Metal was the unloved bastard-child of the hippie generation. We inherited the drugs and long-haired rebellion. Hell, we even kept the unhealthy obsession with music. It’s the music itself we changed. Bands like Led Zeppelin bridged the abyss, hence the elements of Bohemia in the Metalhead wardrobe. The most obvious connection is the long hair, which was shocking, offensive, even freakish to society until the late 6o’s. Other examples include the John Lennon glasses worn by Ozzie Osbourne, the peace signs and love beads of Enuff Z’nuff, and the psychedelic prints of virtually all Glam-Rock bands. The only constant, with few exceptions, was the outrageous hair. Like the mohawks and liberty-spikes of Punk Rock, the tresses of the Metal masses symbolize deliberate rebelllion. It asserts individuality in a world full of crewcuts and neckties. Songs like Quiet Riot’s Metal Health even turned this feature into an asset. Now long hair was ideal for the new dance-style… Headbanging.
Never try to bang your head in heels. The shoes of a Metalhead are generally more practical than fashionable. The platform monstrosities worn by KISS would be useless in a mosh pit. Hence the frequent use of combat boots and sneakers. Sebastian Bach, the lead singer of Skid Row, even has a pair of converse tattooed on his arm. Illegal situations were romanticized, further reinforcing the desire for functional footwear. Solid grip and tough material would make for a successful getaway when evading cops.
Another example of law-repellent fashion was the innovation of spikes. Metalheads attending riotous concerts would wear spiked collars to prevent chokeholds and headlocks. However, studs and spikes are of twofold origin. Bands like Judas Priest donned studded leather bondage gear as a testament to the sexuality of the genre. Therefore, the metal spikes embody the paradox of violence and eroticism. . Then again, paradox defines the genre. Blues and classical, glamour and death, anger and hope. In the end, it doesn’t matter what we wear. It will become bloodstained one way or another.