I Love a Band in a Uniform

The fashionable dos and duds of pop's greatest costume gimmick bands

The Ramones--Speaking of Lollapalooza . . . most people get committed for wearing the same clothes for 22 years straight--these guys get to play their swan song on the megafestival's main stage! The Ramones have been photographed only once without their trademark leather jackets, in a shot for the End of the Century album in 1980. Johnny refused to pose without his usual threads until Joey, Marky and Dee Dee formally outvoted him, and he still hasn't forgiven them.

Stryper--These God-fearin' rockers caught hell from both sides of the pulpit. TV evangelist turned weeping john Jimmy Swaggart questioned their motives for throwing Bibles into the audience after shows, while audiences questioned what passage in Stryper's Bibles told 'em to dress up like bumblebees from hell.

Twisted Sister--This Long Island hair band made a strong argument for locking up both Daddy's liquor cabinet and Mommy's makeup mirror. But then again, if you've ever seen how Long Island girls tease their hair and apply makeup with the same finesse Jackson Pollock threw paint on a canvas, then you know Dee Snider and company were just calling it as they saw it.

The Undertakers--Far from burying the competition, this Liverpool group was overtaken by every loser band the British Invasion could muster in 1964. Kids the world over simply didn't dig the band's macabre mortician outfits. Fortunately, the group could unload its coffin collection on the Count Five.

Village People--Second only to KISS in gimmick bands that struck it rich, these fellows managed to hoodwink Middle America into believing the Village People were only interested in a good meal and a hearty workout at the YMCA. Most of the characters in this group could pass for happy community helpers--the brave cop, the sturdy construction worker, the faithful Indian scout. But not leather man, who tried to tone down his S&M-bondage look with "Have a Nice Day" buttons.

The Young Rascals--The greatest practitioners of "blue-eyed soul" may have taken their Italo-American roots too far by adopting the Little Lord Fauntleroy suits and matching Florsheim shoes of Roman Catholic grammar school inmates. When the guys dropped acid and the "Young" prefix in 1967, they thankfully burned their britches behind them.

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