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The Best Mustaches in the Music Business

April 22, 2008
By Ben Moffat
If you are a guy you can pretend like what you grow on your face doesn’t matter but it does. It says something about you. It’s like my mother used to say, “the state of your room is the state of your life!” and I never used to care what my mother said when she cared about what my room did or didn’t look like. On one hand that’s why I have a beard. I wanted to hide my face. On the other hand, it was the manifestation of just not caring about anything anymore. So, I guess she was kind of right.

So does the mustache help in any regard? It used to. Is it still the tool of nonconformity? I’m not too sure. But it can’t hurt an artist in search of raw expression. That’s why they’re important to music. You can tell a lot about someone’s shoes thanks to Forrest Gump, but you can also tell a lot about someone by the hair they chose to keep on their face. It’s not just a coincidence when it comes to something like that.

So, here’s a list of the great living mustaches in music today. They are a rare breed, since the mustache, unfortunately, is like the mullet of facial hair these days.

1 Nas: Nasir Jones is the Nietzsche of Hip-Hop. Only Nas could proclaim the death of hip-hop and then make a hip-hop album.Nevertheless he’s been sporting the mustache for quite sometime and that excuses any hypocrisy, even though at some level the whole thing about hip-hop being dead makes sense. Also, “Illmatic” is still one of the best hip-hop albums of all time. While it would’ve been easy to highlight a more prominent moustache first, Nas’ is unassuming, his is just barely there but it’s definitely badass.

2 Jack White: Jack White is about as pale as a person can get. Personally, it makes me happy because the sun is not my friend most of the time and it’s good to see that a tan is not the key to success that I thought it was. Jack White didn’t have a moustache for the Stripes’ first three albums but for five and six a wee one developed making Jack White look a little bit like Mephistopheles but in that edgy cool way, not in that Johann Georg Faust (the guy who coined the term) kind of way. Since the moustache appeared, the Stripes have traveled out to left field musically, taking garage blues to a new weird and fun level.

3 Neil Pert: The drummer of Rush, that crazy Canadian three piece that rocks your face off to Ayn Rand inspired lyrics. Quite dorky but since Zeppelin had the Hobbit it’s acceptable. Pert, who dramatically changed the band’s sound when he joined in 1974, played their first show together at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. “2112,” released on March 1976, was to be their breakthrough, catapulting them into the forefront of the progressive rock scene. His mustache was one of the best of the ‘70s and one of the few and the proud who could successfully pull off the long mustache curled at the ends. One may argue that it was the amazing 20-minute 33 second “2112 Suite” that brought them success but I know better, it was the mustache.

4 Jeremy Barnes: What is it about drummers? The second one mentioned, it must be all the rhythm that makes it easier for them to grow a mustache. Being the drummer for the legendary Neutral Milk Hotel and A Hawk and A Hacksaw makes it also easier to be freakin’ cool, so it makes sense that this fellow has a great mustache. He didn’t have one during the Milk Hotel days so it must be the bell hat he wears during shows.

5 Ringo Starr: When Sgt. Pepper came out June 1, 1967, all the Beatles had mustaches and by the release of Abbey Road, only George and Ringo had them. One can assume that since both George and Ringo released some of their best stuff in the early days of their mustache career that something in both of their brains clicked and materialized as hair on their faces. While both formidable mustaches, in the steel cage match Ringo’s wins hands down even though he’s sporting the beard these days. But for me, he’ll always be young Ringo with a mustache.

Honorable Mention:

Nick Cave: The new album “Dig! Lazarus Dig!!” is pretty sweet and Nick Cave’s mustache is longer, like an old Schwinn bike handlebars running down his face making him a cruel bastard but obviously having a positive impact on his music.

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Contact Ben at

bmoffat@graffitiwv.com

Fact Box

R.I.P
1. Freddie Mercury
2. Jim Croce
3. John Lennon
4. Rick Danko

 
 

 

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