Log Illustrated - a publication from the Physics RoomLog 13 - The Revolution Issue
Log 13 - The Revolution Issue

Notes on facial hair as a counter-revolutionary signifier
Duane Zarakov


(figure #1 - anomalous beard manifestation of the Pre-Beard Rock era - Dick Taylor of the Pretty Things, 1965.)
I don't think anyone in rock had a beard before this guy. No hang on just a minute there, I thought of one, how 'bout Sam The Sham?

(figure #2 - Pied Pipers of their generation, The Beatles, circa 1966.)
Paul McCartney grew the first Beatle Moustache (apparently 'cause he busted up his lip in a motor accident and wanted to conceal the scar) and the facial hair floodgates were open - first the rest of the Beatles, then everybody.

"If Paul McCartney jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?" Round the time Revolver came out, the usual answer still would've been YES.

(figure #3 - The Band, circa 1968 - Beard Rock in full bloom.)
All that psychedelic excess had left a lot of people burned the fuck out, but they kind of felt they'd gained something from the experience - you know, grown up or whatever - 'cause they had beards now. That's what happens if you spend your late teens and early 20s tripping on LSD, one day you wake up with a beard. (And that was just the girls...) With this new hirsuteness and the accompanying illusion of 'maturity', Rock basically went down the fuckin' toilet...

Beard Rock standard bearers The Band, ironically, had had next to nothing to do with the psychodelphic Beard Evolution - their own beards came, rather, from the most part of a decade of hard-living road band grizzliness, and so could be said to denote a far more genuine grown-upness than that of their many disciples... But enough about them, I never gave a shit about 'em myself.

(figure #4 - Television, first album cover, 1977.)
An iconic image, and why? 'cause the short hair and the absence of beard meant these were the first high-profile '70s rock'n'rollers to recognise that rock had descended to the level of mere "we're coming to your town/help you party down" trope. As above(the music)/so below(the look). The even more doctrinaire English punk scene that followed would further codify the new puritanism - "We don't wear flares" announced the Sex Pistols - and for a couple of years it really seemed like we'd never hear beard rock again. Sweet dreams...

(figure #5 - the fat guy from the Exploited, early '80s)
First punk bands to start sprouting facial hair? That woulda been creeps like the Exploited and the Anti-Nowhere League, circa early '80s... The Exploited even felt the need to title an album "Punk's Not Dead", proof if you needed it that it was. (Punk that is.) (Dead that is.) (And this while Krut Kobain was still poopin' yellow poop.)

(figure #6 - you or one of your mates with a goatee, circa early '90s)
Oi, fuck face!

Duane Zarakov never had a beard. Up to 2 wks. maybe 3 without shaving but it still didn't count as a beard. Had a rude pseudo-Lee Hazlewood moustache for a while tho' but Violet & Saskia made me get rid of it (said it was creepy). (I writ this thing just before the Beard Rock topic came up on the I Love Music forum, by the way.) (That's at www.freakytrigger.com .) Further notes on Beard Rock will probably eventually appear on Duane and Maryann's web site ROCK CITY ROCKER - http://www.geocities.com/duane_zarakov/rockcityrocker.html .




Log Illustrated - a publication from the Physics Room