Here are some artists who go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to entertaining us with their music. Some of them act the way they do to be mysterious, some for shock value, but most are just bizarre in the first place. Warning: There’s some pretty gross stuff in this article. If you get queasy by the mention of things like goats blood, for example, I would be weary.
Japan natives Koenji Hyakkei make some pretty interesting music under the genre Zeuhl (celestial). The term comes from a made-up language created by fusion rock drummer Christian Vander and Koenji Hyakkei is known for utilizing the language and the Zeuhl style in their music. It’s a mixture of jazz-fusion, progressive rock, and just straight up bizarre rock. It’s hard to listen to, but if one can get past the strangeness, one can appreciate the unique musicianship of the band.
G.G. Allin and the Scumfu**s
One of the most infamous punk rockers of all time, G.G. Allin was known for everything but his lo-fi punk music. G.G.’s grotesque on-stage antics included hurling feces at the audience, performing in the nude, encouraging sexual harassment, and threatning on-stage suicide. When G.G. died of a heroin overdose, he was one of the most hated men in music. His legacy, however, has influenced countless punk, lo-fi, and garage artists for decades. So kids, that pretty much goes to say that if you really want to throw poop at your punk shows, go for it! Chances are you’ll create your legacy right there and then! WARNING: WATCH THIS VIDEO WITH CAUTION.
For two decades GWAR have been shock rock’s knights in shining armor. They’ve been featured on Jerry Springer, the Simpsons, and the Joan Rivers show several times as one of the most bizarre, shock rock bands of all time. Dressed in full sci-fi inspired monster costumes, the boys in GWAR take their shows to the next level. Attend a GWAR show and expect to see figures such as Hitler, the Pope, and George W. Bush all getting impaled or something gruesome like that. Offended? If yes, their job is complete.
Austrian Death Machine
Austrian Death Machine is no ordinary death metal band, oh no. While most death metal bands sing about darkness, death, the usual, A.D.M generally sings about Arnold Schwarzenegger. That’s right, every song by Austrian Death Machine is based off one of Arnold’s famous one-liners. Some classics include “Get to the Choppa,” “Who is Your Daddy and What Does he Do?” “If it bleeds, We can Kill It,” and my personal favorite, “It’s not a Tumor.” A little bit of shameless promotion, but this band would probably love our Arnold soundboard article!
Made up of Swedish siblings Karen Dreijer Anderrson and Olof Dreijer, this duo is known not only for making eerie yet highly catchy electronic music, but are also notorious for their mysterious habits. Nearly every picture (and there aren’t many) of the two features them wearing masks of some sort. They never do interviews and very rarely perform live. Their anti-commercial views have only created even more of a mysterious aura surrounding them. Perhaps their mystery is just a ploy to get more attention…hmmm. I don’t think so though. These guys are just weird.
Having trouble pronouncing that one? No worries, it’s just pronounced “sun.” For over a decade, this Seattle based band have been the kings of drone metal, creating gigantic, stomach-rumbling, walls of sound that put its listeners into a state of hypnosis. Shrouded in fog and black monk robes, the power trio is known to occasionally fill a set with one song. And you thought the Grateful Dead knew how to jam hard.
In the vein of Tom Waits, Man Man experiments with rock and roll elements spliced with vaudevillian instrumentation and performance. The band plays a plethora of instruments ranging from a raunchy fender Rhodes to screeching tenor saxophones. For live shows, the band sports all white clothing and face paint and are known for pretty much just running around being absolutely insane on stage. I’ve seen them twice and both times have been unforgettable. Catch them next time you get a chance.
What if John Coltrane were around to play Nintendo? Well, he’d probably be YMCK. This Japanese trio take the awesome musicality and melody of jazz and flawlessly blend them with the sounds and nostalgia of the 8-bit chip world to create a unique and utterly fun musical experience. I remember showing a group of jazz musicians this band. When they initially heard the bleeps and bloops of 8-bit sound card, their initial reaction was, “wow this is really silly. This sounds like Nintendo.” It wasn’t until YMCK ripped a fantastic jazz piano solo that the group’s confusion turned into admiration. This band’s got something for everybody.
The best for last…Mayhem. Perhaps the most notorious black metal band of all time, you may not know the name Mayhem but you may have heard of the exploits for which they are notorious. Lead by guitarist Euronymous and vocalist Dead (yep, his name was Dead), Mayhem lived up to their name with some pretty gruesome live performances. Dead became known for cutting himself with broken glass on stage and the band would usually perform behind a fence of impaled sheep and pigs’ heads. If that wasn’t bizarre enough for you, in 1991 Dead took his own life and instead of calling the cops when he found the body, Euronymous took a picture of the day old corpse. Now, everyone can see that picture…because it became the album cover of their next LP. I’m not done. As a gift, Euronymous took fragments of Dead’s skull and made necklaces to give to the band mates. There’s a reason why they’re last in this article: no one can top Mayhem.
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