High on Metal: 25 of the Best Hair Metal and Glam Rock Bands

When you sit down to discuss hair metal, glam rock, AOR or whatever you want to call it (and don't we all occasionally have that conversation?), the names Skid Row, Mötley Crüe, Dokken, Cinderella, Firehouse, Warrant, etc. are sure to come up. Then, of course, there is the inevitable debate...- Was Def Leppard hair metal or New Wave of British Heavy Metal? Can a band be both? Did they change over time?

And while surely these are all important questions to discuss and historic bands to ponder, there are really a great number of glamsters that never get the attention they deserve. That is where this hub comes in. Here I will give you 25 of the best hair metal bands you never heard of. Unless, of course, you are like me and will give just about anything a try in which case this all old news to you. But read it anyway. Cause it is always fun to take a stroll down memory lane...

Maxx Warrior

Ah ha! See there! You thought you were going to know all these bands and I start you off with these guys. Unless you are a die-hard Firehouse fan (which many of you may well be) or were hanging around the eastern coast of the United States frequenting seedy rock 'n' roll bars in the early 80's (did you see me there?), you are may not be familiar with Maxx Warrior.

Maxx Warrior with Scott Atkins
Maxx Warrior with Scott Atkins

The mighty Maxx Warrior was a band that gigged the bars and clubs of the eastern United States during the early 80s. Band members included Carl "CJ" Snare on vocals, Perry Richardson on bass, Alton Eddins and Jeff Boatwright on guitar, and Billy Dorey on drums. Jeff Boatwright was later replaced by Scott Atkins.CJ and Perry would eventually go on to form the hair band juggernaut Firehouse and gain the fame they so richly deserved. Maxx Warrior fans were left with only four gems captured on vinyl and a million cherished memories captured in their hearts.

It could probably be argued (as many metal fans tend to do) that Maxx Warrior was too heavy to be called a hair metal band. But while they did have heavier songs like "(Burning Down) The Gates of Hell", "Taken By Forces" and "Coming for You" that were definitely not typical glam fare, they also had songs like "It's Alright To Get What You Want" and "High on Metal" that could have easily come from the likes of Dokken or Mötley Crüe. And with the hair CJ and Perry always sported, well.. let's just say they would have made the band a hair metal band even if they had been a lounge act! And the there was also the spandex...

BIG NEWS!!! Maxx Warrior Reuniting for One Show Only!

If you are not heard of these guys or seen them live, and especially if you have heard of them or seen them live, then drag your booty down to the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh, North Carolina, to start the new year out right when the boys play a reunion gig on January 7th at the 2nd Annual Cliff Jackson Memorial Jam! It is sure to be a night to remember with all original members except Billy Dorey on stage and Scott Atkins even stepping in for a few songs!

Tokyo Blade

British rockers Tokyo Blade were another of those bands that fans tended to argue about. Clearly they were part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, but they also seemed to fall solidly in the Ratt / Dokken end of hair metal. One thing that probably wouyld cont against considering them a hair metal band is the fact that if you asked guitarist and band main man Andy Boulton about it, he would likely snort at you derisively and pick up his guitar and rip into "Night of the Blade". Of course, some might point out that it was exactly this lack of concern over image that kept the band from the mainstream in America.

The band broke up, or perhaps more accurately, drifted apart in the late 90s with various members moving on to other projects. In 2008, the bulk of the classic line-up reformed with Andy Boulton and John Wiggins on guitar, Andy Wrighton on bass, and Steve Pierce on drums. The vocalis for the reformed band was Chris Gillen, but he soon departed to be replaced by Nicolaj Ruhnow. A new CD, Thousand Men Strong, was released earlier this year and the band continues to tour.

During the heyday of hair metal, Smashed Gladys burst onto the scene with a unique voice and rocked the world of heavy metal. Well, that's only kind of true, I guess. The band picked up management from Gene Simmons, signed a five album, $2.5 million deal with Warner Brothers Records, released the classic Social Intercourse, and were poised to rule the sleaze rock world. The band's secret weapon? The raspy-voiced sex diva, Sally Cato. The band should have been huge, but as has often been the case in the rock music industry, fate was no match for the blunderings of a record label.

After Smashed Gladys, Sally Cato successfully opened a design firm, The New York Office.
After Smashed Gladys, Sally Cato successfully opened a design firm, The New York Office.

