Before Nirvana came along in 1991 and killed off hair-metal's popularity — leaving bands like Poison with tear-smeared mascara — Def Leppard ruled the rock roost.
The Brits went straight to the head of the class when their 1983 hit “Photograph,” a melodic slice of pop-metal, touched off a musical and fashion avalanche of bands who called themselves "heavy metal," wore more makeup than Tammy Faye Bakker, manes of bleached or dyed black shag perms and crammed themselves into tight spandex that showed off their anatomical assets.
While most of the hair-metal bands of the ’80s have put the spandex in mothballs, bands like Def Leppard, who hit Mesa's Hohokam Park on Tuesday, soldier on.
For those dying to know what happened to the biggest hair farmers of the '80s, here's the lowdown.
Still kicking, the band has survived firing their lead guitarist for rampant alcoholism, has seen drummer Rick Allen lose an arm in a car accident and return to the band with a specially rigged drum kit, and suffered the loss of founding guitarist Steve Clarke to a drug overdose. Def Leppard has just released a retrospective of their multiplatinum career titled “Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection.”
The band that pushed the Maybelline envelope has packed everything back into the compact, but great news for Poison fans: Lead singer and former Pamela Anderson paramour Brett Michaels has thankfully decided not to make any more bad films for the time being. Instead, Michaels is focused on launching a country music career. Brett was a judge this season on USA's ‘‘Nashville Star’’ reality competition and has recorded a country version of the Poison hit “Every Rose Has Its Thorns.” Look out, Tim McGraw!
These shag-permed rockers had a breakout hit with Mott the Hoople's “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and have continued to tour, presumably playing other songs to fill out their set. The band is more famous — make that infamous — than ever after the 2003 club tragedy in Rhode Island, where 96 people died when the band's pyrotechnics burned the club to the ground. The band has been mired in legalities since.
In the video for Whitesnake's hair-metal anthem “Here I Go Again,” it was difficult to distinguish who was writhing suggestively on a Jag, shag-permed model Tawny Kitaen or shag-permed lead singer David Coverdale. The singer was famous for two things: Vocally ripping off Robert Plant (he sounds so much like the former Led Zeppelin vocalist that ex-Zep axeman Jimmy Page actually recorded an album with him) and his beautifully frosted mane. Whitesnake is still around and will make a stop in the Valley to play the Marquee Theatre on June 30. And it was Kitaen on the Jag, but you can argue about who was prettier.
With: Bryan Adams
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Hohokam Park
1235 N. Center St., Mesa
How much: $45
Info: (480) 784-4444