Shock rock

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Shock rock is the combination of rock music or heavy metal music with highly theatrical live performances emphasizing shock value. Performances may include violent or provocative behavior from the artists, the use of attention-grabbing imagery such as costumes, masks, or face paint, or special effects such as pyrotechnics or fake blood. Shock rock also often includes elements of horror.

Contents

History

Screamin' Jay Hawkins was arguably the first shock rocker. After the success of his 1956 hit "I Put a Spell on You", Hawkins began to perform a recurring stunt at many of his live shows: he would emerge from a coffin, sing into a skull-shaped microphone and set off smoke bombs. [1] Another artist who performed similar stunts was the British singer-songwriter Screaming Lord Sutch.

Arthur Brown in 2005. During live performances and in the promotional television video, Brown performed the 1968 song "Fire" wearing black and white makeup (corpse paint) and a burning headpiece. Arthur Brown.jpg
Arthur Brown in 2005. During live performances and in the promotional television video, Brown performed the 1968 song "Fire" wearing black and white makeup (corpse paint) and a burning headpiece.

The 1960s brought several proto-shock rock artists. In the UK, The Who often destroyed their instruments, The Move did the same to television sets, and Arthur Brown wore vivid makeup and a flaming headpiece. [3] In the US, Jimi Hendrix set his guitar alight at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Detroit musician Iggy Pop of The Stooges adopted a violent, erratic onstage persona which drew widespread recognition, as Pop would often throw his body about the stage, frequently injuring his band members. Pop was known to wear a dog collar during some performances, along with arm length silver lamé gloves, exemplifying both shock and glam rock sensibilities. [4] At at least one show in 1970, Pop smeared peanut butter on his body and threw it into the crowd as well. [4]

On seeing Arthur Brown, Alice Cooper stated, "Can you imagine the young Alice Cooper watching that with all his make-up and hellish performance? It was like all my Halloweens came at once!" [5]

The Plasmatics were an American punk rock band formed by Yale University art school graduate Rod Swenson with Wendy O. Williams. The band was a controversial group known for wild live shows. In addition to chainsawing guitars, blowing up speaker cabinets and sledgehammering television sets, Williams and the Plasmatics blew up automobiles live on stage. Williams was arrested in Milwaukee by the Milwaukee police before being charged with public indecency. [6] Jim Farber of Sounds described the show: "Lead singer/ex-porn star/current weight lifter Wendy Orleans Williams (W.O.W. for short) spends most of the Plasmatics' show fondling her family size breasts, scratching her sweaty snatch and eating the drum kit, among other playful events". [7]

From the late 1970s to his death in 1993, GG Allin was known less for his music than for his wildly transgressive antics, which included indecent exposure (stripping and performing naked was one of Allin's most common rituals), on-stage defecation, coprophagia, self-mutilation, and attacking audience members. [8]

In the 1980s in Richmond, Virginia, Gwar formed as a collaboration of artists and musicians. The band members make their own lavish monster costumes, which they claim are inspired by many of the creatures from H. P. Lovecraft's literary multiverse, the Cthulhu Mythos. Gwar frequently incorporates extravagant theatrics into their shows, such as mock jousts and pretending to murder each other.

The Mentors cultivated a shock-rock image by wearing executioners' hoods in concert and making deliberately outlandish statements to the press. In the 1990s, vocalist Eldon Hoke also began incorporating onstage sex acts into the band's repertoire. [9]

Marilyn Manson has widely been described as a shock rocker Marilyn Manson Rotr 2015 (109543887).jpeg
Marilyn Manson has widely been described as a shock rocker

In the 1990s and 2000s, Marilyn Manson became perhaps the most notable and well known act in shock rock. He was once dubbed by former US Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn) as "perhaps the sickest group ever promoted by a mainstream record company." Manson's stage antics, such as burning the American flag and ripping pages out of the Bible, have been the focus of protests throughout his career. [10] Manson argued that every artist has their means of presentation and that his visual and vocal styles are merely a way for him to control the angle that his audience and the general public view and interpret what he is trying to convey artistically. [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

Punk rock is a music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s. Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk bands rejected the perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often shouted political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, developing into a range of different styles in the mid-1960s and later, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style that drew directly from the blues and rhythm and blues genres of African-American music and from country music. Rock also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical, and other musical styles. For instrumentation, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass guitar, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music with a 4
4
time signature
using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Glam rock is a style of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s and was performed by musicians who wore outrageous costumes, makeup, and hairstyles, particularly platform shoes and glitter. Glam artists drew on diverse sources across music and throwaway pop culture, ranging from bubblegum pop and 1950s rock and roll to cabaret, science fiction, and complex art rock. The flamboyant clothing and visual styles of performers were often camp or androgynous, and have been described as playing with other gender roles. Glitter rock was a more extreme version of glam rock.

Gothic rock is a style of rock music that emerged from post-punk in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. The first post-punk bands which shifted toward dark music with gothic overtones include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and the Cure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Industrial rock</span> Music genre

Industrial rock is an fusion genre that fuses industrial music and rock music. It initially originated in the 1970s, and drew influence from early experimental and industrial acts such as Cromagnon, Throbbing Gristle, Einstürzende Neubauten and Chrome. Industrial rock became more prominent in the 1980s with the success of artists such as Killing Joke, Swans, and partially Skinny Puppy, and later spawned the offshoot genre known as industrial metal. The genre was made more accessible to mainstream audiences in the 1990s with the aid of acts such as Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, both of which have released platinum-selling records.