From the beginning, Warner Brothers seemed to either (a) not understand what they had gotten their greedy little mitts on or (b) simply not have the balls to promoted a female fronted glam band that sang dirty tunes with intelligent undertones. For while the band certainly hyped the sleaze of songs like "Lick It Into Shape" and "Legs Up", underneath were references to Kipling and Orwell; lyrics about self esteem, living free and fighting for that freedom; and an attitude that screamed exploit me so that I might lead you to rock 'n' roll salvation. Even the album title, Social Intercourse, was more a philosophical and perhaps political statement than might at first meet "the eye".

In the end, the band walked away from their contract with Warner Brothers, giving up the money and the remaining four albums they had signed on for. Warner Brothers had done little to no promotion for the record (and since I was working in a record store at the time I know how easy this record was to sell). After one album the label seemed to have even less of a clue as to how to develop the band. Anyone with a little marketing know-how could have told them to stop trying to avoid controversy with the band and instead just wade in and give the people what they wanted. It was okay for Poison's Bret Michaels to ask the girls to talk dirty to him, but when Sally Cato actually talked the talk, Warner Brothers just found it too "hard to swallow".

The Dogs d'Amour

Tyla was the one constant member of the band and now tours as Tyle and the Dogs d'Amour.
Tyla was the one constant member of the band and now tours as Tyle and the Dogs d'Amour.
"In the Dynamite Jet Saloon MMX" features new versions of some of the album's original tracks plus new versions of other Dogs material.
"In the Dynamite Jet Saloon MMX" features new versions of some of the album's original tracks plus new versions of other Dogs material.

At one time, specifically about the time In the Dynamite Jet Saloon was being released in America, The Dogs d'Amour were said to be "the next big thing". Bands like Def Leppard and Guns N' Roses ruled the sales charts and The Dogs d'Amour, with their Stones-inspired style of sleaze, looked set to soon be right there beside them. But alas, the band never really caught on in the States and, truth be told, never were really the smash in their home nation of Great Britain that they were often hyped up to be.

In fact, the band's highest charting single in the United Kingdom only made it to #26 and only one other song managed to crack the Top 40. Albums did a little better with their first charting album being A Graveyard of Empty Bottles in 1989 at #16. They released three more Top 40 albums before calling it quits, but none matched that initial success. Surprisingly, In the Dynamite Jet Saloon, almost universally considered to be their finest work, did not chart at all.

For all extents and purposes, the Dogs d'Amour had ceased to be by 1994, though a short-lived reunion did occur in 2000. Tyla, always the band's leader and only constant member, has occasionally returned to the name, even releasing a couple of new records under the name in 2004 and 2005. He and his backing band currently tours as Tyla and the Dogs d'Amour. A re-recorded version of the Dynamite Jet Saloon was released as In the Dynamite Jet Saloon MMX and featuring the phrase "Ladies and gents... Tyla presents..." in 2011.

Tora Tora

In 2009, Tora Tora released three CD's of demos and unreleased tracks...
In 2009, Tora Tora released three CD's of demos and unreleased tracks...
...and in 2011, their long-delayed third album was finally released. It was recorded in 1994.
...and in 2011, their long-delayed third album was finally released. It was recorded in 1994.

In Japanese, tora means tiger and was the code name for attack during the Japanese Imperial Navy's attack on Pearl Harbor. The phrase "Tora! Tora! Tora!" was popularized in American culture by the 1970 film of the same name. Some (i.e. Wikipedia) feel a more likely source of inspriration for the young band looking for a band name would have been the Van Halen song "Tora! Tora!" off their Women and Children First, but the band has never verified this. Regardless of where they got their name, the important thing is where they got their chops. Because this band could definitely play!

The band formed in 1985 and made quite a name for themselves, winning a Battle of the Bands contest and self-releasing an EP before being signed by A&M Records. They released a well received debut, Surprise Attack, in 1989 which peaked at #47 on the Billboard charts. They band seemed on the verge of breaking big but a second less well received album, Wild America, stalled at #134 on the charts in 1992, perhaps one of the earliest victims of hair metal's decline following the release of Nirvana's Nevermind less than a year before. The band recorded their third album, Revolution Day, in 1994, but A&M Decided to drop the band rather than release the album. Soon, the band disbanded.

