Freeman Cebu Entertainment

That glam rock legacy

POP ARAZZI - POP ARAZZI By Nathalie M. Tomada -
Let's go back to the early '70s, shall we? Two words, albeit fleetingly, set the timbre and tone of the musical universe at that time: glam rock. Though these words are overused and adopted by the fashion industry today, it was the music that commenced a style phenom-and not the other way around.

Despite its very short-lived life span, its fashion and pop culture influence has never really died. The proponents of glam rock included Davie Bowie, Elton John and Iggy Pop. Our younger readers may not be familiar with these music icons, but they have been credited for making fashion integral to the image of even the most solid of rockers. Drawing a parallel with the said era was a social movement of sorts that contested gender stereotypes, making willful androgyny the order of the day.

Author Bryan Knight in his essay Glam Rock: Then and Now described it as the era wherein artists breathed flamboyance into their onstage persona and incredible musicality. "Elton John had his large glasses; David Bowie had his dresses, while Iggy Pop pranced around the stage shirtless. They all wore lots of makeup, which was tremendously helpful in skewing the gender lines even further. On the musical side of things, glam rock was hard biting and lyrical. The sounds were characterized by space-age lyrics, driving guitars and an overall loudness. That was the most amazing thing about these artists is that could back up their controversial appearances and lifestyles with amazing music," he wrote.

Glam rock continues to make its presence felt by transmuting into new forms which are, thankfully, no longer as obsessed with what's "flashier, gaudier and grander." Knight wrote "The glam side things found its influence on Boy George of Culture Club and Robert Smith of the Cure… The audience-diving antics of Iggy Pop have become a staple for most modern punk, grunge or hard rock performances. Hard-biting seventies-style, rock and roll has continued on with 1990s British rockers such as Spacehog, Oasis and Pulp. Kiss put the focus on the stage performances and the band's physical appearance…" Gwen Stefani is also now being bandied about as the female embodiment of glam rock with her glam-meets-goth-meets-vintage fashion sense, plus glitzy, theatrical stage presence and kick-ass music.

With the rock band profusion in the home front, wherein everybody's seemingly looking identical in their trite jeans-shirt-sneakers ensemble, imagine our surprise as studio audience when Raymund Marasigan (former drummer of Eraserheads, now vocalist of Sandwich) showed up on the Sunday variety show SOP to launch his band's single "Sugod Mga Kapatid," complete with really heavy eyeliner plus dark nail polish. I'm sure many were ready to dismiss him as an ex E-head who'll never step out of Ely Buendia's shadow, but by that strategy, he made everybody sit up and notice.

Reality TV show Pinoy Dream Academy is channeling some glam rock ideas as well, if we're to take into account that one session that taught male scholars on how to put on foundation and eyeliner. Why not when they're no longer playing in some garage or dim-lit joint, but before cameras, klieg lights and all? Notice also Panky's chic androgynous get-ups every performance night, which complement just as well the amazing versatility of her voice. (I'm looking forward to her performance with Chad for the show's final night this Saturday. Will Panky take a more feminine or diva look to perhaps better internalize the love duet with the rocker from Down Under? That we all have to find out.)

While I'll be the last one to dig the original glam rock look-you know glitter, platform shoes, garish costumes and stuff-I get its point. I really do. If anything, the glam rock legacy is this: style is just as important as substance. The singer is as important as the song. Neither should outshine the other.

Footnote: Cebuano artists Panky and Jay-R are in the running to be the grand winner of Pinoy Dream Academy. Help make that happen by throwing your vote: Text PDA and send to 2331 for Globe and Sun Cellular and 231 for Smart, Talk 'N Text and Addict Mobile Subscribers.









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