KISS and Makeup: Eight Male Makeup Icons

Categories: Up On Sun

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With Motley Crue, KISS in town tonight at Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion, and the recent gig by Cinderella, is it any wonder that the makeup counters nearest the venues seem depleted?

To the best of my research ability, it doesn't seem any artist was ever sponsored by a Revlon, Max Factor or any other make-up producer, yet plenty of male-fronted bands have kept these companies in business by wearing makeup as part of the stage act (and for some, it's the daily look).

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The reason's varied. Some, like Boy George, did it to pretty up, while David Bowie colored his face and eyes to heighten his media-grabbing androgyny. Glam metal acts like Motley Crue and Poison amazingly toughened their image and bolstered their mystique with some eyeliner and mascara, while KISS and Insane Clown Posse created entirely new beings.

So, which artists put make up to the best use? That will always be up for debate. But while you contemplate shelling out for the double makeup whammy of the KISS and Crue tour, consider this non-ordered list of eight makeup wearing music acts:

Let's begin locally, with the Master of the Macabre, Alice Cooper. Ironically, the make-up came on when the dresses came off. With circles of mascara surrounding and running from his eyes Cooper's perpetually scary "shock rock" look only heightened the outrage surrounding his outlandish stage shows and theatrically performances. And once that began, it could never be wiped away.

Marilyn Manson followed in Cooper's footsteps, at least only so far as shock value. With pan white face, exaggerated black-lined lips and various shades of blush (not to mention those husky-like eyes), Manson had parents locking their children away. Remove the make-up and Brian Hugh Warner looks like, well, your average Ohioan.

Everyday's Halloween for Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. Let's face it, the guy's scary looking without makeup, but add that blue eye shadow and pink cheek streaks to his permmed bleach-blond hair, menacing scowl and party dresses and, well, you're happy to rock safely at the back of the room.

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Many of the hair metal acts of the '80s wore makeup. It's claimed that Poison frontman Bret Michaels started the trend, but let the debate rage. What is known is that with outrageous black leather covered in spikes, rivets and whatever, Motley Crue's use of mascara and blush only highlighted their bad boy attitude and set the trend for similar acts -- none of which could keep up.

Monsters of rock, KISS are also monsters of makeup, and backed with devilish costumes. With a cat, bat, starman and we're not sure what the other guy is, the question was always who was behind the mask? The truth was less exciting, and the music straight-ahead rock 'n' roll, but put it all together and KISS was/is a powerhouse

Location Info


Ak-Chin Pavilion

2121 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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