When it comes to the ages of members of a new band, would you say that older musicians are more likely to be well-received by the punk/hardcore community than by a mainstream audience? Or is it about the same (where the cutoff age seems to be about 25)?
That's a pretty good question. I think that if the band members are already established, age is not as important. I mean, if say... Stevie Wonder started a new band, then of course he's going to be well received simply because he has already earned goodwill. Of course, the reverse is true. Like, if Kevin Federline released London Calling 2, it might still get a bad wrap simply because people (myself included) would have a hard time extracting said douche's personality from the work itself.
But, for newer bands, the fact is, as ugly a sit may be, looks and age are incredibly important. They are not ultimate barriers, but those that are old and/or ugly that do become famous are the exception to the rule.
If we look at pop music since the 2000's, almost all the most famous people have been very young: Brittany spears, Biebs, Taylor sift, Jonas bros, Joe Pelone, Rhinnna- all those people have been young and good looking before becoming famous and well received. Really, the last ugly dude that became famous that I can think of is John Popper from Blues Traveler and he was only famous for like 7 minutes.
You could argue that people like Susan Boyle became famous despite being old and not being what is conventially described as attractive, but the fact of the matter is, not being young and/or able to appear in Seventeen magazine was sort of her selling point (yes, she is a good singer). But, stack her up against all the other musicians that are well received, and you'll see she is in the minority.
So! Is punk/hardcore/metal more receptive to old/ugly people? The answer is yes, but only marginally so. As for the age dynamic, most bands that make it big in our small, small, tiny, insignificant world, are young when they do so: Against Me! Gaslight, Lawrence Arms, Gnarboots. All those people were basically under 25 when they had their first "big hit."
There are exceptions to this rule, and the ratio of exceptions is bigger than pop music, but only by a little bit. What punk guy became famous after being 25? Frank Turner maybe? Even bands that we consider older, were already kind of big when they started- Franz Nicolay, WIFS.
Where punk does get the upper hand is ugly people. In punk rock, being ugly is not as big as a barrier to being well known as it is in pop. I won't name names, but let us look at the converse. A lot of our most well known bands, AM!, Gaslight, Vivian Girls, Joyce Manor, Menzingers, PS Elliot, are all packed with good looking people.
So, even us punk rockers, who "don't care about such trivial things as sexual attraction" must admit to ourselves that we like a pretty face.
Though, there are bands that are fairly popular in the punk rock world despite not having conventional good looks, and at a significantly higher ratio than pop music. I'd attribute that to two main things.
First, because punk rock has less money for advertising and promotion, the bands, pr companies, and even fans are exposed to, and fixate less to what the band looks like. In many situations, the first time you see a band is when you see them live. It's a rare specimen indeed that will go see a band and then storm out only because the band is ugly.
Second, the fact is, unfortunately, that the punk rock scene is male dominated and I think it's heterosexually dominated too. So, if the scene is mostly straight guys going to watch guys make music, looks is less of an issue, as to pop music, whereas say, Usher is marketed towards teenage girls and Taylor Swift is marketed to creepy 35 year old men.
So, in the spirit of not caring about age or good looks, you should go listen to Meatloaf. I actually think Bat out of Hell is sort of a clever album.
Check it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmPMMitJDYg