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 411mania » Music » Columns

The Savage Animal 06.12.13 The 10 Coolest Masks In Music
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 06.12.2013

"WWE Payback 2013 PPV Preview": I'm really considering taking a little vacation from wrestling. It seems that every few years I need to take a few months off from wrestling television and recharge my batteries. I'll still read results, keep up on news, and watch the PPV's so I'll still have a healthy dose of WWE in my life, but not nearly as much. Staying awake through three hours of RAW, two hours of Smackdown, and then random hours of NXT, Main Event, Superstars, Interviews, DVD specials, etc. etc. etc. There is more content than quality right now. It's a simple as that. In the past watching wrestling wasn't a full two hours of greatness, but the awesome stuff that happened made it worth watching and must see. As talented as the current batch of rising stars are, the story structure and other stuff makes it unwatchable. Basically what's the point of watching just to see Dean Ambrose when you're too sleepy from the rest of the show to give a shit? I'm not saying my viewership matters at all to the WWE machine or to anyone reading this. I just think it's interesting that right now the WWE is so boring that a lifelong fan is having no problem with stepping away. And really, I doubt I'm alone.

Before I take my ball (remote) and go home (turn the channel) for the summer we have another WWE PPV on the horizon. This show is called "Payback", which instantly makes me think of a bad Mel Gibson movie. That makes me think about Mel Gibson being a racist bigot. THAT makes me think about things I don't like. Then I'm reminded that CM Punk is back for the show. It's in Chicago so the idea of actually attending did cross my mind. I've been to the Allstate Arena for tons of great shows like WrestleMania 13, a random really good No Mercy PPV, a RAW, and more randomness. It's a fun place. It's NOT CHICAGO. It's the suburb that has the crappy airports and call girl hotels. They pretend it's Chicago because it's close enough and it looks good on paper, but it's always going to be Rosemont kiddos.

They didn't announce really anything going into the last week of promo. As of now there are only a few matches set up. The main event is the "Three Stages of Hell" match. It keeps changing so by the time the actual match starts it'll most likely be a "Lumber-Jill in a Cell" Match. Well, maybe not a "Lumber-Jill in a Cell" Match, that's more a personal fantasy. I think at one point it was just an ambulance match and then it wasn't. Then it's a Three Stages of Hell gimmick but I'm fairly certain the stipulations never included a "Lumberjack Match" before. What happened to "First Blood", "Hell In a Cell", or even "Last Man Standing"? This is some bullshit rules. Ideally a REAL "Three Stages of Hell" Match should be a submission match, cage match, and ladder match. But we can't use bullshit cartoony stipulations. Stupid. I'm going to be optimistic though. I don't want to not enjoy the match and sit through a half hour of crap. I think it's obvious that John Cena will overcome the odds and win the match. I've learned my lesson from picking against Cena despite my heart wanting it so. I'd like to see Ryback win, but I'll play it safe and say John Cena wins.

Then they randomly added a Jericho vs. Punk match. It has a really strange and "thrown together" build up at the moment, but I'm sure the match will be good. I wonder if CM Punk will come back "different" and start a new direction. There has to be something to the idea of a Punk/Jericho match that's going to go somewhere. Maybe the result of this is that they'll team up or something. I have no idea what's going on with this so I'll reserve my judgment. It's CM Punk's hometown so I'll go with Chris Jericho winning.

The Intercontinental Title is actually getting love. Wade Barrett has been an okay champion when he actually gets screen time. There has been a weird three way feud growing and brewing between Barrett, The Miz, and Fandango. It's cool to see Fandango get to this level so quickly. I would like to see The Miz move up the card and feud with someone like Sheamus, Orton, Big Show, or even a Daniel Bryan or Kane. I'd like to see Fandango get the win here and have a run with the belt. It doesn't feel "right" yet so it'll probably happen. He could easily have a Honky Tonk Man style run with it, but I think Wade Barrett retains his belt.

I'm not excited for this show. I have a feeling that it'll be a sleeper show. There will probably be some really cool and big moment to go down to make it notable. The promotion and build up going into it sucked. At this point, it would have to be amazing to get me to be enthusiastic about the WWE again.

