This article originally appeared on Noisey Denmark.
Why is it that almost every man with long, curly hair I’ve ever seen seems to love banging his head and throwing his luxurious locks back and forth to the sound of another man with an equal amount of curls in his hair playing the devil’s music? Will listening to metal make your hair growth improve or do people with great hair just naturally gravitate towards the genre? I’ve always wondered, but I’ve never come close to finding an answer. But I do know that maintaining long, beautiful hair is no easy task, especially when you’re partying down at a metal festival many miles away from the nearest bottle of conditioner. Hence why I decided to go to Copenhell—a heavy metal festival that occurs every summer on Refshaleøen, an island in the harbor of Copenhagen—to figure out how metalheads maintain their impressive metal manes.
But before venturing out among the festival-goers, I had a chat with two of Denmark’s most prominent curly-haired metalheads.
Lasse Revsbech, lead guitarist in Danish death metal band BAEST
Noisey: Hey, Lasse. Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of curly-haired guys in the metal scene?
Lasse Revsbech: During my time in the metal scene I’ve met many guys with beautiful, long curls. I’ve met so many at this point that me and Svend [BAEST’s other guitarist] have decided to start a curly-hair club. We offer a membership to people with nice hair whenever we meet them.
Why are there so many curls in metal?
We just let our hair grow out. There are probably a lot of shorthaired guys with really nice curl-potential, who are just too shy to grow them out.
Why have you chosen to sport your long curls?
Well, I was born with them and also: metal picked me and I picked metal. I just let my hair grow out because a lot of metal musicians do—and it looks badass. I’ve often looked at Dimebag Darrell and really admired his hair. The first time I saw him, I thought, “I want hair like that, too.”
Is it a point of pride?
I mean, a lot of people would love to have long, curly hair like mine—metalheads and normal people alike. People often ask me: “Can I have your curls?” or “Have you ever straightened your hair?” In both cases the answer is no.
Do people mainly have naturally curly hair or do they use hair curlers?
I think in the past people probably used those methods but not these days. I highly doubt it. I think most people just wake up every morning and that’s how their hair is styled—although you do have to take good care of it. I’m actually the son of a hairdresser, believe it or not, so a lot of people have speculated whether my hair style was authentic or the result of a perm. But I honestly don’t think anyone does that. I certainly hope not. I know for a fact that it’s insanely expensive.
How do you keep your curls looking nice?
I use a nice brand of shampoo and I always wash it twice, but not necessarily every day. Afterwards I use conditioner. Preferably an upscale brand. Since my mother is a hairdresser I have access to the good stuff. Sometimes I apply oil, but not too often. I never brush my hair, only when I get a haircut. When I was a kid my mother brushed my hair with a horrible comb made specifically for curly hair and it felt like pulling out all the hair from my scalp. But here’s a pro tip for people with curls: you can buy something called a wet-brush, which is awesome. You just brush your hair when it’s wet and it feels all smooth—the brush just slides right through. I was totally blown away the first time I tried it.
Why are curls and metal such a good match?
It just looks awesome when you have curly hair and you’re headbanging. I would actually say that it looks way more badass than it does with straight hair. You have all that volume. Curly hair is massive. It’s heavy, you have to work it to bang it around.
Anders Bøtter, metalhead and radio host
Noisey: Have you noticed how many guys on the metal scene have long, curly hair?
Anders Bøtter: I don’t really notice the curls all that much, but I do notice that people tend to have long, beautiful hair. I always wanted my own hair to be longer, but it just tends to reach a natural limit at the shoulders. I’d love to have hair down my back that I could bang around at shows, but I doubt I ever will. I notice the abundance of curls whenever I have BAEST on my show. We sort of battle on curls. They have me beaten, which sucks because I obviously want the nicest and longest curls in the scene.
Why did you choose to grow out your long curls?
Today I feel blessed but growing up I hated my curly, red hair. I had braces and I didn’t play soccer and the other kids picked on me for having curly hair. For a while I would pull it back, load up on hair spray and wear a bike helmet to straighten it out. That was my morning routine for a long time. When I got to school it would look neat and straight but then it would start to curl up as the day progressed. But then I discovered the guitarists from Metallica and Queen also had curly hair, and it made me think: “Wow! Like, there are really cool people making it out there with giant curly hair like mine”.
