So I was searching through the internet the other day for who knows what. I don’t know HOW I came across it, but I found a plastic wig for Halloween. It was the ‘80s Heavy Metal Wig’. Complete with bandana. I started thinking about the bandana, or as it is now know, The Rock Bandana. I started googling some old 80s rock stars, and surprisingly enough, many of them still wore the Rock Bandana.
I started thinking about this phenomenon. What was the Rock Bandana? Where did it start? Why did so many young rock stars wear them in the 80s, and why still now? When we were kids playing air guitar and pretending we were rock gods – did we ALL not tie a bandana to our heads? Like it was part of the uniform?
As I looked at different 80s bands, I noticed that some bands actually NEVER wore the Rock Bandana. A way to be different from the norm? Perhaps they never found the right bandana material for them? What did (and still does in many cases) the Rock Bandana represent? Is it a meaningless question equal to “Why tight leather pants?”
So I decided to turn to my best friend, and rock god authority of that time, Greg.
Greg never wore the Rock Bandana, and as I have observed, has been able to change with the times. He is a hip guitarist in a heavy metal band called Changing Faith. He has never succumbed to the bandana – although I know for a fact he did at one time buy leather pants.
So I wrote him and email and his response:
hmmm.. I would say that it started because it was easier to put on a bandana than to do up your rockstar hair. The first day of a tour in the 80's and I'm sure you put two hours into your Jim Gillette hair (google and see what I mean). lots of drugs and dirty women later you don't have it in you to do the do... throw on a bandana. But it's always been a cover up for balding rockers. My favorite is Little Steven from Springsteen's E-street band and the Sopranos... not my favorite musician, but it's always a treat to see him still sporting the bandana instead of the Soprano's wig. Watching him on the Sopranos is kind of like watching Max Weinberg on Conan.. you always forget he was a cool rockstar back in the day.. A side by side picture with the Mob wig and the bandana would show wonders. I guess everything goes back to dirty hippies ultimately.. they're the ones who first brought the bandana into rock & roll. Once again, I'm sure because they didn't want to deal with their hair.
Steven vs. Little Steven*
* note the rock bandana
Well put. I want to know why they took it off for the 90s while they got beerguts and married scary women – but then after beefing up and getting a six pack in the 00s are now donning it again!
Next I will tackle replacing the pink leopard skin cowboy hat (80s) for a straw one (00s).
*please note Bret Michaels of Poison wearing the 2000s STRAW hat AND Rock Bandana!