When it comes to list compilations of the "hottest" musicians in rock, there's no shortage by any means. In the heavy metal genre alone, you can Google endless lists detailing the sexiest guitarists, frontmen, drummers, bassists, keyboardists -- you name it.
But the majority of these lists are based completely on looks, and while there's nothing wrong with admiring long, sleek headbanging locks (circa '80s Axl Rose) or muscular, tattooed arms, the majority of the time I'm way more attracted to personality and talent then physical looks. So here's my list of the most talented, influential, charitable -- and yes, if you're nice to look at it's a plus -- guys in heavy metal.
Known as one of heavy metal's most beloved entertainers, Alice Cooper's career has spanned five decades. I mean, there's nothing hotter than being one of the most influential front men in heavy metal music -- especially when it's in as many ways as Cooper. He was the one who first introduced horror imagery into rock/metal, and evolved a stage show that transformed the genre's live shows. But besides being the godfather of shock rock, Cooper is a film actor ("We're not worthy!"), golfing celebrity, radio DJ, and avid philanthropist. He supports at least a dozen charities, from Save The Music Foundation to Artists for Peace and Justice, and founded Solid Rock, an organization that helps teens and children in the Phoenix area. Gotta love that: horror, heavy metal, and hands down the biggest heart.
Chuck Schuldiner, Death
It goes without saying that women are automatically attracted to powerful trailblazers -- and Chuck Schuldiner fits that bill... in a twisted, death-y sort of way. As the late guitarist of Death, widely regarded as the first original death metal band ever, Schuldiner brought a lot of ideas to the table on their 1987 debut, Scream Bloody Gore, that put death metal on the map. C'mon; when you're credited with paving the way for bands like Napalm Death and Cannibal Corpse, the word "trailblazer" doesn't even suffice. And I guess it doesn't because Schuldiner has been called the "father of death metal" more than a few times. And even though the band called it quits after Schuldiner died of brain cancer in 2001, Death's heavy metal will never disappear, nor will the dreaminess of Schuldiner's long, dark flowing locks. Joey Jordison, Slipknot
Joey Jordison has a twisted, talented charisma about him. I gotta say, for me, he's one musician where the long gothic black hair works. Plus, those light blue-grey eyes -- and his infectious smile. But besides all that he's one loud, talented drummer. He was given his first drum kit at the age of 8, and over the past few decades he's been in a number of bands, including the Murderdolls, Scar the Martyr, and the '90s dark, sick act known as Anal Blast. He's also performed with Korn, Ministry, Rob Zombie and Metallica (to name a few). But what he's most well known for is his extreme style of drumming that brought Slipknot's nu metal style to a higher level. Death metal inspires his style, and he can hit unfathomable speeds -- even when he's surrounded by pyrotechnic explosions while strapped into his rotating, upside-down drum kit.
Phil Anselmo, Pantera, Down, etc.
Pantera may be my favorite band, but Anselmo makes this list for a range of other reasons. First off, he's sexy as hell. Just take a look at the cover of his memoir (due out in 2015) if you don't believe me. Back in the day, the "fucking hostile" front man was a sexy bitch. But he's also revered as a highly influential heavy metal vocalist, and he hit rock bottom and rose from the ashes. From helping establish Pantera's legendary status, to his other projects, like Down, Superjoint Ritual, and his newest band, Phil Anselmo and the Illegals, his vocals may have evolved over the years but they fit every project perfectly. It's one of those situations where you can really see how the different outlets of music work for him. He's also the owner of Housecore Records, which supports the underground heavy metal scene, giving a lot of bands a chance to get their music out there. James Hetfield, Metallica
When you've been hailed as one of the best lead singers, and guitarists, in heavy metal, it's pretty easy to attract more groupies than you can handle. But combine that with the fact that James Hetfield is the founder of Metallica, one of the most commercially successful heavy metal bands of all time? Game over. You would think that all that traveling, partying and exhaustion would take its toll on ol' Hetfield -- but he's seriously one of those guys that was hot when he was younger, and he's still smoking even in his early 50s. There's this cocky confidence about him, alongside his smile, eyes and ripped, tatted arms. I guess you could say that his drive and passion are so intense that it's hard to look away when he's talking or performing. Hetfield's been cited as an influence and inspiration for just about every other popular metal band as well. Besides music, he does filmmaking, hunting, sketching, customizing cars and motorcycles, and also has donated a good chunk of funds to the Music for Schools program.
