There's nothing quite like a rock concert. I remember how exciting it was to sit in a packed stadium, watching four or five young men with indistinguishable haircuts run toward the stage and grab their instruments. And then, then they'd start playing—and boy I'll tell you, that's when those haircuts would really start moving. Swaying to and fro at equal lengths above their shoulders, shimmering in the same tones of brown, black, or blonde. That, my friends, was true rock and roll.
But it just couldn't last. The kind of musical rebellion those uniformly mop-topped or bowl-cut or side-parted young men brought into our lives was a flame that burned too brightly. Gone are the days of the Beatles, the Partridge Family, the Monkees, the Who, and the Beatles during Sgt. Pepper, when they all grew matching mustaches. And, in place of those great, similarly hairstyled songsters we have—well, I don't quite know what to call them. A bunch of strangers with different haircuts.
I wouldn't be surprised if the members of these so-called "rock bands," with their wildly differing haircuts, aren't actually best friends who spend all their time together, laughing, smiling, and pulling innocent pranks, for crying out loud!
†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.
If it weren't for my favorite 900-person African-American R&B; group, the MoTowns, I wouldn't have anything to listen to.
The real tragedy is, the kids today don't know what they're missing. My daughter goes crazy for these kids, the Jonas Brothers, who she claims are the best band ever. But there's nothing band-like about them! One has straight hair, one has wavy hair, and as for the one that sings, well, he can't keep the same hairstyle for more than a month. No daughter of mine is going to listen to some pack of do-nothings who can't even visit the same barber before embarking on a sold-out tour. Why, just about the only thing that unifies them as a band is the fact that they're all homosexuals.
Times sure have changed, for the worse, I guess. Hopefully the "different haircuts" fad of these last few decades of bands will fade, and we'll return to the glory days of music, when a band's drummer was only distinguished from the rest of the group by the trademark sunglasses he wore to disguise his identity while eluding mobs of screaming girls who would chase him down the street, forcing him to duck into an old-fashioned phone booth and pretend to make a telephone call.
Until then, I guess I'll just satisfy myself with these old album covers.