But with hair metal's recent resurgence, Tora Tora has returned as well. The band reformed in 2008 to play a few reunion shows and in 2009, through FNA Records, released Before & After which included their impossible to find first EP plus demos from their unreleased LP. Also released were Bombs Away: The Unreleased Surprise Attack Recordings and Miss B. Haven': The Unreleased Wild America Recordings. Earlier this year the label also released the long awaited Revolution Day album.

Rough Cutt

With its roots in popular L.A. band Mickey Ratt which also eventually spawned Ratt, Rough Cutt seemed destined for big things. But their 1985 debut did not quite crack Billboard's Top 200 and the follow-up LP, Rough Cutt Wants You, failed to even come close. Still, the band was well known among the die-hard glam an hair metal fans and given much respect for their lofty origins as well as the prestigious members who had passed through headed for bigger things -- Jake E. Lee (Ozzy Osbourne, Badlands), Craig Goldy (Giuffria, Dio), and Jimmy Crespo (Aerosmith, Adam Bomb).

Though the band failed to live up to the early expectations in sales, they still built a solid reputation and its members continued to contribute to the hair metal secene as well as the music industry in general. Paul Shortino, the band's singer, has passed through many bands and is currently fronting King Kobra. Guitarist Amir Derakh has played with many bands but worked mostly as an in-demand engineer and now currently plays with the bands Orgy and Julien-K.

Rough Cutt Trivia: Though many fans believe Amir Derahk's unusual surname is due to the Iranian side of his family, his real name is actually Amir Davidson. His creative stage moniker is meant to sound like "I'm here to rock!"

Kill for Thrills

Kill for Thrills in a publicity photo, circa 1991.
Kill for Thrills in a publicity photo, circa 1991.
Prior to Kill for Thrills, Gilby was in Candy.
Prior to Kill for Thrills, Gilby was in Candy.

Kill for Thrills was formed by guitarist/vocalist Gilby Clarke after he left the power pop-ish group Candy and before he replaced Izzy Stradlin in wildly popular Guns 'N Roses. He was joined by guitarist Jason Nesmith, son of The Monkees' Mike Nesmith, before he formed the wildly under-appreciated The Beauties. (We will talk more about them in a future "Albums You Need to Hear" hub.) Rounding out the band were bassist Todd Muscat, brother of Faster Pussycat guitarist Brent Muscat, and drummer David Scott who was just a good drummer. Together they formed a band that had all the makings of super-stardom, yet they failed to make even a ripple in ocean of hair metal bands flooding the scene in 1990 while the music world teetered on the brink of its descent into desolation and melancholy that would be grunge.

With a title that many probably thought was tongue-in-cheek considering the band's rather obvious mainstream aspirations, the band released their debut EP, Commercial Suicide, on the World of Hurt label which had earlier launched the career of Bang Tango. This was followed shortly by their MCA Records release, Dynamite From Nightmareland. Despite high expectations and even higher quality, the album failed to take off and the band would never record a second. Gilby went on to join Axl's band of dysfunctional merry men while the other band members went off on their own paths, making music here and there but generally fading from the spotlight. But the band left behind two amazing records that any hair metal / glam fanatic should most definitely seek out.

Roxx Gang

Roxx Gang, or at least the original version of Roxx Gang, only put out one album, Things You've Never Done Before, but what an album it was! Produced by Beau Hill, the band had the hair metal sound down, opening the album with the excellent "Scratch My Back". Other key tracks were "Race With the Devil" and "Too Cool for School" and the mid-tempo masterpiece, "Red Rose". The band reportedly disbanded due to inner turmoil and label bickering. Frontman Kevin Steele would later put together another Roxx gang that would release several albums, but that band never captured the magic of this initial release.

D'Molls

Desi Rexx is still doing d'stroll all night long!
Desi Rexx is still doing d'stroll all night long!

D'Molls formed in Chicago and began their career as The Chicago Molls, shortening the name when they made the move to Los Angeles. Two weeks after arriving in L.A., the band had an offer from Atlantic Records. The label was very excited about the band and anxious to get the band on record. But the band seemed to play it smart and got a few more offers on the table before finally inking a deal and signing with... Atlantic Records. But though many would say the band showed great wisdom in holding off before signing a contract, the band may have fell victim to something that always trumps wisdom and good planning in the music industry -- timing.

