Each November, men around the world let their upper lips go furry, enduring stares, ridicule and the ire of mates. They post pictures of their bristles online and support each other throughout the month, all leading up to gala parties and events.
It’s not nearly as silly as it sounds — or maybe it is, but it’s all for a worthy cause: The lip caterpillars are grown in the name of raising awareness offend funds to fight prostate cancer. And they do raise an awful lot of both — nearly $15 million to date.
But not all mustaches are scraggily pedophile alarms.
In honor of the month formerly known as November and henceforth to be called Movember, we present a list of some of the greatest living mustaches in rock. And remember, for every “attempted mustache” (the only way Loudon Wainwright III was making this list) theres a punk blessed with gypsy blood. Take them as your inspiration.
The undisputed king of rock mustache greatness has to be Lemmy. The Mötorhead frontman may have received accolades at least as grand in his three-plus decade career (The Guardian once called him “the greatest living Englishman”), and he may or may not give a whit for his prostate (judging by the way he abuses his lungs, you can bet on not) but it’s hard to argue with the man’s bonafides. His facial hair is so dominating that seeing footage of him onstage without it makes one feel almost queasy. In fact, it crawls across his face and spreads from ear, mirroring his maniacal grin in such a way that Lemmy without the mustache is almost no Lemmy at all.
Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello
It’s hard to argue with the mesmerizing cookie duster of Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hütz. It contains beauty, truth, revolution, poetry and probably has its own line of grooming products. In the above interview with PBS, Hütz says he was born and raised on the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Creedence, but we all know that they influenced his shaving habits more than his music.
Loudon Wainwright III
He’s no mustache icon, that’s for sure. But a great many of the men of Movember are follicularly challenged, but they grow anyway. And like them, Wainwright had the gumption to work with what mother nature gave him. And he put it on his LP cover and named the record after it. We’re talking vinyl, when the art was big enough to mean something. Brave man.
There are many reasons why Jimmy Buffet belongs on this list. Not the least of which is the song “Pencil-Thin Mustache,” an ode to the titular ‘stache that’s way more Tin Pan Alley than Margaritaville.
You’ve heard of flavor savors and soup sweepers, but rest assured that Snoop’s version would best be termed a Chronic Keeper.
Paul McCartney’s Sgt. Pepper’s Mustache
You could make a case for any of the Beatles’s Sgt Pepper’s mustaches as a classic. You really could. But Sir Paul’s is the only one that has its own Facebook fan page.
JD Samson of Le Tigre and Men
Much like Loudon Wainwright’s wispy lip fuzz, JD Samson’s (ne Jocelyn Samson) growth might not be overly impressive. But is better than Orlando Bloom’s. Not bad for a grrrl.
Much of the time the pro-surfer-turned-musician and buddy of pro-surfer-turned-musician Jack Johnson looks like he fell out of CCR’s tour bus in 1971 and woke up more mustache than man.
The man is a legend. And so is the mustache.
Joe Walsh is basically the Lemmy of mellowed-out California rock. Basically.