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There Is Nothing Good About Hair Metal, Period

I saw a few people Tweeting about Glam last night (via the search function). A few people kept saying "There is nothing good about hair metal, period"

That statement gave me pause.

How can someone just dismiss an entire genre of anything? Surely, these people making such sweeping statements haven't heard all that Glam has to offer. Of course, some people are elitist - and Glam is routinely mocked. Mainstream media always hated our bands back in the day - and they still do. I have no doubt that constant mockery by "critics" has perpetuated the Glam stigma. So, I got to thinking, what would I say to someone that came up at me and said "There is nothing good about hair metal, period."

I think I would tell a person about my childhood memories of Glam, all the fun I've had at shows and all the friends I've made because of this website. In fact, I think I'd talk about the friendships the most. In just about every instance, I've come across people that have become friends by meeting randomly at shows, on message boards and through fan clubs. If the music wasn't good, that wouldn't happen. Sometimes it's not all about the "image" although I still believe a man with a guitar, big hair and makeup is the best. Call me a purist.

What would you say if you heard someone say "There is nothing good about hair metal, period?"



Reader Comments (27)

I'd have trouble not calling them stupid. I'd probably just say that 'good' is a subjective word, and given that hair metal mixed technical excellence with catchy song writing, I'd ask what sort of music they like and either point out that they like catchy songs, or that they like people being able to play their instrument. Of course, if they told me they liked Nirvana, then I'd accept that they like neither for people to be able to play an instrument, or for the songs to be listenable, and I'd concede defeat.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I gave up trying to talk to anyone who gives me s**t for listening to "hair metal" as it wound up being a waste of time. Most folks claim that "it all sounds the same" yet they listen to "rap" or the "techno sounds the same" crap that is the rage now. To me the only good music is heavy metal/hair band.I just smile and crank it up.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterold sarge
Arguing with someone about music is about as futile as arguing about politics or religion, so I don't bother anymore.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Glam was fun for me - i grew up with it - my teenage years - songs about parties, sex, drugs and girls girls girls - i really dont care what anyone else thinks - i loved it and still do.

My opinion wont change and i dont care about if theirs do.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterskwint
To put it another way - De gustibus non est disputandum
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Not sure I would say anything, maybe just smirk and walk away.

I give people crap about Nirvana and Nickleback and say I can't stand them...even though there are a few songs here and there that I can tolerate or even (gasp!) like. But overall, I don't like either group.

People have a tendency to exaggerate, and that's what it boils down to. But I'm sure they've bopped their head to some Van Halen, or made out to Bon Jovi at some point in their life.

Just don't tell anyone about my closet love for "All Apologies."
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJT
"What would you say if you heard someone say "There is nothing good about hair metal, period?"

I would say that fundamentalists, of any stripe, are always wrong.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM.
Fuck you.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
I'd hit htem with a 2X4.....not! :) I'd try to get into a conversation of music in general and give comnparisions and facts. Like how i personally believe Nirvana was a one hit wonder.(YEAH i said it!!) But I stick by my gunbs and if i do it right they may listen to a few songs nad that may ignite a spark which in turn would lead them to like it.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShadow
For me, as a guitar player, the attraction to this genre was the fact that some of the most talented guitar players showcased their stuff in "hair music". Nuno, Vito Bratta, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Reb Beach, Andy timmons, John Sykes, etc., etc. These guys really know how to play. I'm sorry but compared to the auto-tune crap on the market today it just doesn't compare from a musicians standpoint.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBlueJayMac
Well, there's another problem with the whole "hair metal is bad" thing. It was a fad. It roped in a lot of bands whose real musical inclinations were quite a bit different. The Quireboys and (arguably) Cinderella were retro-blues rockers. Nelson and Saraya were pop-rockers. Even some harder-edged metal bands softened up enough to go the glam/hair route while it still paid. In general, you can graph a band's real musical interests by listening to the stuff they put out after the glam bubble burst in the mid-90's. Motley Crue still sounded like Motley Crue when they got back together. A lot of other bands sounded very different. Some of them tried to hop on the next train, whether they thought it was grunge or industrial or whatever. But others reverted to other sorts of sounds and other sorts of images.

