We Don't Care How Many Grammys You Have—Your Hair Sucks
Many aging rockers may scoff at cleaning up their coifs, but their dos are simply don'ts.
At the end of March, Green Day will hit the road again after a short hiatus during frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's stint in rehab. We can only hope that Promises, Passages, or wherever he went helped the 41-year-old father of two kick the hair-color habit. Stop OD'ing on the black dye, dude!
Few things are more tragic than an old guy trying to rock a young man's hairstyle. And yet rock's elder statesmen just can't seem to give up their Aqua Net, peroxide, and flat irons. Robert Smith of the Cure, now 53, still takes the stage with the same teased Edward Scissorhands tresses he's sported for decades. Now paired with wrinkles and jowls, the do makes him look like a vampy granny, not a goth heartthrob. At 50, Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has grown up in some ways, having traded in his cock-in-a-sock shtick for a vegetarian diet, though that didn't prevent him from making his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech in April wearing a comically boyish asymmetrical skater cut, incongruously paired with a 'stache and a soul patch. Kiedis' sometime guitarist Dave Navarro, 45, hosts Spike's Ink Master with his trademark overgroomed mustache, goatee, and oily black locks, a look that increasingly makes him resemble Aladdin's cartoon nemesis, Jafar. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, both in their fifties, sport shorter shags than when they were livin' on a prayer but still color and layer their locks like the stars of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. And Chris Cornell, who famously shed his unruly grunge mane in the mid-nineties, now seems intent on bringing it back at age 48.
Guys, give it a rest. No one's suggesting that aging rockers be shipped to Boca if they don't adopt a side part. But as artists evolve, so should their crowns of glory. When the men of No Doubt (all 40-plus) celebrated their new album at the American Music Awards last fall, their Mohawks and bad bleach jobs, which they've clung to since circa 1995, made the passing of the years all the more apparent. "As you age, depending on how much hair you have, you can modernize your look," says the celebrity stylist Oribe. Gwen Stefani's boys might learn a thing or two about tress management from Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz, who, after turning 30, ditched his self-described "emo-swoosh" for a more understated cut. Or Lenny Kravitz, who sheared his signature dreads in his thirties but still looks every bit the rock star at 48 even with a close crop. "Shorter, more polished styles are always best for the more mature man," says Garrett Bryant of Antonio Prieto Salon in New York City. "This doesn't necessarily mean super-short and conservative—it can still have an edge or some length, but more subdued and distinguished." This pretty much describes the strategy of the Rolling Stones—even if some of them do paint it black, hair-wise—as they've seen their twilight approaching.
Which brings us to the sound vision of David Bowie, who at 66 is out with a new album this month and sporting a loose but tidy coif that's miles away from his glam-era red mullet. And if Ziggy Stardust can ease gracefully into his golden years, can't every rocker do the same?
Click through to see some of the worst hair in rock today.
From left: Tom Dumont, Tony Kanal, and Adrian Young of No Doubt.