Uglier than Alice Cooper: Five forgotten shock rock bands from the 1970s
Notorious excrement-spraying punk loony GG Allin often referred to himself as the “blood and guts of rock’n'roll”. That wasn’t really true. He was more the “puke and piss” than anything else.
Still, more than most, he understood that outrage was one of rock’s most lethal weapons. The will to provoke and the grand-guignol theatricality of performance has always been a part of the rock spectacle, from the coffin-popping antics of Screaming Jay Hawkins to the fiery headgear of Arthur Brown, from the serial suicides of Alice Cooper to the blood spitting kabuki theatre of Kiss.
Shock rock is rock’n'roll at its most gleefully demented, a place where monsters run free and sometimes play guitars, where topless women blow up cars, mutant ghouls chomp on raw meat, hapless audience members are fed to hungry space-maggots, and dope-smacked singers roll around in broken glass. It’s hell with the lid off, set to a 4/4 beat.
Given the easily exploitable nature of shock rock, most of its practioners are well known: Plasmatics, GWAR, Marilyn Manson, W.A.S.P., Dwarves, Rammstein. But throughout the decades, bubbling just under the surface, a small army of equally envelope-pushing nutcases raged the stages, all of ‘em just as confident as GG that their gut-spilling hijinks would live on in infamy.
Sadly, these fevered dreams often fizzled, and the annals of rock are littered with the husks of makeup-smeared provocateurs who never got the chance to terrorize the populace at large. Here, then, is a smattering of long-forgotten shock rockers from the earliest, weirdest days of the genre: the 1970s. Flip over to the next page for our first entry… none other than The Sic Fucks.