While the band was in negotiations to get the best deal they could, Atlantic signed a young man named Kip Winger and his band Winger. By some accounts, a lot of the enthusiasm and most of the promotion that had been waiting at Atlantic for D'Molls now turned to young Kip and the lads. The band released their self-titled debut in 1988 but, despite the album's excellence, failed to break into the big time. The album did well enough and the band had enough supporters at the label that a second album was released the following year. That album was Warped, an amazing records that is pretty much the perfect example of what hair metal was always meant to be.

The band would break up after Warped with a third album collecting alternate, live and unreleased tracks called Beyond the Valley of D'Molls being released a few years later. Recently, guitarist S.S. Priest and singer/guitarist Desi Rexx have been touring under the D'Molls name and released a live album called Double Platinum. It would be nice to see some new material from these guys as they are definitely one of the bands that should have made it big!

Disturbance

Disturbance came and went so quick on the music scene that it is hard to find information on the band. But in 1993, the band released a gem called We Come Out at Night that was full of catchy, hook-laden pop metal that you could even play for your mom. Tracks like "Cryin'" and "Outta Love" would have been all over the airwaves if released a few years before and the epic album closer "All I Want To Be" was an instant classic, even if I was the only one to realize it! Disturbance had a very commercial sort of Winger-meets-Van Halen sound and it is hard to understand how this band failed to break big even in the post-Nirvana wasteland that the metal music scene became.

Black 'N Blue

Black 'N Blue circa early 1980's
Black 'N Blue circa early 1980's
The band's new album... Hell Yeah!
The band's new album... Hell Yeah!

Black 'N Blue debuted on record when the first Metal Massacre compilation was re-released and their song "Chains Around Heaven" was chosen to replace the Steeler track that originally opened the album. From that moment on, there was no band ever recorded better at personifying hair metal. Often, hair metal and glam rock are seen as one and the same, but this really is not true. Tokyo Blade, Ratt and Dokken are hair metal. Poison, Tigertailz and Hanoi Rocks are glam. Other bands, such as Motley Crue, D'Molls and Girl fall somewhere in the middle. But Black 'N Blue are firmly in the hair metal camp.

The first Black 'N Blue album, released in 1984, is a hair metal classic. Opening with the killer track "The Strong Will Rock" all the way through the end with a new, even-better version of "Chains Around Heaven", the album is ten tracks of hard rock perfection. The band would only release three more albums before breaking up a few years later in 1989, but those albums were all solid releases if not quite up to par with the classic debut album, leaving the band with the legacy of one of the best of the best.

The band reformed in 2003 to record a new album, but lead singer Jaime St. James left to replace Jani Lane in Warrant. After Lane rejoined Warrant, St. James was able to return and Hell Yeah! was finally released earlier this year. The album, while not quite the classic the debut was, is still the second best album the band has ever done. And when a band is this good, that still translates into an incredibly enjoyable album! The new album still has the hooks, the harmonies and the humor that made Black 'N Blue the band to define hair metal.

Child's Play

Child's Play came out of the Baltimore metal scene in the early '90s and released Rat Race, an album full of classic hair metal. The band had always been huge in Baltimore and the album was huge there as well, but the band only managed a quick blip on the national radar. Before a second album could be released, lead vocalist / lead guitarist Brian Jack left the band. While the band remained popular in the Baltimore area even with the new singer who was brought in, Jack leaving pretty much sealed the band's fate on a national level.

Tigertailz

Tigertailz hailed from Wales with a look similar to Poison but a sound closer to Motley Crue.
Tigertailz hailed from Wales with a look similar to Poison but a sound closer to Motley Crue.

In 1987, Steevi Jaimz, Jay Pepper, Pepsi Tate and Ace Finchum released the first Tigertailz album, Young and Crazy. The band had the look of a typical hair metal band but a sound more in line with hair metal. The band's second album, Bezerk, found new singer Kim Hooker on board and cemented the band as one of the best hair metal bands around. The band would release two more albums, heavier than the previous albums, before calling it quits in 1995.

