Glam: Metal's Unwanted Step-Child


Written by: Doc Godin
Published: 27.04.2007


Coming out of the late 70's until early 90's there was a genre of Rock N Roll known as Glam Metal, which crossed over into many genres of music but most popularly metal, in which it was called "Hair Metal." This genre is often frowned upon by many metal-heads and punk-rockers alike. Though I was not alive during this genre's peak I am going to try to analyze and hopefully figure out the reason behind the common dislike for this music.

In The Beginning
The actual genre "Glam Rock" was a term for the the beginning of what was to come in the 80s. The term itself came from the Hollywood scene in the late 60s/early 70s, separating itself from the dying hippie movement of the time. Fans and bands alike would dress in flashy ambisexual costumes, deemed "glamourous" by the media. There were two birth-places of this "Glam-Rock": one was in the UK with bands like Queen, T.Rex, Slade, and of course David Bowie; from the US, slightly earlier, was the punkish Rolling Stones-esque sounding New York Dolls, from Detroit there was Iggy Pop, and Alice Cooper, whose "shock-rock" stage show & antics inspired (and were imitated by) future Glam Metal bands.

These flashy stage shows and costumes were then shortly brought to a new extreme by KISS, who unlike their glam-rock counterparts, took a less transvestite-esque path, and dressed in full face paint and armor-like costumes.

The Next Step
The next step was breeding a harder, heavier sound and it was to come straight off the Sunset Strip, in Hollywood California. This new sound mixed the previously mentioned glam-rock with heavy metal like Black Sabbath, hence the term "Glam Metal" was born. Though many bands have been credited with the birth of this new sound, the most famous has been Motley Crue. Motley Crue took influence from all over the map, taking the heavy make-up and leather from New York Dolls, shocking stage shows from the likes of Alice Cooper (which often involved lighting bassist Nikki Sixx on fire and beheading mannequins with chainsaws), and bluesy, yet heavy (for there time) guitar riffs of Black Sabbath.

This new blues rock type movement was soon followed by the likes of bands like Poison, Cinderella, Dokken, and Ratt, who all turned the music into a far poppier sound. Very few were able to recreate the metal side of what The Crue had started. On the flip side, there were many bands who had the over-the-top make-up and attire of Motley Crue but took the music to a heavier level, these bands consisted of W.A.S.P., Twisted Sister, and even Ozzy Osbourne.

Evolution
As time grew on Glam Metal started to change into a less glossy, more greasey biker-like phase known as "Sleaze Rock" or "Sleaze Glam." Instead of taking its direct influences from the glittery late 60s/early 70s glam rock, it mixed hard rock with 70s punk like The Ramones or The Misfits, with 70s blues rock like Aerosmith and AC/DC. Some of these "Sleaze Rock" bands that started to emerge consisted of Skid Row, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, and one of the top 10 biggest rock bands of all time, Guns N Roses. Much of the imagery was also inspired by the Finnish Glam/Sleaze band Hanoi Rocks. Even Motley Crue followed this trend and toned down the make-up and upped the denim & leather for their 1987 album "Girls, Girls, Girls."

Another (yet not quite as successful) Sleaze Rock movement also started to come out of England, this movement involved bands like Dogs D'Amour, London Quireboys, and Soho Roses. Though these bands did not reach the world-wide fame of Guns N Roses, the British band The Cult started to change their style from post-punk to blues rock, which had an obvious influence on Guns N Roses.

The Demise
Though the evolution of Glam Metal into Sleaze Rock is partially responsible for the death of Glam Metal, the final nail in the coffin was not from evolution but rather an outside genre. As many of us know, in the early to mid 90s there was a musical fad sweeping the nation called "Grunge." Lead by the band Nirvana, it took an exact opposite route to the music, rather than having lyrical content based on partying and getting laid, the lyrical content focused more around depression, drug addiction and teen angst. As well as lyrical content, the attire was also drastically different; instead of leather, denim, blush and eyeliner, it was flanel, unwashed jeans and unkempt hair. As the media readjusted its focus onto this new music, Glam Metal became but a shadow of what it once was.

