These days, having hair isn’t important being a musician, you can go chrome dome and let it shine. But back in the eighties, especially if you were in a metal or a new wave band, hair was crucial, and many musicians tried to fight hair loss with everything they had.
When I was writing my book about metal, Bang Your Head, hair loss was actually a very sensitive subject, and many people in the hair band world were in bald denial.
For example, Bret Michaels was famous for being in chrome dome denial, although the bandana and the cowboy hat are always dead give-aways, and hair loss stories were some of the hardest anecdotes to get for the book.
As I wrote in Bang, if you worked for David Lee Roth, mentioning his hair loss or Van Halen around him was a big no-no, and when Roth and Sammy Hagar toured together, they almost got into a brawl backstage after Hagar made fun of Roth’s lack of follicles in Page Six.
According to Knac.com, a GNR tour was reportedly cancelled over a botched Axl hair transplant, and one ’80’s band whose lead singer was notorious for sporting a rug would cancel shows if his hair piece didn’t look right, causing his bandmates to joke, “No wig, no gig.”
The new book, I Want My MTV, also includes a number of hair bands without hair stories, such as Mick Kleber, who was head of the video department at Capitol recalling that the label “spent an insane amount of money on extensions and hair plugs. For Great White alone.” Former Great White and GNR manager Alan Niven also mentioned that Great White singer Jack Russell “used to hide his stash under his weave, by the way, which took me a little time to figure out.”
Another source mentioned that Don Dokken “had hair issues. His hair was long and stringy, with a big ball of sunshine on top.” And while shooting Motley Crue’s Girls, Girls, Girls video, the crew had to figure out how to keep guitarist Mick Mars’s wig from flying off as the band cruised down the street on motorcycles.
I always thought these stories were hilarious, there’s plenty more where these came from, and I think Vicky Hamilton, who managed Guns N Roses in the club days and also handled Faster Pussycat, put it best when she told me, “Let’s put it this way, the guys with the biggest egos lost their hair first.”