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7 Bands that Formed Divisive Music Subcultures

Alex Gunn . . . Comments

Music has had a vast influence on culture, particularly during the later half of the 20th century and the early 21st century. Whether it is affecting fashion (the baggy clothes and jewelry popularized by gangsta rap), politics (the anti-war sentiments of the hippie generation publicized by protest songs), or lifestyle (the partying and drug use rampant in rave culture), music is frequently a catalyst for cultural change. Here, we point out the bands that initiated, or popularized, cultural movements. While it is often rash to attribute the formation of the broader subcultures to a single band, the groups listed are generally considered to have had the highest influence. This list is in no particular order, and care has been taken to include both obscure and popular movements.


Insane Clown Posse

Insane Clown Posse is a hip hop duo consisting of professional wrestlers, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, AKA Joseph Bruce and Joseph Ustler. Their sound is best described as horrorcore (a sub genre of hip hop with ultra violent, horror themed lyrics), with a later influence of rock. While original, the band appears in countless ‘Worst Ever’ lists, most notably Blenders 50 Worst Artists in Music, in which they took out the number one spot.

During a performance of their song Juggla in 1994, Violent J referred to the audience as Juggalos. The response garnered by the seemingly trivial term was positive enough that the name caught on with the ICP’s fans and fans of other artists on the bands record label, Psychopathic Records. Characteristically, Juggalos wear clown-like face paint that imitates ICP’s.

Why is it divisive? There have been numerous reports of Juggalo related violence. This includes one 18 year-old man who claimed to be “hunting for gays” after attacking one man with a hatchet and shooting a firearm at several more at a gay bar. In 2011, Juggalos were included in the FBI’s national gang threat assessment. The band and record label have strongly and publicly discouraged the fans from committing any acts of violence.


Minor Threat
Straight Edge

A hardcore punk 5-piece from Washington DC, Minor Threat were highly influential in the ’80s and ’90s American punk scene, despite only releasing a handful of material. They were known for their short, high tempo songs, and their stance against drugs, alcohol and tobacco, which was documented in their song Straight Edge. This song later inspired a social movement of sobriety referred to as the straight edge movement. People who are straight edge refrain from all forms of drugs, including alcohol. Occasionally it extends beyond sobriety, and can broaden to vegetarianism and avoidance of promiscuity. The universal symbol for straight edge is the letter ‘X’, usually written on the back of the hands.

Why is it divisive? The emergence of straight edge divided the punk movement, which was, in general, a pro-drug scene. Punk Rock shows were known for their advocacy of the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle; the stereotypical early punk rocker is a glue sniffing unemployed nihilist. This caused altercations during the early years of the straight edge movement, leading to violence amongst concert-goers, particular involving people who chose to drink at straight edge shows.


Rites of Spring

Another band from the DC hardcore scene, Rites of Spring formed in 1984. During their short career span they released just one full length LP, and performed live only 15 times. Despite this, they are considered highly significant, and are recognized retrospectively as the first emo band.

Tracing the ancestry of emo is particularly difficult, and those who are familiar with Rites of Spring may dispute that they were ever emo at all. But at the risk of trivializing a genre which, despite varying opinions on quality, has a complex history, Rites of Spring influenced bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, who influenced bands like the Get Up Kids, who in turn influenced bands like Fall Out Boy.

Why is it divisive? Emo is divisive partly because there is no cut and dry definition of what emo is. Is it a musical genre? A subculture of eyeliner-wearing teens? Or, as is becoming increasingly common, a general term for all art that explores the darker sides of human emotion. It should also be noted that members for many ‘emo’ bands reject the label, including Rites of Spring and the Get Up Kids.


Nazi Punk

Where to begin with Skrewdriver, the punk rock group fronted by Ian Stuart Donaldson. Originally your stereotypical blue collar British punk band with a reputation for violence, they adopted the skinhead aesthetic soon after their formation in 1976.Though they, at first, denied rumors of their Nazi-esque political ideologies, Donaldson eventually openly admitted his stance as a British national socialist.

Nazi Punk is really a subculture of a subculture; an offshoot of the original skinhead movement, which consisted of working class British youths and was generally apolitical. The term ‘skinhead’ has since been since strongly associated with neo-Nazism.

Why is it divisive? I’m sure this question requires no answer, but for the sake of consistency, Nazi Punk is divisive for its “white-is-right” philosophy and its encouragement of violence towards non-Christians and non-Caucasians. Note that the clip above contains scenes that some my find disturbing.


