I was a definite metalhead back in school, and I was deadly serious about it. I bring this up because I happened to catch a show last night as I was falling asleep on VH1 called “My Coolest Years”. Basically a bunch of 30-somethings are interviewed and talk about all their memories from a certain time and niche in their adolescent/young adult lives. This episode focused on metalheads. I think I laughed through that whole show! I remembered every silly thing they mentioned, most from experience.
Here are a few topics covered and the memories that jettisoned back to me therewith:
Hair. Long hair. Big hair. Layered hair. The hair, the hair. My favorite part. Men with lots of hair. Bangs to the eyelashes. Grrrowl. Hair was a good 80% of your persona back then.
Makeup. Tons of makeup. On girls AND guys. I was never one for pretty boy makeup, but eyeliner on a guy could really twist me up. I remember my friend JC used to have me put my eyeliner on him in art class. Without the eyeliner he really wasn’t my type, being blonde and all. But when he had that eyeliner on – holy smokes. I coulda crawled right under his shirt. Oops, sorry. This is a family show.
The clothes. Spandex. Leather. Jean jackets with little buttons with snotty comments and your favorite band’s names on them and crap painted and written all over the back panel. I still have my jean jacket that Rudy Sarzo autographed on the back. Tight pants. The tighter the better. And how your entire identity was wrapped up in the concert shirts you wore. And if you wore an Iron Maiden shirt, the world knew you meant business. I remember I wore a Maiden shirt to Lit class one day, trying to subtly show #96 my colors. It just so happened he wore a Maiden shirt that same day. I was wrecked on adrenaline overload for the remainder of the week.
Accessories. Hightops. Suede boots with a half a dozen bandanas tied around the ankles. Finding the proper balance of spiked leather accessories so you weren’t too puss nor too much of a total jack a$$. (I remember T used to wear those studded gauntlets with the slave bracelet-type thing on the back of the hand. He looked ridiculous.) Wallets with chains on them. Those skinny black rubber bracelets – at least 30 on each wrist if you were cool. Jewelry. Had to be silver, had to be either very chunky or very swirly. Long dangly earrings. Big ol’ belts with period-piece bling on them that were too big because it was cool to have them hanging aloofly around your hips rather than at your waist. Not like you needed a belt to hold your pants up because they were so tight they were practically underneath your skin.
Showing your allegiance. Drawing your favorite band’s logos on your books, locker, the stall door, your desk, whatever … Making those Devil horns with your fingers when you got cranked up about something. What was that all about? And why does my hand naturally go into that position still in similar circumstances after all these years?
Junkers. The types of cars a metalhead always drove. Unless you were a spoiled rich kid (and there were no spoiled rich metalheads where I’m from – spoiled and rich put you in the prep category), we’re talking usually a Gremlin/Pinto type thing, an old trans am, or a circa 1970 van. Usually more bondo and primer than metal and paint. Always sticky and ashy inside from spilled beverages and cigarettes and whatever else burned in there. Who cares about all that though because everybody knows the most important part is the stereo. You can’t cruise if you can’t crank your Priest to eleven.
Concerts, concerts, concerts. The pivotal moments signposting all metalheads’ schedules. I can still smell the distinctive blend of cigarettes, stale beer, pot, hairspray, leather, sulphur, and patchouli oil. Thrashing your huge hair around for 3 or 4 straight hours. I remember one time R and I about thrashed ourselves right off the balcony at a Metallica show. HAR! Navigating through the 9 million beer bottles in the parking lot when you left, remnants of the tailgaters who got there at 2 and partied all day. Remember the ringing in your ears that was still there the next day? Now that was a good concert, man!
It was just funny how remembering things like that sparks a kinship. I bet you could put a bunch of former metalheads in a room together who grew up to be bankers, teachers, scientists, housewives, factory linemen, nurses, and sports equipment salesmen and have nothing in common in modern times, but if you bring up the metal days they’ll be best friends like that.
Helpful hint of the day: Do not attempt to headbang if you are over the age of 30. About a month ago on the lake A said, “Hey, listen to this!” He turned up the radio and an old Metallica song was on. We all banged our heads for about 5 or 10 seconds and laughed about it. My neck hurt for a week.
6 days ago
That is definitely a strange coincidence! Rock on! :)
Oh, and Rocker Rob is 42 and still banging...probably.
Well OK. I was a punk rocker ( I think they call it alternative now?), but I still seriously appreciate this jaunt into the past.
I still have my Iron Maiden Powerslave tour concert shirt. I don't think I could still wear it, but by God I still have it. I was there and my ears are still ringing.
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