In 2005, the band reformed and released Bezerk 2.0 in 2006, returning to their earlier style closer to glam than heavy metal. The band followed this up with Thrill Pistol in 2007 by which time bassist Pepsi Tate was battling pancreatic cancer, a battle he unfortunately lost on September 18, 2007. The band continued on after Tate's death and earlier this year announced Tate's permanent replacement would be Sarah Firebrand.

Dirty Looks

Dirty Looks' leader Henrik Ostergaard in 2009.
Dirty Looks' leader Henrik Ostergaard in 2009.

Dirty Looks was formed in the San Francisco Bay area by Henrik Ostergaard and Jimmy Chartley who had played together in Erie, Pennsylvania, in the cover band Crossfire. They would be joined by another former bandmate, Boyd Baker, before moving back to the erie area where the band would go through many members while releasing an EP and three independent albums. The only constant in the band was singer.guitarist Ostergaard.By 1988, the band would release its major label debut on Atlantic Records entitled Cool from the Wire.

The album, produced by mega-producer Beau Hill, met with moderate success which was fueled by the bands hard-working road ethic. The second album on Atlantic, Turn of the Screw, became the ban's masterpiece. Original recordings again with Beau Hill were scrapped and John Jansen was brought in. The resulting album is surely one of hair metal's most enduring classics. However, despite decent sales, it would be the band's last for Atlantic.

The band went on to release three albums through Sony / Rockworld and then a final two albums in 1996 before "breaking up". More precisely, main man Henrik Ostergaard turned his attention to other areas leaving Dirty Looks for all extents and purposes on an extended hiatus. The band returned in 2007 with Gasoline and then released Superdeluxe and California Free Ride in 2008. The band signed a deal with FNA Records.who reissued three albums in 2010.

Sadly, 2010 also saw bassist Greg Pianka stabbed to death in a bar fight. Though the band continued on, it was not meant to be as bandleader Henrik Ostergaard passed away January 27, 2011 at age 47 of natural causes.

Wrathchild

Wrathchild formed in 1980 becoming one of the earliest glam bands pre-dating even Motley Crue. The band was founded by bassist Marc Angel and guitarist Phil "Wrathchild" Vokins with vocalist Rocky Shades and drummer Brian "Thunderburst" Parry quickly being added. Phil Vokins left the band after about a year to join Max Havoc with Brian Parry leaving shortly after. They were replaced by Lance Rocket and Eddie Star and this would be the line up of the band that would rock the UK throughout the 80s.

After releasing a few demos and an EP, the band released its debut album, Stakk Attakk, in 1984. Unfortunately contrasctual troubles prevented the band from releasing another proper album until 1988 when The Biz Suxx was rleased, This was followed a year later by what would be the band;s final album, Delirium. The band would reform in 2009 with Vokins returning and Rocky Shades being replaced by Gaz "Psychowrath" Harris, releasing Stakk Attakk II.

Girl

Phil Lewis fronted Girl before moving on to greater success with Tracii Guns in LA Guns.
Phil Lewis fronted Girl before moving on to greater success with Tracii Guns in LA Guns.
Phil Collen, second from left, before moving on to wildly popular Def Leppard.
Phil Collen, second from left, before moving on to wildly popular Def Leppard.

Many of the glam and hair metal bands from the early days of the genre have a claim to fame due to someone in the band moving on to bigger things. But the band Girl has two such claims -- their two Phils -- Lewis and Collen. Phil Lewis would eventually go on to front L.A. Guns after Tracii Guns and Axl Rose went their separate ways following the formation of -- and Tracii's rather quick departure from -- Guns 'N Roses. Phil Collen, of course, became guitarist with Def Leppard after Pete Willis was ousted for excessive drinking.

Though best known for their members who moved on to bigger things, at Girl's core were the Laffy brothers -- Gerry on guitar and Simon on bass. Though Girl only stayed together for three years, the band is often sited as an influence by bands that became much better known during the heyday of hair metal. The Laffy brothers have gone on to other projects and, while perhaps not exactly household names, have both found some degree of success. Simon has worked extensively as everything from a DJ to a producer while still playing in a variety of bands. Gerry has also had success in the music industry but found his true calling as an artist who is regularly displayed in top galleries.

