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Unusual Musical Acts

 The short list of unusual stage acts, (8 actually), that have pushed the envelope of the traditional musical stage performance. There are probably many others that belong on this list, but my attention span is short so I came up with eight, (seemed apropos to the section). Got any additions? Well where were you when I was making up the list? Some of these may not seem so strange by today's standards, but at the time they were considered pretty extreme.

The Who

The main gig/hook for The Who was the total annihilation of their equipment at the end of the performance. What a terrrible waste of all those Gibson SG's , but the show must go on. Not all that impressive by today's standards, but in the '60s, it was definitely pushing the envelope, especially when the did it on the Ed Sullivan Show. Band member lineup consisted of guitarist Pete Townshend, vocalist Roger Daltrey, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon.

David Bowie

David Bowie was one of the pioneers of the extravagant make up, and stage theatrics. It was a career choice of, "I could have been a clown, but I couldn't find a decent pair of red Bozo triple E's, so I settled for platform shoes and a singing gig". David is definitely a man of many facets/faces.

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper (Vincent Damon Furnier), was pretty much the fore-runner of "shock rock" featuring guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, and boa constrictors in his stage show. The name Alice Cooper was claimed to have come from a session on a Ouija board, during which it was revealed that Furnier was the reincarnation of a 17th century witch named Alice Cooper. However, this story was in fact a publicity stunt and Cooper confirmed that the name actually came out of thin air, conjuring up the image of "a cute and sweet little girl with a hatchet behind her back".


Kiss formed in New York City in December 1972, took the stage extravaganza to a new level with their trademark facepaint and lavish costumes. They elaborated on the theme in their live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, and pyrotechnics. The Demon (Gene Simmons), Starchild (Paul Stanley), Spaceman (Ace Frehley), and Catman (Peter Criss).

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson allegedly took his name from actress Marilyn Monroe and convicted murderer Charles Manson, (sort of a beauty and the beast thing). Manson is Alice Cooper on steroids, crystal meth, and LSD, and was a definite push to the extreme outer edges of the envelope. The original band was Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids and formed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1989, Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids just doesn't seem to have the same effect. The main band members are Marilyn Manson, Twiggy Ramirez, Ginger Fish, Chris Vrenna.


Gwar is a metal band formed in 1985. The band is known for their elaborate costumes; obscene lyrics; and graphic stage performances, which consist of humorous re-enactments of themes that a considered to be somewhat politically "Incorrect", (Oh My!). Largely influenced by punk rock the band evolved into heavily hardcore-influenced crossover thrash. Members are  Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie), Flattus Maximus (Cory Smoot), Balsac the Jaws of Death (Mike Derks), Beefcake the Mighty (Casey Orr), Jizmak Da Gusha (Brad Roberts), Sleazy P. Martini (?)

Blue Man Group

The Blue Man Group is probably the Tamest addition to the list, but deserve mentio for their unique stage personna, and use of unusual, handmade, (from anything handy), instruments. The Blue Man Group consists of Phil Stanton, Chris Wink and Matt Goldman. Early in the group's career, the members would speak with audiences after a show while still in makeup, eventually, however, it was decided that they would stay in character at all times while in makeup, meaning after shows they would still not speak to audience members, and the only "autograph" they would sign would be a smudge of blue paint.

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa, (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993), was an American composer, electric guitarist, record producer, and film director. Zappa wrote rock, jazz, electronic, orchestral, and musique concrète, (a form of electroacoustic music), works. Frank was most recognized for his phenomenol guitar playing and musical compositions, as well as his unusual live performances which were a blend of comedy, satire and socio/political commentary.

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