My Point
Now that you know the history and time line of this genre, perhaps we can further understand the common distaste for it. Could it be musical skill (or lack thereof)? It can't be, anyone who is familiar with Michael Angelo Batio or Nitro would not agree at all. Could it be the preoccupation with image? I can assure you corpse paint takes longer to apply than eyeliner, blush and some lipstick. The only reasonable explanation would be the marketing; my theory is Hair Metal/Glam Rock/Sleaze Rock was seen the same way we look at bands like Blink 182, or Nickleback: over marketed pop-rock. Though the music may have been heavily marketed it was great rock n roll, the original bands coming from that genre stood the test of time, the cheap copycats faded out and fell into the "where are they now?" category.

Look at any band coming from that genre: they were over-the-top for a reason; the music was all about partying and having fun, that's all, so when you frown upon this "ridiculous" music, do you really think it was supposed to be taken all that seriously in the first place?

It Rises Again
For those of you who thought Glam Metal died out with the 80s, you'll be pleased to know its making a comeback, and from the most unsuspecting of places: Sweden. Bands like Hardcore Superstar, Crashdiet, Crazy Lixx, Babylon Bombs, Innocent Rosie, Baby Jane, and Vains Of Jenna are all coming out of Sweden bringing back the rock n roll stylings of the 80s for all of us who missed out.

Disclaimer: For all of you who were lucky enough to be alive in this era, I apologize for any inaccuracies I have made.



 


Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 36   Visited by: 150 users
24.03.2009 - 07:36
Doc Godin
Obnoxious
Written by SDMFmopptz on 24.03.2009 at 00:28

and it's even better when somebody that is not a big fan of the genres to write


....Huh? I wrote this because I am a big fan of the genre...I'm not exactly sure what you were insinuating there...
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"I got a lot of really good ideas, problem is, most of them suck."
- George Carlin
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26.03.2009 - 03:00
SDMFmopptz
Dr. Rock sorry for not being clear... but what i meant that i like glam and sleaze rock (eg. motley crue, skid row, guns n roses, ratt, etc), and sorry if wasn't clear and if you or someone else didn't understand there
ps: im fan of SOME glam/sleaze rock bands because we all know that SOME of them are good but some of them are real trash.
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When Heads Roll the more the better STRENGHT DETERMINATION MERCILLES FOREVER
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26.03.2009 - 05:32
Doc Godin
Obnoxious
Written by SDMFmopptz on 26.03.2009 at 03:00

ps: im fan of SOME glam/sleaze rock bands because we all know that SOME of them are good but some of them are real trash.

Like all genres of music. I tried to leave opinion out of my article, but at the same time I didn't want to come across as one of those guys who worships everything from a certain genre/musical movement. For example I think Poison is garbage.
----
"I got a lot of really good ideas, problem is, most of them suck."
- George Carlin
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29.03.2009 - 08:25
SDMFmopptz
Written by Doc Godin on 26.03.2009 at 05:32

Written by SDMFmopptz on 26.03.2009 at 03:00

ps: im fan of SOME glam/sleaze rock bands because we all know that SOME of them are good but some of them are real trash.

Like all genres of music. I tried to leave opinion out of my article, but at the same time I didn't want to come across as one of those guys who worships everything from a certain genre/musical movement. For example I think Poison is garbage.

yeah i totally agree with that, and i think that lots of people should first listen to the music than take care the genre, the artist of the music and find out new bands... like people should not became addicted to some band or some expecific genre of rock
Let's open our minds.... but not too much
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When Heads Roll the more the better STRENGHT DETERMINATION MERCILLES FOREVER
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19.04.2009 - 01:47
ravendeath
Great thoughts INDREDKOLD! I think almost the same. I started to listen metal music because of wasp, bon jovi, europe,... but those bands only introduced me this great music that was behind, like black sabbath, iron maiden, metallica, slayer,...As you are from England you forgot about great bands like carcass, paradise lost, cathedral, napalm death, anathema, my dying bride...
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13.11.2009 - 20:39
that dude guy
ARTICAL GOOD................GLAM BAD....
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