Gangsta Rap

You might consider this item a bit of a cheat, but it refers to the popularization of the gangsta lifestyle as opposed to the genre of music. Short for “Niggas With Attitudes,” NWA were one of the pioneers of the gangsta rap genre, and stirred up much controversy with their seminal debut album “Straight Outta Compton” and subsequent releases. They brought gangsta culture to the mainstream where certain aspects were embraced by many who were previously unfamiliar with the lifestyle. This then resulted in a new direction of mainstream fashion and vocabulary.

Why is it divisive? Aside from the obvious glorification of drugs, prostitution and violence, conflict is created when people who have had not had genuine experiences of this existence adopt the gangsta image. This pressure to be legitimate has lead rappers and fans to commit real-life crimes to authenticate their music or aesthetic.


Grateful Dead

One of the more specific inclusions, ‘Deadheads’ is a term given to fans of the Grateful Dead, a psychedelic rock band, fronted by legendary guitarist Jerry Garcia. Formed in 1965, in the San Francisco Bay Area, the ’Dead were known for their extensive touring, which consisted of many free concerts, and their improvisational approach to performance. Hardcore Deadheads would often follow the band on tour for months at a time, living a nomadic lifestyle and selling t-shirts, food or drugs to support themselves.

Why is it divisive? The only real division stems from the love-it-or-hate-it nature of the Grateful Dead’s music. It seems you are either a committed detractor or a diehard fan; I’m yet to hear of a casual Grateful Dead fan.


The Ramones

A contentious addition to this list, not only because the origins of punk are ambiguous, but because of the diverse styles and philosophies of the punk subculture, in general. The Ramones were the first band to fit the traditional punk rock stereotype we recognize today; the simple, fast paced songs and the snotty attitude. They toured virtually nonstop throughout their career and have had a clear influence on music today. Although they never achieved huge commercial success, they opened doors for British punk bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash to achieve popularity in America.

While punks are diverse in terms of culture, the stereotypical ’70s punk has spiked hair, tattoos and piercing, which at the time served to enforce their non conformist ideologies.

Why is it divisive? Punks are divisive mainly because of their stance against authority and their anarchist viewpoint. These are common trends amongst all punk subcultures. Other points of controversy include recreational drug use, particularly solvent abuse, as noted in the Ramones song ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue’ and the popular punk zine ‘Sniffin Glue.’

  • John


    • M3at666

      Cool list but the author could have pushed for a full 10 set.

      Black Metal Youth of Norway in the early 90s, not to mention some techno/rave subculture ideals, could have been added to this list. Not that I condone either of those (black metal is probably the least impressive genre musically an technically for metal).

      • adam

        There wasn’t really any black metal “Youth”, there weren’t kids walking around in Corpse Paint all day being Kvlt. There were copy cat church burners but they stopped when Varg went to jail really. Also, you know nothing of Metal(no one here seems too) as Black metal is easily one of the most diverse, experimental genres in metal today, being more willing to include emotion and melody as opposed to the rivalling straight up Death metal, or god forbid Metalcore. Even though the early works of Black metal we’re simple in composition, the massive amount of endurance to tremolo pick guitar chords for seven minutes straight without stopping is hardly easy.

        • M3at666

          There is no doubt black metal is experimental, but trust me on your claim that ‘I don’t know about metal’ is gravely false. Diverse? Hardly. Diverse with ideology maybe but no more in execution than several other subgenres, like Power metal, and no more diverse musically than the occasional injection of keyboards or clean vocals of later bands like Dimmu Burgur, which purists end up saying screws up the very essence of Black metal anyway and makes it not “really” Black metal. Real black metal at its core is hard to find and doesn’t exist anymore, and when it did, it was not as great as you claim.

          Plus your comparison of saying black metal trumps Death metal in terms of melody is a moot point as Death metal proved so much more capable of melody that an entire subgenre of MELODIC Death metal was coined as a result, far more recognized and legitimate than any melodic form of Black metal you can find that doesn’t end up reading over into Goth metal territory anyway.

          Finally Black metal Youth may have been just as you say it (some kids going around burning crap) but how is that any less mentionable than the “Juggalos” mentioned on the list? What do Juggalos do? Walk around and smoke weed. Again, I don’t defend either of them, but a subculture is a subculture, regardless of what they participated in, so yes, I still say it could have been included.


      • Why not just Black Sabbath or Judas Priest (Metalheads)?

      • And Black Metal isn’t all bad. Some bands are definately skilled (Mayhem, Venom, etc.)

