Before They Were Famous: 10 Musicians with Dubious Early Projects
Published Sep 12, 2011Everyone knows how embarrassing it can be to flip through old photo albums. From terrible haircuts to outdated clothes, we've all had a few phases we would rather forget.
For musicians, the embarrassment of those early experiments is especially acute. Not only are some of those early musical endeavours artistically questionable, they are frequently public and, thanks to the internet, available for the entire world to hear.
Here is Exclaim!'s list of the top ten musicians with dubious early projects. They're ordered from least to most surprising -- in some cases we can hardly believe our eyes (and ears). But be warned: you may never see your favourite musicians in the same light again.
Ten Musicians with Dubious Early Projects:
10. Courtney Taylor-Taylor (the Dandy Warhols): The Beauty Stab
The Dandy Warhols have reinvented their sound several times throughout their career, shifting between shoegaze, indie rock and electronic pop. Singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor's most surprising stylistic turn actually took place before he formed the Dandy Warhols, when he played drums for the cheeseball glam rock outfit the Beauty Stab. Check out video for the single "Do You Wanna Love Me (YEAH)," and see if you can spy the star in his long-haired days.
9. Ethan Kath (Crystal Castles): Kill Cheerleader
Prior to donning a hoodie and a disaffected stare as one half of Crystal Castles, Ethan Kath played bass for the sleazy rock outfit Kill Cheerleader. He's tried to put this association behind him, even going so far as to change his stage name (he was previously known as Ethan Deth and born Claudio Palmieri). Apparently playing Mötley Crüe-influenced metal doesn't make you look too good in indie circles. Headbang to "Deathboy" below and get more info on this one here.
8. Alexis Krauss (Sleigh Bells): Rubyblue
These days, Alexis Krauss kicks up a glorious racket as the singer of the much-buzzed noise pop duo Sleigh Bells. Before she discovered her love of fuzz, however, she belonged to a failed teenybopper pop outfit called Rubyblue. Listen to the track "Fallen for You" below, and try to imagine that it's twice as loud, bolstered by 808s and and soaked in face-melting distortion.
7. No Joy: Bad Flirt
With No Joy, Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd have shared bills with Best Coast, Wavves and Vivian Girls. Not so long ago, however, the Montreal shoegazers were rubbing shoulders with far less credible stars: in 2007, their group Bad Flirt won a battle of the bands contest held by the Olsen Twins. The shameless Metric knock-off "Hiroshima, Mon Frere" is below.
Bad Flirt-Hiroshima, Mon Frere by brienta
6. Rivers Cuomo (Weezer): Avant Garde
Weezer have occasionally dabbled in hard rock and metal (most notably on 2002's Maladroit), but these forays have always been tempered by ultra-poppy hooks and healthy dose of irony. This wasn't always the case: frontman Rivers Cuomo was previously a member of the progressive metal outfit Avant Garde. We all saw Cuomo's meticulously teased mullet on the cover of his solo compilation Alone II; the musical equivalent of that hairdo is "Tongue of Fire," which you can hear below.