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The Savage Animal 05.23.07: GLAM: It’s More Than Lipstick and Eyeliner

May 23, 2007 | Posted by Mikey MiGo

Some weekends you find yourself in a local club with an 80’s hair metal cover band playing. That just so happened to be where I found myself this past weekend. I never thought I’d be so entertained by an 80’s cover band, but I was. “Metallicious” rocked the stage at McCools this past weekend in the lovely South Haven, Indiana.

RAW was a little heavy on the Lashley. I like the guy and think he has potential, but four matches is just way too much. I think it’s safe to say with the departure of Edge to Smackdown and Michaels being on the DL, RAW pretty much has the weakest show on right now. When a guy who’s not even on the RAW brand has four matches, then something isn’t right. ECW is short and sweet and has an hour to get over a small handful of people and for the most part it’s working. Smackdown lost Undertaker, but still has a lot of valid main eventers. With Michaels out and Edge not around, RAW just wasn’t RAW. Something needs to happen ASAP to ensure RAW remains the “mother ship” of WWE.

GLAM: It’s More Than Lipstick and Eyeliner.

There’s something about being flashy, gaudy, and over the top that I’ve always admired and enjoyed. Maybe it’s my obsession with leopard print or maybe it’s the professional wrestling fan in me, but I’ve always been a fan of the larger than life musicians who basically just don’t give a damn. While I can’t play note on any instrument and my vocalist skills are nonexistent, I’ve always joked to friends that if I were a rockstar I’d be glam.

Many people out there will mock it under their breath or question the sexual orientation of a rockstar if they are seen in make up, over the top clothing, or in anything remotely classified as “feminine”. I think that’s exactly what these musicians want. They want people to talk and they want people to wonder about their personal lives. However, I think there’s a lot more to it than just putting on your mother’s make up and sister’s clothing.

Granted, glam is about playing “dress up” on the surface, there’s much more to it. For me, the most appealing aspect of this genre is the confidence that the performer must build up when wearing these so-called outrageous garbs. The swagger, empowerment, and everything that comes with using your physical being as a canvas is really what this movement was and is about.

In the early 70’s, “glam rock” was born. Many can say that glam originated with the likes of showmen musicians like Little Richard, Syd Barrett, The Rolling Stones, or any of the other androgynous acts. While they may have influenced the genre, it all started with T. Rex. T. Rex was wearing drag and costumes well over a year before David Bowie adopted the “Ziggy Stardust” persona. Coming after T. Rex and Bowie in the UK was the likes of Queen, Mott the Hoople, and Gary Glitter. In the US, we had The New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, and the ever so cartoonish KISS.

By the time the 80’s came around, the glam influence was everywhere. Glam metal, also known as “hair metal” was in full control of the music scene. Bands like Poison, Motley Crue, Van Halen, The Cult, Ratt, Warrant, Skid Row, and especially Twisted Sister all adopted the larger than life, androgynous image. Meanwhile, the whole “new romantics” scene was even more “feminine” than the hair metal bands. Culture Club, Dead or Alive, Soft Cell, Adam and the Ants, and others were more into the softer, yet more experimental “new wave” scene. Let’s not forget about Prince. While his musical stylings were completely different than the other glam acts at the time, he was easily the more androgynous musician of the 80’s and arguably of all time.

Glam was striving full force for most of the 80’s, that would soon be cut off at the knees when this little thing called “grunge” was born. By the mid 90’s, most of the hair bands were dropped from their labels, but glam wasn’t dead. Even the mainstay grunge bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and most notably Jane’s Addiction all claimed that glam rock was one of their influences. Be it Kurt Cobain performing in drag, Dave Navarro wearing make up, or Perry Ferrell being as flamboyant as his glam predecessors the movement remained secure.

After the grunge smoke cleared, the music scene changed dramatically. The mainstream wanted bubble gum divas and boy bands. The counter culture to this was lead by the likes of Maryiln Manson. Of course, you can pin some of the blame for the goth scene on glam, but Manson’s “Mechanical Animal” was glam for sure. As Bowie adopted “Ziggy Stardust”, Manson took on the persona of “Omega”. Some can say it was a complete rip off, but I feel it was more homage to the glam roots with his own twist.

Glam is prominent today in music scene as well. While I may hate “emo” as much as the next guy over 21, there is no denying a lot of emo bands are influenced by glam. On the metal front, there is plenty of glam influenced bands. Some of the many bands like Wednesday 13, The 69 Eyes, Fashion Bomb, PIG, Deadsy, Jesus on Ecstasy, Deathstars, Hanzel und Gretyl, Peaches, Placebo, Velvet Revolver, and Mindless Self Indulgence all seem to have some variation of glam. The glam movement has now become the glam tradition and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Glam is not just in rock music anymore. In the 90’s NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman would adopt the glam style with boas, make up, hair colors, and even the occasional dress. You also now have hip hop artists like Andre 3000 of Outkast or early Busta Rhymes who are very flamboyant with his dress. It’s in movies like Velvet Goldmine, Rocky Horror, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. You can try, but you’re not going to get away from it.

Now a days, it’s a bit more acceptable to be a bit “feminine” and “dressed up”. Would the whole “metro-sexual” movement happen without the glam pioneers? When it comes down to it, isn’t it just a watered down and conservative version of glam? That’s not for me to decide, but it’s something to consider. If someone wants to wear make up, women’s clothing, or be a bit flamboyant who are we to judge?

At the end of the day, glam is about getting attention, but the freedom or expression is what draws so many people to it. While there is always going to a “shock value” to glam rock, it’s a genre that’s not going to fade off like many other genre’s in the past.

Music may evolve, but there is always going to be that eccentric someone who goes outside of the normal realms of society to express themselves.

It’s safe to say that I’ve gotten most of my friends hooked on this show. With Scrubs in syndication you can find it on at least four times a day in my area. I’m comfortable in saying that I have seen every episode once, but it seems like a dozen times at the very least. This past week, it was the Scrubs Season Finale. Many people were worried that the show was going to end with this season, but NBC manned up and signed on for the final season. The ending with JD and Elliot was a long time coming and left the show with a nifty cliff hanger. Will they get together in Season Seven? We’ll have to wait and see.

This was a fun column to write. I’m surprised I’ve not covered this topic before in this detail. I might continue with the topic of “Glam” next week. I might not. What do you think? Until then… Have a Great Week!


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Mikey MiGo
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