Drugs are weird. Even weirder, is when you thrust a camera into the faces of some of societies most creative and misunderstood minds, and try to probe said minds for the purpose of furthering our understanding of the subjects. Not to say that any of the musicians included in this article are under the influence of substances (legal or not); but you’d be forgiven for assuming otherwise. Here are my top five strangest explorations into the psyche of musicians caught on camera.
#5 – Butthole Surfers: Bad Jokes, Pants and Scabs (1988)
“Well…I’d first like to be able to pull down my pants, I think I will.” Gibby Haynes was never going to make an interview for television easy. The Butthole Surfer excels at this in this particular interview: demonstrating bad jokes, toy-gun sound effects and an affinity for scabs.
#4 – Dead Kennedys: Jello Biafra Runs For Mayor (1979)
Context is important here. It’s not so much Biafra’s political claims that make this video so funny; but the fact that this actually happened. That and amongst this brilliant punk statement, there’s something positively spectacular about Jello Biafra cleaning a plant with a vacuum cleaner.
#3 – Beck: Interviewed By Thurston Moore (1994)
I can’t decide what’s better about this clip: Beck, answering a question by throwing an item of clothing, or Moore, responding as though this constitutes a valid and substantial answer to his question (also, I have no idea what on Earth is going on at 0:46).
#2 – Nirvana: Escalators (1992)
Nirvana were experts of sarcasm and dry wit in interview situations; so I was not short of weird and often humorous interviews to choose from here. One thing made me choose this interview: it wasn’t the fact that the trio have no idea where they are and it wasn’t their sarcasm and promotion of drug use. The thing that makes this video so great is Krist Novoselic’s rant about “people standing on escalators” which begins at around the 2:00 mark. Write to your congressman!
#1 – The Sex Pistols: “Shit” (1976)
As soon as Bill Grundy catches Rotten swearing in this interview; the entire situation breaks out into a spectacle of anarchistic foul language, all on television. Even better than Steve Jones calling Grundy a “dirty fucker” on live television is when Rotten is scolded by his interviewer for using a “rude word”.