A high percentage of glam/hair metal in the late 80s and early 90s was put out by bands that only played in that style because it was the easiest route to MTV and a recording contract. It's exactly the same dynamic that fueled the countless grunge acts of the mid- to late 90s, nu-metal groups in the late 90s and post-punk/emo acts in the early- to mid-00s.

You can dislike the style all you like, but there is no absolute set of musical criteria that you can use to define it as "bad" in all ways or for all people. That much is just philosophic truth. But as a collection of artists and musicians, the glam/hair metal scene simply encompassed too many people of different bents, and too many diverse musical styles electrified and hairsprayed into the MTV video mold that evolved back then, to just dismiss it all as some monolithic entity.

In short, to say that "all hair metal is bad" is the same as saying "I have never really listened".
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM.
I'd probably hit them upside the head with something sturdy. Or say who cares if other music took more talent then hair metal, the whole hair metal genre was about having fun and writing songs about having fun, not being serious. I think thats why people say its bad cause its all about having fun. Heck I know people who like hair metal who hate Poison with a passion, they say they were the worst of the worst, but yet their lyrics basically were the ones that described hair metal, fun, loud and obnoxious. Thats what its about, having fun,and being loud and obnoxious.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike
Its like what M up there said, people say there is nothing good about hair metal, but if that was the case, why do people listen to it? A lot of stuck up so called Music experts (aka ignorant kids and immature adults) will say oh this genre sucks or this band sucks and they see it as a 100% fact, when in real 100% fact, no band or genre sucks cause if it did in fact suck, no one would listen to it and I bet you out of all of the bands in the world, at least 1 person listened to that band other than the band members, a band or genre cant suck, or be bad. Then theres the issue with talent, Ive had many people tell me Def Leppard has no talent, its the same ideal with a band sucking, you make think they suck or have no talent, but i dont think they suck and i think they have tons of talent, its all in the eye of the beholder. If you had no talent, you wouldnt even be able to write a great song let alone play one. The people who say that are just usually jealous of the kind of music they say sucks or has no talent. Also they listen to bands that never get played on the radio or never get mentioned, when you think about it, they are the ones who "suck" because they arent good enough or marketable enough or whatever to get a record deal. No musician or band in their right minds would turn down a record deal, its all about the money. Theyd be stupid to turn it down, they may say oh Im not in it for the money but yet sell cds, t-shirts, and play gigs which they get paid for, if you are truly not gonna be in it for the money, play free shows where you dont get paid, and give away t-shirts and cds if you make someone pay for it, then youre in it for the money. If you use a studio thatll cost you a bunch and you need to sell cds, get your own studio with a few chords and computer programs and you can have a pretty decent studio which you wouldnt have to pay for. All musicians and bands are in the business for the money even these stupid little kids who are in bands that they think are just awesome and theyre gonna be cool and turn down a record contract. You turn down a record contract, you're stupid simple as that. You cant say youll turn one down, you may think you will but once the papers are in front of you, you'll sign it trust me. Oh and one more thing, some people think its cool to listen to these underground bands who have no contract, and they think they are better than mainstream, if they were, why arent those underground bands signed and on the radio? Im pretty sure record labels dont sign bands solely based on marketability, they have to have some sort of talent and some sort of creativity. If they dont have a record label, and have been around for 6+ years, they fall under the "suck" category for kids who think its cool to tell someone their favorite band sucks or isnt talented. That is all, sorry for the rant guys ha
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike
BlueJay Mac stole my response before I could post it!! Lol. I agree with you 100% my friend, and I've been playing the guitar a lot longer than most folks on here have been alive. You just named a murderer's row of smoking good guitarists that most playing couldn't hope to emulate.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Oh yeah. John, your response would also be one I could see myself replying with!! ;>)
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary
"Sod off, you slag!"

...and I would start playing my air guitar...
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPablo

Believe me, I run into this all the time.

But I've also had some mindblowing experiences, also. Like being in a 24 year old chick's car and having her reach into the glove compartment and pull out Boston's first album.

I'm not worthy!

I have studied "Hair Metal" up and down now, twice. The first time around was when it was in it's absolute heyday -- 1980 to 1993 and saw a lot of the bands that got play on MTV when they were in their prime.

