Hetfield Hair: A Graphical Analysis of Trends
Data compilation and report by Tarsier Labs, Pittsburgh PA
* Ride the Lightning
**Master of Puppets
*** And Justice for All
**** reference to Fred Durst. see below.
Analyzing the Data
Our graph begins with the entry of JH into the public eye with the 1983 release of "Kill 'em All." At this stage, with long hair, no facial hair, and visible acne scars, he looked like any redneck kid. But a redneck kid with a touch of charisma and a hint of future promise.
Over time, JH grew into his hairstyle and gained more confidence. Thus we see the gradual increase through 1987's "Garage Days Revisited."
Then, suddenly and without warning, JH grew a mustache and slight beard for the album liner photo of "And Justice For All", and ushered in the era we know as The Golden Age of James Hetfield. All the hairstyle elements were in correct alignment, and the gods smiled. 1988 - 1994 saw slight modifications and improvements to the Golden Age look. Overall, they were statistically insignificant, and so the graph remains constant for this period.
The drop of 7.5 points occurred sometime circa 1995 when, for reasons unknown, Hetfield adopted a mullet-style hair cut for Metallica's summer tour. After this incident, numbers were never again to return to Golden Age levels.
In 1996, the members of Metallica shocked the world by getting a collective haircut upon the release of "Load". After an initial adjustment period, our researchers determined that JH still looked good. This surprising finding was attributed to JH's maintenence of the correct facial hair ratio. (More detailed discussion here.)
However, the "Load" cut seems to have triggered a quantitative shift in JH's entire physiognomy and higher brain functionality. Although science has still not uncovered the reason for this severe reaction (more research funding is needed), its results are abundantly clear and well-documented.
The downward spiral of Metallica's musical output and the ugly Napster debacle have been thoroughly analyzed and discussed by others and do not fall under the purview of this study. But these alarming trends certainly correlated with and were paralled by equally disturbing changes on the hair front.
"ReLoad" and "Garage Inc." marked the beginning of a run what have been to date the lowest numbers since this research study began. For obvious reasons, scientists have dubbed this era "the Amish period."
Quite frankly, the author of this study does not have the heart to discuss the Amish period in any great detail. In brief, we are still unsure whether it was the result of mysterious effects from the "Load" haircut, a midlife crisis, JH's becoming a breeder, or some combination of factors. The Amish period reached its nadir circa 2001-02 with 'the Durst look', as seen to the right. In addition to the Amish hair/beard combination, JH acquired quite a few loud, ugly tattoos and was seen in public wearing hockey jerseys and shorts. Although those results seem to enforce the midlife crisis theory, we cannot be sure.
2003 brought change for the better and brief hopes of a turnaround. The advance press for "St. Anger" claimed that Metallica was heavy again, and we eagerly monitored the state of our subject's hair for proof. At the MTV Icons show, we were thrilled to see that JH's facial hair had returned to its proper alignment. A few months later, we observed that his hair was growing out somewhat. Shortly thereafter, JH adopted the fashionable "trucker Hetfield" look, with longer hair than we'd seen in years poking out from under a trucker cap. Although this was trendy, it suited him, and we gave it high marks on our graph. Sadly, although things had improved greatly on the hair front, "St. Anger" (in our scientific opinion) sucked more ass than it is possible for anything to suck. It seems that the brain damage caused by the original "Load" haircut was permanent, and simply re-growing hair is not enough to cure JH. But at least he looked good again.
In 2004, JH appears determined to reverse the gains he made in 2003. Photos from early this year show him with hair even longer than 2003, but a disheartening return to a modified version of the Amish beard. Please consult the Visual Aides area of the site to confirm for yourself. Meanwhile, Tarsier Labs will continue to monitor all the latest data. Check back often.