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 Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful? 
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Storm Trooper
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Post Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
I listened to Eddie Trunk (American rock/metal DJ) talk about this issue recently. His argument goes something like this: the term hair metal is a retrospectively applied term that was used to denigrate an entire genre of music. He believes that the consequence of this is that it has led to its marginalisation. He thinks it should just be referred to as 80's rock.

Regardless of what you you think of the bands that are generally lumped into that category, I think there is something to his view. I've even heard young people refer to GNR as 'hair metal' which is complete nonsense. Queensryche too. So it's not just the glam bands that have been negatively impacted by this label.






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Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:37 am
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Darth Fucking Vader
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term still accurate/useful?
Another glam metal thread. Ok.

Question, Statters - how can you separate his argument from what the music is actually like? Hair metal is an inherently disparaging term, so to describe a band as 'hair metal' shows an opinion on the music.

No, it's not retrospectively applied - shit glam bands were disparagingly called hair metal or hairbands at the time. He mentions KIX who are actually a perfect example of just how insipid and contrived that brand of music really was. He acts like it;s outrageous that people are still dismissive of the style (even though it's been through something of an ironic rehabilitation lately) when for the most part that's exactly the reaction it deserves.

There might be a tiny few classic hair metal songs which have survived, but for the most part it was a deeply cynical style and is rightly derided now like it was then.


Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:21 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Saw one of his rants about it today, rather coincidentally. Disagree totally. You can't rewrite history just because you disagree with it.

Those bands were hair metal back then for a reason. Yes, some of them could play, but they fitted such a blatant stereotype. It was the look, not the sound, which is why bands like GnR got called that too. It happened back then, and not just now too.

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Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:57 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Cock Rock was my preferred term.

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Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:20 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Dr Yail Bloor wrote:
Cock Rock was my preferred term.




Always preferred calling it glam metal myself.

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Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:37 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Well, the music it refers to is rock as opposed to metal, so it's not accurate. We always called it glam -
just glam, no rock attached.

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Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:18 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
If it came down to only hairstyles then Morbid Angel could, conceivably, be referred to as "hair metal". However, it has always been used to refer to bands who put a particular image before music, in a negative way.

The problem comes when you start judging bands by this wholesale, resulting in the likes of GnR getting unfairly lumped in. There were other bands who were affected by this as well, such as Cinderella, who actually wrote some decent stuff. What about Twisted Sister?

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Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:42 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
doomrider wrote:
If it came down to only hairstyles then Morbid Angel could, conceivably, be referred to as "hair metal". However, it has always been used to refer to bands who put a particular image before music, in a negative way.

The problem comes when you start judging bands by this wholesale, resulting in the likes of GnR getting unfairly lumped in. There were other bands who were affected by this as well, such as Cinderella, who actually wrote some decent stuff. What about Twisted Sister?


Twisted Sister were really taking the piss out of that image, but a lot of bands didn't realise it and copied them. They actually wrote some pretty fucking dark and heavy songs, like Destroyer and Under The Blade.

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Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:44 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
TS also came from the original 70's glam era. Maybe why they were much closer to the real thing than some of the identikit later bands.


Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:59 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Vim Fuego wrote:
doomrider wrote:
If it came down to only hairstyles then Morbid Angel could, conceivably, be referred to as "hair metal". However, it has always been used to refer to bands who put a particular image before music, in a negative way.

The problem comes when you start judging bands by this wholesale, resulting in the likes of GnR getting unfairly lumped in. There were other bands who were affected by this as well, such as Cinderella, who actually wrote some decent stuff. What about Twisted Sister?


Twisted Sister were really taking the piss out of that image, but a lot of bands didn't realise it and copied them. They actually wrote some pretty fucking dark and heavy songs, like Destroyer and Under The Blade.


That's really my point, and why I don't think the term is particularly useful when used it the common context.

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Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:21 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Some of the bands I really like are labelled as such, even if some didn't wear make up or dress like a two bob whore.

It used to wind me up, especially in the 90's when some great bands or records were dismissed, or lumped in with some late 80's opportunist with candy floss hair and a power ballad on MTV, because they weren't in line with current fashion. But at this point, I don't really care any more.