        • DannyDirt

          I wouldnt call venom a black metal band at all they merely coined the phrase with the track and then album, Venom really are just a very raw thrash metal band.

  • Jonesie


  • john

    first you say?

  • Sgt. York


    • Amrendra

      We all at Listverse miss you Ryan Thomas. Please come back with some more lists and plz plz tell us who broke up the Smiths??? :-)

      • Arsnl

        You guys are pathetic. I have never seen so many adults be so immature. Putting together a good list is very hard, now that so many lists have been published, it’s hard to find a good original idea. Stop your bashing, his lists are not that bad.

        • Pauly

          OHH THE HUMANITY!!!

        • DocOc

          This has to be your copycat guy speaking because his lists are crap. You sound half smart, I’d expect you of all people to call crap, crap when it’s crap.

    • skin2win

      Morrissy, and thank fkn God

  • Baba

    Wth? This list is boring.

    • antonlavey

      good lists seem few and far between these days.

      • OddJobb

        Why don’t you come up with 365 lists a year. Oh yeah, and make sure they are ALL interesting.

  • Baldguy

    Dear God, won’t rap die?


    a fan of the brilliant, imaginative, and quite short-lived genre of New Wave

    • KaZuHiRo

      Duh, new wave still exists, you just don’t know which band they are.

    • Tim

      I agree that it is time for rap to go away. But still the grateful dead will remain as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

  • Baldguy

    Jonesie? as in my good ST friend?

  • Jeff

    Wow. Nirvana ushers in the grunge era and kicks out hair metal and they don’t make the list. Swing and a miss.

    • Otter

      AGREED!!! Love em or hate em, they had a profound impact on music when they appeared. Huge miss in my opinion.

      • mike

        If you’re on the grunge tip, there’s no way you could honestly make a Nirvana arguement. The “Grunge” genre was already in full swing and was actually dying down by the time Nirvana came around. You’re going to have to go with Green River as the band who formed the sub-culture. Or maybe TAD or The Melvins.

        • Nathan

          Have to agree with mike. Nirvana being my favourite band and all. Nirvana was at the end of grunge but weren’t true grunge themselves. They were more the Seattle rock movement, you can give them credit for starting some awesome 90’s rock. The number of bands that opened for them that a lot of people might know today is astounding. But grunge give that honour to the Melvins or even Pixies.

          • KurdtKobain

            amen to that

  • Screw the above comments Alex, it’s an original list. I don’t particularly like the listed music, but agree that the artists and their antics are note worthy. I’d rather read a list like this than one that begins with “Another top 10 ……..”.

  • mordechaimordechai

    hello and goodmorning. Can i say i like simple lists that don’t take a whole hour to read? Then i like this sort of work, Alex.

    I never noticed how scatty and bad Ice-Cube’s rapping sounded. I was in my early teens that time and i thought “sex and violence” was kinda cool. then again i think most of the NWA’s fan were in their early teens. To my excuse i shall add that from the age of 15 i passed on to rock’n’roll music.

    • Arsnl

      “i think most of the NWA’s fan were in their early teens”
      And anyone who does follow a lifestyle dictated by the music they listen is generally a teen. (or not an adult)

    • forsythia

      I wanted to say the same thing about Ice Cube. I remember listening to him when I was young, what a difference hearing him now. Not too great, ha.

      A good list. It seems people like to complain now-a-day, though.

  • Kerry

    I’d probably replace the ramones with dead kennedys, but either way, interesting list

  • Will Trame

    I’ve only heard a few of theses, specifically punk, gangsta rap and the Deadhead movement. In a manner rock music can be considered divisive since its origin back in 1955. Punk rock really had its seeds sown back in the late sixties as the Seeds were considered pioneers of such. Although it may not be considered divisive, the world music genre initiated back around 1967 with Kaleidoscope (the American band; there was a British one with the same moniker at the same time), who utilized such exotic instruments as the saz, and oud to create an ethnic blend of music focusing on raga and Far East influences.

  • Glc

    Listverse. Top 10. TEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! x

    • ..,,l,,..

      Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp
      And it read Alex’ list is limp

  • Robin

    Casual Greatful Dead fan here.

    • Another casual Grateful Dead fan.

      • HHenry

        Me too.

        • acc

          Okay, I’ll say it. Me three.

          • Edvado

            Me four. There’s a lot of us out here!

      • Shut It

        I’d be grateful if you were dead.

      • DocOc

        Another useless fact we now all know about Segues.

        It’s like you have “Comment Turrets”…you just blurb out useless crap over and over without thinking!