Covered In Awesome!
The idea of having an "image" or "persona" in arts is nothing unheard of. A lot of times a musician will adopt a character name and go from there. It goes back a long ways. Be it for marketing, for creative expression, or be it for any other reason, music has always had "character".

One form of that is to masquerade yourself. A lot will wear a fancy costume; some make up, and go from there. However, there is a select few who will put on a mask and make a career out of it. Today I'm going to take a look at 10 different artists and figure out what mask I think is the coolest in music. I'm sure we won't agree, but feel free to discuss. I know this topic could have been better off saved for a more seasonal time like Halloween. Oops. If businesses and jerks can celebrate "Christmas in July", then I think awesome people like me and you can celebrate "Halloween in whenever the hell we want". There is no real rhyme or reason. I just thought it would be fun to put some brain juice towards the discussion.

I'm sure I'll miss a few, but here's the coolest of what I could remember…

::[X. Holywood Undead

I wanted to like Holywood Undead when I first saw them, but their music wasn't my thing. Then their singles were played so often on the radio that I started nitpicking. Before I knew it, I found myself NOT being a fan. I'd start saying stuff like "they're like Avenged Sevenfold with bad masks!" or "It's Kottonmouth Kings with bad masks!" or compare them to Linkin Park or other bands that I enjoy mocking. I'm a jerk, I know this. That said, this isn't really about one dude's opinion on some artist's work. I want to bullshit about the masks. There is a reason I DID want to like them when I first saw them. Upon first impression, they looked cool. Each member has their own thing going on. Each guy keeps a general theme, like Slipknot, and upgrades every album. One guy keeps a theme of using the number "3" and incorporating a butterfly because of the book "Paradise Lost", another member is always in some variation of a luchadore mask, another guy always has a cross on his mask and then stuff as simple shades and bandanas. Regardless, something about a flat bill cap and a mask makes me want to call the cops. Not the narc or anything, but to report a social crime.

::[IX. R. Kelly

Why was R. Kelly wearing a zorro mask for a couple years of his career? Hell, maybe we ask why wasn't R. Kelly wearing a zorro mask for ALL of his career? He could have been "that guy". It's even more amusing when you think about his "video tape" controversy. There are SO MANY tasteless jokes that could be done here involving the zorro mask, swords, water sports, and allegedly underage women. I'll stay classy, just like R. Kelly! I won't lie, I actually dug this period of R. Kelly's career. The "Gigolo" song was catchy and I always thought it would have been a great entrance song for a wrestler.

::[ VIII. Lordi

They're monsters! Mr. Lordi is the lead singer. His mask is a foam latex mask that he made himself. The dude is also a professional makeup artist and sculptor. The rest of the band rocks solid helmets and make up. I got to see these guys at Ozzfest a few years ago. At the time I had only heard their big single "Hard Rock Hallelujah". It was an awesome epic arena rocker. I didn't get into them or anything, but that song and their stage show was awesome. They get a lot of shit about being compared to GWAR, but they claim KISS was the influence. Regardless, they put on a pretty good show.

::[VII. Ghost (BC)

This is one of the more current bands to actually wear masks. They do it for animosity more than anything. They can live a normal life and still be rock stars. All of that aside, their image rocks. The five instrumentalist of the band are called "Nameless Ghouls". They wear hooded robes and just do their thing. The only thing to really pin point is they have the five elements represented on each rope. Meanwhile, the vocalist is "Papa Emeritus II", a skull faced man in a cardinal outfit. The vocalist character is the band's mascot more than a frontman because the role is hidden anyway. It's all pretty cool and fun to see pop back up in 2013. I was fortunate enough to come across this band a few months ago. It seems that right when I first saw their video I started hearing more and more people mention them in columns, on podcasts, and in reviews. It seems like they're have a nice little rise and I hope for more. Rock music is so bland these days. People need to remember, it's not only okay to be evil. Sometimes it's encouraged!

