On British TV a couple of years ago, I saw a studio performance by The Go! Team. They’re a terrifically fun band from the Brighton area. Their records are action-packed blends of cheer-leading chants, car chase music, and guitar riffs. Good fun. During that performance though, one of the guitar players wore a motocross bike helmet the whole time. Like this one here.
It was just about the best look I’ve ever seen and if I were in a rock band I would so steal it. The benefits are numerous, including: the addition of a heightened mysterious edge to your rock persona, not having to do your hair, AND of course protection from head injuries. What could be better? Never underestimate adequate skull protection. Anyway, the whole thing made me think today about that handful of rock bands that spice up their live performances by putting a bit of effort into their stage wear.
That’ll be today’s great thing then.
36. Costume-wearing musicians
This topic could be divided into two camps, really. The first would be those rockers that have what’s essentially a special uniform to wear on stage. You see bands like Kiss and Gwar that obviously put a ton of effort into their get-ups but they don’t vary too much from the theme that they’ve designed. Here are some examples:
It seems that most of the acts that fall into this camp belong to the heavy metal genre (the Elvis pic, a bit out of place there). You think that pic of Gwar is frightening check out pics of Mushroomhead or Slipknot. The stuff of nightmares. Other heavy metal/rock efforts include Angus Young’s schoolboy motif and rock guitarist Buckethead–who, obviously,
is the fella pictured here. You know, this guy, with the KFC bucket on his head and the Michael Myers’ Halloween Shatner-mask.
Others that are perhaps less terrifying, (jump-suited Elvis marginally better off with this crowd), include Interpol’s Carlos D. ( a bassist who sometimes wears a gun holster on stage), Devo–with their flowerpot hats and utility jumpsuits, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, who often performs in either a white or grey three-piece suit, The Village People, and David Bowie when he was doing his Ziggy Stardust thing.
But, I think bands/singers should get extra points when their costumes are seemingly random. That would be the second of the two camps that I mentioned at the start. Random costumes! That’s why the motocross helmet was kind of cool. That guy doesn’t wear it all the time. It was more of a surprise really. Whilst it doesn’t quite qualify as a costume, it’s always interesting to see what spangled jumpsuit CSS’s Lovefoxxx is going to show up wearing. The pic below is just one possible delight.
I think it takes a bit more gusto to try this second option–the random costume. The fun uniform look is still worthy. It’s just a bit safer. After all, if the rest of your band is outfitted just the same, then there is the safety of numbers. You’re not the only one that looks like a nut. If you’re a solo artist, like our friend Buckethead up there, well there’s the comfort of regularity. He wears that bucket all the time! It must get easier and easier every time he puts it on.
It’s great when rock stars have no shame. Why should they, I suppose. Showing up in a costume or something completely outlandish is what rock is all about. Looking too groomed or polished is for insecure losers. You know you’re at the height of your game when you can put on a monster mask or a cowboy outfit and still get the groupies after your set. Confidence! Look at Peter Gabriel wearing a fox-head. What the? Who the? I don’t know, but I bet he still got some after the show.
In fact, I think I’ve had quite enough of clever tee shirts, leather pants, and ironically worn skinny suits. There’s a reason that Halloween is in my top three holidays. Costumes are the Motts. Bring on the cosplay enthusiasts!
A special photo parade has to be dedicated to Gnarls Barkley at this point. While they stay within a theme, that of famous movies, they change costumes frequently. And they are quality. Here are just a few snaps.