5 Bands I Like That Probably Make People Think I’m Mentally Unbalanced

You might have gathered that I like music, like, a lot. As an audiophile, I’m sometimes put in the position of defending particular tastes in music.

Most of us have probably had the experience of a friend scrolling through iTunes and shooting a sideways glace or making an offhanded comment after seeing a certain artist’s name.

Sometimes it’s more innocent. A friend might see a band he doesn’t recognize and ask to hear a sample. Then he might make a face that lets you know he believes his ears are experiencing a brand of harassment that typically results in jail time.

Now, that’s not to say that I have something extraordinarily embarrassing such as Britney Spears or Air Supply in my iTunes library, but I do own some albums that probably make my friends reevaluate my state of mental well-being.

5. Queens of the Stone Age

I unabashedly love QOTSA. I dug them the first time I heard “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret” off Rated R in high school. Also, Josh Homme, the lead singer and guitarist, seemed a like a genuinely cool dude when he was on Anthony Bourdain’s show, No Reservations.

But I don’t think anyone would argue that QOTSA is for everybody. Their songs are heavy and dark (thematically and sonically) for the most part. Many also have an eerie quality, probably the result of Homme’s high-desert upbringing.

Understandably, some people are put off by songs titled “Hangin Tree,” “Burn the Witch,” and “Sick, Sick, Sick.”

4. At the Drive In

At the Drive In is also another heavy band that’s not for everyone. The song “One-Armed Scissor” hooked me on Drive In. However, that’s one of the band’s more accessible songs, which says something.

Drive In also uses dark themes like QOTSA but adds primal screams on top of them. However, for every deafening, driving song in Drive In’s catalog, there is a quieter, meandering counterpart. It makes for a very schizophrenic listening experience.

I’d also be remiss if didn’t mention the creepy voice over at the beginning of “Enfilade,” which mimics a call from kidnappers–complete with voice modulator.

3. Anamanaguchi

Anamanguchi is a chiptune band, which means the band uses synthesizers consisting of a hacked NES and Gameboy in addition to conventional instruments,  making them far different from QOTSA or Drive In.

So Anamanaguchi’s songs aren’t eerie or creepy, but it takes a special kind of crazy to actively seek out a band that sounds like a 1987 Capcom game.

2. Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedys is a great band. Unfortunately, a lot of people won’t get past the fact that the band is named after the untimely deaths of American royalty.

The Kennedys were extremely political but not in a U2 kind of way, more like a Weather Underground kind of way and were also caustically satirical. So good luck not getting dirty looks when you say you’re listening to “Kill the Poor,” “Holiday in Cambodia” or “Religious Vomit.”

1. Misfits

First, let me make my case by showing a picture:

Glenn Danzig, lead singer, started Misfits before he fronted the eponymous band Danzig. He incorporated his love of B horror and science fiction movies into his lyrics and the band’s imagery. The result was often extraordinarily morbid and, occasionally, unsettling if you listen closely to the lyrics. A few choice lyrics to illustrate my point:

“Last Caress”

I got something to say
I killed your baby today
And it doesn’t matter much to me
As long as it’s dead

Well I got something to say
I raped your mother today
And it doesn’t matter much to me
As long as she spread

“Hybrid Moments”

If you’re gonna scream, scream with me
Moments like this never last
When do creatures rape your face
Hybrids opened up the door

Ooh baby when you cry
Your face is momentary
You hide your looks behind these scars


Corpses all hang headless and limp
Bodies with no surprises
And the blood drains down like devil’s rain
We’ll bathe tonight

I want your skull
I need your skull
I want your skull
I need your skull

Demon I am and face I peel
To see your skin turned inside out, ’cause,
Gotta have you on my wall
Gotta have you on my wall,

‘Cause I want your skull
I need your skull
I want your skull
I need your skull

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5 thoughts on “5 Bands I Like That Probably Make People Think I’m Mentally Unbalanced

  1. Blog creepin’. Can I hug you for loving QOTSA? They are for sure in my top 10. Have you listened to Desert Sessions, one of Josh Homme’s side projects? Some of it is hit and miss, but most is really great. Also, points for DK.

    • burkpkrohe says:

      Yeah, I have listened to some of the Desert Sessions! I liked most of it. I don’t know if you watch No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain (if you don’t currently, most of the seasons are on Netflix), but Josh was his guest for the U.S. High Desert episode and he recorded the whole soundtrack for the episode with some Desert Sessions regulars. It was really great.

      And, yes, you can hug me for loving QOTSA.

  2. EmSwanson says:

    That’s far from a shameful list my friend. From this vantage point, your mental health seems sound.

    Though, I’m not really one to talk considering I have to admit to people that I don’t hate Nickelback as much as I should…

  3. mooreclick says:

    I’ve got my laptop set up with that default, “show 4 rows of album art from my iTunes” screensaver thing. Which of course leads the folks that I work with to ask about various artists, and make comments about what weird shit I listen to. And because they do tend to be prone to some unsettling lyrics, when they say “oh, I should check them out” I have to respond with “Yeah… you probably shouldn’t.”

    And then Gin Blossoms comes up and ruins my street cred.

    Unrelated, but speaking of the Misfits, I got to photograph a show of theirs not long ago. Although I’ve been calling them The Jerry Only Cover Band Experience.

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