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Comedy rock
Stylistic origins Comedy, rock
Cultural origins United States
Typical instruments Electric guitar - Bass guitar - Drum kit - Vocals
Mainstream popularity Minor, but growing due to the popularity of certain comedy rock-influenced bands.
Subgenres
Mock metal
(complete list)

Comedy rock is a term used to describe rock music that is mixed with satire or other forms of comedy. This tradition can be traced back to the earliest days of rock and roll itself, the most notable early examples being Stan Freberg who lampooned artists such as Elvis Presley and The Platters, and Sheb Wooley whose Purple People Eater hit #1 on the Billboard pop charts in 1958 and stayed there 6 weeks.[1]

Some comedy rock artists, such as Frank Zappa, Tenacious D, Taintstick, Green Jelly, and more recently, Flight of the Conchords create songs with amusing, witty, and/or over-the-top lyrics. Other acts such as Dread Zeppelin, Beatallica, and GWAR rely more on gimmicks such as outrageous costumes or mixing genres for comic effect.

Many mainstream rock bands are known to incorporate comedy songs in their work: Bloodhound Gang, Blink-182, Bowling For Soup, Reel Big Fish, Sublime, Primus, System of a Down and The Presidents of the United States of America.

Rock has been the target of many spoofs and several spoof bands have gone on to have actual hit records, a good example would be The Hee Bee Gee Bees and subsequently Spinal Tap in the U.S., and Bad News in the U.K.. The most successful parody artist is "Weird Al" Yankovic who is now in his fourth decade of creating song parodies and has sold more than 12 million albums (more than any comedy act in history).[2]

Punk rock has made its contribution to the comedy rock ranks, with such bands as Dead Milkmen, The Aquabats and The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. And also, solo artists such as Bob Ricci. Sid Vicious' covering "My Way" is comedy rock of a more sardonic sort.

The virtual band Dethklok is death metal spoof featured in the Adult Swim animated program Metalocalypse[3] and their album entitled The Dethalbum debuted at #21 on the Billboard Top 200 list[4]

The band Steel Panther, formerly known as Metal Skool, has become a fixture on LA's Sunset Strip with their spoof of 80's glam metal[5] and their success has opened the doors for other Hollywood spoof bands such as The Jimi Homeless Experience.[6]

In Israel, the band Ha'Shovavim is one of the most famous active comedy rock bands.

In Brazil, Mamonas Assassinas sold more than 2 million copies in only 8 months, setting a record. Mamonas Assassinas was, and still is, one of the most famous Brazilian bands.

In Italy, comedy rock groups are Elio e le Storie Tese, Skiantos and I Vincisgrassi.

In Mexico, Botellita de Jeréz self titled "Guacarock" (from guacamole and rock) can be considered comedy rock.

In Russia, Nogu Svelo! is one of the most popular rock bands experimenting with humor and comedy.

In Spain, Mojinos Escozíos is one the most famous comedy rock bands.

The source of comedy in metal bands is sometimes derrived from putting lyrics in contrast to the aggressive sound, such as pop song covers. Notable bands that use humour in metal are I Just Bedazzled My Brother, Ten Masked Men, Gwar, Psyopus and Psychostick.

Notes

  1. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number. Billboard Books. p. 38. ISBN 0823076776.  
  2. ^ Harrington, Richard. "Weird Al's Imitation: A Funky Form of Flattery". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/09/AR2007080900305.html. Retrieved 2007-08-10.  
  3. ^ allmusic.com
  4. ^ "Dethalbum Debuts At #21 On Billboard Top 200" Oct. 9, 2007
  5. ^ "Feeling The Steel Panther: Interview with Michael Starr". Nightlife. The Aquarian Weekly. 2009-10-04. http://www.theaquarian.com/2009/10/04/interview-steel-panther-michael-starr-feeling-the-steel/. Retrieved 2009-10-10.  
  6. ^ Official Press Release







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