“Our show is a lot more than music,” says Guy Boyd, guitarist for the ’80s tribute band Hott Mess. “It’s tongue-in-cheek, but when you get the critical mass — the energy between audience and band — it’s like bringing back the ’80s. But without the the mullet, it’s not the same.”
Boyd and the mullet go back. Way back.
“I had hair like Andre Agassi back in the 1980s, but my style is now more like Bret Michaels,” says Boyd, 48. “It’s mellow, but still a mullet. Nobody in the band has hair like that into their day-to-day life, but one guy does wear hair extensions.”
Boyd and his crew, formerly named Fingerbang, have been rocking the Stage Bar in the Gaslamp every Saturday for the past two and a half years.
“The lead singer [Jerry Fleury] owns the club so that helps,” says Boyd, a software developer when he’s not playing hard-rock classics from Ratt, Poison, and Def Leppard.
Mastering a classic guitar solo is hard enough; maintaining a mullet well into one’s 40s is nearly impossible for anyone not named “Rod Stewart.”
That’s where Morgan Simpson comes in. She and her husband, Louie, operate Mullet on the Go, a mail-order business based in Cortez Hill, that has sold an estimated 75,000 mullet wigs since 2009.
Mullet on the Go offers nine different types of mullets, including the Tailgater, the Bobcat, and the Big Baller.
Many of their customers are hair bands and also the people who love hair bands.
“The mullet has never died,” Simpson, 40, insists. “So many people like the mullet for various reasons. Take our ‘Bobcat.’ The headband is red, white, and blue and I think it — and the mullet — speaks to America.”
Simpson’s mullet wigs are now sold in 2000 stores nationwide, but she is hoping bands like Hott Mess will considering selling them to customers who want to get into the spirit at shows.
“We’d like people to pick up the revolution,” she subtly suggests.
It might work. Despite nostalgia’s tendency to follow 20-year cycles, Boyd believes the demand for ’80s hair-band hits will never die.
“Sometimes, we talk about doing more ’90s songs, but that’s a different vibe. Not as fun,” he says. “The ’80s captured a really fun time.”