All these creative energies combined with Girl's youthful energy to produce two of the greatest glam albums of all time -- Sheer Greed in 1980 and Wasted Youth in 1982. Both albums were filled with tracks that were both a little sleazy and a little heavy, but always melodic and locked in a rhythmic groove. Amazing guitars were blended with Phil Lewis' unique vocals to create a sound that would later be copied but never truly duplicated. Certainly any fan of early L.A. Guns needs to check out Girl, but really anyone looking for a good time will find the band enjoyable.

hide

Despite his often outlandish appearance, hide was first and foremost an accomplished musician and songwriter.
Despite his often outlandish appearance, hide was first and foremost an accomplished musician and songwriter.
Though his musical style expanded beyond hair metal and glam, hide's visual style was always true to the genre.
Though his musical style expanded beyond hair metal and glam, hide's visual style was always true to the genre.

Hideto Matsumoto was lead guitarist for Japanese speed metal band X Japan as well as a very popular and successful solo artist. He went by the stage name hide, spelled with all lowercase letters, though when playing in X Japan he used all capital letters. He also formed a band in the United States known as Zilch which featured the late Paul Raven (Killing Joke) and Joey Castillo (Queens of the Stone Age). Considered to be one of Japan's most influential modern guitarists, hide unfortunately passed away May 2, 1998, when he was found hung in his apartment. His death was initially declared a suicide, but later speculation suggested his death was accidental.

Though hide was not strictly a hair metal artist, he definitely made important contributions to the genre. In Japan, styles seem less restrictive than in the United States so while X Japan was a heavier band, they took on a more flamboyant glam appearance. Once he left the band and became a solo artist, hide continued using this look. However, his music became more alternative and hard rock oriented, moving away from the speed metal of his work with X Japan. As hide branched out into other musical styles, his popularity, both in Japan and internationally, continued to grow, especially among his fellow musicians.

Both on stage and on record there is no denying that hide was a captivating personality. Perhaps his outrageous look was rooted in his training as a beautician but more likely it was influenced by Japan's love of bands like Hanoi Rocks and KISS. Whatever its roots, hide deserves a place among hair metal's most influential Japanese artists as well as credit as an innovator who expanded the genre and blurred the lines between styles. Though he never achieved the fame in America that he enjoyed in Japan, anyone seeking glam rock that bends or even breaks boundaries need look no further.

Danger Danger

Danger Danger came together in Queens, New York in the late 80s and released their self-titled debut album on Epic Records in 1989 and got off to a great start with two hit singles, "Naughty Naughty" and "Bang Bang". The album was certified gold and things seemed to be going the band;s way. The second album, Screw It, did not fair as well as the first but still performed fairly well in the grunge-infused music market.

But by the time the third album was ready in 1993, the band had parted ways with vocalist Ted Poley and lawsuits between them halted the release of the album. Eventually the label dropped the band and any momentum they had was lost. The band has, however, continued to play live and release albums through other small labels and in recent years has even seem the return of Poley as the singer.

Vain

Vain was the band of lead singer and chief songwriter Davy Vain and their first album, No Respect, was both amazing and perhaps a bit prophetic. Hitting the shelves in 1989, Vain had little time to get a fan base going before grunge rolled across America, but did manage a minor hit with the single "Beat the Bullet". Still, rather than release the band;s second album, All Those Strangers, Island Records decided to release the band from its contract instead. Though the band would continue throughout the years and release other critically-acclaimed albums, the All Those Strangers album would not see the light of day until the band made it available at concerts in 2009.

Vain was a band that deserved bigger things with a unique singer and a sound that rocked as hard as any of their competitors. Though their following has always been relatively small, they have one of the most hardcore group of fans you will find and are still gigging and making records to this day. If you have never heard No Respect, find a copy and check it out!

Max Havoc

Max Havoc was a great band but only put out one album. That album, however, is a mega-classic. The band came and went very quickly, but several big names have been associated with them. Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward played briefly with the band and is rumored to have fronted the money for the album. Phil Vokins from the UK glam band Wrathchild played guitar in the band at one time. Tony Richards of W.A.S.P. and Carlos Cavazo of Quiet Riot also were associated with the band. But the star of the show was vocalist Pat McKeon. How this guy did not end up hitting the big time will forever be one of the unsolved mysteries of hair metal.

