Hair metal grows back on the ‘Net


NEW YORK — A certain shadow crosses the faces of hair-metal enthusiasts when they talk about 1991. Nirvana’s album “Nevermind” came out, and as swiftly as the Berlin Wall fell, the hair-metal musical genre nosedived from the top of the charts to the bargain bin.

Fans of hair metal — hard rock by guys who liked their hair big and their power ballads even bigger — were forced to retire their Poison and Skid Row T-shirts or face the scathing mockery of newly flannel-clad fans of Nirvana and other grunge groups.

“For years I loved the stuff,” said Nick Tyler, a 35-year-old computer programmer from Sydney, Australia. “The huge sound, the amazing guitar.”

So it was a quite a blow when the tide shifted.

“Everyone seemed to change their mind,” Tyler said. “The same people who owned all the same Mötley Crüe albums suddenly got into darker stuff and pretended they never liked metal in the first place.”

Tyler decided, as a matter of social survival, to keep his enthusiasm for the adrenaline-fueled, hairspray-frosted scene to himself.

But for many, love for hair metal was not destroyed — just tucked away along with 1989 tour memorabilia. Now, the Internet is allowing these fans to find their inner teenager, dust off their fandom and relive the days when rock stars dressed like rock stars, and music was delivered irony-free, one power-chord at a time.

Tyler can once again express his passion publicly without shame. He does so as a member of the Hair Metal Revival group on the social networking site Facebook, where he can virtually “throw up metal horns,” chat about bands, find links to videos and keep track of concert dates for the now-ubiquitous reunion tours.

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