Because our favorite genre of music loves ancient mythology and makes us feel happy in ways that seem magical, metal fans like to instill objects with untold power. Anyone can buy a leather jacket, but a leather jacket that Jeff Hanneman once snarfed beer onto over the course of six European tours? That thing can probably summon up Satan if used right. Now, one such item is being auctioned off as part of a large rock-leaning showcase: the original mask from Quiet Riot‘s breakthrough album Metal Health.
A little background: Metal Health was Quiet Riot’s third record, released in 1983 via Pasha. The record was a smash hit, primarily for the Slade cover track “Cum On Feel The Noize” but also for its anthemic, metal-uplifting title track, “Metal Health (Bang Your Head).” The record has since sold 10 million copies around the world, and was the first heavy metal release to ever top the Billboard charts, knocking The Police out of the No. 1 slot. Due to its success and how early it was released, many consider it the beginning of the hair metal era, and one of that scene’s most important milestones.
The figure on the album’s cover eventually became known as Iron Mask, and would act as the band’s mascot for the rest of their career. The character’s mask and leather straightjacket were also crucial in shifting a focus away from machismo and satanism in mainstream metal and onto mental illness. To put it another way, acting like some evil warlock was fine, but Iron Mask was a relatable reminder that in the eyes of the world, every outsider is a lunatic.
As reported by Blabbermouth, the mask will be featured in Julien’s Auctions’s new showcase “Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll,” which has a record-breaking history of selling some of rock’s rarest and most bizarre items. Among the current crop of rock collectibles are the cover art for Metal Health, painted by Stan Watts, which is listed as likely going for somewhere between $20,000 – 40,000. Even cooler, though, is the original mask that Watts wore to create the iconic image, which is being listed as $8,000 – 10,000.
The auction will go down November 19th and 20th via Julien’s website. If you have a few grand to spare and love Quiet Riot, now’s your chance to own a piece of history that undoubtedly smells like someone else’s mouth.
Words by Chris Krovatin