Photos by Arnie Goodman
Long before there was Alice Cooper, Kiss or David Bowie (and certainly before Michael Jackson, though those were accidents) there was Arthur Brown. Covered in deathshead makeup, outlandish outfits and hair on fire, Arthur Brown pioneered theatrics in rock and roll, and coupled his Crazy (his term) act with operatic vocals mixed with banshee wails. Perhaps only Frank Zappa had a similar influence on rock with a similar lack of commercial success—at least compared to his acolytes like Cooper, Kiss, the Who, Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Ozbourne and even George Clinton, to name a few.
One of Brown’s regular trademarks back in the day was setting his head (or more) on fire—on purpose, but sometimes to excess. Today, fire has been replaced with LED lights, but that appears to be the only significant compromise the 75-year-old has made to his over-the-top performance. An overflow crowd went crazy for the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and rightly so.
See a taste of his performance here, and check back for an interview with The Man himself, in about ten days.