Glam: Metal's Unwanted Step-Child

Written by: Doc Godin
Published: 27.04.2007
Coming out of the late 70's until early 90's there was a genre of Rock N Roll known as Glam Metal, which crossed over into many genres of music but most popularly metal, in which it was called "Hair Metal." This genre is often frowned upon by many metal-heads and punk-rockers alike. Though I was not alive during this genre's peak I am going to try to analyze and hopefully figure out the reason behind the common dislike for this music.

In The Beginning
The actual genre "Glam Rock" was a term for the the beginning of what was to come in the 80s. The term itself came from the Hollywood scene in the late 60s/early 70s, separating itself from the dying hippie movement of the time. Fans and bands alike would dress in flashy ambisexual costumes, deemed "glamourous" by the media. There were two birth-places of this "Glam-Rock": one was in the UK with bands like Queen, T.Rex, Slade, and of course David Bowie; from the US, slightly earlier, was the punkish Rolling Stones-esque sounding New York Dolls, from Detroit there was Iggy Pop, and Alice Cooper, whose "shock-rock" stage show & antics inspired (and were imitated by) future Glam Metal bands.

These flashy stage shows and costumes were then shortly brought to a new extreme by KISS, who unlike their glam-rock counterparts, took a less transvestite-esque path, and dressed in full face paint and armor-like costumes.

The Next Step
The next step was breeding a harder, heavier sound and it was to come straight off the Sunset Strip, in Hollywood California. This new sound mixed the previously mentioned glam-rock with heavy metal like Black Sabbath, hence the term "Glam Metal" was born. Though many bands have been credited with the birth of this new sound, the most famous has been Motley Crue. Motley Crue took influence from all over the map, taking the heavy make-up and leather from New York Dolls, shocking stage shows from the likes of Alice Cooper (which often involved lighting bassist Nikki Sixx on fire and beheading mannequins with chainsaws), and bluesy, yet heavy (for there time) guitar riffs of Black Sabbath.

This new blues rock type movement was soon followed by the likes of bands like Poison, Cinderella, Dokken, and Ratt, who all turned the music into a far poppier sound. Very few were able to recreate the metal side of what The Crue had started. On the flip side, there were many bands who had the over-the-top make-up and attire of Motley Crue but took the music to a heavier level, these bands consisted of W.A.S.P., Twisted Sister, and even Ozzy Osbourne.

Evolution
As time grew on Glam Metal started to change into a less glossy, more greasey biker-like phase known as "Sleaze Rock" or "Sleaze Glam." Instead of taking its direct influences from the glittery late 60s/early 70s glam rock, it mixed hard rock with 70s punk like The Ramones or The Misfits, with 70s blues rock like Aerosmith and AC/DC. Some of these "Sleaze Rock" bands that started to emerge consisted of Skid Row, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, and one of the top 10 biggest rock bands of all time, Guns N Roses. Much of the imagery was also inspired by the Finnish Glam/Sleaze band Hanoi Rocks. Even Motley Crue followed this trend and toned down the make-up and upped the denim & leather for their 1987 album "Girls, Girls, Girls."

Another (yet not quite as successful) Sleaze Rock movement also started to come out of England, this movement involved bands like Dogs D'Amour, London Quireboys, and Soho Roses. Though these bands did not reach the world-wide fame of Guns N Roses, the British band The Cult started to change their style from post-punk to blues rock, which had an obvious influence on Guns N Roses.

The Demise
Though the evolution of Glam Metal into Sleaze Rock is partially responsible for the death of Glam Metal, the final nail in the coffin was not from evolution but rather an outside genre. As many of us know, in the early to mid 90s there was a musical fad sweeping the nation called "Grunge." Lead by the band Nirvana, it took an exact opposite route to the music, rather than having lyrical content based on partying and getting laid, the lyrical content focused more around depression, drug addiction and teen angst. As well as lyrical content, the attire was also drastically different; instead of leather, denim, blush and eyeliner, it was flanel, unwashed jeans and unkempt hair. As the media readjusted its focus onto this new music, Glam Metal became but a shadow of what it once was.

