looking as ridiculous as this actually made tough guys leave you alone, not sure why. It was like they just didn't want the additional cognitive load of dealing with your appearance.
posted by colie at 8:06 AM on March 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


There is a long standing tradition of big hair here. Big hair. Because, you see, the higher the hair, the closer you are to God. And I have never seen such gravity defying locks as those sported on those covers. I mean, is that inflatable hair? How does that work?

These days, you would probably use something like a Bump-it. Back in the day, I think the preferred method was to use an old knee high stocking, and stuff it with old hair from your hairbrush until you got a sufficiently sized hair-support.
posted by antimony at 8:12 AM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


And now the winner: Punky Meadows of Angel.
posted by Splunge at 8:54 AM on March 16, 2016


I was surprised not to find any of them awkward, because they all seem so confident! Just totally owning their skull codpieces and death masks with joie de vivre or mourir or something.
posted by fizban at 8:57 AM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I guess I should drop this here. Hairstorm.

To the best of my knowledge, most of the hair is wigs.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:49 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The backstage photo of Judas Priest shouldn't really count.
posted by Ber at 10:05 AM on March 16, 2016


In the tinsel-splattered days of UK glam rock, there was always one bruiser in the band who looked as if he'd really be be far more at home on a building site. He'd be just as plastered with make-up and feather boas as his more androgynous bandmates, but never looked remotely happy about it.
posted by Paul Slade at 10:26 AM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm happy to see Manowar so well represented here (no double-entrendre intended), and still part of the vox populi. I've always had a fondness for these heavy metal maniacs, never actually having heard the band. My writing career was launched by a satirical in-depth review of the album cover of Manowar's 'Fighting the World' that I wrote for the school paper in grade 11, which was so delighted the readership that the next year they made me co-editor.
posted by Flashman at 10:58 AM on March 16, 2016


I also came down to note the prominence (3 pictures!) of Man-o-war.
posted by snofoam at 11:06 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can anyone opine more on the puppet thing? What do puppets offer the Christian experience? Either metallic or otherwise?
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 11:19 AM on March 16, 2016


::GIF of the Goblin King facepalming and shaking his head::
posted by droplet at 11:25 AM on March 16, 2016




The Louvin Bros. "Satan Is Real" wins this post.

The Miami Vice + South Park crossover style is super fresh.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:34 PM on March 16, 2016


In case you were wondering about the pretty heavy representation of ventriloquist dummies in the gospel album covers, check this out:

In the late fifties a new theory on how to sway children to Jesus swept the culture and has survived for almost fifty years against all odds. Ventriloquism. The craze of using ventriloquist dummies to teach Jesus to kids became so huge in fact, that there remains today a heavily-attended Christian Ventriloquists Convention held in San Diego every year. Hundreds of Christian ventriloquist LPs have permeated America, the biggest star of which was, of course, Little Marcy who recorded for several major Christian record labels. Christian ventriloquism was based on the same theory as the previous comic book and claymation experiments - perhaps non-believers could more easily be converted if they were fooled into hearing "the message."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Does that female Christian album cover hair-helmet come off -- presumably with an audible clack -- to reveal a LEGO-style stud on the top of their heads? *shudder*
posted by wenestvedt at 1:34 PM on March 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Splunge: "And now the winner: Punky Meadows of Angel."

Cool, I had never taken the trouble to look for the musician who inspired Punky's Whips.
posted by nicolin at 2:41 PM on March 16, 2016


Also, so many puppets on those Christian album covers - is this some special church they all belong to?
Those are the "show me where he touched you" dolls.


Are we really making "children get molested by christians" jokes??
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:19 PM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Naberius: "If you're really into something in the Bible Belt, sooner or later, you find a way to make it about Jesus. If only because it's kind of suspicious that you're spending all that time and energy on something if it isn't about Jesus."

Not Bible Belt but this is what I decided when I saw a Christian Star Trek fan-film. Really they just wanted to make a Star Trek fan-film but they felt like they have to justify it to themselves.
posted by RobotHero at 5:30 PM on March 16, 2016


NoMich: "Misfats pictures"

Wait, they're called the "Misfats"?

That is just...so awesome.

mandolin conspiracy: "In the late fifties a new theory on how to sway children to Jesus swept the culture and has survived for almost fifty years against all odds. Ventriloquism."

So ventriloquism is to Christianity as puppets are to anarchy?

FirstMateKate: "Are we really making "children get molested by christians" jokes??"

