So I was watching American X Factor highlights from last year on Youtube when I got thinking to myself "I wonder what the most controversial musical acts of all time are, apart from Christina Aguilera?"
So I did some research and here's what I've come up with.
GG Allin was the most controversial front man that ever lived. Anyone that tells you otherwise lies. GG Allin would self harm, defecate, urinate and fight his way through gigs. He died of a heroin overdose after performing at The Gas Station in Manhattan in 1993.
This video will make make uncomfortable viewing for some, but that's the point; GG was as visceral an incarnation of rock 'n' roll tragedy as ever lived.
Will.I.Am has a special kind of talent, an anti talent; the exact opposite of musical talent. I asked my colleague Alex what the exact opposite of musical talent is and he said "um, non-musical talent?"
I know what you're thinking "My Humps is the worst song I have ever heard in my life and I want to kill myself". Yes! But it sold millions! Oh the controversy! My Humps, no matter what you might say, or sneer, or deride, is genius. It is the worst song ever written by anyone ever and Will.I.Am is the Damien Hirst of pop music.
It's hard to know where to start with this Norwegian black metal band. Maybe the suicide of vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin ("Dead", rather aptly know then and, er, now) or the murder of guitarist Øystein Aarseth ("Euronymous") by former member Varg Vikernes in 1993.
Or maybe it is the notoriously violent live performances?
Whichever angle you look at it, Mayhem have courted controversy for the best part of 30 years and I'm fairly convinced will continue to do so. Lord help us.
Brand New Idol Society (BiS)
I'm sad to say that BiS split up in July 2014, which is a shame, because this Japanese 'anti girl group' sure were fun while they lasted. Not content performing in underwear, posing for Playboy covered in fake semen (NSFW and it is fake; I, uh, checked, for research purposes 'natch), BiS even managed to recruit a 74 year fashion designer for all of one week before releasing their final album in January of this year.
And BiS didn't care. They were an uncompromising slice of post punk feminism (a genre I just invented) that dished out killer songs. I am sad to see them go.
Staying on the Japanese theme we have BABYMETAL, a fluffy, happy 7 piece tech-death metal combo comprised of four virtuoso musicians and 3 teenage school kids. On the face of it songs about losing weight and eating chocolate or getting up early in the morning are about as cutting edge and controversial as tidying the kitchen. But this band have driven a knife straight through the heart of the heavy metal community, dividing fans into those that adore BABYMETAL and those that despise BABYMETAL. They are the most controversial rock band of 2014, bar none.
Which is a shame because BABYMETAL are really rather good.
As Josh Saco says
Babymetal deliver one of the most memorable gigs I've ever seen, and I was at GG Allin's final gig at the Gas Station
Which kinda brings us full circle, don't ya think?