My Point
Now that you know the history and time line of this genre, perhaps we can further understand the common distaste for it. Could it be musical skill (or lack thereof)? It can't be, anyone who is familiar with Michael Angelo Batio or Nitro would not agree at all. Could it be the preoccupation with image? I can assure you corpse paint takes longer to apply than eyeliner, blush and some lipstick. The only reasonable explanation would be the marketing; my theory is Hair Metal/Glam Rock/Sleaze Rock was seen the same way we look at bands like Blink 182, or Nickleback: over marketed pop-rock. Though the music may have been heavily marketed it was great rock n roll, the original bands coming from that genre stood the test of time, the cheap copycats faded out and fell into the "where are they now?" category.

Look at any band coming from that genre: they were over-the-top for a reason; the music was all about partying and having fun, that's all, so when you frown upon this "ridiculous" music, do you really think it was supposed to be taken all that seriously in the first place?

It Rises Again
For those of you who thought Glam Metal died out with the 80s, you'll be pleased to know its making a comeback, and from the most unsuspecting of places: Sweden. Bands like Hardcore Superstar, Crashdiet, Crazy Lixx, Babylon Bombs, Innocent Rosie, Baby Jane, and Vains Of Jenna are all coming out of Sweden bringing back the rock n roll stylings of the 80s for all of us who missed out.

Disclaimer: For all of you who were lucky enough to be alive in this era, I apologize for any inaccuracies I have made.


 
Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.




Comments

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Dangerboner - 10.05.2007 at 07:29  
yay now I know something about glam metal. Nice article....but I'm not a fan of the genre.
__Az__ - 10.05.2007 at 09:22  
Glam metal... Hmmmm, Its not really my style. Great article though, very informative, thanks...
PrettyMao - 10.05.2007 at 17:56  
I was a grunger... I wore plaid and saw Nirvana in concert 3 months before he shot himself (my first big concert)... I remember the Butthole Surfers were the opening act and someone threw a shoe and hit the Surfer's lead singer in the head, they stopped playing the song and left the stage, never to return.... ahhh good times!!
Judas - 11.05.2007 at 18:15  
Good article, I quite like me some Glam when the occasion fits it. A very good history of the genre, and it's good to know that it is making a long-overdue comeback. You analysed the reasons for the genre's demise very well.

*goes to play 'Poison' by Alice Cooper on Singstar*
iaberis - 13.05.2007 at 02:34  
Hm... nice. I like these articles that focus on genres that are not so famous and more into the unknown. We need more of these!

Sleaze Rock! I'd say it's more into punk than metal... A good example is Backyard Babies.
Glam Rock/Metal is usually more into the hard-rock genre so it could be easily listened by metallers...
tulkas - 14.05.2007 at 00:09  
nice article, very good to know a bit more about this genre that isn't well-known or thought of. still, I kinda like some glam bands, specially Poison, others are just selected songs...
Murder - 15.05.2007 at 20:30  
well.. I'm fan of this genre and I can say that this article is very good...