I have friends who got into rock during the grunge/alt rock era who now listen to classic metal and hard rock bands, many of whom have all been tarred with that brush - whether at the time, or retroactively - because they are of a mind to look past the image, and check it out when it is recommended, same as they did with Slayer, or black metal.

You can't change the perception of the average punter though, any more than you can convince certain people that some punk bands actually had decent songs and musicianship, or that prog at it's best was about more than just self indulgent wankery.

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Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:37 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
People made fun of glam metal then yes, but there wasn't an agreed-upon term with the same negative connotations that was used to slate the genre until later. That's what Trunk was complaining about, and he is certainly old enough to remember what that time was like.

Wretch, i know guys that listen to Priest and Maiden now that wouldn't touch those bands with a ten foot pole back in 1995. To me it's not really a question of being bitter because those feelings are over, it's more about recognition I guess, and we are lucky that many of the classic bands are now well respected, even though it took a while for that to happen.

Personally i think many of those hair metal bands wrote good pop songs, and that's the level they should be appreciated on. Their image should not get in the way of that. Cyndi Lauper looked ridiculous in the 80's too, but we as a culture have no problem appreciating her.

The problem I believe may also be cultural. In short, those hair bands represent aspects of old pop culture that we believe are questionable and/or no longer relevant, especially in regards to gender.

Re: Twisted Sister. They were difficult to categorise because they were effectively caught between two eras. This has been a help and a hindrance as far as their legacy is concerned.

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Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:32 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
The funniest thing was when hair metal tried to go all alternative. Or go heavier.

Like Skid Row for instance.

Friends of mine into the hard rock genre always try and give Skid Row a "break".

As if they were "unfairly" lumped in with those bands at the time. The argument being was that they were always a much heavier band to start with, but who flirted with the hair metal thing in order to establish a fanbase.

I call bullshit on the whole thing. Fuck Skid Row. They were as "hair metal" as Warrant or Kix or Danger Danger ever were. And no amount of playing the alternative card will ever fool anyone.


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Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:56 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Subhuman Race was a good album though, and they were flat out better songwriters than most of those bands.

Nobody is making excuses for them. They were just superior to 95% of the bands thrown in that category, and Bach was a charismatic frontman with a powerful voice.

Bach's t-shirt is exactly the kind of thing I was referring to above too. i.e cultural reasons

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Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:08 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Paris Chrome wrote:
The funniest thing was when hair metal tried to go all alternative. Or go heavier.



The band I always think of is Ugly Kid Joe. If they had come out a year earlier than they had, they would have been poodle perms and eyeliner like the rest of them. The music sounded exactly the same, but they got away with it because they were scruffy and looked like they dressed from the op shop. Other bands tried the same, like Bang Tango. Didn't work.

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Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:41 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
That was true of UKJ's debut, not Menace To Sobriety.

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Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:01 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Paris Chrome wrote:
The funniest thing was when hair metal tried to go all alternative. Or go heavier.

They all seemed to think using that Beck style "alt rock" drum beat just washed away all the sins of the past like Def Leppard did on "Truth" for example. Fuck, that beat was everywhere by the mid 90s.


Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:04 am
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
I don't think Skid Row were ever "hair metal": They always had more in common with the likes of GnR than Poison, and in Scotty Hill and Dave Sabo, they had two superb guitarists. Yes, Bach was always a bit of a tool, and I don't think he ever managed to carry his voice into the live arena, but musically, they were the real deal.

Bach was the main reason some lumped them in with the hair metal lot, being a bit of a pretty boy (and Rachel Bolan, to a lesser extent).

Even their debut had some heavy moments, and could have benefitted from a heavier production, which they corrected on Slave to the Grind: An absolute monster album at the time. I didn't bother with anything they did after that.

They didn't even look "hair metal"

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Compared to this:

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Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:54 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
I'll just drop these here...

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Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:07 pm
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Post Re: Hair metal: is the term accurate or useful?
Stat_Rad wrote:
Subhuman Race was a good album though, and they were flat out better songwriters than most of those bands.



Listening to Subhuman Race now. Had never heard it before. It's ok. Maybe slightly below a 3 fister.

The same things you pointed out previously could be said about WASP, whom I always felt were unfairly tagged with the hair metal brush.

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