::[IV. Mr. Bungle

You gotta love anything Mike Patton is involved with. The man is a music making machine. I've not heard one project of his, and there are MANY, that I didn't find at least awesome. That's right, AT LEAST awesome. That's just because the music is great. With the Mr. Bungle project, there is a visual show to go along with it. Their stage shows sounded like a lot of fun. The band members would dress up in costumes and masks. They'd keep it simple. They'd wear jumpsuits and masks like Madonna, Nixon, Darth Vader, bondage masks, clowns, or even executioner hoods. The original plan was for them to be able to play anonymously, but after a while they had to ditch the masks. It was just too hard to play the music. Mike Patton explained, "This stuff is much harder to play, I was trying to do piano lines and I'm completely fumbling them because the leather bondage mask is stretching my face so tight that my eyes weren't lining up with the eye holes." I hate when that happens!

::[V. Mushroomhead

I've seen Mushroomhead a few times now and have always been blown away. They're not a band I'll listen to an album of, but it seems like my path keeps crossing with them. They put on a really good stage show and part of that is their "image" and "presence". They wear evil masks, wear make-up, and totally rock costumes and gimmicks. There is that whole controversy about them vs. Slipknot. Did Skipknot rip them off? Most probably. I'm just talking about the masks here so my "side" of it is pointless.

::[IV. Buckethead

Buckethead is a legend. Born Brian Carroll, he would become a guitar icon. He didn't just go on stage and show off how outstanding of a musician he was; he got up there in the evilest mask of all time. Some people will look like Satan, look like a monster, or have something really cool. Buckethead is called Buckethead because he wears a bucket on his head. It's not just any bucket, it's an empty KFC chicken bucket. It's a bucket, a plain white face mask, and a bumper sticker or two. For a while he stopped wearing the KFC bucket and just went with a plain white bucket. This did NOT go over well at all. We would quickly reunite with the Colonel.

::[III. Daft Punk

These guys have cool ass masks. Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter were shy so they started wearing robot masks on stage for their sets. It just adds to their mystique and their show. They're making electronic music so why not have electronic faces? I do get worried sometimes that one of them is Mega Man. I don't trust anything connected to Mega Man. Their music may cycle through the trends, but their masks were always cool. I don't dislike Daft Punk at all. I've enjoyed their bigger hits since the 90's. "Da Funk" is always going to be one of the coolest electronic songs of all time. That beat is just crazy. From there, they've had a few others. It's just those people who are all up on their nuts as if they've been listened to them daily and have been writing letters to senate to get a new album put out there. It's just weird and uncomfortable. Awesome masks though!

::[II. Slipknot

unapologetically love Slipknot. They're of the last GREAT metal bands. I'm sure there are metal heads that'd argue that up and down and call me a "pussy" or whatever. To me, they're great for their skills, talent, music, and all of that. But the difference between Slipknot and a Lamb of God is that Slipknot crossed over to the mainstream and drew a whole generation into metal. Bands like Slipknot and System of a Down held the fort down when nu-metal and emo rock was shitting in our ear holes. I'd love Slipknot without ever seeing them, but their image is just icing on the cake. They all wear jumpsuits and their own customized masks. Each band member goes by a number instead of a name. They claim they did this to get lost in the music and let the music be the important part. Some would say their attention-getting image is a marketing factor. It totally is, regardless of their initial intent. There is no harm in that though. As long as their music was on the level, they could wear whatever they wanted. It's just cooler they wear the masks. If we want to see them without the masks, we can look online or check out their other projects. It's not like they're trying to hide who they are. It's Slipknot. Like it or don't.

::[I. GWAR

I dare anyone to argue with this one. I mean GWAR isn't my favorite band on this list and I've listened to bands I don't like on this list more than I've listened to GWAR. I'm not going to go all out and say I'm a super fan and start listing tons of nerd facts to prove it. My first impression of them was their part in the movie "Empire Records". If you've not seen that movie you should see it for many reasons, GWAR's awesome appearance being one of them. That said, I again dare ANYONE to argue with this one. When I think of musicians in masks I think about GWAR. I know other bands have had brighter flashes in the spotlight, but GWAR owns this shit. Look at them! They're a product of two bands coming together and forming a crazy avant-garde metal project. They are a science fiction and horror based metal band that makes hilarious songs about politics and other awesome taboos. It's not JUST them on stage too. They'll bring in "slaves", monsters, and a slew of other characters. The music I've heard rocks, but this is a very specific case of a band's image being even MORE important than the music. At least that's how it seems from a supportive outsider. Regardless of that, when you think of GWAR you think of those bad ass costumes. I've never been to a GWAR show and I feel like that needs to change next time they come to the Chicago area. After writing this paragraph it almost feels like a crime. GWAAAAAAAR!