Given that Christian bands are almost never Catholic (and often believe the Catholic church is satanic), I think we're just making non-denominational "children get molested" jokes.
posted by Bugbread at 5:32 PM on March 16, 2016


What I'm wondering is what percentage of the ventriloquist dummy albums were recorded using the actual dummy in the studio? It can't be 100%, but there must have been some folks who would find the idea of recording a ventriloquist dummy album without actually using the dummy to be dishonest, so it can't be 0%, either. I wonder what the number is.
posted by Bugbread at 5:39 PM on March 16, 2016


mudpuppie: "Those are the "show me where he touched you" dolls"

dolls.FirstMateKate: "Are we really making "children get molested by christians" jokes??"

Bugbread: "Given that Christian bands are almost never Catholic (and often believe the Catholic church is satanic), I think we're just making non-denominational "children get molested" jokes."

I know folks get all pissy about jokes here on metafilter, but - while I concede that that particular strain of humor is in poor taste at best - it is in this context that I still have to point out this photo from that set (SFW, no dolls or puppets).
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 5:59 PM on March 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Lemme dig that hole a little deeper: Lil Markie- Use Me.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 6:04 PM on March 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


So...do aspiring musicians still pose this hard? Because it's my impression that they don't. Or if they do, it's done with a wink and tongue firmly in cheek. It's hard to imagine that kind of earnestness in the Internet age.

One of the many weird things about 80s metal fashion is how femme it was, in a way that (for the most part) was not playing with any kind of queer identity. (To the contrary, this kind of buttmetal—I mean that affectionately—was all about macho virility, of a cheesy and adolescent sort, and was not particularly friendly to queer folks.) I mean, this might be the most homoerotic thing I've ever seen. And of course there was all the hairspray, makeup, jewelry, platform boots, shiny clingy pants... It was a form of drag—obviously quite separate from the actual drag scene, but nonetheless, you had legions of (mostly straight) young men preening their bangs and accessorizing with sparkly scarves.

That kind of metal wasn't my scene, so I've never really understood what the femme-iness was all about. Was it just supposed to shock the squares, because OMG men dressing like women? Was it a peacocking kind of thing, like "I'm so oozing with masculinity that I can afford to hyper-feminize myself"? Was it just a more-or-less mindless fashion trend that I shouldn't think too hard about?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:41 PM on March 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's a mortal shame that some of these are photoshopped, because it really detracts from the glory of those that aren't.
posted by kitarra at 9:57 PM on March 16, 2016


One of the many weird things about 80s metal fashion is how femme it was, in a way that (for the most part) was not playing with any kind of queer identity. (To the contrary, this kind of buttmetal—I mean that affectionately—was all about macho virility, of a cheesy and adolescent sort, and was not particularly friendly to queer folks.) I mean, this might be the most homoerotic thing I've ever seen. And of course there was all the hairspray, makeup, jewelry, platform boots, shiny clingy pants... It was a form of drag—obviously quite separate from the actual drag scene, but nonetheless, you had legions of (mostly straight) young men preening their bangs and accessorizing with sparkly scarves.

In high school me and my new wave/punk/skater friends would rag on the big-hair-metal guys for exactly this. In retrospect it was totally homophobic of us, but it was a great way to get them all riled up to the point that they would chase us around the parking lot threatening to kick our asses. And also in retrospect, there was a lot of irony of a group of kids who spent ages in front of the mirror coloring and spiking their hair making fun of other kids for spending too much time preening and primping. Self-awareness was not our strong suit.

I haven't read any histories of heavy metal and I'm not a part of that scene, but I do wonder if someone has done a good analysis of the peacocking and (sometimes) homoerotic fashion that was so much a part of the aesthetic. There were definitely femme aspects, but there was also a lot of thrusting packages and masculine assertions; I can't think of any other fashion mix quite like that in recent decades.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:43 AM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


That kind of metal wasn't my scene, so I've never really understood what the femme-iness was all about. Was it just supposed to shock the squares, because OMG men dressing like women? Was it a peacocking kind of thing, like "I'm so oozing with masculinity that I can afford to hyper-feminize myself"? Was it just a more-or-less mindless fashion trend that I shouldn't think too hard about?

All of those things and more. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and it’s interesting to see the context for things I lived through get lost. That’s why I’m always skeptical of any representation of history.

A lot of it is spill over from other 80’s fashion. Androgyny was big, not just as fashion. Even in the decidedly unhip small city I lived in it you were considered a Neanderthal if you acknowledged any difference except genitals for the most part. Many Hard Rock fans were not especially fond of New Wave but it was still in the air.

