Punk rock has always been the hot-tempered, bratty young cousin of the rock family. Born out of a disregard for almost everything that happened in the 70s, it became the movement for disenfranchised and alienated youth. Defined by simple three-chord songs – played with speed and animosity – it defied the conventions of popular hard rock of the time. The guitar solos and fair playing were out, all that mattered was that you played with a dedicated passion to stick it to the man.
But it’s not just the raucous, high-energy sound of the music that has given punk its reputation, it’s the wild antics and outrageous public personas of its most prominent lead singers. Fighting, causing outrage on live television, and committing acts of public indecency are only part of the job when you’re facing a punk band. Over the years, several people have risen above the rest, not just for their impact on music, but for their wild reputation.
These are the individuals who gave punk a bad name.
Although founding member of the Misfits, Glen Danzig, only played with the band for six years, his image as a skull-wearing, muscular leader has become iconic of punk.
The Misfits became the symbol of the visual spectacle of the American stage of the 70s. If you combined the theoretical costumes of Kiss with the pulsating energy of the Ramones, you would get Misfits. Formed in 1977 by frontman Glen Danzig, it took a while for the hype around these guys to take off. Danzig was a huge fan of Elvis and rockabilly music, but it took him some time to adjust before he could incorporate those influences into popular rock trends of the 70s.
Eventually Danzig and co. were inspired by other punk bands of the time, to adopt a rhythmic style, becoming the precursors of the hardcore scene. They stood out with their horror-inspired costumes and makeup, but it was Danzig’s Elvis-esque croon that set him apart from other singers on the stage.