Glam is influenced by hard-rock mostly and punk, and I have friends who don't like it and another who share my opinion... it's a taste matter... although I like so much the make-up hehehe....
INDREDKOLD - 23.05.2007 at 12:03  
Well we had a different taste in the UK at the time... It was '84 '85 when we saw the change in the metal scene, but you have to bare in mind what we so called 'heavies' were listening to back then, and the fact that we were the only market for a particular type of music, even for the likes of marillion the heavy metal was their only market! At that time we were listening to the likes of kiss, ac/dc, saxon, maiden, def leppard, motorhead, dio, chariot, ozzy, scorpions, magnum, van halen, motley crue etc and of course black sabbath... but just look at that list and split it into Uk and US... can you see the difference? although dio kept strictly to the denim and leather at that time the rest of the US bands were a bit posey! and this was the time things were about get seriously turned on their head in the metal scene. [Please note this is the UK perspective, so things might have been different elsewhere]. It was 84 when I picked up an album by a band Id never heard of [also bare in mind we didnt have access to mtv at that time, but this was about to change too] the album was by a band called metallica, had a seriously cool cover... an electric chair! yeah thats got to be good said the 15 yearold and I bought it... so we had a slightly faster motorhead on our hands... and it was good... very good! my friend had picked up show no mercy, another friend venom, I got hold of fistful of metal by anthrax... but that was it! we didnt know about bathory [it wasnt in our record shops] and while we still listened to our old favourites, we wanted more of that heavy speed... there wasnt much... through '85 we picked up more slayer, all in the same breath as buying wasp and twisted sister, and the only other thrash band we caught onto was kreator! The big change was in '86... we had metal on our tv at some obscure hour in the morning! Iron maiden had a new album out, dave lee roth released eat em and smile... and the biggest influence to change the face of heavy metal in the UK was about to hit us...bon jovi's slippery when wet! Yeah the band had a couple of weak albums previously... but what was the difference this time? TV and marketing and... girls! suddenly from out of nowhere everything changed, the girls in our pubs and clubs were suddenly rock chicks... and with it came the glam boys! denim cutoffs and leather jackets were frowned upon... saxon disappeared, as did chariot and numerous real metal bands, replaced by the likes of tesla, ratt and europe and various other rubbish... and suddenly so called metal was mainstream! Well we werent having that, we knew our roots and we were sticking to them, and we were fortunately aided by the same country that started all the fluff... perfect timing as we finally got to see metallica in '86 with added bonus of cliff! more slayer, exodus, megadeth, more anthrax, dark angel, celtic frost, voivod, nuclear assault, more kreator, metal church! We finally had what we wanted... something that was still real, something that took its influences from real UK biker metal! but with more aggression... another great year followed as the bay area found its way to the UK!
But just like everything else in this world today... that massive marketing engine drives everything... I dont think ive ever come accross any other musical genre that has so many f**ing sub genres! It was easy back then... black and white, now its so many shades of gray... its like metal itself has got its own identity crisis!
Anyhow my point (if there is one) the distaste for us old school metal heads is that glam tried its best to kill our scene, but in the same breath it gave metal a kick up the arse, for which im sure we are all grateful. But has anyone else also noticed a shift to old school lately? You hit the nail on the head with regards preoccupation with image... you see at the root of it all.. metal was never a fashion, it was simple, and everytime a genre gets up its own backside, theres a revolt to the old school way!
Dane Train - 25.05.2007 at 03:20  
Decent article. Needs a bit of improvement. Nothing in it really hit hard. Nothing was revealed or analyzed. Just sort of stated facts most people knew. And there are many other elements to Glam that was left out.

Also, never start an article with the "I am going to tell you about.." lines.
Iconoclast - 28.05.2007 at 00:45  
I love Ratt, Tesla and Poison, I also love Anthrax, Tallica and Motorhead. Sub-genres suck!
SirenOfTheStyx - 16.06.2007 at 21:37  
Thanks for writing this, now I know that I'm not the only glam rock/metal fan around here !!! Bowie's a deity for me, especially with make up And it's a very good article - although I wasn't alive at that time either
necrovamp - 19.06.2007 at 20:46  
oh dear its coming back? you mean it doesn;t know when its not wanted? it should stay dead.
good article though, be nice to read some more stuff but yeah,
glam rock is awfull isnt it?
MightySabbath - 14.07.2007 at 05:22  
Despite of being music conceived to party and because of this, music that often had absurd and easy lyrics, the melodies built by heavy guitars and unique keyboard voices were (and are) attractive enough to ignore prejudices. It's good to take a look at Glam music, not only to discover which was the music that marked an era but also to have in mind that metal, as any other type of music, doesn't come from nowhere.
ThunderAxe1989 - 15.07.2007 at 03:11  
some ov the word choices in this article are priceless. Nicely done, I am actually a fan ov some Glam.
Bad English - 23.10.2007 at 12:29  
Good article, you give short wiew of history but forgot about alcohol
About nowdays those new bands never will be like it wa sin 80ties so even how hard thay try tahy wont be ... so gernre are death, I wont by new band albums, I dont like then, lets say GnR, L.A. Guns its enought for me
Spenku - 20.03.2008 at 04:59  
Written by Bad English on 23.10.2007 at 12:29

Good article, you give short wiew of history but forgot about alcohol
About nowdays those new bands never will be like it wa sin 80ties so even how hard thay try tahy wont be ... so gernre are death, I wont by new band albums, I dont like then, lets say GnR, L.A. Guns its enought for me

Dont post if you cant write!
Doc Godin - 20.03.2008 at 09:03  
Written by Spenku on 20.03.2008 at 04:59

Written by Bad English on 23.10.2007 at 12:29

Good article, you give short wiew of history but forgot about alcohol
About nowdays those new bands never will be like it wa sin 80ties so even how hard thay try tahy wont be ... so gernre are death, I wont by new band albums, I dont like then, lets say GnR, L.A. Guns its enought for me

Dont post if you cant write!