In the early 80’s Hard Rock was essentially dead, at least as fashion, all the stoner kids still listened to the late 70’s bands, and all the bands around still had that style. It was not hip. (The Stoner Rock thing from the 90’s and later is sort a direct decedent of the 80’s Hard Rock fans that never bought into the Glam scene). The change came from a resurgence in interest in the New York Dolls and early 70’s Glam, and a Finnish band called Hanoi Rocks were a huge influence, way outside of what history and record sales would suggest. This brought some of the fashion from New Wave into a Hard Rock context.

As it caught on, as tends to happen, many just copied the style without understanding it and without context. It just became the way to look. By the late 80’s the originators had moved on (Hanoi Rocks was gone) and the people doing it were stragglers. Later bands that carried it further like Pretty Boy Floyd were mocked relentlessly at the time, but much of the look became normalized and toned down, a la Bon Jovi. For a lot of mainstream bands like it morphed into a tongue in cheek celebration of 70’s show biz and Vegas style, like David Lee Roth (I remember reading once that Bon Jovi had bought old 70’s Earth, Wind and Fire touring costumes).

A lot of the stuff was done with a sense of humor, it was meant to be outrageous and silly, camp, there was a lot of anti-earnestness in the air. But of course there were people who didn’t quite get it and were very earnestly trying to copy.

What started off in the early 80’s being a decidedly anti-macho stance was appropriated by many in the late 80’s into a warped macho style.

I’m going to say the line in the sand was Spandex. We didn’t call them Hair Bands then, we called them Spandex bands. Spandex bands didn’t get it. Very few people that wore Spandex were ever considered cool, and even then they were still thought of as being a little misguided (Iron Maiden). Spandex was what happened when someone said "I need to look like a Rock Star" but had no idea how to pull that off. So there’s your point of reference for looking at old bands, anyone wearing Spandex was probably laughed at by people I knew at the time (who nonetheless were wearing feather boas and had a head full of Aqua Net) just like they are today. And of course there were "Spandex bands" who were actually wearing Spandex, but you knew it was in their heart.

Nobody ever understood Manowar, that’s why they were and are so fascinating. I can still say "Manowar" to any of my friends and they will laugh and shake their heads.
posted by bongo_x at 11:48 AM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


many just copied the style without understanding it and without context.
And many of those wanted to look like Rob Halford.
posted by fings at 12:35 PM on March 17, 2016


A lot of the stuff was done with a sense of humor, it was meant to be outrageous and silly, camp, there was a lot of anti-earnestness in the air.

Late 80s glam-spandex-hair metal both peaked and was destroyed by Guns 'n' Roses. The kind of money they generated due to having crossover songs and guitar solos that were empirically more intelligent and interesting than the rest of the pack sent the whole thing crazy, and ugly, in the way only the music industry can go crazy and ugly.

The whole peacock thing is mirrored in the format of the music as well, where the most repetitive, ugly and predictable songs (all metal) are made enjoyable for their fans by having a respite two-thirds of the way through for a massively over-detailed baroque section of musical interest, which is the virtuoso guitar solo. Any other fleeting musical interest in the rest of the song is merely tolerated as a prelude. Also, the singer must embody the aspirations of the audience totally but with a just discernible sense of humour.
posted by colie at 1:08 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


And many of those wanted to look like Rob Halford.

I forgot how much he turned into Neal Stephenson...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:11 PM on March 17, 2016


I'm not saying that black people are inherently better than white people. I'm just saying that this is the first time I've ever seen black people in metal band getup, in my whole life.

Apparently metal is big in Botswana. There was a post here a while ago that I'm too lazy to look up about the metal culture in Botswana with pictures of some boss motherfuckers in their metal getups. Mostly they favor a Rob Halford sort of look.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:16 PM on March 17, 2016




Those photos seem to confirm that Metal/Country are quite interchangeable once the racial barriers of the US are no longer relevant.
posted by colie at 1:48 PM on March 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, Judas Priest was pretty blatantly and intentionally leatherman homoerotic. Not that most anyone I knew at the time (late 70s, early 80s) recognized it in my small town. It seems to me to be weirdly insular (or something) to imagine that various examples of homoerotism in metal were somehow all unintentional.

Also, I think that what looks to an early-21st-century eye as "femme" did not necessarily send the same signals in the 80s. Particularly the blow-dried, feathered, long hair and clean-shaven faces, coupled with tight fitting pants. Male fashion for a long time now has been kind of aggressively unshaven-with-bedhead and loose clothing and so 70s and 80s male fashion signals something non-masculine (non-straight/non-cis) to modern eyes simply because of the strong contrast.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:47 PM on March 17, 2016


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