I’m Putting Rock On Trial! Have Your Say!
Twenty five years on from the peak of heavy rock‘s commercial popularity in 1988, this series asks why heavy rockers no longer dominate the charts and seeks to highlight the crimes that Heavy Rock is accused of, and give you the cases for and against.
At the end of each debate, you will have the ability to vote either “guilty” or “not guilty”, according to the evidence. And because this is a democratic process, you may also introduce your own evidence, in the comments section at the foot of the page to sway the jury.
By the end of the process we should perhaps have a clearer view of what went wrong with those eighties rock bands, and the pitfalls new bands might do well to avoid…
Call The Fashion Police: Why Do Rockers All Dress So Badly?
The case for the prosecution:
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let’s examine the evidence (Many of these featured in a previous post – “The Worst Dressed Men In Rock”)….
Manowar: the oiled up leather lingerie look. With perms and moustaches. Attractive.
Poison – I found this picture at the local school where they had a display looking at the eighties. It reads “In the eighties they liked to wear big funky hair”. It omits to say “Poison looked ludicrous and my mate fancied one of them before he realised they were blokes”.
Status Quo: The full horror of seeing a drummer in boots and leather waistcoat is still quite shocking.
Raven combined American Football and Heavy Rock despite being a British band. The codpiece and footie helmet look never really caught on anywhere else, save for in highly er, specialist magazines. Probably.
Rush – even Bowie didn’t look great in a Kimono. Rush had no chance.
Queensryche – one of the funniest photos ever. Even the band know they look horrendous – it’s etched across their faces.
In conclusion, there can be little doubt that this way of dressing is entirely unacceptable. If any one of us dressed this way and weren’t in a band, we’d be carted off to the funny farm in a trice. Why should these rockers be treated any differently?
Exhibit A: The biblical story of Joseph. Wearing what others might regard as flamboyant clothing is nothing new. This noble tradition can be carried all the way back to biblical times when the youngest of Jacob’s twelve sons made what can only be seen as a huge cry for either a) help or b) attention by wearing a somewhat foppish and multi-coloured coat whilst trying to interpret dreams. He came in for a bit of stick for that, but it turned out all right in the end. Heavy rockers may be merely carrying on the finest of religious traditions.
Exhibit B: Jimi Hendrix’s clothes. When Jimi Hendrix served in the army, he was forced to wear a uniform. When he appeared in backing bands for the likes of Little Richard he was forced to wear a uniform. So when Hendrix finally broke big, the last thing he wanted to do was wear a uniform. His flamboyant military-themed jackets were an elegant retort to those who wanted him to conform and look like everyone else. Everybody else dressed the same. In grey. Remember – when The Beatles first toured America, Lennon remarked how square everyone looked. He was right.
Rock n roll was a reaction to conformity. If Ozzy Osbourne hadn’t been a singer in Black Sabbath he’d have spent his life working in factories. So why shouldn’t rock stars dress like rock stars?
So when we look at those (admittedly amusing) examples of er, experimental fashion, let’s just look at the facts:
Whilst poodle haired rockers looked bad, they have to be seen in context. Don’t criticise until you see what everybody else was wearing. Like this:
Compared to this, they were positively demure. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, with that photo, the defence rests.
- It’s Time To Vote!
- Is it a crime to wear the most foul and unpleasant clothes made primarily of leather, denim and Lycra?
- Or is it the very essence of rock n roll and something to be treasured and celebrated?
- Vote GUILTY if you think heavy rock is guilty of crimes of fashion.
- Vote NOT GUILTY if you think it is a long and noble tradition to look ridiculous whilst playing rock n roll.
- SWAY the jury by sharing your views below!
Record #243: Manowar – Defender