What is YOUR favorite mask in music?

"Mike Goodpaster's Unpaid Programming"


If you haven't seen ‘The Hangover' or ‘The Hangover part II' then why is this paragraph even in front of you? Obviously, we've ALL seen ‘The Hangover' a few dozen times because it was one of the greatest R rated comedies to come out in the at least the past decade. In time I think it'll measure up with the all-time comedy classics. It's just a great experience for sure. Then, like a lot of people, I've only seen the sequel about two or three times tops. It was fun, but not as good. The bar was raised so high with the original that it would have been hard to reach those expectations to begin with. The problem was the movie felt like a carbon copy of the first movie. It just didn't capture that magic. Still good, but not great. By this point there seemed to be a small "cool kid" backlash of lots of critics and reviewers talking shit about not only the second movie, but not the original too. I don't get that shit, but whatever. When I heard the third installment was coming out, I was still interested. It was said to be the last of the franchise so why not see how the story closes out? I think they earned that much from comedy fans and movie goers. So I finally got to see this movie and I really enjoyed it! Was it as good as the first movie? Nope. I can't think of many movies that are. Was it as good as the sequel? Nope. It was A LOT better. This movie was right up my alley. One of the biggest complaints I keep reading for some stupid reason is that it's a "darker" movie. I liked that. When crazy and vulgar things happen are the characters supposed to act just as shocked and surprised as they did in the first movie? What sense would that make? They've grown a thicker layer of skin and I think the result was awesome. The movie was darker because the innocence is long gone. You already know crazy shit is going to go down when these guys get together. I'm glad Todd Phillips didn't try to spoon feed us the same stuff. He let the characters evolve in the world he created. I'm also a big fan of the music choices of this movie. Instead of having tons of poppy rap songs transition us from scene to scene, it was "edgier". Nine Inch Nails is my band of all time so my mind was blown to hear "Hurt" included in two very different scenes. I've seen Trent Reznor sing this song live and cry over ten years after it was originally written. I'm still a bit shocked he'd let it get used in such an "ironic" and "weird" kind of way. I'm still startled by it. Then we got some of "Mother" by Danzig, Black Sabbath, and Billy Joel. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the music in the first movie will make it seem "dated" come ten years from now. That's an interesting thing to think about. Regardless of my over analysis of the music, I genuinely loved this movie. I won't get too far into the plot because like all of these movies, it's something you need to experience and go along with on the ride. The back and forth banter between Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis was great. There is a part where Cooper is hanging for his life off the top of a building from a shoddy sheet and he doesn't flip out when Zach has him stop and take a picture mid-hang. In fact, he accepts the situation and asks "Did you get it?" THAT was great. There was a lot of little moments like this between all the main characters. Ed Helms's ‘Stu' was more annoying in this movie than the others, but even that made sense. This movie also tied up loose ends from the first movie. Yes, a movie that was all about tying up every possible loose end STILL had loose ends. Between some great cameos, returning locations, and a surprisingly well build backstory, the call backs to the first movie were perfect. To me, outside of the Mr. Chow tie-in from ‘part II', this movie felt like the real sequel to the original. It's a lot like the ‘Karate Kid' trilogy. Part one was amazing, part two went overseas and then part three tied up the loose ends of part one. See this movie. Don't let anyone tell you it's not funny or not good. Watch it, enjoy it, and decide for yourself how awesome it is. I'm going to miss the "Wolfpack", but this was a great finish to the best trilogy of modern comedy. Seriously, it is! A-

"Worst Case Scenario" is a new take on the concept of "fantasy booking". For years professional wrestling fans would spend endless hours of thinking up the coolest things that could happen. Why waste the energy? This only leads to high expectations. "Worst Case Scenario" flips that. Instead of looking through rose colored glasses, let's take a bi-weekly look at the worst possible scenarios in professional wrestling. I'm not going to be malicious or anything too mean, but I will not refrain from letting my brain come up with the worst possible shit I can. Sadly, it seems the writers and producers of mainstream TV wrestling and the mainstream iPPV level indies are doing the same thing but charging us for it. And now…

"Jeff Jarrett's NEW Promotion!"

