Thursday, April 14, 2011
Contact! Contact Lenses in Rock Music and Subcultures
Amazingly, contact lenses go back to 1888, when they were made of glass. Plastic ones were invented in the 1930's.
Contact lenses have actually been employed in movies since the 50's and 60's, generally for use in science fiction or horror themed movies or programs. Children of the Dammned, made in 1963 featured an array of unearthly creepy kids with identical contact lenses - "beware the eyes that paralyse".
Pete Burns from Dead or Alive, ever willing to experiment with fashion and to take a chance, was quite possibly the first musician to wear contact lenses as part of his rock persona...this shot of him wearing them is from 1981.
Of course.... the man who made the contact lens one of his signature effects is Mr Manson. Manson started wearing contacts regularly as part of his rock persona, from the "Smells like Children" era, 1994 onwards. In particular, he was known for wearing a light coloured lens in one eye, and his other eye normal. For many years after 1994, publicly it was pretty rare he was seen without Contacts.
Wes Borland from Limp Biscuit was always seen wearing contact lenses, from his early days in the band. He adopted a fantastic element to his on stage persona, wearing not only contacts, but often elborate costume and makeup. It was quite at odds with the rest of the band who wore relatively everyday hip hop/metal clothes.
Recently Lady Gaga, in her continued search for something to give her an edgier element, has started wearing contacts. Generally, she wears larger black ones.
Contact lenses are worn by many elements of subculture. Contact lenses are common amongst goths, though possibly more so industrial than traditional goths, and certainly Mansonites.