Shock rock

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Shock rock is an umbrella term for artists who combine 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.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually 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.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

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.

Contents

A 2014 article in The Guardian states, "British rock always was more theatrical than its US counterpart. Often this involved destruction or macabre gimmickry: The Move smashing TV sets, Arthur Brown and his flaming helmet. "That's why most people thought we were British at first" said Alice Cooper. [1]

The Move British rock band

The Move were a British rock band of the late 1960s and the early 1970s. They scored nine Top 20 UK singles in five years, but were among the most popular British bands not to find any real success in the United States. Although bassist-vocalist Chris "Ace" Kefford was the original leader, for most of their career the Move was led by guitarist, singer and songwriter Roy Wood. He wrote all the group's UK singles and, from 1968, also sang lead vocals on many songs, although Carl Wayne was the main lead singer up to 1970. Initially, the band had 4 main vocalists who split the lead vocals on a number of their earlier songs.

Arthur Brown (musician) British musician

Arthur Wilton Brown is an English rock singer and songwriter best known for his flamboyant theatrical performances, eclectic work and his powerful, wide-ranging operatic voice. He has been a significant influence on a wide range of musicians due to his vocal style, wild stage persona, and concepts; he is considered to be a pioneer of shock rock and progressive rock and has had an influence on heavy metal music.

Alice Cooper American rock singer, songwriter and musician

Alice Cooper is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over 50 years. With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock". He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people.

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. [2] Another artist who performed similar stunts was the British singer-songwriter Screaming Lord Sutch.

Screamin Jay Hawkins American musician

Jalacy "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as "I Put a Spell on You", he sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him an early pioneer of shock rock.

I Put a Spell on You 1956 single by Screamin Jay Hawkins

"I Put a Spell on You" is a 1956 song written and composed by Jalacy "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins, whose own recording of it was selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It was also included in Robert Christgau's "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings—published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)—and ranked No. 313 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The selection became a classic cult song covered by a variety of artists and was his greatest commercial success, reportedly surpassing a million copies in sales, even though it failed to make the Billboard pop or R&B charts.

Coffin Container for transport, laying out and the burial of a corpse

A coffin is a funerary box used for viewing or keeping a corpse, either for burial or cremation.

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. [4] In the US, Jimi Hendrix set his guitar alight at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, while Detroit musician Iggy Pop's violent, erratic onstage persona drew widespread recognition, as Pop would often throw his body about the stage, frequently injuring his band members.

The Who English rock band

The Who are an English rock band formed in London in 1964. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide.

The destruction of musical instruments is an act performed by a few pop, rock and other musicians during live performances, particularly at the end of the gig.

Jimi Hendrix American guitarist, singer and songwriter

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".

On seeing Arthur Brown, Alice Cooper states, "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] In the early 1970s, Cooper's unique blend of heavy metal and punk rock, complete with sardonic and inevitably controversial lyrics, proved a powerful inspiration for many future genre artists such as KISS of the mid 1970s; W.A.S.P., Gwar, and King Diamond of the 1980s; and Marilyn Manson of the 1990s.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected 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 political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

Sardonicism is "the quality or state of being sardonic; an instance of this; a sardonic remark". A sardonic action is one that is "disdainfully or skeptically humorous" or "derisively mocking". A sardonic remark may be an imitation or intimation, to express conceitedness and boldness at events of adversity and to dissuade from follies. Also, when referring to laughter or a smile, it is "bitter, scornful, mocking". Hence, when referring to a person or a personal attribute, it is "[c]haracterized by or exhibiting bitterness, scorn or mockery". Sardonic remarks can often be to oneself, these are non-apologetic. Sardonic also expresses arrogance and an attitude that may indicate superiority.

Kiss (band) American band

Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Well known for its members' face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons the only remaining original members. The original and best-known lineup consisted of Stanley, Simmons, Frehley, and Criss.

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 that broke countless taboos. 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]

Yale University private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

Wendy O. Williams American singer

Wendy Orlean Williams was an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Born in Webster, New York, she came to prominence as the lead singer of the punk rock band Plasmatics. Her onstage theatrics included partial nudity, exploding equipment, firing a shotgun, and chainsawing guitars. Dubbed the "Queen of Shock Rock" and the "Metal Priestess", Williams was considered the most controversial and radical female singer of her time. 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 Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

Milwaukee Largest city in Wisconsin

Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. The seat of the eponymous county, it is on Lake Michigan's western shore. Ranked by its estimated 2014 population, Milwaukee was the 31st largest city in the United States. The city's estimated population in 2017 was 595,351. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee metropolitan area which had a population of 2,043,904 in the 2014 census estimate. It is the second-most densely populated metropolitan area in the Midwest, surpassed only by Chicago. Milwaukee is considered a Gamma global city as categorized by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network with a regional GDP of over $105 billion.

From the late 1970s to his death in 1993, GG Allin was known less for his music than for his wildly transgressive antics, [8] 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. He was also known to beat his own head in with a microphone onstage and promised for many years that he would commit suicide on stage as a sacrifice to rock and roll (though he died of an accidental heroin overdose at a party before seeing that threat coming true). Allin's lyrics were known for being politically incorrect.[ citation needed ]

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. Gwar condemned Eldon Hoke, the vocalist of the Mentors, during their appearance on The Jerry Springer Show , because he advocated rape during his interview. [9]

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]

Notable acts

See also

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References

  1. "Alice Cooper: 'Rock music was looking for a villain'". The Guardian. December 29, 2017.
  2. Komara, Edward M. (2006). Encyclopedia of the Blues: A-J. Routledge. p. 415. ISBN   978-0-415-92700-0.
  3. Miles, Barry (2009). The British Invasion: Arthur Brown. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 274.
  4. 1 2 "Arthur Brown on Shock Rock, Hendrix, Close Calls With Fire". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 December 2017
  5. "ALICE COOPER RECRUITS ARTHUR BROWN FOR FIRE-THEMED HALLOWEEN SHOW". Ultimate Classic Rock. December 29, 2017.
  6. Skanse
  7. Gimarc, p.235
  8. 1 2 Huey, Steve. GG Allin bio. Allmusic. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  9. 1 2 3 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.
  12. Alice Cooper bio Archived 2012-05-06 at the Wayback Machine . MusicMight. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  13. "The God of Hellfire Speaks: 73 Years Inside the Crazy World of Arthur Brown". Vice. Retrieved 7 December 2018
  14. "The 10 Greatest Heavy Metal Front-Women".
  15. Eddy, Chuck (2011). Rock and Roll Always Forgets: A Quarter Century of Music Criticism. Duke University Press. ISBN   978-0-8223-9417-4.
  16. "Kiss biography". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 22, 2017
  17. "Shockwave Magazine’s interviews Lizzy Borden by Jay Oakley". Shockwave. Retrieved March 24, 2019
  18. "Best Shock Rock Bands". Leather Rebel. Retrieved April 3, 2019
  19. "Deftones just want to have a blast". Telegram & Gazette . July 3, 2003. Retrieved April 14, 2012. And fans will witness Mudvayne trying to remake itself from a costume-wearing shock-rock act into a just plain menacing hard-rock act.
  20. W.A.S.P. bio Archived 2012-10-01 at the Wayback Machine . MusicMight. Retrieved April 14, 2012.