It's known that TNA was originally a Jarrett project. Jerry Jarrett, Jeff Jarrett, and hell it seemed like the whole family was all very hands on in the early days of TNA. I'd even go as far as saying "the good old days of TNA" instead of "early days". Back then the shows seemed more inspired. They made "new product" mistakes, but overall the product had a way more unique personality. It felt like a real alternative to the WWE. Now it's a watered down hybrid of WWE Smackdown and WCW Saturday Night. Despite good talent and good matches, it's just not fun to watch. If you think otherwise you're a boring person or you're in denial or worse, in denial about being a boring person.

The idea here is that Jeff Jarrett decides to cut ties with TNA and start ANOTHER promotion. The one thing about TNA, especially back then, is the "southern feel". It felt like old WCW/NWA when it started. Granted it WAS NWA/TNA, it still had that deep-south vibe as opposed to the 2000 era of lame WCW. So Jarrett's new company would go even MORE south. The promotion would be based in the swaps of Louisana. Think "Duck Dynasty" or where "The Water Boy" lived in the movie "The Water Boy". There would be lilly-pad turnbuckles, snake skin ropes, hyde canvas, and randomness like that. It would be over the top with it and really go for the rednecks and redneck mockers. It could easily be on CMT. For fun we'll call this promotion "Bayou Assault Disruption", or "BAD" for short. It makes sense as a joke and it could legit be marketed as "BADLANDS" or something like that.

From there, the roster would be filled out with guys who aren't in TNA or WWE. This is not a great field of wrestlers. Especially because instead of going for X-Division style or Ring of Honor types, BAD would have a "Super Sized Division" purely for wrestlers over 350 lbs. It's a southern style fed so expect at least four fat gross guys in overalls being around. The big names would have to be guys like Rikishi, Big Vis, Samoa Joe, Vader, Blue Meanie, and others of the like. They wouldn't even have a belt for this division because in BAD the "Super Sized" Champion gets to PROUDLY wear the "Super Sized Championship Dress"! Think of the ratings!

It wouldn't just be the big guys though. Jarrett would have to be the main focus of the main event. He would take on the character of Jeffery Jarrett, a southern gentleman butler who serves up southern fried ass kickings. Instead of using guitars it would be serving trays and white glove slaves. The main championship in BAD would be decided via Pinfall, submission, or duel. Yes, they would have old timey duels where they'd each get a loaded gun and be forced to take ten paces forward before turning around and shooting. Jarrett would be a heel because he'd constantly use his serving tray as a bullet proof shield.

BAD would have bi-weekly pay per views, duels, fat guys in dresses, snake bites being as common as count outs, and way higher ratings than TNA.

Now that I think about it, this BAD idea would be A LOT more interesting and amusing than TNA.

This looks really cook. A young cop is murdered and finds himself still on the job in the afterlife as he joins a team of undead officers. What do they call their team? The "Rest In Peace Department", hence "R.I.P.D.". All right. This is what they call a "high concept movie" so sometimes they're hit or miss. The cast is cool. The young cop is Ryan Reynolds and the rest of the cast is made up of Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Robert Kneeper, Mike O'Malley, and what looks like a lot of other solid talents. I'm confident this movie will at least be fun, if not awesome.

That's all for now! I hope no one gets too pissy about the topic this week. I'm NOT going to know, remember, or give a shit about every "masked musician" out there. I'm sure I missed some obvious ones and I'm sure people are going to ignore all of this and just post a single name or "how could you forget about (place crap here)!" Oh well. I have A LOT on my plate for the rest of this month. I'm not only attempting to get a head start on all of my blogs and columns going into the middle of August, but I'm also in the middle of an extensive shoot. My comedy video thing "Unpaid Programming" came out in April and got some really awesome responses. I'm busting my ass to get part 2 done by the end of the month and maybe even part 3. Yeah, I'm doing it Back to the Future style. So basically, I'm writing about 60 columns and writing/directing/acting in/editing/scoring/producing about 30 comedy sketches THIS MONTH. Not even just "this month", but as soon as possible. I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I'm in the process of growing extra teeth to make it work. Next week I'll be sharing a ramble about Andrew W.K. Apparently there's more to this party rocker than meets the eyes. Until next time… Have a Great Week!


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