Is it a prestige thing?
There might be a prestige element to having long, curly hair on the metal scene. There’s a vanity element to the whole long hair in metal for sure, because you put a lot of effort into maintaining it. Just like all the other metal gear you must maintain nice looking hair, it’s an unwritten rule. But it’s not something people talk about a lot.
What’s the proper way to take good care of your hair?
If you have curly hair the most important thing is to find a good hairdresser who knows how to deal with your hair. I see an African hairdresser on Vesterbro in Copenhagen who’s called Skaley. She’s been my hairdresser for years and she’s really cool. It’s important to use a good conditioner and a detangler brush to avoid dreadlocks. You also need to oil up your hair after you wash it. It sounds gross, but I only wash my hair once a week—if I wash it more often it will dry out and get all tangled up. That’s why I wash it thoroughly once a week and give it the full treatment. Be sure to never dry it with a towel. That’ll fuck up your hair.
If I’m going out to a festival I ask Skaley for a cut, and I tell her not to cut too much off—I am going to a metal festival after all—but make sure that it’s strong and healthy and ready for all the sweat, dust and the moshpit. If I don’t take care of my hair before a festival it will get tangled up and I have to cut a few centimeters off to get it back into shape. Honestly, festivals are terrible for my hair.
Why are curls and heavy metal such a good match?
Because curly-brained people want curly-haired music. No, but seriously—it takes courage for men to grow their hair, especially men with curls, because there’s a really long period of time where you’re just going to look like a complete twat. If I shaved off all my hair right now it would take me three years to grow it all out again, and I’d look really weird until then. I think it’s a special type of courage that’s unique to the metal scene. You stand tall and wear your look with pride.
I think thrash metal probably has the highest concentration of curly-haired guys of any subgenre. Look at Megadeth and Metallica. Lots and lots of beautiful curls.
When did the relationship between curls and metal start?
In the 60s when people started letting their hair grow out. A band like Led Zeppelin was probably a major influence on the developing trend.
Now equipped with a deeper knowledge of curly-haired culture, I felt ready to take my exploration of metal hairdos to the next level and fully immerse myself in Denmark’s biggest metal festival, Copenhell.
“My curly hair definitely gets attention and people are generally envious of it. I guess there’s some prestige in it for me, but I haven’t really given it much thought.
I don’t really groom my hair. I’m probably the type of person with greasy hair who’s a little smelly.”
“Long hair is really annoying at a festival. It’s constantly getting in my face and my mouth, which makes eating a bit of a task. As a result of that, here’s a lot of saliva and ketchup in my hair right now. Don’t go to a festival with long hair if it’s too windy.”
“I’ve worn my hair like this for 35 years because I hate change and it’s great for headbanging. I’ve grown my hair all the way out in the past, but I just end up looking like Jimi Hendrix and that’s no good for work, so I had to compromise. I wash my hair using a two-in-one type shampoo. I don’t care what brand it is as long as it has both shampoo and conditioner.”
“I use hair gel and I blow-dry and comb it out every day. My routine takes a while, but my hair is pretty metal—it’s very hard.”
“My hair is on my head every day—that’s an inescapable truth. I inherited it from my mother, and I’m very proud of my long hair. It’s ideal for headbanging. That’s where I really show it off. There’s no prestige in having long hair—at least there shouldn’t be. Just be true to yourself regardless of your hair style.”
Bastian and Michael
“I forgot to brush my hair for a while and he forgot to cut his, but I guess that was sort of on purpose. I don’t wash my hair that often, but I do use conditioner every now and then.”
“No one has ever complimented me on my long hair before. I love having long hair. Not a lot of guys do, so it gives you extra cred. My hair goes all the way down my lower back, and it took me about three years to grow it out. It’s a lot cooler headbanging with long hair, but most things are cooler with long hair.”
“Do you know what I would have been without my hair? A virgin.”