Death rock is a rock music subgenre incorporating horror elements and gothic theatrics. It emerged from punk rock on the West Coast of the United States in the early 1980s and overlaps with the gothic rock and horror punk genres. Notable death rock acts include Christian Death, Kommunity FK, 45 Grave, and Super Heroines.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Plasmatics</span> American punk rock band

The Plasmatics were an American punk rock, hardcore punk and heavy metal band formed by Rod Swenson and Wendy O. Williams in New York City in 1977. They were a controversial group known for chaotic, destructive live shows and outrageous theatrics. These included chainsawing guitars, destroying speaker cabinets, sledgehammering television sets and blowing up automobiles live on stage. Williams was arrested in Milwaukee by the Milwaukee Police before being charged with public indecency.

Glam metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that features pop-influenced hooks and guitar riffs, upbeat rock anthems, and slow power ballads. It borrows heavily from the fashion and image of 1970s glam rock.

Virginia's musical contribution to American culture has been diverse, and includes Piedmont blues, jazz, folk, brass, hip-hop, and rock and roll bands, as well as the founding origins of country music in the Bristol sessions by Appalachian Virginians.

Transgressive art is art that aims to outrage or violate basic morals and sensibilities. The term transgressive was first used in this sense by American filmmaker Nick Zedd and his Cinema of Transgression in 1985. Zedd used it to describe his legacy with underground film-makers like Paul Morrissey, John Waters, and Kenneth Anger, and the relationship they shared with Zedd and his New York City peers in the early 1980s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Corpse paint</span>

Corpse paint is a style of black and white makeup used mainly by black metal bands for concerts and band photos. The makeup is used to make the musicians appear inhuman, corpse-like, or demonic, and is perhaps "the most identifiable aspect of the black metal aesthetic."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wendy O. Williams</span> American singer (1949–1998)

Wendy Orlean Williams was an American singer, best known as the lead singer of the punk rock band Plasmatics. She was noted for her onstage theatrics, which included partial nudity, exploding equipment, firing a shotgun, and chainsawing guitars. Performing her own stunts in videos, she often sported a mohawk hairstyle. In 1985, during the height of her popularity as a solo artist, she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American rock</span>

American rock has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and country music, and also drew on folk music, jazz, blues, and classical music. American rock music was further influenced by the British Invasion of the American pop charts from 1964 and resulted in the development of psychedelic rock.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">British rock music</span> Rock music from the United Kingdom

British rock describes a wide variety of forms of music made in the United Kingdom. Since around 1964, with the "British Invasion" of the United States spearheaded by the Beatles, British rock music has had a considerable impact on the development of American music and rock music across the world.

Shock value is the potential of an image, text, action, or other form of communication, such as a public execution, to provoke a reaction of sharp disgust, shock, anger, fear, or similar negative emotions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Glam punk</span> Fusion genre melding punk rock and glam rock

Glam punk is a term used retrospectively to describe a short-lived trend for bands which produced a form of proto-punk that incorporated elements of glam rock, initially in the early to mid-1970s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Search and Destroy (The Stooges song)</span> 1973 single by Iggy and the Stooges

"Search and Destroy" is a song by American rock band the Stooges, recorded for the group's third album Raw Power (1973). Lead singer Iggy Pop said that the title was derived from a column heading in a Time article about the Vietnam War. In 1997, "Search and Destroy" was remixed and remastered by Pop and Bruce Dickinson. The result was far more aggressive and stripped down than the original release, which had been mixed by David Bowie.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lunchbox (song)</span> 1995 single by Marilyn Manson

"Lunchbox" is a song by American rock band Marilyn Manson. It was released as the second single from their debut album, Portrait of an American Family (1994). A heavy metal song that features elements of death metal, industrial music and punk rock, "Lunchbox" was written by the band's eponymous vocalist, Daisy Berkowitz, and Gidget Gein, and produced by Manson with Trent Reznor. According to Berkowitz, the track was written as the frontman's plea to be left alone; it was also inspired by a time where Manson defended himself from bullies with a Kiss lunchbox. The track features elements of "Fire" (1968) performed by Arthur Brown, a musician who influenced the band.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rosemary's Billygoat</span> American heavy metal/hard rock band

Rosemary's Billygoat is an American heavy metal/hard rock band formed in Los Angeles' South Bay in 1991, consisting of singer Mike Odd, guitarist Neal Gargantua, bassist Pat Trick and drummer Paul Bearer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Butcher Babies</span> American metal band

Butcher Babies is an American groove metal band from Los Angeles, consisting of frontwomen Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, guitarist Henry Flury (Amen), bassist Ricky Bonazza, and drummer Chase Brickenden. Their debut album, Goliath, was released on July 9, 2013, via Century Media Records. It sold 3,300 copies in the US during its first week of release and charted at No. 3 on the Billboard Heatseeker chart and No. 112 on the Billboard 200.

References

  1. Komara, Edward M. (2006). Encyclopedia of the Blues: A-J. Routledge. p. 415. ISBN   978-0-415-92700-0.
  2. Miles, Barry (2009). The British Invasion: Arthur Brown. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 274. ISBN   9781402769764.
  3. 1 2 "Arthur Brown on Shock Rock, Hendrix, Close Calls With Fire". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 December 2017
  4. 1 2 Petrusich, Amanda (August 26, 2019). "The Survival of Iggy Pop". The New Yorker. The New Yorker. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  5. "ALICE COOPER RECRUITS ARTHUR BROWN FOR FIRE-THEMED HALLOWEEN SHOW". Ultimate Classic Rock. December 29, 2017.
  6. Skanse
  7. Gimarc, p.235
  8. Huey, Steve. GG Allin bio. Allmusic. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  9. Torreano, Bradley. The Mentors bio. Allmusic. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  10. "The mystery of Marilyn Manson". BBC News. April 22, 1999.
  11. "Fox News Marylin Manson Interview". YouTube. Retrieved January 12, 2008.