Earthshaker

Earthshaker's early albums were compared to other Japanese hair metal bands like Loudness, Anthem and EZO.
Earthshaker's early albums were compared to other Japanese hair metal bands like Loudness, Anthem and EZO.
Though Earthshaker has continued releasing albums in Japan, their sound has become more pop-oriented in recent years.
Though Earthshaker has continued releasing albums in Japan, their sound has become more pop-oriented in recent years.

When they released their first record on 1983.EP called Blondie girl, vocalist Masafumi "Marcy" Nishida, guitarist Shinichiro "Shara" Ishihara, bassist Takayuki Kai and drummer Yoshihiro Kudo formed a band that to this day still include those very same members. Eartshaker, taking its name from the Y&T album, became one of Japan's hottest and most long-lasting rock bands. Though never well-known outside of Japan, the band does have some very dedicated fans worldwide.

Like their more worldly countrymen Loudness and EZO, the band's initial sound was at the harder edge of hair metal, but over the years the band's sound has become a bit more melodic and mainstream. The band originally seemed somewhat interested in worldwide fame opting for English language choruses on some songs, but never recorded albums fully in English as most Japanese metal bands did. In their later years, they clearly forgot any hopes of making it outside Japan and instead seemed to target their music directly at their homeland.

But if you can put aside any qualms you may have about a non-English speaking rock and roll band, you are in for a treat indeed. Earthshaker's earlier music a rough edge fueled by youthful energy while newer music has an elegant grace that has been tempered by maturity. Other than a five year break from 1994 through 1999, the band has been going non-stop and are still rocking the Land of the Rising Sun today.

Hanoi Rocks

Hanoi Rocks. What can I say about Hanoi Rocks that will make you understand? It is impossible to do this band justice when trying to put into words the influence they had on hair metal and especially glam rock. The only way anyone ever truly understands is to first become familiar with Hanoi Rocks' music and then listen to any glam band that came after them. had it not been for the untimely death of their drummer, Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley, and the band's breakup following the tragic event, Hanoi Rocks almost certainly would have become much bigger in America. But as things worked out, many Americans never even knew who this band was that everyone from Guns 'N Roses to Poison to Ratt to Motley Crue so often spoke of as an influence.

I could spend several paragraphs explaining why the band was so great. I could list a few dozen bands they influenced. I could go on an on about the band getting back together in the new millennium and, even though they never quite got back the original magic, how they were still pretty gosh darn good. But you still would not understand. The only thing to do is tell you -- listen to the band. Listen... and then you will know.

Hair Metal and Glam Rock Today: Are You Listening?

The bands I have discussed so far are blasts from the past that maybe slipped by you back in the Heyday of Hair. But surely you didn't think that glam rockers and bands full of bad boys were a thing of the past? Though they may no longer rule the music charts as they did in the mid-to-late 80s and into the earliest pre-grunge years of the 90s, glamsters and hairy headbangers still rock hard and release some classic metal year after year. So let's finish this hub by taking a look at some of the best of the New Wave of Hairy Heavy Metal...

Miss Crazy brings to mind the theatrics of KISS.
Miss Crazy brings to mind the theatrics of KISS.
Miss Crazy's original bass player, Kim Racer.
Miss Crazy's original bass player, Kim Racer.

Miss Crazy either is or was the brainchild of Markus Allen Christopher. To be honest, I have a hard time finding out the current status of the band. They released their self-titled debut album in 2006 then added three tracks, renamed it Can't Get Enough, and re-released it in 2007. In 2008, they released their follow up album simply titled II. Between the two albums, original bass player Kim Racer left and was replaced by Brandi Lee. The most recent postings on the Miss Crazy's website currently promotes Markus' other band, Freakshow. No word on where things stand with Miss Crazy.

But whatever the current status of the band, there is no denying that they were one of the best of the "new" hair metal acts when they were performing. The band hits the stage in full makeup, bringing to mind the legendary days of KISS, and strut with the sonic bombast of Mötley Crüe or Van Halen on their very best days. Top notch songwriting gives the band excellent material to work with and their musicianship is beyond question. Everything about Miss Crazy is rock and roll personified. Had this band been around in the late 80s they would have certainly been a top contender.

