If music be the food of love, play on. So said a fella named Shakespeare back in 1601. And while rock & roll wouldn't be invented for about another 350 years, he may well have been on to something. After all, who doesn't like a little music to get them in the mood? And there are literally thousands of tunes from which to choose, from the hopelessly romantic to the delightfully dirty. Today, however, we take a look at some bands that don't just have the occasional ode to amour but entire discographies dedicated to deviance — the pioneers of perversion.
Sure, everyone's slapping on a latex outfit these days, but to call Katy Perry a lifestyle fetishist might be stretching things somewhat. And while we must obviously give a nod of appreciation to the likes of Velvet Underground for “Venus in Furs,” and even Nancy Sinatra for “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” you're unlikely to see them at Bondage Ball anytime soon. Yes, music is the food of love, but it doesn't have to be vanilla-flavored. Here, then, are 10 bands, past and present, who prefer things a little pervy. Play on, indeed.
1. Lords of Acid
It's probably fair to say that if you're unfamiliar with Lords of Acid, you may have stumbled across this article by accident and perhaps consider a pair of fury handcuffs to be the height of perversion. You may be in for rather a surprise. Formed in 1988, Lords of Acid have released six studio albums — from Lust in 1991 to last year's Pretty in Kink — each offering a variety of filthy ditties covering such topics as anal sex, orgies, BDSM, and … well, you name it, Lords of Acid have it. Their 2003 “best of” album was entitled Greatest Tits. And if that upsets you, we'd suggest that you read no further.
When Florida's Genitorturers first played the U.K. in the early ’90s, they performed in front of two distinctly different audiences, the first being seasoned fetishists at the legendary Torture Garden club, where people fainted upon witnessing someone have their lips sewn shut; the second being a metal club, where no one so much as batted an eyelid. Perhaps this tells us more about metalheads than it does about the band, but such antics are all in a day's work to frontwoman Gen and her torturers, whose stage shows have seen them labeled “the world's sexiest rock band.” You can find out for yourself when they tour with the aforementioned Lords of Acid in February and March.
To be fair, there are all manner of rock and industrial bands that seem to revel in the fetish lifestyle, and their music, along with the inevitable dance beats, is a staple soundtrack at such gatherings. But while it would be remiss not to mention Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, Society1 frontman Matt Zane took things a step farther by performing entire sets suspended from meat hooks, including one record-breaking performance at Download Festival in the U.K. Granted, it's relatively common these days — and had been done long before Zane — but it's still a long way from mainstream. And you probably wouldn't want to try it at home.
4. Adam and the Ants
By the time the general public got wind of Adam and the Ants, in the early ’80s, their image was that of squeaky-clean poster pinups with tunes like “Prince Charming” and, indeed, “Goody Two Shoes.” But beneath the surface of the Kings of the Wild Frontier, often hidden away on B-sides, were tracks like “Physical (You're So),” “Whip in My Valise” and “Beat Me,” which revealed not so much a dirty underbelly as a red, raw behind. Well, yours would be, too, if you'd been spanked with, among other things, a cat o’ nine tails, a cane, a truncheon and a cricket bat!
5. Umbra et Imago
Hailing from Karlsruhe, Germany, Umbra et Imago (translated as Shadow and Image) are (according to their website) a concept band whose lyrics concern sadomasochistic fantasies. Of course, you'll have to take their word for it unless you speak German, but Google Translate is helpful with titles like “Träume, Sex und Tod” (Dream, Sex and Death) and “Mystica Sexualis,” which you can doubtless figure out for yourself. Other clues are offered in a stage show that includes all manner of nudity and bondage play. Which seems like a good excuse to visit Germany, if ever one was needed.
6. The Submissives
Released in 1992, Punish Me by Portland's kings of punk Poison Idea was in many ways a precursor to the band later formed by guitarist Pig Champion. Except that while Poison Idea had other themes, The Submissives, as the name suggests, wrote exclusively about “sexual submission in the realm of female domination.” Sadly, the band released just one album — An Anvil Will Wear Out Many a Hammer — before Pig died in 2006, but strangely, there now seems to be another band from Brisbane, Australia, with the same moniker and much the same sexual preferences — this lot formed in 2015 and offer “a mutant blend of sex punk.”
7. Bozo Porno Circus
Another band with a clue in the name, Houston's Bozo Porno Circus had all the ingredients for a naughty night out and gained themselves some national press with a self-proclaimed “horniest show on earth” that included chainsaws, power tools, caged go-go dancers and fire-breathing ladies. Indeed, with a couple of decent albums, tours opening for the likes of Genitorturers, and an industrial/dance sound not dissimilar to Rammstein, they looked set to make a mark for themselves (aside from those left by spanking). And then they just kinda vanished, the last known tweet being from 2015 announcing a comeback that now seems long overdue.
8. Women of Sodom
Formed in Boston in 1994 and active until 1998, Women of Sodom apparently were founded as a platform for vocalist Ilsa Von Bulow's radical philosophies and alternative feminism. Which, naturally, included the rhythmic abuse of a human drum, a guitar-playing nun and “transporting the audience to a world where sex with a crucified Jesus is not only permitted but encouraged,” along with such songs as “Valentine for Jesus,” “Nightmare on Dyke Street” and “Watersports (Tipper Gore mix).” Further research suggests that one band member is now a professor at Massachusetts College of Art.
At first glance, California punks NOFX might seem like an odd addition to our list, but as early as 1989 they hinted at a fondness for sexual deviance with the album S&M Airlines, and fans of the Backstage Passport series on Fuse TV will have seen them visit S&M dungeons where band members happily participated in spanking sessions. Moreover, the first chapter of their collective autobiography, The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories, relates frontman Fat Mike's fondness for drinking pee onstage at the behest of his dominatrix girlfriend. Although not a fetish-themed band per se, there can be little question that NOFX live the life. Just be careful if they offer you a drink.
OK, you've got this far, so we can probably assume that you're not the type who reports every stray nipple on Instagram and thinks BDSM means Bible Discussion/Study Meeting. Which is just as well, since we've saved the best — or at least the most outrageous – for last. Expatriate Brits living in a polyamorous commune in France, Rockbitch were renowned (and frequently banned) for their live shows, which featured nudity, masturbation, fisting, strap-on sex and the prize of a “Golden condom,” which entitled a member of the audience (male or female) to go backstage after the show and have sex with one of the band. Surprisingly, they have yet to be nominated for a Grammy.