        • As opposed to your sparkling gems of wit, Doc?

      • MeDan

        He’s more casual than you are; you spell it correctly.

        • it is an easy mistake.

    • Jaime

      Me five. :)

    • wrake

      Me too.

      • fendabenda

        Me lost count.

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Im a wee bit to old for this list – but I bet there will be some mudslinging in the comments.

  • HDCase

    Excellent choice on putting the Ramones as the band to be “Punk”. NYC was the birthplace of the sound and the subculture (for better or for worse) and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    • Beatlesfan

      Amazing that a band, named after a one-off stage name by a member of The Beatles, could go on to such fame.

    • Canadianguy

      Well, if by “sound” you mean Johnny Ramone’s three-chord riffs, then sure…But there’s not as much of a very raw and obvious 50’s influence in most other punk bands as in The Ramones.

  • skeeter

    The fat ICP clown looks like Norm from Cheers wearing clown make-up. God, they’re worse than I thought (until now, I haven’t actually heard ICP).

    • Jimbo

      ICP are so bad. I was amazed when I first heard their music. Talentless crap. And for some reason they’ve got quite a following.

      • Mongo

        I like how everyone hates on ICP. Simple solution: don’t listen. I am a huge fan of ICP as well as tons of other artists such as Pink Floyd, Greatful Dead, Slayer, Ramones, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Cannibal Corpse, Rammstein, Nirvana, Ice-T, The Smiths…. I can go on and on. Bottom line, stop all the hate! I’ll chip in and buy all the haters a bottle of douche to wash the sand out of their vaginas.

        • Jimbo

          Where does it say I listen to them? I heard them once and realised they are sh*t. I will never listen to them again. We’re all entilted to our opinion of a band. Maybe you’re the one who should “stop all the hate!”

          • H8red

            Maybe you should just stick to justin bieber and the backstreet boys, jimbo.

          • Kyle

            As subjective as music as an artform is, and you can’t really quantify whats better than something else when it relies on personal taste as it’s catalyst for success… We all need to take a step back and realize that ICP is in no way a talented artist when it comes to music. Sure it’s got fans – everything has fans, even serial killers. But talent in a specific area is most definitely quantifiable. It is cold fact that ICP are not good at music, they fail at music – anyone that gets any emotional response from ICP are an eaaaassy bunch to please.

        • haha

          listening to a shitty band like ICP along with all those other artists… IT’S MUSIC BLASPHEMY!!

      • M3at666

        @Jimbo Agreed. How are they succesful? Image and merchandise. Two things very impressive to the backwoods rednecks who love that stuff. Ignorant fans with no knowledge of true instrumentation let alone appreciation for truly technical and challenging flow of rap.

        @H8red Thanks for proving the point I just made above: ignorant fan. Just because one rightfully criticizes ICP doesn’t mean by default they listen to brainless pop music. Though I’m sure you’d like to believe that for yourself, wouldn’t you?

  • Bullamakanka

    From the icon it looked like the guys from KISS, so I expected some mention of the Kiss Army, the hoards of bozos like the one guy I went to school with. Ate, drank, slept, breathed KISS. Thirty years later, he’s still a loser.

  • oouchan

    Nirvana not making this list is a bit much. Glad you had a wide range instead of just breaking down ‘rock’. Love the Grateful Dead….amazing music for stressful days.

    Good idea for a list, just missed it on execution.

  • Interesting list, I’m not big on music in general, but I still enjoyed it.

    Met a teenager with a straight edge tattoo on his arm years ago, absolutely giant, didn’t seem to understand the whole “you may not be straight edge in ten years or so” thing. Fair enough if you want to be straight edge, but getting such a large, obvious tattoo that young was just stupid and not very well thought out.

    • Bob

      “but getting such a large, obvious tattoo that young was just stupid and not very well thought out.”

      It never is.

  • ness2k

    What about ska? Ska started, ska kids, skins heads, but the good skin heads. Not the ones who hate every one.

  • LSUTigersLauren

    Werent some juggalos connected with a few murders?

  • Mew mee

    1. Icp should have been first with a star by their name. Freaks.

    2. What’s up w the ads in the middle of our lists. Lame.

    • OddJobb

      2. If you want to get rid of the ads, please make a hefty donation. These guys have to earn a living, mate.

      • C.Blocker

        I understand people need to make money, but this site is ridiculous! There are popups on almost every picture related to the list, and then, even with my popup blocker on they still manage to sneak one in in a separate window, IT IS ABSURD!!!!

        • The Claw

          What is ABSURD is that you keep coming back.

