Posted: 31 October 2018
“There can be no light without the dark”*, and there is no clearer example of this than in music. For every Osmonds there’s an Ozzy, for every Michael Buble there’s a Marilyn Manson.
This Halloween we are celebrating the darker side of the tunes and uncovering how the dark arts has cast a spell on rock and roll.
* Said the enlightened Professor Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter
Celebrated as the godfather of shock rock, super-duper Alice Cooper opened the floodgates to theatrics in music, albeit accidentally. Think of 1969 and Woodstock and Apollo 11 come to mind, but in Toronto Alice Cooper was making headlines for the wrong reason, after someone threw a live chicken onstage during a performance. Believing it could fly he flew it into the air, where it flapped weakly before landing in the crowd, and was quickly turned into chicken nuggets by the baying fans.
Couple this with countless other gory stunts, including a botched hanging that almost led to Cooper’s death during rehearsals for his 1988 tour, and the singer has managed to draw anger from doctors, stuffy parents, vegans and even hangmen throughout his career.
Not content with releasing one of the scariest songs ever, the stories about Ozzy are legendary and pretty much endless. The Prince of Darkness clearly has a more macabre side.
In one performance a fan threw something at Ozzy. Thinking it was a rubber bat he picked it up and chomped down. It didn’t take long for Ozzy to spot that something was wrong and the bat was real. He spat it out, but the damage was done. Chalk up thousands of horrified fans, multiple rabies shots, and one horrifying moment that will forever live in infamy.
Always ready to go head to head with Cooper for shocks was Keith Moon. When Alice Cooper first got married, Moon showed up at his house for an unannounced week-long stay, complete in French maid’s costume. Adding to the drumming wizard’s rep for stunts was an endless list of trashed hotels, exploding toilets and Rolls Royce’s dumped in swimming pools.
But Moon certainly had a darker side. Moon the Loon managed to take a prank too far and part-deafened guitarist Pete Townshend after overloading his drum kit with explosives. Perhaps that was why Townshend came to Jim Marshall wanting louder?!
Brian Hugh Warner may not sound particularly scary, but no piece on the hellraisers of rock and roll would be complete without mention of the anti-christ superstar, or as he is more commonly known, Marilyn Manson. Countless stories about Manson (not all of them true) have surfaced throughout his 20+ year career.
The story that best underlines Marilyn Manson's horror credentials dates back to 1994 when on the road supporting Nine Inch Nails. Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of the ultimate bunch of underworld worshippers, the Church Of Satan, reached out to Manson and arranged to meet up. Manson obviously impressed the Church with his dark side as he ended up becoming a minister and even wrote the foreword to LaVey's final book.
Having said this we doubt he will be available to host your wedding anytime soon.
“It's my favourite time of year, and I'm stealing the scene, I've kept Halloween alive since 1965”. By the looks of things it’s unlikely that’s going to change anytime soon, so this fright night make sure you celebrate the true hair raisers of music in style.