DIY – For Those About To Rock, We Instruct You

David Bowie

So maybe my personal life experiences influence this blog a tad much. I can’t help it, I’ve lived a rich one.

My father used to be a rock deejay. In fact, to this day he can be heard rolling in the driveway of our house thumping some out-of-date rock music. Despite the fact that he’s a fairly conservative and general person, he has a deep love for all things rock. As you can guess, I inherited this passion. It started with me peering at his classic record collection, progressed to thieving his Beatles CDs, and ended up in a full fledged 450 eclectic CD collection before MP3’s hit the Internet. I was proudly walking in my father’s footsteps.

This is a brief time line of what my childhood looked like.

12 Years – I discover that there’s more than Depeche Mode and the Cure. I buy my first CDs, comprising Weezer, Green Day, Collective Soul, The Adam Sandler CD, and (oddly enough) ABBA Gold. Yeah, I was a open-minded fledgling rocker. I could be found rocking out in front of the mirror.

13 Years – I get a Peavey Predator and start mashing chords to Soundgarden’s “Fell on Black Days”. A bit of facial hair is coming in and I’m feeling ready for the stage. You find me rocking out in front of the mirror, but this time with a real guitar.

14 Years – I get too cool for my parents, but secretly love that my Dad is a rocker still. I explore classic rock some more. I also get an acoustic guitar. It was an Ovation round back. Hard to hold, but sounds sooo epic. I explore the classics of the acoustic guitar, includipng but not limited to “Dust in the Wind”. I’m getting good. You find me rocking out in front of the mirror, with my own guitar, and attempting my “dirty rocker” vocals. That didn’t work out so much.

15 Years – I take a break from my axes to explore some more of what we call, “the ladies”. You can find me fixing my hair and popping pimples in front of my mirror. My guitar is sitting on its stand. I’m listening to just about any rock that hits my stereo.

16 Years – These are the days I’m getting into other types of music, involved in school leadership, and forgetting my rock roots. Dark times indeed. You can find me in front of mirror rapping to my new 2Pac CD. The rock gods retreat from my abode.

17 Years – A harsh break up wrecks my world, so I go where all rockers end up. I pick up my guitars and start writing more. I pour my love life out into the music. This is before emo though so don’t even go there. Even the greatest song writers write about this stuff. You can find me in front of my mirror singing songs that don’t exist anywhere but in my head. They inevitably suck, or at least to me.

18 Years – I move to college. I discover the art of being cool because I play the guitar. Girls do too. I have to make the moral decision of doing it for the music, or selling out. After a long bout with rocker’s identity crisis (heretofore referred to as RIC), I decide that it’s about the music. You can find me once again, back where I was when I started. I’m playing my guitar in my room alone, mashing chords to the music that brought me to the guitar in the first place. Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Led Zeppelin, and the rest of the guys.

Okay, so what’s the point?

Well, as an intro to this first DIY bonanza, I’m going to teach you how to dress like a rock star. That’s right. We’re going to attack the major rocker looks, and what you need to make them authentic. I can’t possibly cover all of them, as there are so many. But the core looks are accessible and effective in their delivery. By equipping you with the right tools, no one will even know you’re in costume. They’ll just think you’ve taken on a whole new look.

So, for this part 1, I can only go so far as to prepare you for our first costume in the next segment.

Step 1 – Men, get over the makeup problem. That’s right, you’re gonna wear makeup. When you’re on stage, melting faces with a heavy solo mashed up on the tiny frets, you need the glitter to reflect. Essential makeup is as follows, but specific to certain types:

  • Massive glitter – Glam and Butt rockers
  • Eye makeup – Goth, Glam, and Butt Rockers… sometimes Brit rockers, but must be used WISELY
  • Blush – Not to make your cheeks rosy, but to high light parts. Specifically Glam Rockers
  • Face Paints – If you’re going all out, you may want to totally paint your face. Goth and Emo rockers will use this for the token “tear” or other sadness conveying effect.

Step 2 – Also for the men, you may have to go bare chested. I don’t mean shirt off, but I do mean that you may need to shave/wax that primal man fur. The long hair, leather pants, no shirt combo are so Zeppelin that it’s not even funny. If you do sport the hair, it must be a small diamond shaped tuft in between your necessarily undersized pectorals. The more ribs the better.

Step 3 – The right clothes. This is more specific to the type of rocker as well. We’ll go into more detail with this later. Just don’t forget the importance of looking right for the part. Some ideas:

  • Brit Rocker – Unkempt suit, potential fedora, thick framed glasses, loose tie
  • Glam Rocker – Tight, shiny, plasticy clothes open at every possible appropriate place.
  • Classic Rocker – American or British flag themes, tight jeans. Maybe the occasional backwards leotard but you’re not even being generic with that. That’s just straight up Freddy Mercury.
  • Goth Rocker – Everything in black. Long, draping, menacing clothes. Metal items and accessories with various spikes or chains. Don’t look like a monster though, it’s not about that.

Step 4 – Accessorize! You can’t just go in with the outfit. You need something with you to show you are serious about your role. Whether it’s the token cigarette dangling loosely between your fingers or stuck to your lip, or whether it means having your axe strapped around your back. Don’t let it leave your side. You’re about the music and the fans, remember?

Step 5 – Have a token “move”. I always imagined myself having a specific thing that I did on stage if I was a rocker. I’m actually a pretty normally dressed, conservative guy. But if I managed to take on a stage persona, I’d probably lick my guitar neck from the bottom to the top while sawing whiney solos into the frets with awesomeness. This part of your costume is free, but necessary.

Well, in the second segment I’ll explore how to dress like a Brit Rocker. I’ll bring you images and examples of what you need. In the meantime go play some of “Tommy” and light a candle. You’ll see your entire future.


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2 Responses to DIY – For Those About To Rock, We Instruct You

  1. says:

    Listen, this man knows how to rock. He’s talking the talk and may have some know-how on walking the walk. I’ll be waiting for the next segment… Rock on!!!

  2. says:

    Those of you interested in DIY-ing in a costume? Let me learn you something. Get black material (from your local fabric store) – cut it into corresponding shapes for your arms and your legs and your head (for head gear) and maybe your torso. Get glow in the dark tape, glew it onto the black material in different ways as to appear as though the costume has special powers or something… put it on – stand in front of a bright light and turn around a couple times – have someone turn off the light and you have DIY-ed your costume …just like that!

    OR – get a brown blanket about as long as you are tall, and duck tape – tie it around your neck and shoulders – get a stick (paint it blue) – and you are now a Jedi Knight the DIY way!

    I don’t see buying a costume as a “DIY your costume”, more like buying and putting on a costume, maybe some people are used to this type of DIY service? I suppose actors do not DIY their costumes, someone has to put those costumes on for them… ?

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