What are the Greatest Moustaches in Rock?
November has become a slightly frightening time of year for men everywhere. A very worthy campaign has swept the nation in the last few years encouraging people to grow hair on the upper slopes of their faces during the month to help raise awareness and highlight the fight against prostate and testicular cancer. I am a big fan of this Movember campaign and have willingly paid over large spadefuls of cash to willing volunteers who appear keen to look ridiculous.
Of course I draw the line at actually growing one myself. London is now littered with the most dreadful looking Sergeant Major types of facial graffiti and it is quite disconcerting. I find myself giving these charitable types reproachful looks similar to those given to me by ants when I approach them with the ant-powder.
I thus see Movember more as a spectator sport. I look stupid enough without actually contributing to my own downfall and am determined to remain less hirsute than these selfless individuals who are so willing to lay down their self respect for people with such serious illnesses.
A recent comment thread on Every Record Tells A Story veered away from the topic in hand (Black Sabbath) and towards Tony Iommi‘s own moustache, which is as luxurious a growth as ever appeared on a man’s upper lip.
The seventies were of course quite an unpleasant time for dislikers of hairy faces, with hardly a band around that didn’t think they looked rather natty sporting these hideous slug-like lip-accompaniments.
Thankfully, punk came along and swept away all the hippies for a while and thus the eighties were pretty clear of the ‘tache. A few staunch supporters still clung on to the look however, like Voldemort’s death-eaters waiting for the right time to unleash hell across the world again.
Let’s take a look at these Eighties anti-heroes and affronters of good taste:
1. Rudolph Schenker from The Scorpions
Well – there is the slight excuse of being German in his defence. I think this was still a fashionable look in Lower Saxony in 1987. And probably Upper and Middle Saxony too. It just went out of fashion in the rest of the world in 1887. Unless your name was either Siegfried or Roy.
2. Claude Schnell of Dio
See explanation above. One of the more unpleasant things you’ll ever see outside of a nightmare. Even one featuring one of Dio’s dragons or demons in it.
3. Ron Mael from Sparks
On his face is “A dark stain like mulligatawny soup” as Wodehouse once put it. You thought a Hitler moustache would be a good look? Really? At what meeting was that decided? (I know this was the seventies, but it’s one of a kind – and hadn’t been removed by 1980…)
4. Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap (see picture at top of page)
A joke moustache in a joke band. See also The Darkness. Even before Hawkins’ own effort, Frankie Poullain – the bass player – had styled himself deliberately on Smalls himself. That’s life imitating art imitating life. Imitating an idiot.
5. Dave Holland of Judas Priest
You would have thought that having a gay guy in the band would have improved their dress sense. But no, Mr Holland was determined that this lip-fungus should make himself look especially dreadful.
6. Scott Columbus of Manowar
Mr Columbus clearly didn’t feel that dressing in a loin cloth and leather chaps was ridiculous enough. “It’s ludicrous – but is it really fruit-loopy enough?” I hear him say. “What this look needs is a fuzzy caterpillar crawling across my face”.
7. Lee Aaron‘s guitarist John Albini
No, me neither. Better than Lee Aaron having a moustache, we can only assume he woke up one morning, took a look in the mirror and realised that when you have a face like that, a furry growth in the middle does ease the strain for the onlooker…
Interesting moustache fact: According to Hoare’s Short Italian Dictionary, the word Baffona is Italian for “Woman with not unpleasing moustache”.
Perhaps doesn’t count on this list, on the basis that it existed in the sixties, and remains to this day – and I’m not going to argue with the legend that is Lemmy. See also Ted Nugent – albeit I won’t argue with Ted not because he’s a legend, but rather that a) he’s a nutter and b) he’s a better shot than me.
9. Kirk Hammett of Metallica
Kirk’s loathsome “bum-fluff” moustache always struggled to establish itself, and was eventually blown away by a mild gust of wind in 2004. It re-grew, and Kirk then resembled Zorro.
10. Freddie Mercury
He fronted a band called Queen and had a bushy ‘tache. And yet it was still a shock when he came out…
Did we miss any?
Record #120: Beck – Devil’s Haircut