fugging it up

The Fug Girls Look Back at Eighties Hair-Band Style

Rock of Ages — which premieres today — is one long homage-slash-acid-flashback to the MTV generation’s most enduring, or perhaps traumatizing, memories from the eighties: ladies writhing on car hoods, men cavorting in spandex so tight Lance Armstrong would blush, and hair so teased and tortured it’d send Marie Antoinette herself to the chiropractor … in sum, it’s an amalgamation of every music video we watched on the sly in our youth (in the dark, at low volume, to keep our parents from storming in and repossessing the TV). It would be remiss to let Mötley Crüise steal all the glory from Mötley Crüe and their comrades, so in the interest of giving credit where credit is due, we put together a scrapbook of our favorite hair-metal and glam-rock looks from who did Rock of Ages for real. You can practically smell the Aqua Net.

When: Circa 1985   The Crüe are the arguable kings of the glam hard-rock era — we shudder to imagine how much of the ozone layer’s depletion is directly attributable to their aerosol use. Their influence lives on, given that we’re fairly sure Jessie J actually owns Tommy Lee’s zebra catsuit. We have no idea why Mick Mars has lips on his knees, but surely there’s a “Girls Girls Girls” joke in there somewhere. Photo: Ebet Roberts
When: Circa 1990   If Mötley Crüe ruled the cross-section where glam rock meets metal, then Poison’s dominion is the portion of the Venn diagram where hair metal collides with pop. But no matter where they fell on the musical spectrum, environmentally unsound hair was their common ground. Bobby Dall had better be very careful where he puts that cigarette around all that hair product, or else every night might not have its dawn, if you know what we’re saying (translation: fiery death). Bret and the boys didn’t shy away from Spandex or eyeliner, either, but stylistically they’re a touch more relaxed than their forebears — like, sometimes a guy just needs to wear some breathable fabrics with his furry vests, cowhide, and audacious accessories. Props to Ricki Rockett for beating 90210’s Emily Valentine to that hat. Photo: Denis O’Regan/2011 Denis O’Regan
When: 1979   Today, Judas Priest is perhaps best known for being accused in a court of law of including subliminal pro-suicide messages in their Stained Class album (the case was dismissed, because: crazy). Given this photo, though, we’re surprised anyone thought they were capable of sublimating anything. It is an overt cry for both (a) more deep conditioner, and (b) a sadly nonexistent movie in which the Bee Gees are taken hostage by the Village People. Photo: Andre Csillag/Andre Csillag
When: Circa 1989   Stryper was a Christian rock band whose name and motif come from a Biblical verse about salvation (and was also, per Wikipedia, a self-made retrofitted acronym for “salvation through redemption, yielding peace, encouragement and righteousness”). However, they appear more likely to be praying for eternal follicular rigidity, or a day when man and bee finally unite to create a super race of fluffy warriors with weaponized, er, stingers. Photo: Krasner/Trebitz/1989 Krasner/Trebitz
When: 1982   If this is what you see when you close your eyes to go to sleep tonight, we apologize. Also, you’re welcome. Also, you might be Christina Aguilera. Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns
When: 1984   You know you’re in the presence of true artistry when the band’s name is conveniently also a verb describing what they have done to both their hair and their gnawed-on outfits. This is what it would look like if a roving band of aerobics instructors turned vigilantes patrolled the streets exacting justice on criminals with their uniquely vicious brand of jazzer-fighting. Photo: Paul Natkin/2003 Getty Images
When: 1985   We usually picture Axl Rose either in his trademark bandanna (copped by Tom Cruise for Rock of Ages), or sporting dreadlocks and consorting with a dude wearing a KFC bucket on his head in GNR Mach 2. But while this photo is a nice testament to his joint mastery of a flat-iron and volumizer, it’s also proof that he understood the importance of — ahem — the whole package. We like to imagine his jingle belt is a tinkling display of dogtags dedicated to his doomed roadie conquests. And as for the chaps … listen, leather is warm. A man’s got to get his ventilation somewhere. Photo: Marc S Canter
When: 1991   The black-and-white photography here adds such a moving dimension to the twin brothers’ glorious leather piano-key jacket and spangled patriotic duster. We don’t quite know how to sum it up in one word, but we do know it all adds up to a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel we’d finally like to see. Photo: Time & Life Pictures/Time & Life Pictures
