NEW MUSIC EAR HALLOWEEN SPECIAL - "SCARY ROCKERS!"
A little "Thriller" to whet your ghoulish appetite...
There have been quite a few scary music stars that I can remember, and I don't mean Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran or One Direction (joking, I mean SERIOUSLY scary ones!). Here is a small selection of some fearsome rockers!
Born plain old John Michael Osborne, The Prince of Darkness has indeed had a chequered past and it is well documented about his drink and drugs problems. Seeing Ozzy on the show The Osbournes TV show he seemed an amiable, gentle old man who was incredibly funny. Fast rewind to his musical past and there are a few incidents that spring to mind! Ozzy had been accused by many Christian groups of supporting Satanism with his music and also had drug and drink fuelled moments with music executives.
The most notable incident was with the bat. A fan threw the bat on stage, Ozzy, thinking it was rubber, bit its head off. The fan said it was dead when he brought it in but later Ozzy reminisces that it bit him and was still alive. Ozzy's wide manic stare will always be a memory for me growing up when my brother was playing Black Sabbath records!
Brian Hugh Warner named himself from two very different American icons, Marilyn Monroe and the murderer Charles Manson. A former music journalist and now artist, actor, painter and multi-media artist as well as fronting his self-titled band. Although though of as being quite controversial he hasn't actually gone too far over the edge. His image is like a gothic zombie vampire, who is extremely frightening to look at. Some of Manson's videos are also like mini horror movies.
He has appeared in a variety of spooky roles and also stated that he sold watercolour paintings to drug dealers at the start of his career. His first Art exhibition, The Golden Age of Grotesque was held in Los Angeles in 2002. One supposed art critic labelled his work as coming from a "psychiatric patient given materials to use as therapy". His art show "Trismegistus" had a large 3 headed Christ as its centre piece!
Manson starred as grey alien Edgar in the Area 51 video game and also was once boyfriend to Rose McGowan (who played Paige in "Charmed"). Always a scary person in his Marilyn Manson guise but seemingly quite an intelligent and talented man in most ways.
Although the unmasking of Kiss in 1983 kind of killed the image a bit for me, the original Kiss scared me a bit in my younger years! The line-up of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley made some brilliant rock songs and the record sleeves, videos and shows were great to look at. Paul as the Starchild, Ace as the Spaceman, Peter as the Cat Man and Gen as the demon.
Gene was always the scariest, with that massive tongue of his and devilish makeup, it was certainly a horrific thing to see as a child! That's what made them interesting, like they weren't real people, just weird looking creatures in shiny studded, black leather suits and big shoes!. I had seen Glam Rock in the 70s but nothing like this!
Kiss's cartoon horror image made millions, as they sold Trading Cards, dolls, "Kiss your face make-up" kits and even featured in Marvel comic magazines. Adding to the mock horror image, the stage shows included fire breathing, smoking guitars, shooting rockets and other elaborate stunts that mde the live show exciting for young and old. Sadly for me, the "unmasking" spoiled all the mystery as you saw 4 guys in a rock band, not superhero icons.
Vincent Damon Furnier, said to be the Godfather of Shock Rock has been a star in various guises since the 60s! Alice Cooper was a nice wholesome name, direct contrast to the image and stage show of the band. Apparently he realised that having an image of villain and woman killer in tattered womens clothes and makeup might just grab people's attention!
The start of "shock rock" was an incident involving a feather pillow and a live chicken which was unrehearsed. Somehow a chicken wandered onstage and got in to the feathers of a pillow that would be opened onstage. Presuming the chicken would fly he picked it up and threw it in the audience. It didn't. It fell onto the front row of wheelchair users who proceeded to pull the bird apart into pieces. The press got hold of it, said he'd bitten its head off and drunk the blood on stage. Frank Zappa, who had just signed the band told Alice not to deny it! Shock rock was born.
Alice, in later years stated that his act was based on sex, money, death and fun while everyone else was milking the peace and love theme. Various other stage "fun" antics included hugging a Boa constrictor, gothic torture, electric chair executions, axe chopping bloodied dolls and gallows hangings! Always a larger than life character, I have always found Alice to be really funny and an interesting, smart guy who knew how to "play" the audience and make the shows exciting, however strange!
Other scary characters appear in rock bands Gwar, Slipknot and Rammstein as well as Eurovision goth rockers Lorde and Dee Snider from Twisted Sister! (like a scary pantomime dame!). Blink 182 and Evanescence also had scary-ish videos.