80s Rock Star crushes….now and then

First off, this isn’t an article designed to point and laugh at people who have simply aged. It happens to us all – the wrinkles, laughter lines, ageing skin….it’s part of life and not a reason to mock people. This article is about who has weathered the rock n’ roll lifestyle best….I mean, c’mon some of these guys have taken more drugs than I’ve had hot dinners, drank their livers to almost bursting point and done what any self respecting 80’s rock star would do – lived fast and partied hard. But, who’s living to regret that decision now? Who looks older than their years? Let’s take a look.

Jon Bon Jovi (Age 52) Lead Singer – BON JOVI

The long, flowing locks, the dimpled chin, the bright blue eyes and the Italian Stallion tan complexion….Jon Bon Jovi was one of the hottest stars of 80’s rock and the band continue making music to this day. But how has the man himself held up?
Verdict: Looking good! We know that Jon had his fair share of wild times but he calmed down quite early, raised a large family and lived a little cleaner than most rock stars. He might be grey haired but he’s growing old gracefully and looks pretty amazing for 52. Plus, those bright blue peepers are as piercing as ever, and he’s even managed to retain that famous jawline.

Bret Michaels (Age 51) Lead Singer – POISON
bret michaels

Famous for his pouty mouth and ‘Blue Steel’ poses, Bret Michaels is also famous for outrageous outfits, his relationship with Pamela Anderson (Every rose has its thorn) and being the inspiration for Stacee Jaxx (Rock of Ages Broadway/West end show). But how has he aged?
Verdict: Considering he was in a band who sang songs about getting utterly wasted, threesomes (Look what the cat dragged in) and generally living a life of debauchery, he hasn’t aged too badly. However, I can’t help but notice that he’s still wearing a ton of make up, and that the rocker headscarf is still in place. He removed it recently to reveal what looked very much like a wig. He admitted to having hair extensions but not to maybe being bald….The jury is still out on that one. He looks okay though for 51! He could certainly look worse.

Joe Elliott (Age 55) Lead Singer – DEF LEPPARD
JEThe blonde haired rocker from the North of England with the raspy vocals comes from a band famous for catchy lyrics and tunes, as well as being much talked about for having a one armed drummer! Less likely to cruise Sunset Boulevard in a limo with a pool and more likely to be having a skinful of beer at some club, Def Leppard might not have had the glamorous glam rock lifestyle, but it’s fair to say they did their share of partying. Original guitarist Steve Clarke partied too hard and died of an overdose. How did Joe do?
Verdict: Pretty good I’d say! The hair is shorter, the skin is more lined and wrinkled (what do you expect for 55?), but overall, he looks good. Time hasn’t taken its toll too badly on Joe!

Axl Rose (Age 52) Lead Singer – GUNS N’ ROSES

Famous for his unique voice, his red locks, and his beautiful model girlfriends and turbulent relationships, Axl Rose once had it all, including the hottest band in the world. Then it all started to go wrong. His much publicized split from his wife painted him as an abusive, wife beating control freak, while the acrimonious split with the original GN’R line up did little to dispel the rumours of his controlling ways. He kept up with the band in the beginning in terms of drink, but was never one for drugs. While the rest of GN’R battled their demons, Axl went clean – and mean.
Verdict: Once a beautiful man, Axl became reclusive, un-trusting and…..well, a bit strange. He abused his own good looks – first with the awful braids hairdo, which was followed very quickly by a dreadful display of unnecessary plastic surgery which all but eradicated his good looks. Now he is bloated looking with pale skin and very little of the gorgeous 80s rock god remains….such a shame.

T (Age 51) Lead Singer – EUROPE
JTSwedish hunk Joey Tempest from the band Europe (The final countdown) is more famous for clean living and steering clear of scandal and excess. The music did the talking, the big fluffy hair and good looks no doubt produced a ton of groupies but it’s easier to believe that Joey & Co didn’t take them back to hotels and do drink, drugs and other stuff with them 😉
VERDICT: Joey looks hot! there’s signs of ageing, sure, but he looks much less than his 51 years. He’s in great shape, from head to toe and still manages to retain rock star looks without looking old or desperate – and without plastic surgery and hair extensions. Clean living really does pay off!

Jani Lane (Age 47 when he died in 2011) Lead Singer – WARRANT
JLThis one is a sad one. Jani had a beautiful voice, the fluffy blonde hair and the big blue eyes…not to mention that cheeky smile. He was also in a pretty successful band and that led to him being able to get his hands on pretty much anything he wanted. Jani died of acute alcohol poisoning in August 2011. Before then, the drink had already taken its toll on his looks and ultimately took his life.
VERDICT: Sometimes, sadly….you can’t beat your demons.

Duff McKagan (Age 50) Bass player – GUNS N’ ROSES
DMSpeaking of beating your demons….Duff McKagan of GN’R has succeeded. In 1994 he became gravely ill due to acute alcohol-induced pancreatitis, which caused his pancreas to swell to the size of a football and leak digestive enzymes into his body, causing third-degree burns. He was taken to hospital in Seattle, where he was monitored until the swelling went down. He was told by his doctors that he would be dead within a month if he did not stop drinking.
VERDICT: Duff literally came back from the grave. At one point, he was pretty much dead but he hung on. Once he recovered he took up martial arts and cycling and took part in competitive events. He’s found health again, but drinking more than a bottle of vodka a day has definitely taken its toll on Duff. But he’s still here, and that’s the main thing! He’s still a pretty good looking guy too.

Richie Sambora (Age 55) Lead Guitarist – BON JOVI

Richie has been in and out of rehab for substance abuse (painkillers, alcohol) and he’s been missing from several Bon Jovi tours in the past as he battles against his addictions. Once the sultry looking, brown eyed guitar god with a voice that sometimes overshadowed Jon Bon Jovi’s, Richie Sambora now looks……haggard.
VERDICT: Richie looks like he’s had some work done. I dread to think what he looked like before the work. Actually, if you’d like to see, just Google his DUI arrest photo. He has really abused his body and it sounds like he’s still getting up to the same old tricks. He looks like someone’s grandpa in the photo above (red jacket) and any trace of that rock god is long gone.

Sebastian Bach (Age 46) Lead Singer – SKID ROW

Bar brawls, drugs, drink….this pretty boy has done it all and seen it all. Once the owner of one of the hottest faces and bods in the business, this bad boy has lived the true rock n’ roll lifestyle. Discovered by Jon Bon Jovi, Skid Row became one of the hottest bands out there – helped along no doubt by their prestigious rock connection and that gorgeous frontman!
VERDICT: A bit squishy around the edges……still wearing a smidge of eyeliner and probably colouring his hair….but Sebastian doesn’t look half bad.  He’ll never have that pretty boy face again and he does look older than some of the guys on here who are older than him, but he hasn’t done too badly.

So there you have it, 9 Rock & Roll legends in all their past and current glory. Those who have drank, done drugs and lived a real rock & roll lifestyle are definitely showing that history on their faces. Sadly, we’ve lost more than just Jani Lane to drink, drugs & excess. At least some of these hugely talented musicians are still around to tell their tales.

Recommended reading:

It’s so easty (and other lies): The autobiography – Duff McKagan
Dirty Rocker Boys: Bobbie Brown
Jon Bon Jovi: The Biography – Laura Jackson
Def Leppard: The definitive visual history – Joe Elliott
Welcome to My Jungle – Craig Duswalt

Further reading:

The Heroin Diaries – Nikki Sixx
My appetite for destruction – Steven Adler
The Dirt – Motley Crue
Slash: The autobiography – Slash