When: Circa 1988   These gents liked to describe themselves as “trashy Victorian glam,” although by this point in their lives they seem to have downsized to “trashy glam,” or, indeed, simply “trashy.”  Best of all, they are clearly desperate for someone to put those hairdos out of their misery. Some Hair Club for Men clients and presidents would kill for cranial shrubberies that lush — we suspect the tops of Britny Fox’s collective heads are what Donald Trump sees in his dreams at night — and yet these guys seem so miserable. Probably because their coifs weighed50 pounds and, let’s be honest, may have smelled like wet dog once the witching hour hit. Photo: Krasner/Trebitz
When: The date on this file photo is ambiguous, but knowing that Megadeth was founded in 1983 and using our best anthropological judgment vis-à-vis those shorts, we’re pegging it as late eighties. Dave Mustaine — the Goldilocks in the middle up there; seriously, every girl in the world wanted that hair — founded Megadeth when he was booted from Metallica for drinking too much and acting too crazy (just let that sink in for a second). But for a band with such a rough-and-tumble start and such a threatening name, somehow they mostly look like they’re plotting to harass you into letting them do some of your yardwork. Photo: Mick Hutson
When: 1989   We believe this photo was taken during Cinderella’s Long Cold Winter tour, during which lead singer Tom Keifer was lowered onto the stage while playing a white piano and singing the band’s power ballad hit “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Til It’s Gone).” We imagine that sentiment also eventually applied to his hairline. And we can’t decide who we want to play guitarist Jeff LaBar (in the hat, who never met a piece of silver he didn’t want to wear) in the movie: Robert Downey Jr. or Kelly Clarkson. Photo: Ebet Roberts/Ebet Roberts
When: 1987   We can hear SNL’s Stefon now: “Nostalgia’s hottest band is: Whitesnake. It. Has. Everything: chest hair, hair hair, BeDazzling, boots with jowls, spiral perms, front wedgies, paisley, and acid-washing … you know, that thing where glam rockers fall into the ladies’ section at Guess? Jeans and get drugged by a she-beast dressed as Tiffany.” Photo: Time & Life Pictures/Time & Life Pictures
When: 1990   Would you ever expect such classy tuxedos from the men who brought you “Cherry Pie”? If only Warrant had known that the American Music Awards would one day be defunct, maybe they wouldn’t have tried so endearingly hard to quell their inner rock beasts. At least they kept things appropriately glam by accessorizing with that black eye on Jani Lane, and of course all those feathered bangs. How many combs died in the effort to attain such majestic levels of back-combing? Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./1990 Ron Galella, Ltd.
When: 1984   They may not represent the metal, but clearly they brought the hair. Do you even remember when Bon Jovi looked like this? We don’t. Which is probably just the way they like it, given that at least three of them appear to be Thunderdome refugees clad in hats made of electrocuted Muppets. Photo: Ebet Roberts
When: The eighties, before David Lee Roth (pictured) left the band   Though Eddie Van Halen’s guitar-god credentials elevated them above the usual hair-band fray, we lump them in if for no other reason than this photograph. It almost speaks for itself, and what it’s saying is, “Tigger may have met a violent end.” Photo: Kevin Mazur/2010 Kevin Mazur
When: No date on the photo, but Winger was tardy to the glam-rock party, forming in 1988.    By this late stage, Winger and his/its ilk felt more like pretenders to danger than actual bad dudes with hard-party attitudes. So they’d wear pants that look like a graffiti’d warning about venereal diseases, but really, all they actually wanted to do was buy some bangin’ high-tops and lift weights and keep their teeth white.
When: Circa 1992   This picture was taken as Nirvana was ascendant, and teens and bands were more into flannel, Doc Martens, and soul patches than Aqua Net and guyliner. So while the Skid Rowans hair looks more like a Pantene ad than most in their genre, we do have to tip our hats — or pelvises, probably — to Sebastian Bach for trying valiantly to carry the glam-rock torch with those lace-up pants. One word, sir: sunscreen. Photo: Paul Natkin/2003 Getty Images
When: Circa 1989   What: Okay, technically, Vixen is made up of actual women, and not just fancy men — kind of like Whitesnake mixed with Knots Landing. But they deserve props for taking back the night, or at least the airspace, and also for reminding us why all our own personal photos from this decade are hidden in a Tupperware box under the bed. We’d much rather relive these days through someone else’s bad leggings.   Photo: Bernd Muller/1989 Bernd Muller
The Fug Girls Look Back at ’80s Hair-Band Style