Shelter

Trixie is a band centered around Ronnie Borchert and, like Miss Crazy, is a little difficult to get a current status report on. The MySpace page once dedicated to the band now seems to feature a violinist while Ronnie's personal site now seems to be a site featuring "all the best information on guitars". Coincidentally, Ronnie worked with Miss Crazy as a producer and, when he put out a solo album a few years ago, Kim Racer made a guest appearance.

Unfortunately, I fear both Miss Crazy and Trixie may be, at the very least, on extended hiatus. But at least Trixie gave us three excellent albums over the years. Beginning with their self-titled debut and followed by the superb Lift You Up, the band produced some of the best hair metal around in the mid-2000s. Their last album, released in 2007, was Shelter and it was by far the best of their three releases. Hopefully we will one day see a fourth Trixie album, but in the meantime, check out their first three if you haven't already!

Babyjane

Australian rockers Babyjane just released their debut album on March 26, 2011. Are You Listening hit the shelves to rave reviews and much hubbub among hair metal fans. Singer Andy Smith has the pipes to rival legends like Robert Plant and Sebastian Bach with the bad boy swagger of Mick Jagger. In fact, the band's big break came while supporting Bach on tour, landing the band a record deal while strengthening their already solid fan base. With ripping guitars by axeman John Gerasolo supported by the thundering rhythm section of bassist Paul Judge and drummer Nik "Animal" Kats, this band is primed to take the world by storm.

The Darkness

Justin Hawkins rocking hard.
Justin Hawkins rocking hard.

One of the best known of the new metal bands, The Darkness broke through in 2003 with the single "I Believe in a Thing Called Love". The band featured lead vocalist Justin Hawkins who seemed to be a cross between Steven Tyler, David Lee Roth and Freddie Mercury. His brother Dan added the guitar licks that propelled the band to the top of the charts with their first album, Permission to Land.Touted as the next big thing and the band that would single-handedly save rock and roll, the band began a successful tour supporting the album.

After two years on the road, they released their follow up album, One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back. Unfortunately, it failed to generate the same excitement as the first album. Following its release, Justin Hawkins left the band to enter rehab for alcohol and cocaine abuse, choosing to pursue a solo career instead of rejoining the band after completing the program. The band would continue but under the name Stone Gods, but the music would be less pompous and more rugged without Justin in the mix.

Dead End Jane

Dead End Jane released their debut album, Nicotine Queen, in 2006 and then spent a couple years on the road supporting it. Lead vocalist / guitarist Bourke Armour rocked on tunes like "The Reptile" and "Rodeo", bringing to mind rowdy rockers such as Ratt, Motley Crue and especially Jackyl. They took some time off after touring but are back playing gigs and will soon be recording their follow up album. Recently, the band played the Valhalla Festival 2011 in Germany, blowing away metal fans at the event that celebrated modern day warriors and soldiers. Nicotine Queen is just as refreshing now as it was five years ago and new music from these guys is certain to be well worth waiting for.

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Comments 6 comments

FatFreddysCat profile image

FatFreddysCat 5 years ago from The Garden State

Great hub! I remember Smashed Gladys, Tora Tora and Roxx Gang (among others mentioned here) very well... and that first Black N Blue album still gets fairly regular spins around my house to this very day. Thanx for the memories.


poetvix profile image

poetvix 5 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

Man, you put some work into this hub and it shows. I had to bookmark this so I can check out all of the ones I had not heard of. I miss metal. Thanks for making me remember.


duckbrador profile image

duckbrador 5 years ago from Canada

You need to add one more. Check out Lordi. They're a Finnish Horror metal band. They are current, but their sound is based on Glam Metal.


DarkSinistar profile image

DarkSinistar 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Lordi are a great band, but I am not sure I would put them in the hair/glam category. They seem a bit heavier than that to me. They were awesome in Dark Floors.


Tony Dio 4 years ago

Some great picks here DS. You forgot a key piece of info in the BLACK N' BLUE story. Guitarist Tommy Thayer now plays the Ace Frehley role in KISS.

As for HIDE. His best work was with X-JAPAN. They were awesome visually & musically.

The MAXX WARRIOR Reunion show details. Saturday January 7 - Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC. Tix available at www.lincoltheatre.com


Fox Music profile image

Fox Music 16 months ago

Thanks for sharing this page 25 of the Best Hair Metal and Glam Rock Bands - Forgot All about some of these bands, I'll have to fire up the turntable

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