10 Of Rock Music’s Best Naked Performances
It takes a certain amount of — ahem — balls to get onstage and perform in front of people. Despite appearances, even the biggest bands can suffer from pre-gig nerves. And yet, there are some bands who not only seem to be immune to stage-fright — but insist on showing you their balls… literally. Indeed, some have made it their thing: their shtick to show their stick. And, yes, it does appear to be mostly the men who like to let it all fly free, but there are a few ladies who are just as happy to get naked, too.
Here, then, are 10 of the best naked rock performances to date. Whether as a means of political protest, or just for the hell of it, they have all dropped their drawers in public, boogied in the buff, and made the world a slightly more interesting place.
Queens Of The Stone Age - 2001
Back when Nick Oliveri was a member of Queens Of The Stone Age, you could be pretty much guaranteed to see his, er, member. In January 2001, Nick famously played naked at Rock In Rio, in Brazil, and was promptly arrested for public nudity. He apologized, stating that he didn’t know it was illegal; then, later that year, he did the same thing at Reading Festival, hilariously swinging his not inconsiderable nuts against the head of one unlucky security guard. Given the size of Nick’s todger, like a baby’s arm holding an apple, no-one needed to look at the big screens.
The Dwarves - 1992
Since getting himself fired from QOTSA, Nick has been a regular fixture onstage with punk legends The Dwarves. He has refrained from getting naked, however, because the band already has a naked guitarist: a chap called Hewhocannotbenamed, who often plays in nothing but his boots and trademark wrestling mask. Hewho’s aggressive style has led to countless fights and prematurely ending shows, including an LA performance during which the house lights were turned off and Hewho fought naked in the dark! According to frontman Blag Dahlia, when the lights were turned back on, several audience members were unconscious after Mr. Notbenamed had smacked them with his instrument. Presumably his guitar.
Jane's Addiction - 1991
There is nothing shocking about Jane’s Addiction breaking up. Friction within the band has seen them split numerous times and has even resulted in onstage punch-ups. Their first implosion on September 26, 1991, however, is notable for the fact that just one song into their final gig at Aloha Tower in Hawaii, frontman Perry Farrell decided to drop his kecks and neglected to pull them back up. Drummer Steven Perkins joined in, and pretty soon the pair of them were stark naked, playing several songs in their birthday suits. Grainy footage of the gig – shot from the side of the stage – has since been removed from YouTube.
Iggy Pop - 1968
Rightly considered to be the inventor of punk rock, Iggy Pop was – and indeed, still is – known for his wild stage antics, which have included everything from self-mutilation to overdosing, and even once taking on an outlaw motorcycle club (they kicked his ass). He is also well known for getting ‘little Iggy’ out (it’s not little) — the first time, according to the book Open Up And Bleed, being on August 11, 1968 at a club called Mothers, in Michigan. Other notable appearances include the 1970 incident at a New York club called Ungano’s, where he hauled his trouser snake out and rested it on top of an amplifier.
GG Allin - Pretty much all the time
Born Jesus Christ Allin, infamous punk singer GG Allin was known for his outrageous live shows, in which he would often perform naked, defecate onstage, throw poo at his audiences, and assault crowd members. The 1993 documentary Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies shows graphic footage of such acts, including a naked GG rolling around the floor in his own shit and throwing bottles at the crowd. Not surprisingly, his shows were regularly shut down by police or venue owners after only a few songs, and he was arrested on numerous occasions for indecent exposure and assault.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - 1990
Another band who were often incapable of keeping their clothes on are Red Hot Chili Peppers, who regularly performed wearing nothing but strategically placed – and rather hopeful – socks, as evidenced on the cover of their Abby Road EP. Indeed, bassist Flea didn’t even bother with a sock sometimes and was playing tackle-out as long ago as the ’80s, leading, if memory serves, to some rather disdainful comments about Nick Oliveri copying his style. In 1990, frontman Anthony Kiedis was convicted for indecent exposure and sexual battery following an incident in Virginia. The band now play fully clothed.
Rage Against The Machine - 1993
At Lollapalooza festival in 1993 Rage Against The Machine stood naked onstage for 15 minutes, with black tape across their mouths and the acronym PMRC across their chests, as a protest against the Parental Music Resource Centre (the group responsible for putting parental advisory stickers on albums).“When we walked out onstage people loved it, they were cheering,” recalled bassist Tim Commerford. “But little did they know, we weren’t planning on playing a note.” After 10 minutes of playing nothing, the cheers turned to boos and bottle throwing, and the band were eventually hauled off by police. Thankfully, they later got dressed and played a free show by way of apology to disappointed fans.
Wendy O. Williams (The Plasmatics) - Regularly
Prior to her career as singer for New York punk/metal band The Plasmatics, the late Wendy O. Williams made a living at peep shows, where should would fire ping pong balls from her…front bottom. No less shy and retiring onstage, she was arrested in Wisconsin for simulating masturbation, and then again in Cleveland, Ohio for simulating sex whilst wearing nothing but shaving cream. Although acquitted both times, she then took to covering her nipples with electrical tape to avoid arrest, performing ‘as nude as legally possible’. Her trick with the ping pong balls, incidentally, was immortalized in the 1981 sex comedy Candy Goes To Hollywood.
David Yow (The Jesus Lizard) - 2012
As frontman for The Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid, and now Flipper, David Yow is known for his crazy stage antics and not unknown to get his own lizard out whenever he feels like it. Indeed, it’s not just his own bands for which he gets naked, as evidenced in the 2012 documentary The Fix: The Ministry Movie, where he wanders on stage in the buff to join Al Jourgensen and crew for a rendition of Just One Fix. Al seems particularly amused and gives David’s penis a friendly slap, ding-a-ding-danging his dang-a-long-ling-long, so to speak.
Rockbitch - Constantly
You may have noticed that, with the exception of Wendy O. Williams, our list consists entirely of dudes who like to rock out with their cocks out. Granted, Siouxsie Sioux used to perform topless in the early days of punk, and Courtney Love has been known to flash her thrupenny bits, but the ladies of British collective Rockbitch put all of the dudes on this list to shame. The band were infamous during the ’90s not just for playing naked, but for various onstage sex acts and for throwing a ‘Golden Condom’ into the audience, which entitled whoever caught it – male or female – to have sex with one of the band. Unsurprisingly, they were banned in several countries.
The first Reading & Leeds 2021 announcement is here – and it features six headliners across two main stages.
Power Trip frontman Riley Gale has been immortalised in action figure form by one incredibly creative fan.