Paavo Lötjönen, Apocalyptica
When a hardcore musician can appreciate the influence of heavy metal and classical music together, I'm sold. So the cello-playing metalheads of Finnish metal act Apocalyptica are a force to be reckoned with, and one of the hottest guys on board is Paavo Lötjönen, with his tousled dark hair, body-builder form, and adorable dimples. Since the age of 6, Paavo Lötjönen has played the cello, 20 years later, he got his soloist cellist diploma at the Sibelius Academy, and he also played in the Finnish National Opera. Even though Apocalyptica was originally a Metallica tribute band, they now pull stylistic elements from genres like neoclassical metal, speed metal, thrash, Middle Eastern music and folk music, and have sold more than four million albums of original material to date. Corey Taylor, Slipknot and Stone Sour
Without ever even knowing what Corey Taylor looked like -- back in the "Wait and Bleed" days, it was a lot harder to find photos of the Slipknot members without their masks -- I had a lot of respect for the maniacal front man. Needless to say, when I saw what he looked like years later, I had to admit he was a stone fox. But what's really impressive about the singer is his many endeavors and contrasting creative outlets. On one hand, there's the moody, hard rock/grunge Stone Sour, which preceded Slipknot. Then there's the latter, which circles around rebellion and anger. I'm sure that makes for quite the Jekyll/Hyde emotional issues, but who cares? He's also acted in movies, written a handful of memoirs, and is also known as a sweetheart by those around him. His eagerness to be involved in an array of projects, as well as his love for Elvis, only using a pen and paper when songwriting, is endearing to me.
Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott
Even though there's a lot of music fans who mostly associate Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott with a tragedy that ultimately changed a lot of venue safety guidelines, he's remembered for so much more. When he was a little kid, he was blowing adults out of the water guitar competitions, and not long after he became known for his hooky, heavy riffs, harmonious squeals, and easy-go-lucky personality. Plus, he was as all-American metal as you can get. Talk to any famous musician and they remember Dime as the most down-to-earth, generous guy around. An open mind, heart, talented hands, blue eyes and kick ass smile -- plus he invented one of my favorite shots (Black Tooth Grin)? What's not to love. Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath
For us heavy metal chicks, there's no way you can claim that one of the people who invented the entire genre isn't downright gorgeous, inside and out. It doesn't matter whether you think Led Zep or Black Sabbath gave birth to heavy metal -- no one can argue that guitarist Tony Iommi's drop-tuning (not too mention his striking riffs and bluesy solos) became the soul of the genre. Ozzy Osbourne is undoubtedly Black Sabbath's most infamous member, but Iommi has been called the "father of heavy metal" for decades. The fact that his musical determination stemmed from a physical impairment is just a taste of what makes him so legendary. He's also the legendary metal band's only continuous member and main composer, and has done it all while kicking cancer's ass in his 60s.
Chino Moreno, Deftones, Crosses
Chino Moreno's voice never fails when it calls for seduction, whether it's his piercing screams, soothing passionate tenor, or the impressively smooth transition between the two. He's best known as the lead singer of the Deftones, but he also brings his brand erotic metal vocals to Team Sleep, Palms, and most recently, Crosses. His lyrics are more like descriptive poetry, and between that sultry crooning and his amazing stage presence, I've had it bad for Chino for the past 15 years. Trust me, he is your best bet if you're looking for a slow, heavy metal strip tease track. Eddie Van Halen
Creating groundbreaking music, smartly building your career, and being wickedly handsome all go to the top of my list with Eddie Van Halen. The fact that Van Halen impressed Gene Simmons from KISS, who produced their demo tape and eventually got the band signed, is impressive as it is. Even though he never learned how to read music, Van Halen's approach to guitar is a combination of strategic components (two-handed tapping, volume swells), while still being melodic, unpredictable and calculated. I mean, the guy influenced and entire generation of musicians -- probably just about every one on this list.
Kurt Ballou, Converge
Since 1990 this guy has been busting out an explosive solos and harsh riffs via his signature blend of metal instrumentals with hardcore punk aesthetics that's known as the band Converge. Ballou looks more like a lumberjack woodsman than eccentric axeman, and that adds a bit to his mysterious, playful persona. His musical style sounds as edgy and fresh as if it was from the next up-and-coming metal band. He's also very business-minded: he's a revered producer, and runs his business out of Godcity Studios, his own recording studio.
John 5, Rob Zombie
John 5 has played guitar since he was seven-years-old, and his resume lists an array of eclectic legends, from David Lee Roth to Marilyn Manson to his current place as Rob Zombie's axeman. A combination of the latter two help describe his "rock star" edge -- he balances brooding, gothic mystery with an eagerness to create and friendly repertoire. He's got these dark eyes, platinum hair, and an incredible heavy metal fashion sense. He works as a writer for Chrysalis Records, composing tunes for people like Meat Loaf, Slash and even Lynyrd Skynyrd, and has written six instrumental albums of his own, with a seventh due out later this year. My personal favorite, 2012's God Told Me To, is half heavy and half acoustic, and even includes a cover of Michael Jackson's "Beat It."
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