I love hair band music, not ironically or nostalgically. I truly love hair band music. Say what you want about its merits or its depth (or whatever snobby common criticism is thrown towards hair band music), but the next time you're at a bar, I guarantee a song by Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, AC/DC, Mötley Crüe, or Poison (maybe even W.A.S.P. if you're in the same bar as me) will play on the jukebox before Nirvana or Alice in Chains. And most of those bands still tour every year to sold-out venues. The same can't be said for a lot of other once-popular bands from the past 30 years. Anyway, off of my soapbox.
What is Hair Band Friday?
You're probably sitting there, coked out of your mind, screaming out loud, "Jesus Christ, GMYH, I'm freaking out because I have no idea what Hair Band Friday is." I want you to do a couple shots of Jameson, sit down, take the tie off of your head, stop sweating, and read this.
I started Hair Band Friday when I started working back in aught three. Hearing hair band music only occasionally during working hours wasn't enough for me. Back when I started working, I didn't have an iPod, but I did have a 3-disc CD player in my office. Thus, every Friday, I would pop in three hair band albums (or some of the six 80-minute hair band mix CDs I made), hit shuffle, and I would listen hair band music all day long.
Not long after I started this here blog, in a time when I could post from my workplace, I started coming up with pretend stories of the crazy things that were happening at my office during Hair Band Friday, as if my office was the backstage area at The Forum after a Van Halen show or a room at the Riot House when Def Leppard was in town. It was a magical time.
Unfortunately, I switched jobs to a place where blogging at work was strictly forbidden, so I had to stop my midday Hair Band Friday posts of drug-addled and sex-crazed debauchery while listening to the likes of Skid Row and Warrant. But that didn't mean I stopped listening to hair band music every Friday.
Now, every Friday, I hit shuffle on my iPod's hair band songs (or occasionally listen to my Pandora Hair Band Friday station), and post the first ten songs I listen to at work, minus songs by the same artists, songs that were recently posted, and songs that are not on Playlist.com.
As much as anything, Hair Band Friday is about loving life and living large, even if only in your mind. If you've had a shitty week, Hair Band Friday is a light at the end of the tunnel that picks you up and gets you in the right mood for the weekend. If you've had a great week, Hair Band Friday keeps the party going. If you've had a so-so week, Hair Band Friday reminds you that things could be worse. After all, you could not be listening to hair band music on Friday.
Official Hair Band Friday Drink: Jacstocy -- my killer punch that combines Jack, Ecto Cooler, and X
Official Hair Band Friday Motto: "Here's to feeling good all the time."
Official Hair Band Friday pill: Plan B
What is Hair Band Music?
You're probably sitting there staring at your computer screen, can of diet Faygo in one hand and your face in the other, exasperated, asking "GMYH, how do I know if I'm listening to hair band music? Aside from Midnight Oil, don't all bands feature hair?" You have nothing to fear, fair reader.
Like many genres of music, hair band songs revolved around women, drinking, drugs, and having a good time (and sometimes suicide), adding wicked guitar solos, double bass drums, screaming vocals, and the occasional raw meat thrown at the audience or chicks doing cartwheels on Jaguars. Hair band music can be classified in the larger genres of heavy metal or hard rock. It is also known as glam metal and hair metal.
Simply because a musician has long hair does not mean he or she is in a hair band. For example, Kenny G has long hair. He is not in a hair band. I remember once at The Bluebird, a live music venue in Bloomington, Indiana, the fantastic hair band cover band Hairbanger's Ball was playing. During a break in between sets, I happened to be in the men's room at the same time as then-lead singer Vic Voxx. Some drunk moron (not me) asked, "Hey Vic, do you guys play any Journey?" Vic answered, "No, man. That's not hair band music." He's right. Journey is not hair band music. Neither is Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Rush, Triumph, Aerosmith, or a number of any other bands whose members have hair and who happened to release albums in the '80s. By the same token, I don't consider speed metal bands (Metallica, etc.) or New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands (Iron Maiden, etc.) to be hair bands.
For me, the "Hair Band Era" started on July 25, 1980, which was the day that AC/DC released Back in Black (which, except for Michael Jackson's Thriller, has sold more units worldwide than any other album), and it effectively ended on May 23, 1992, when Def Leppard's Adrenalize -- the last hair band album to reach No. 1 -- was knocked from the top of the album charts by, cough, Kris Kross's Totally Krossed Out. The nearly twelve years in between saw the release of some great and some not-so-great music from dudes who kept Aquanet and various distilleries and coca farms in business. That said, I consider some music to be hair band music, even if it wasn't made during the "Hair Band Era."
Here is a non-exclusive list of hair band artists. Many of these bands made non0hair band music, and not all of these artists' songs or albums necessarily fall within the hair band genre, but at least one or two albums of each do.
Hair Band Resources
You're probably saying out loud to yourself while you read this, presumably in the nude and covered in goats' blood, "This is helpful, GMYH, but I need more." Calm down, put some pants on, grab a hose, and read on.
If you would like my opinion on the Ten Ultimate Hair Band Albums, click here.
Now go forth and listen to hair band music on Fridays, and if you don't have hair band music or your own, come back here every Friday to listen to some of mine.