I also managed to snag about a thousand CDs including all the major label signings, known and not so well known, which means I picked up stuff like Johnny Crash or Rock City Angels (Snoot! I wish I could see 'em in Ft. Lauderdale but I'm hoppin' on Shiprocked the night before they play! Oh, that is killin' me!) and not just G'n'R and the like. It all started with NWOBHM and then evolved into collecting all of the L.A. stuff, etc.

This time around, beginning around two or three years ago, I began to collect in earnest literally every 80's/early 90's Hair Metal or Glam Metal CD I could get my hands on and what a ride it has been. Oh, the discoveries I have made thanks to the internet (particularly this site and, and Ebay (getting to know the 80's Hair/Glam Metal CD collectors and the sellers who cater to them).

The stuff is unreal and if people dismiss our music as a joke, they just are plain misinformed.

You guys forgot a major monster of the whole Glam Metal scene on your list of serious shredders...

George Lynch! That guy is a MONSTER!

I know a serious Rhythm & Blues guitarist who loves stuff like B.B. King, etc, who told me he could listen to George Lynch all day long. Now there's someone who get's it. Someone who realizes there is more to Hair Metal than what meets the eye like Lynch's crazy Cruella Deville meets Mrs. Brady Mullet. It's the guitar playing, stupid!

Of course, I happen to love it for the quality of the songs. Critics can scoff all they want but as some have pointed out here, the stuff is damn catchy with all the trappings of great songwriting.

People that dismiss Hair Metal are dismissing the image without really listening to the brilliance of the music. Personally, I get a kick out of every aspect of it. From the cheesy hairdos, outfits, logos, album covers to the over the top music, I love everything about it.

And no matter how outrageous the image, when you boil it down to the music, this is some incredible stuff. Take the greatest Hair Metal anthem of all time, Ratt's "Round And Round". It's got it all...

Elvis Swagger, Crunchy Guitars, Jazz Chord Progressions, Irrestistable Pop Catchiness, Superb Production and blistering musicianship, especially the scorching dual guitar intor to the lead so incredibly played by Warren DiMartini and the late Robbin Crosby.

People who don't like Hair Metal or dismiss it, simply don't get it and never will.

p.s. And, as much as I adore 80's/90's Hair/Glam, I still believe Kurt Cobain was the last great Rock Star. There has not been anyone before him as significant, accept John Lennon and there has been no one since.
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Oh, and Cinderella is frickin' totally Glam Metal. It's just gift wrapped in Retro Blues.

I mean, c'mon... Listen to the opening hook to "Last Mile".

That rocks like Glam Metal, not "Retro Blues".

BTW, I told Trunk he was wrong about Cinderella when I ran into him at M3. He's also called 'em Blues Based Hard Rock when discussing 'em on "That Metal Show".

Hu-uh-lo-oh! Cinderella is frickin' Glam Metal, Chump!
October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
I honestly don't see the point in slagging on any type of music. I grew up in the 80's and ate, breathed and slept metal and glam, but I love all genres of music and am proud of that fact.

Even the Disney packaged stuff, if it gets another kid into music period so be it. I can listen to Anthrax one minute, to Taylor Swift, Rancid the the next and then on to D'Molls and Poison. In the past month I've gone to shows of Nickelback, All Time Low, Social Distortion and am taking my little sisters to see The Summer Set, which I love in a couple of weeks.

Music is eternal regardless of type, what the person looks like, etc. To me personally there is nothing that brings back memories of a certain time in my life. Listen to whatever the heck you want and don't waste time worrying about what everyone else likes. Dig for the good stuff, it's there regardless of what's popular at the time!

P.S. On another note...listen to BAD CITY now if you love hard rock and glam music. You won't regret it. Finally, a band from the US that flys the flag with a major label! Europe has been doing it for years.
October 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNate
Depends on the Cinderella album. First two were very glam (part from the title track of Long Cold Winter), third one very bluesy very little glam and Still Climbing is a hard rock record, plain and simple.
And Cobain was not the last great rock star. Just listen to him. A great rock star mixes obnoxiousness with the profound, see Morrison, Tyler et al. Cobain was purely obnoxious. And profound for 12 year old's.
'I'm a hypocrite in a hippie crypt'. I mean, are you fucking kidding me?
October 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterahappypunk

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