Muthas of invention: five genre-defining artists you may never have heard of
Before The Stooges there was Rotomagus. Before The Cramps there was Hasil Adkins. Before Celtic Frost there was Cromagnon. Before Kraftwerk there was Silver Apples. And before Richard Hell there was Bob McFadden. Here be the REAL pioneers of rock’n'roll…
When I was a kid, I had a book called Phenomena: A Book Of Wonders. It was filled with improbable bullshit that seemed entirely possible to an eight year old: werewolves, stigmata, levitation, spontaneous human combustion, etc. There was even a chapter on the possible existence of fairies, as evinced by some pictures Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took of children playing with tiny winged people in leotards. (Spoiler alert: photo manipulation. Curses!)
My favourite part of the book was the bit on ‘ancient anomolies’, found artefacts that seem to exist out of their own time, like an electrical plug that appeared to be over 5,000 years old, or a one-million-year-old nail, or 300 million-year-old coins. Over time, most of these discoveries have been debunked, and usually with pretty boring explanations (blah-blah-blah limestome, blah-blah-blah oxidation), but the wild ideas these discoveries spark are nonetheless deliciously compelling, suggesting an alternative Earth history we can’t begin to understand.
And so it is with rock’n’roll. Misfits and unemployables like myself have spent decades exploring every dark corner of rock music, meticulously mapping out what happened when, turning the whole chaotic hobo stew into an easy-to-follow timeline that pretty much explains everything.
Well, except when it doesn’t. Occasionally, anomalies pop up here, as well. A song from the 50s sounds like it’s from the 70s, a song from the 60s sounds like it was recorded yesterday, and suddenly, the rock’n’roll space/time continuum is disrupted. There’s a crack in the cosmic egg.
Are they happpy accidents? Time travellers with guitars? Or just the universe keeping things interesting? Whatever the explanation, here are five of these weird out-of-timers. Flip over to the next page for No.1.