Take a walk on the wild side; it’s dangerous, but you might like it
Back in the 1950s, certain groups condemned Elvis Presley and the Beatles for being too sexual and promoting delinquency among youth. “Jailhouse Rock,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” were seen as the Devil’s music. Flash forward and people started pointing their fingers at bands and artists like Kiss, Marilyn Manson and Tupac.
And these weren’t Neo-Nazi bands with oppressive agendas like Prussian Blue and Nordic Thunder. This was just radio music. It takes an easily corruptible mind to see real danger in music.
That being said, have you ever heard of danger music?
Danger music is an Avant-garde genre where the performer and the audience are both in danger during a show. Imagine a hardcore punk show but take away all the instruments and increase the insanity.
The level of danger definitely varies between songs. Dick Higgins’ “Danger Music #2” just involves a man shaving his chest. It’s not the most dangerous scenario but still a delicate process, especially when you go against the grain.
By the way, I love how Higgins titles his songs as if they were classical pieces by Beethoven or Mozart.
Then there is Higgins’ “Danger Music #11.” The musician delivers a sermon-like performance pointing out flaws in the Catholic Church such as cases of pedophilia, the rejection of homosexuality and the disdain for contraception. The performer tops it off with an “Amen.” Again, no physical danger, but you wouldn’t go around singing this to just any audience.
One of the more well-known danger music acts is Hanatarash from Japan. These guys had some pretty wild shows. A performance may start off “light” with frontman Yamantaka Eye screaming into a distorted microphone for five minutes straight while breaking panes of glass, but then it gets increasingly out of hand when Molotov cocktails are thrown and Eye straps a circular saw to his back. One show ended with Eye driving a bulldozer into a venue and onto the stage.
It begs the question, is danger music really music?
I’m no expert by any means, but I say no. It’s more performance art to me. I’d view danger music more like a play or an expression rather than actual music.
And that’s not to say danger music isn’t good or interesting. After hearing about a man driving a bulldozer through a venue, who wouldn’t want to watch that?
It’s a new year, check out some new music, or whatever you want to call it, and indulge in something dangerous. You might end up enjoying it.