Your obviously new here. Thats K7, his posts are understandable, you just need to put a little effort in and you can probably find the meaning behind what hes writing. He was saying the genre is pretty much dead and gone and it wont be like how it was in the 80s. And that Guns N Roses and LA Guns are enough for him. Also, look at his post count, if you think no ones told him that before your sadly mistaken, hes been here longer than you or I, so quit spamming.
Spenku - 21.03.2008 at 04:35  
Your guys posting rules suck. I just want to add a couple bands and starts some topics.
Bad English - 21.03.2008 at 17:24  
Written by Spenku on 21.03.2008 at 04:35

Your guys posting rules suck. I just want to add a couple bands and starts some topics.


This is article you cant start topic here
Bad English - 21.03.2008 at 17:26  
Written by Doc Godin on 20.03.2008 at 09:03

Written by Spenku on 20.03.2008 at 04:59

Written by Bad English on 23.10.2007 at 12:29

Good article, you give short wiew of history but forgot about alcohol
About nowdays those new bands never will be like it wa sin 80ties so even how hard thay try tahy wont be ... so gernre are death, I wont by new band albums, I dont like then, lets say GnR, L.A. Guns its enought for me

Dont post if you cant write!

Your obviously new here. Thats K7, his posts are understandable, you just need to put a little effort in and you can probably find the meaning behind what hes writing. He was saying the genre is pretty much dead and gone and it wont be like how it was in the 80s. And that Guns N Roses and LA Guns are enough for him. Also, look at his post count, if you think no ones told him that before your sadly mistaken, hes been here longer than you or I, so quit spamming.


ask him does he know's where are townRijeka and Izmir , and ask him if he speek in forener langaues
Doc Godin - 22.03.2008 at 03:11  
Written by Spenku on 21.03.2008 at 04:35

Your guys posting rules suck. I just want to add a couple bands and starts some topics.

If you want bands added then contact a staff member and discuss it with them, its never going to happen if you earn yourself a bad name here, no one will listen to you, it will just get you banned. Just as your spamming here is going to get you banned.

Now that I've explained that, we can stop making unrelated posts here.
Bad English - 22.03.2008 at 10:36  
Written by Doc Godin on 22.03.2008 at 03:11

Written by Spenku on 21.03.2008 at 04:35

Your guys posting rules suck. I just want to add a couple bands and starts some topics.
is going to get you banned.

Now that I've explained that, we can stop making unrelated posts here.


In firt he be warned and you're wright he his posts are nonesnce, specely in this article
Woundering what Hail Sa**n dude say about this article
Warman - 22.03.2008 at 17:29  
I do like todays Swedish Glam! Good article!
Doc Godin - 22.03.2008 at 21:31  
Written by Warman on 22.03.2008 at 17:29

I do like todays Swedish Glam! Good article!

Good, a swede. Know of any up-and-coming glam bands I should know about? Your country is pumping out some good ones at a fast rate and I might be missing out on something.
Warman - 23.03.2008 at 20:49  
Written by Doc Godin on 22.03.2008 at 21:31

Written by Warman on 22.03.2008 at 17:29

I do like todays Swedish Glam! Good article!

Good, a swede. Know of any up-and-coming glam bands I should know about? Your country is pumping out some good ones at a fast rate and I might be missing out on something.

Sorry man, I at least don't know any good ones. I was going to reccomend several ones... but just remembered that you had mentioned them all in the article.
Framhel™ - 02.11.2008 at 14:26  
Nice article, INDREDKOLD made a good follow up through experience. hmmm i once listened to glam but it was not my fave genre, it faded away instantly afterit's success.
Doc Godin - 29.01.2009 at 08:08  
Written by Dane Train on 25.05.2007 at 03:20

Decent article. Needs a bit of improvement. Nothing in it really hit hard. Nothing was revealed or analyzed. Just sort of stated facts most people knew. And there are many other elements to Glam that was left out.

Also, never start an article with the "I am going to tell you about.." lines.

