Editor’s Note: This list originally published in 2012. With another summer of non-stop superhero movies (including Friday’s reboot of Fantastic Four) and the release of the first Suicide Squad trailer, this seemed like a great time to revisit our favorite music supervillains.
Last week, we gave you the Best Musical Superheroes. This week, we go to the Jokers, Magnetos, and Lex Luthers of music: the best music supervillains. While music no doubt has its fair share of noble heroes, rock ‘n’ roll has a long tradition of propagating evil personas to shock and scare our culture. So in honor of our summer filled with superheroes, here are the villains in music most capable of conquering the world.
10. Courtney Love
With lipstick like the Joker and a reputation as the mother whore of grunge, few individuals are as detestable as Hole’s Courtney Love.
Evil Powers: The ability to make everyone else in the room look classy.
Evil Plot: Marry rock heroes and then take them out(or at least drive them to suicide).
9. Rick Ross
Rick Ross’s supervillain status was further cemented by the title and the cover for his latest album released Tuesday: God Forgives. I Don’t. It also doesn’t hurt that Rozay looks like the perfect Kingpin.
Evil Power: Corral the entire hip hop cronies for his diabolical purposes, while making a lions share of green.
Evil Plot: Similar to Bane, Rick Ross, a former prison guard, looks to release all the prisoners as well as his destructive flow onto the world.
8. Marilyn Manson
With a name that combines the most loved (Marilyn Monroe) and hated (Charles Manson) figures of the 20th century, Marilyn Manson made himself the most frightening figure in music in the 90’s.
Evil Power: Scaring his foes into submission with a deadly mix of sacrilege, androgyny, and a bad fashion sense.
Evil Plot: Shock and awe the religious right (and Tipper Gore) into chaotic frenzy.
7. Alice Cooper
The guy Marilyn Manson got his schtick from; Alice Cooper brought terror to the masses with his villainous persona and legendarily dark, vaudevillian live performances.
Evil Power: A dangerous knowledge of Native American history (see Wayne’s World).
Evil Plot: Bringing down the entire world through voodoo powers like he did his hometown of Detroit.
6. Karen O
Leader of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, this indie antagonist has the devious look of a supervillain, with the unearthly stage antics to match. Anyone who has seen the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s knows how fierce and spell-binding Karen O can be.
Evil Power: Delivering the sort of earth-shrieking howl that would make the Big Bad Wolf run for a brick house.
Evil Plot: Singing “Heads Will Roll” causing heads to roll.
5. Rob Zombie
What says terrifying villain more than a horror film director named after the walking dead. His band White Zombie’s brand of groove metal brings to mind some sort of campy 70’s horror film.
Evil Power: The ability to raise up a zombie nation upon playing the hypnotic groove of “Living Dead Girl”.
Evil Plot: Raise his army of 1000 Corpses and Devil’s Rejects to slowly envelope the world into zombie ruin.
4. David Bowie
While one might fancy Bowie as hero like the messianic space oddity Ziggy Stardust from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie’s mostly gloomy catalogue and film role as Jareth the powerful yet fanciful goblin king on children’s cult classic Labyrinth keeps Bowie on the dark side.
Evil Power: While searching for life on Mars, Bowie uses his pointy nipples as telescopic antennae to transmit data back to Earth.
Evil Plot: Haunting the entire world in one freaky deaky dream.
3. MF Doom
With his menacing mask, cutting flow, and role as one half of hip hop duo Madvillain, MF Doom as a natural born villain.
Evil Power: Sample thievery from all forms of entertainment and wordplay that cuts deep into the human psyche only an evil mastermind can muster.
Evil Plot: Take over the radio and television waves and run the world through mischievous propaganda.
2. Sid Vicious/Johnny Rotten
Punk’s most punk duo would also make for quite the gruesome twosome. The two Sex Pistols created incredible mayhem in London with their anarchic lyrics and wild antics.
Evil Power: Johnny spits venom and Sid Vicious smashes people with his guitar since he can’t really play it.
Evil Plot: Resurrect Johnny Rotten for in one final effort to take down Queen Elizabeth (and James Bond too) at the closing ceremonies of the XXX London Olympics. I guess they will have to stop Vin Diesel too.
1. Phil Spector
The perfect evil mastermind – Spector was the musical mastermind behind the Wall of Sound of the 60’s and followed that golden era by going absolutely nuts and committing murder. Spector holds the three ingredients of a perfect villain: an unstable, genius mind, a lifeless, disturbing look, and a taste for blood.
Evil Power: The power to control your mind through his hair (sort of like an evil disco version of Professor X)
Evil Plot: Murder people.
Todd- Captain Beefheart
Besides having a perfect villain name, Captain Beefheart aka Don Van Vliet held up his band hostage in his house for the recording of the infamous Trout Mask Replica, holding cult-like band practices, like a musical Charles Manson.
Austin- Les Claypool
With the capacity to wear a top hat (classic villain move) or a pig’s mask reminding us of BeBop from the Ninja Turtles. Les Claypool and Primus always seem to be causing trouble with their manic bass jams.
The Icelandic singer makes for the kind of icy space queen you often see in sci-fi and comic books coming to destroy Planet Earth for who knows why.
So there is the list. Let us know what we unforgivably missed, or got right, but still feel free to just rip on us in general …