More than just a pretty face

By David Kenney

Before everyone in leather was a Gap ad, it was an ’80s metal rule. From head to toe, from hat to G-string, leather weathered spit, beer and body fluids. But that wasn’t the worse. Many rockers punished their bodies with loads of cosmetics and hairspray. And then they punished us with songs on 50 ways to make it with your lover.

Like disco though, hair metal went the way of polyester. But with the return of boy bands, you know Axl Rose is digging in his closet for his old gear. And sooner than later, hair rockers may be signing chests more times than Tommy Lee gets arrested.

Until then, metalheads can have The Black Halos.

Self-described as playing "trashy rock," the Vancouver band mesh the jangly poser rock of Faster Pussycat with the snotty attitude of The Sex Pistols. With teased hair and names like Billy Hopeless, the group rewinds your mind to the days of 35 cent chips. But don’t call them glam.

"I don’t [think] glam is the right word for it, it’s basically just dirty rock, good rock and roll," says bassist Matt Camirand. "Nobody’s wearing leather pants or leopard skin, it’s mostly like nail polish."

Halos guitarist Rich Jones knows nailpolish. Jones’ makeup is sponsored by MAC Cosmetics. The sponsorship was set up by the Halos label, Sub Pop Records, so now Jones doesn’t have to face a crowd unprepared.

"It’s not as glammy as you think," says Carimand on Jones makeup. Still, Carimand jokes the band would recommend MAC if asked and is more than happy to sell out. When MAC sends out the call, The Black Halos are ready for their TV close-up.

"It’d be us and Ru Paul," laughs Carimand. "We’d be shaving her legs, Rich would be shaving her face and she’d be shaving Matt’s arms."

Before any spots alongside tampon ads, The Black Halos are playing The Night Gallery Fri., April 14. Live the Halos are known for a fearless, all-over-the-stage show. Switching words like star into staow, singer Billy Hopeless’ hyperactive vocals drive the band’s three-minute, three-chord sound. Sometimes Hopeless’ energy bursts off the meter though, with his pants falling off. Tommy Lee would be proud.

"It’s just kind-of happens, it unavoidable, it gets so sweaty, they just slide right off," says Camirand laughs. "It’s fun, you can’t really avoid that either–you’re having so much fun up there, you can’t help but have a good time."