Glam Rockin' in Montreal with Faster Pussycat

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It's become clear, with the increasingly prominent love triangle between Hollywood, designer houses and glossy magazines, that fashion is no longer a world of its own. Where it used to be reserved for the rich and glitzy, it has now become a way of life, an expression of our feelings, of our personalities.The principle "any publicity is good publicity" is now truer than ever. Brand marketers are now very much aware that there can be no better spokesperson for your designs than a controversial celebrity. And what better combo than fashion and edgy rock stars?

When I first went to Los Angeles, it was in 1990, at the height of the glam punk rock movement. It was a fantastic era for rock n' rollers looking to add some pizzazz, some oomph to the traditional chaps-jeans getup. Lip Service was all the rage, much thanks to no other than Mr. controversy of the decade, Guns n' Roses frontman Mr. Axl Rose.

By its very definition, glam rock is about outrageous attires, makeup, glitz, theatricals and creative storytelling in a musical setting. When thinking of the grandfather of this movement, one's mind has to automatically wander to Bowie's Ziggy Stardust; glam rock in all of its glory. It should therefore be clear to anyone picturing the concept for the first time that glam rock shows place a lot of emphasis on attitude, stage presence, costumes, makeup... and of course, hair.

Bowie, Ziggy Stardust

There aren't so many such bands around these days. And of those left, very few (read  none) ever make it to Montreal. The musicians who do make it here are part of the modern take on "not giving a damn". Well, in my book, there's "not giving a damn," and then there's "not giving a damn... in style". Faster Pussycat proved, this week, that it does the latter very well.

Faster Pussycat

It had been an interview I was looking forward to doing because I had always loved the band's music, and I felt it was a great opportunity to sit down and discuss style with these guys, but it was a few hours before the show and I still hadn't received confirmation of the time when that would take place. I was getting a bit colder at the idea of going home empty-handed so I sat with a friend in the restaurant next to the venue and ordered a few drinks to get my mind off my disappointment. You can imagine my surprise when a few minutes later, members of the three bands playing that evening showed up at the table next to us! In journalism school, you learn that you must do whatever is possible, and then some, in order to get the story, but my upbringing has taught me that it is rude to interrupt someone's dinner. So I sat back and observed.

Faster Pussycat

I hadn’t seen these guys in decades, and one thing that stood out is that while their appearance may have changed (they may not look it but I assure you, they are human), I could look right at them and see the same excited-on-life musicians I had known in my youth. In the restaurant, the guys dressed casually (did I even see some in pyjamas??), hair undone, looking more like a chopper bunch than a sleaze rock band that would later appear in makeup and high-heeled boots.

Right before going on stage, I had the privilege to exchange a few words with singer Taime Downe in his stage attire. I looked closely at the football-style liners under his eyes, the thick white face makeup and his trademark black heart-shaped lips, and it became clear that attitude was really the only accessory necessary. And if anyone’s got plenty of that, it’s the guys from Faster Pussycat. Every part of them is an expression of who they are, what they feel, where they’ve been: their songs, their presence, their clothes, their tattoos….

Taime Downe

Of course, it goes beyond the leather, the military cap, the chains and the custom-made Lip Service pants (really guys, I’m impressed). It's even more than the Cathouse legend that lives on through each of them. It's the whole deal. They’re the skeleton of sleaze rock; its very root and its very future, at once.

Faster Pussycat

Faster Pussycat

Faster Pussycat

Now if only fans and groupies could take a page out of these stylish dudes and move away from the 1986 Motley Crue ensemble, we’d all live merrily ever after. Seriously guys, I’m thinking of issuing an official ban on black jeans paired with black tour shirts…

Image Credits: www.fasterpussycat.com, www.time.com, www.bopmyspace.com, www.daylife.com

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