Old post. Anyways, I'll agree, this was my first article and looking back on it now I could definitely see some things to improve. Also I probably should have explained it was the shit bands like Poison that made the genre look especially bad when bands like Lizzy Borden, WASP, and Twisted Sister could actually play and write decent songs.
DayFly - 23.03.2009 at 01:23  
Written by Doc Godin on 29.01.2009 at 08:08

Written by Dane Train on 25.05.2007 at 03:20

Decent article. Needs a bit of improvement. Nothing in it really hit hard. Nothing was revealed or analyzed. Just sort of stated facts most people knew. And there are many other elements to Glam that was left out.

Also, never start an article with the "I am going to tell you about.." lines.

Old post. Anyways, I'll agree, this was my first article and looking back on it now I could definitely see some things to improve. Also I probably should have explained it was the shit bands like Poison that made the genre look especially bad when bands like Lizzy Borden, WASP, and Twisted Sister could actually play and write decent songs.


All the better that you didn't do so, then. If everyone would not be so quick to bash things they don't like music forums would be a much more pleasant place.

I am curious, though, why you attempted to seperate sleaze rock from glam metal. While I agree that the sound is not the same, both genres largely shared fanbase, venues and even musicians during the 80s (don't know about today).
Doc Godin - 23.03.2009 at 03:18  
Written by DayFly on 23.03.2009 at 01:23

I am curious, though, why you attempted to seperate sleaze rock from glam metal. While I agree that the sound is not the same, both genres largely shared fanbase, venues and even musicians during the 80s (don't know about today).

Mostly for people who don't know the difference between the two, the people that consider Guns N Roses glam metal. That and I wasn't trying to focus around fan-base or what not while writing this article.
SDMFmopptz - 24.03.2009 at 00:28  
Very nice article, im a fan of some bands like skid row, guns n roses and motley crue, and its very good to write articles like this one to explain to some people what some stiles really is, and it's even better when somebody that is not a big fan of the genres to write, so the articles will be 100% free of opinions, and without opinions the topic is desenvolved in a more clear way.

sorry for grammar mistakes, im not native speaker (BR).
Doc Godin - 24.03.2009 at 07:36  
Written by SDMFmopptz on 24.03.2009 at 00:28

and it's even better when somebody that is not a big fan of the genres to write


....Huh? I wrote this because I am a big fan of the genre...I'm not exactly sure what you were insinuating there...
SDMFmopptz - 26.03.2009 at 03:00  
Dr. Rock sorry for not being clear... but what i meant that i like glam and sleaze rock (eg. motley crue, skid row, guns n roses, ratt, etc), and sorry if wasn't clear and if you or someone else didn't understand there
ps: im fan of SOME glam/sleaze rock bands because we all know that SOME of them are good but some of them are real trash.
Doc Godin - 26.03.2009 at 05:32  
Written by SDMFmopptz on 26.03.2009 at 03:00

ps: im fan of SOME glam/sleaze rock bands because we all know that SOME of them are good but some of them are real trash.

Like all genres of music. I tried to leave opinion out of my article, but at the same time I didn't want to come across as one of those guys who worships everything from a certain genre/musical movement. For example I think Poison is garbage.
SDMFmopptz - 29.03.2009 at 08:25  
Written by Doc Godin on 26.03.2009 at 05:32

Written by SDMFmopptz on 26.03.2009 at 03:00

ps: im fan of SOME glam/sleaze rock bands because we all know that SOME of them are good but some of them are real trash.

Like all genres of music. I tried to leave opinion out of my article, but at the same time I didn't want to come across as one of those guys who worships everything from a certain genre/musical movement. For example I think Poison is garbage.

yeah i totally agree with that, and i think that lots of people should first listen to the music than take care the genre, the artist of the music and find out new bands... like people should not became addicted to some band or some expecific genre of rock
Let's open our minds.... but not too much
ravendeath - 19.04.2009 at 01:47  
Great thoughts INDREDKOLD! I think almost the same. I started to listen metal music because of wasp, bon jovi, europe,... but those bands only introduced me this great music that was behind, like black sabbath, iron maiden, metallica, slayer,...As you are from England you forgot about great bands like carcass, paradise lost, cathedral, napalm death, anathema, my dying bride...
that dude guy - 13.11.2009 at 20:39  
ARTICAL GOOD................GLAM BAD....

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