Rock/metal bands that like to dress up
Top 4

Rock/metal bands that like to dress up

5 March 2013 | 12:00 pm

Dressing up isn’t just for kids, you know – it can be a serious (and very profitable) business if you’re a musician. Here are the Top4 rock/metal bands that do it well.

Musicians getting dressed up for their on-stage performances is hardly something new, and neither is it something that’s restricted solely to the heavy rock/metal genre.

Bowie loved doing it (and you get the distinct feeling that he’d do it even if he wasn’t a famous musician), as did Bjork and more recently Lady Gaga.

However, today we are talking about heavy rock and metal bands who get their kicks by dressing up, either because of lofty artistic notions, the desire to be anonymous, the wish to put on an entertaining show or simply because hey, dressing up makes for a strong, marketable brand.


Best known for their distinctive black and white face paint, KISS have sold more than 100 million albums across the world – clearly they’ve done something right. It’s staggering to think they are still performing 40 years after forming in 1973. Their flamboyant style carried on into their shows, which often featured pyrotechnics, fire breathing and other novelties such as smoking guitars and spitting blood. The only members that have remained consistent since the start are Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, but the brand is well and truly alive and kicking – you can get almost any KISS merchandise that you could imagine, including comics, action figures and pinball machines – and they are touring once again.

Marilyn Manson

Love him or loathe him, one thing you have to admit about Marilyn Manson (born the slightly less intimidating Brian Hugh Warner) is that he knows how to market himself. His shows are theatrical and over the top, and he must spend an age getting ready to go out whenever he knows that the cameras will be watching (and they are always watching). Add in some juicy rumours when he first hit the scene (including that he was actually Paul from the Wonder Years, and that he had ribs removed so that he could perform, erm, certain acts on himself), beautiful women (he’s had relationships with Rose McGowan and Dita von Teese among others) and musical success, and you have a massive global brand. Not happy with just his musical career, he’s also moved into filmmaking and even has his own brand of Absinthe – called “Mansinthe” – and his own branded energy drink.


With their elaborate horror-movie costumes and somewhat ridiculous personas, Lordi made news headlines the world over in 2006 by winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It was a huge surprise since Eurovision is more famous for bringing us ABBA and horrible Europop than anything like this. Hailing from Finland, Lordi formed in the early ’90s after being inspired by a KISS concert. Their success was waning, however, until Eurovision. They’ve since released three new albums (with a new one due any day now), toured as part of Ozzfest, and Weta (best known for doing the special effects for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films) have helped out with their costumes. Their rock future seemed assured.


Slipknot are probably more recognised for their look than their music – all the band members wear jumpsuits and terrifying, individualistic masks. While the band claim that they wear the masks to draw attention away from themselves as individuals and let fans focus more on the music, it’s undeniable that the masks are a highly marketable part of their shows and image… and that the band has been a massive success (their self-titled album went double platinum). The stage shows Slipknot put on are wild, aggressive and theatrical, and, it must be said, highly entertaining.


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