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Creepy masked performers - A.V. Club

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Creepy masked performers - A.V. Club Empty Creepy masked performers - A.V. Club

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:39 am


Creepy masked performers - A.V. Club Deadmau5_jpg_627x325_crop_upscale_q85

by Bryan Bierman August 24, 2011

Most people enter the magical world of show business looking for something they haven’t got, and most of the time, that something is attention. But though many struggle to gain fame, the few who actually achieve it are often less than happy to find that, like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, they’ve gotten way more than they bargained for, ending up wearing giant sunglasses, leading paparazzi on high-speed chases, or, ultimately, writing self-conscious songs about how oppressive fame can get even if they’re clearly big famewhores.

Some, however, have found a loophole: By wearing masks, they can get the onstage adulation they crave and avoid recreating “Welcome To The Jungle” in their personal life.

Perhaps the masks have a deeper meaning, forcing the audience to ponder the function of artists themselves. Art, after all, shouldn’t be a means to mere celebrity; the message of the work can get cluttered and confused with the image of its creator. These masked artists ask us not to focus on petty, artificial qualities, but what their music truly is: “l’art pour l’art,” art for art’s sake.

Or, possibly, they just needed a gimmick.

In any case, as we’re right up on Buckethead’s show at the TLA tonight, here are five of the most famous (not to mention creepy) masked musicians working today, most of whom are coming through Philly in the next couple months.

Mask: A white, plastic, expressionless face beneath an upside-down KFC bucket.
Secret identity: Guitarist
Brian Carroll, a.k.a. Buckethead, burst on the underground rock scene in the early ’90s, releasing a couple demos and soon making a name for himself. (A guy who wears a KFC bucket and plays like Eddie Van Halen on peyote is generally someone you take note of.) After leaving avant-garde supergroup Praxis, Mr. Bucket returned to solo work, releasing his most popular album, Monsters And Robots, in 1999.

Featured on the album is “The Ballad Of Buckethead,” a Primus-backed track describing his supposed “upbringing” in which he was raised by chickens until the age of 17, when he left to become a rock star. But though he claimed to be able to last nearly two decades living in a dirty chicken coop, he could only take four years of working with Axl Rose. In 2000, Buckethead joined the reunited (and horrendous) Guns N’ Roses, replacing the over-it Slash on lead guitar. But after the infamously erratic Axl failed to even show up to numerous gigs
(including the 2002 Philly show that almost ended in riot), Buckethead returned to his solo work and the occasional appearance in your nightmares.

The Residents
Various, but the most iconic are giant eyeball heads with top hats
Secret identities: TheResidents are the O.G. mask-wearers, making music since before most of our list was born and releasing more than 60 albums in their 40-plus-year career. But who are they? To their credit, The Rez have kept it under wraps all these years. All we do know is that there are/were four members and they may or may not hail from Louisiana. That hasn’t stopped fans from guessing: Some theories include that they are/were The Beatles in disguise or that magicians Penn & Teller are members (not kidding).

Their music is almost a genre in itself, something in the realm of avant-garde art-pop, filled with creepy synths and cartoonish voices that have influenced a wide range of artists, from Jeff Buckley to Pee-wee Herman and Primus.

The Residents generally change their getups from tour to tour, with the changes usually pertaining to their most recent album. Their 1979 release, Eskimo, featured what would become their signature look: tuxedos topped by eyeball heads. While they were on tour in 1985, a fan went backstage and stole the “Mr. Red Eye” mask, forcing that Resident to don a black skull from that point on. Eventually, the eyeball was returned to the group, but it stayed in retirement, as the group felt it was now “unclean.”

Mask: Giant brown grizzly bear heads
Secret identities: Sweden’s Teddybears consists of Patrik Arve and the Åhlund brothers, Klas
(producer and songwriter for Britney Spears, Ke$ha, and Robyn) and Joakim (member of Caesars, of that gets-old-real-quick iPod commercial). Starting out as a hardcore punk band, they gradually moved into more electronic and pop territory, with 2006’s Soft Machine beingTeddybears’ most successful album to date.

The group wears giant bear heads and should get props for being able to play instruments with those things, which you can see for yourself when the band visits the North Star Sept. 11. The group does make us laugh, though, maybe because it reminds us of the old Bear City SNL skit. But we’re soon re-reminded of that really weird scene in The Shining[/i , and back to being creeped out again.

Mask: A massive cartoon mouse head with X-ed out eyes (’cause it’s dead)
Secret identity: Joel Zimmerman is better known as Deadmau5 (pronounced Dead Mouse), a
Canadian producer who’s one of the most famous artists in electronic music today. His 2009 single “Ghosts N Stuff” reached number one on the U.S. dance charts and is featured in video game [i]DJ Hero 2
, in which he is also a playable character.

Deadmau5’s live show, in town Sept. 23 as part of the Philly F/M Fest, has become increasingly popular. As Zimmerman (and Daft Punk) have realized, watching a guy look at his laptop isn’t particularly interesting, so why not dress it up a little? His mask is a giant cartoon mouse head that varies in color, and is occasionally sequined. However, unlike most of the list, Deadmau5 doesn’t mind taking off the mask, as you can see, and we can’t really blame him—it probably gets hot in there.

Mask: Iron mask reminiscent of his Marvel namesake
Secret identity: Daniel Dumile came through the underground hip-hop ranks of the early ’90s
with trio KMD, performing under the moniker of Zev Love X. The group recorded 2 albums, but only one was released at the time. 1993’s Black Bastards was shelved because of its cover’s controversial racial imagery, though it finally saw release years later. The group was dropped by the record company the same week that co-founder/Dumile’s brother DJ Subroc was killed after being struck by a car. Deeply hurt and vowing to get revenge on the music industry, Dumile retreated from the music scene until the late-’90s, when he reappeared as MF DOOM, a “supervillain” with the mask of fellow evil-doer, Marvel Comics’ Dr. Victor von Doom.

Since his transformation, Dumile, now known as just DOOM, has taken the world of hip-hop by storm, his evil persona and colorful music making him an indie-rap favorite. His 2004 collaboration with Madlib,Madvillainy, is regarded as a modern classic, and he reached new heights of fame a year later with The Mouse And The Mask, a concept album based on Adult Swim cartoons, produced by Danger Mouse.

DOOM certainly tests the patience of fans with his notoriously erratic behavior, starting projects and then flaking on projects like the joint album with Ghostface that we were promised two forevers ago. His live shows are even more controversial, as fans claim that a number of concerts were performed not by DOOM himself but [url= doom-show-too/]an imposter wearing his mask and lip-synching his rhymes[/url]. DOOM claims that no outsourcing happened, he just lost weight. But he is kind of a supervillain.

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Post by DanyYo on Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:53 pm

Guess some people feel more comfortable with them, especially when they are in the spotlight.

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