Eight Steps to Becoming a Legendary Hair Metal Guitarist



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I realize I'm late to the party, but this is the first time I've seen this article. Both times it appeared previously, I had stopped reading GW because of articles (Yes, I realize it's nothing more than a blog written by some no-name without a clue) like these. In defense of true talent, I was compelled to reply, anyway, regardless of my tardiness.


"Hair metal" was great. It's too bad the fashion of the era seems more important than the music. Sure, there was a lot of embarrassing preening going on, a lot of lame videos, and even lamer music (all of which you can find plenty of today!) . But the best of it was well-written, well-played, and it was enjoyable. The songs had melodies, the guitars kicked butt, and a lot of the vocalists could actually SING!

In 15 years, people will be ridiculing the bands of today with their awful skinny pants, ridiculously lame sleeve tattoos (as if that's even original anymore), obligatory 101 piercings, wretched screaming, hideous guitar tones, tuning down four whole steps to mud, fetish for EMGs, and trying-oh-so-hard-to-look-tough-scowling poses. Not to mention their refusal (or is it inability?) to compose a decent melody. Is this fair? Or is it overgeneralizing an entire era of music? You tell me.

If you don't like the commercial aspect of the music business, then why even bother coming out of your bedroom? Why Facebook pages and websites? Why try to sell their bands and their music if they don't care about making money? Why not just stick to playing their local bars for free beer? OH . . . Wait! . . I bet if they begin to get TOO popular, REAL non-commercial metal bands would decide to stop booking shows, and pull their product from store shelves! If today's bands are "TRUE" MANLY, uncommerical metal, then why don't they simply turn down major labor record deals, stop making music videos, giving magazine interviews, playing festivals, and stick to playing their local hole-in-the-wall bars for beer money?

You see, all of this hype about credibility and anti-commercialism is bull. If you believe it, you're delusional. If you want to make a living making music, then you have to make money. Find a 23 year-old rock musician who wouldn't turn down a million dollar record deal, or the chance to play to thousands of fans night after night.

Anyway, I will bet you that over half (and that's a modest estimation) of today's "metal" musicians will admit to having been influenced by the so-called hair metal era, and probably even STILL enjoy it. If they do not admit to it, they are lying.



Hey Joel, I'm kinda late to the party here too, but I have a few things I need to say. First is...you're absolutely right, kind of. Let's see how accurately I've interpreted your rant...your main points are that pop metal from the 80s (and no, it was *never* called teeth or hair metal...glam definitely, but never teeth or hair metal!) was highly melodic, written in most cases by classically trained Juliard/Berkely grad types who decided they'd rather get *real* rich and get laid; second, it was essentially fun (even the "kill 'em all" doom and gloom thrasher types went to the "poser" shows...that's where all the hot chicks were lol!). Also, you seem to feel that new, ummmm, whatever you want to call the stuff being played on the radio as heavy music nowadays, seems it's all about seeing how low you can tune your guitar before it stops being musical and becomes indiscernable seismic rumbling, and how nasty you can act/look/smell. So yes, it seems you have made some very valid points here...these *are* the points you attempted to get across, right?

Then again, pidgeon-holing *any* generation on one's own somewhat limited perception of their particular style or musical sensibilities is pretty much WRONG...you did exactly what you are complaining so adamently about, just to make your point about how great you seem to feel the bulk of pop metal from the 80s was in comparison to all things current and awful. Only somebody who has completely shut themselves down and stopped discovering new sounds, looks and attitudes would make such statements, but pointing out character flaws such as these isn't the reason why I'm writing all of this...it's not my job to show anybody the errors of their ways, because I'm not anywhere near qualified to do so. Or am I?

I was a child of the mid 70s, so I was there and old enough to *really* enjoy the entirety of the 80s and beyond...yeah, I experienced it just like you apparently did, and quite frankly I wasn't as amazed with the "amazing" abilities of most of the glam bands as you are. Granted, some of the glam bands had some seriously killer axemeisters in their midst...I always thought Mick Mars was seriously under-rated and never given the opportunity to show his true abilities in Da Crue, and George Lynch was *way* too good to be stuck in Dokken IMHO...however, my ear was claimed by the likes of Randy Rhodes, Uli John Roth, Michael Schencker, Yngwie, and those who lead up to and created the neo classical shredmaster movement...then by Steve Vai, Satch, Paul Gilbert, Gary Moore, etc. etc. etc. But I'm not here to put down anybody's taste in music, or to question whether they were really a part of the excessive decade being discussed (you know what they say...if you can remember it, you probably weren't really there lol).

There is actually a very valid point to my own overblown addition to this discussion and it would be as follows....and this is the key moment in my whole rambling discertation here...here goes, it's the wrap up of this whole slightly disjointed rant, my scaterred attempt at making a profound post...this article, written in the form of an instructional guide to those way too young to have lived through but want to emulate the greazy, cheezyest best elements of the glam era, is meant to be FUNNY. It's a joke dude, so please, for the sake of your own health and well being, if you don't possess one, you need to gain a sense of humor (you very well might already have one, and a highly developed one at that, and have chosen not to use it in this instance...as I've already said, I'm in no position to judge, just to comment on what I've read here) and enjoy these silly spoofs for what they're supposed to be! Have fun and keep rocking, it makes the world a much more interesting place to live in!



The return of the zombie article from hell. It won't die!



This is awesome. I worship hair metal, and while i don't care about the image, the music is what really made it. I dont think i can afford another guitar right now since I already have 5, plus they are all black, but that doesn't mean they can't be used for hair metal. Black is accepted everywhere.



Hair Metal returning is like a NIGHTMARE!! Sure, there were some awesome guitar players, but the majority, (not all) of the music SUCKED!



In essence, this slightly mocking sensibility to an exciting form of guitar playing can be summed in three words: Wall of Sound. Uh fyi, it's exciting to hear and watch and it's hard to do.. Further, while every popular money-making music form gets copied and then recopied into a sad form, one should give the essence of this great guitar form some respect. First let me point out that the gargantuan growth in the guitar sales, guitar popularity, Guitar World Magazine and magazine sales is due primarily to this style of exciting guitar playing and the fantastic musicians who brought it to the masses. I know this was for 'laughs' but I hope this does not cause you to loose readers and members who voted in the top 100 guitar players of all time (top 10 shows 4 shredders from that era). Maybe Guitar World needs to not be so hypocritical like that and be thankful for these guys. My god do your homework.



Yea it's unfortunate that the clownish style gets in the way of recognizing some of the best guitar players in history. And really, long hair, an outlandish sense of style in stage clothes - isn't that the hallmark of every rock guitar hero from the 60's - 80's and beyond? Yes some of them took the make up and hairspray to extremes, but EVH always looked cool onstage, as did Randy Rhoads, or what's so different about Yngwie's look from Blackmores? Not much...

And talking down on the trappings of the genre like pinch harmonics, or tapping - give me a break. It's well recognized and established rock guitar vocabulary, still being utilized today. It isn't simply an anachronistic cliche ONLY associated with the 80's. It can be if you suck at it,or are small-minded, but barring that.....



The funniest thing I remember was being in my studio and 4 out 5 of the guys had hair club for men systems on and we were all dressed like clowns and more hairspray than my mother discussing PAGANNINI solos! Go figure!



Break up and spare the world and yourslef some pain.



#9. Write a 'how to' column for Guitar World. Rehash the pentatonic scale for the umpteenth time.

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