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Rock and elaborate spectacle.

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"Editors of Rolling Stone later summarized, 'Rock 'n' roll has always been a frank and sometimes vulgar music, with plenty of things for its critics not to like.' " (Fore 1999:96). There is no doubt about it. Rock and elaborate spectacle were meant to be together; Like chocolate and red roses on Valentine's Day... only more dysfunctional (where the roses are tattoos and the chocolate gets to be licked off someone). From Elvis' swiveling hips to Jimi Hendrix making love to and then "sacrificing" his guitar (to whatever) by setting it on fire and smashing the hell out of it to KISS and their incredible costumes and make-up to Prince and his ass-cheeks-cut-out pants to etc. All part of the random theatrics enthralled fans expect from the rock show. The more attention you can get, the better your chances of becoming a rock star. Welcome to the world of glam rock. "We just get out there and rock. ...read more.


While the act is still pretty cool to witness, by the 70's, rockers were ready to shock the hell out of you instead of just make you jump. Which leads us into make-up, hair, costume and the adoption of an outer-worldly persona. "Absent were the flower children and euphoria of psychoactive enlightenment, replaced by personal narratives of heroin addiction, ghetto drug connections, and sexual perversity. These shocking explorations of self-destructive behavior tested society's cultural sensibilities; they also didn't have much of an impact on the rock/pop mainstream." (Friedlander 1996:250) The first band to come to mind when 70's rock, make-up, and costumes collaborate are the Knight's In Satan's Service, or more commonly known by their abbreviation: KISS. KISS, like many glam rockers, performed to huge stadium audiences. They had to be larger than life to get the attention of all the people in the middle and back rows as well as the front. Furthermore, their personas were highly marketable (From t-shirts to comic books to action figures, etc.). ...read more.


Why androgyny though? Many say that rock music itself, while still predominantly performed by males, is an androgynous form of music because it combines all other forms of music considered "male" or "female". Others maintain that the trend was in response to the sexual revolution. Though these rock shockers succeed in getting the attention they so adamantly strive for, the most successful rock stars had always been presented as "real people." The illusion that we could know the real Elvis, McCartney, or even the real Monkees was fostered by such superficial means as fan magazine interviews or facts on the back of bubble-gum cards, but it was also implicit in Elvis's insistence on his own style of recording the songs of others, and explicit in those performers who wrote their own songs. (Shumway 1992:131) Still, the diversity and color that glam rockers add to the spectrum is not something to discourage. Many fans strive on the fact that their heroes are super heroes, gods and goddesses with fantastical powers who they can fantasize about being. Who wants to be a "real" person all the time anyway? We get to be that everyday. ...read more.

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