by Tracy Moore
Is this a band or a bunch of dudes here to help me haul away my couch?
In this everyone's-a-rock-star culture, now everyday folks look like they could just as easily be the lead singer for the latest Pitchfork rave. Or the bass player for the Jonas Brothers. Or the guitarist from All-American Rejects.
When everyone's adaptation of hipster fashion is identical, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate cool from off-the-rack at Urban Outfitters. Applied to bands, it's even worse. That dude in the cubicle diagonally from me could just as easily be a nerdy bookworm or the singer for the latest Merge Records sensation. You know what would help? If bands all still had the same haircut.
This opinion piece from the Onion that ran a few days back really sums up the conundrum. A sample:
The last time I tried to go to what now passes for a "rock concert," I was just plain confused. Was it a band I was watching? Or was it a collection of four random people who just happened to be standing near one another with instruments in front of thousands of screaming fans, singing the same lyrics? Can you even call it a song if it's performed by a group of people with such dramatically varying hair lengths? I paid $45 for this ticket, and they can't even buy matching hats.
Having a different haircut for each band member is not only disorienting—it's completely insane. Hey, why don't we just let a horse play drums while we're at it? If the bass guitarist doesn't have the same hairdo as the guitarist, how am I supposed to know they aren't really two solo artists having a two-hour guitar battle? Maybe my straight-haired neighbor Cliff is in the band, too. Maybe I'm the lead singer! (I'm not, by the way.) But that's what these ridiculous, haphazard band hairstyles today would have you thinking.
We need to get back to the days of being able to distinguish, by hairdo alone, who is part of a musical combo, and who is just a normal person going about his evening. I know there were some bands in the 1980s who at least made an effort to have matching long hair—I think "Bands with the Long Hair" is what they were called—but they were still all over the place with the different colors and curly versus not curly. Usually, I'd be hesitant to call them a band at all, but I'm grasping at straws here.