  • M

    I think Crass should be included on list….

  • mom424

    Much better than I anticipated on first glance – informative, well thought out, nicely written and defended. Good job.

    I’m a semi-fan of thrash metal; been known to bang along with ICP on occasion. Of course, honestly prefer RATM – much more musical and main stream for this old lady.

    PS: The Ramones are awesome.

  • Pablo

    Im a casual gratefull dead fan. Did i just blow your mind?

  • Metalwrath

    How could you mention Skrewdriver as “Nazi punk” and not mention “Oi” music which is the name of Skinhead music now? – which was headed by Skrewdriver, before they “came out” as nazis.

    Also, in the same genre of nazi Oi, there’s NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal) and, although his music isn’t NS, Varg Vikernes (Burzum) is also a self proclaimed nazi, and influential in the early Black metal movement. So in the broad Heavy metal world, which used to be left-leaning and close to punk, there are a fair number of “far right” leaning people. It isn’t really divisive like it is in the punk/skinhead scene, because metalheads in general aren’t really politically active, but there is still this extreme division.

  • brett

    Wow a list with skinheads that goes out of its way to explain that we are not all a bunch of nazi thugs.

    great list
    oi oi oi

  • manda

    I am a casual grateful dead fan. i like gd, alot, but i also like other bands a lot more. I once had the chance to go see them, and i chose not to. (tho i do kick myself now.) so – my name is manda and im a casual gd fan. nice to meet you.

  • Bob

    I doubt very much that fans or rappers have actually comitted crimes in order to solidify their reputation as a “Gangster”. This seems like something that would be made up by someone who has completely lost touch with the current generation.

    • Alex

      im 18 years old so i do consider myself part of the current generation. So your saying that no gangsta rappers claim to have been criminals to seem legitimate? thats why it’s divisive

  • GWC Scott

    This is a terrible list rife with factual errors. Minor Threat were only briefly a 5-piece. Rite of Spring also released a 7″ EP. The racist version of Skrewdriver contained a totally different band (not counting Ian) than their original lineup that put out an album on Chiswick. Early Punk shows were not “known for sex, drugs, and violence.” The Ramones were not the first punk band to release an album. Just in NY alone, the Dictators beat them to the punch by a solid year. I think the author needs to do some more research before trying to present himself as an expert. He’s a neophyte at best.

    • Pauly

      Heard that. Television, the first true punk band, predates the Ramones. On who invented punk, The Velvet Underground and The Stooges are still hotly contested.

      • weegmc

        I am from the Bronx (home of the Dictators) but I would concede that the British wave of Punk and definitely the 80’s scene owes far more to the Ramones in term of sound and style. Short songs, speed, three cords, inane and humorous lyrics. Plus the Ramones constant touring and prolific output over the year influenced countless bands – from the Sex Pistols to Pearl Jam.

        I’d also agree that Punk shows certainly had a drug element – see Television and their NY contemporaries or many of the STIFF bands out of England, no?

        All that said, there were a few other genres of music that could have been touched upon – Speed Metal or Death Metal.

      • Maggot

        Granted, the OP is arguing supposed factual errors about the Ramones being “the first”, but the writer acknowledges right off that the origins of punk are ambiguous and that it’s a contentious entry. But more importantly, the list is about “subcultures”, which IMO is more than just who was the first band to pioneer such and such musical genre. We’re talking about clothing, demeanor, gatherings, etc., basically the fans’ self-identification with a lifestyle based on the music. The “first” band isn’t always the one that the so-called subculture is identified with, because for a subculture to form (beyond it’s more localized early adopters), the people within it are typically emulating the band(s) that have made it more widely known or mainstream. Such as why I would go with Nirvana for grunge culture for example, rather than the way more obscure but pioneering Green River, as someone else suggested earlier. And why, in the context of this list, I would point to the Ramones (or the Pistols on the other side of the pond), rather than Television. The stereotypical (another term effectively used by the writer with regard to the Ramones) punk subculture was emulating them, not VU or the Stooges or the freaking Dictators…

        • Planet Earth

          What about the Plasmatics that band brought the Mohawk in the punk seen . I’m not saying Plasmatics were great am just saying they had a great influence on other bands .

          Smashing TV on stage with a sledgehammer & cutting Guitars with a chainsaw and blowing up a car on stage . This band had influence on culture more than most bands on this list .

          Slayer covered #6 Guilty of being white . IMO early Metal bands where influence by Punk.

    • Alex

      1. fair enough
      2. i said one full length
      3. irrelevant.. might be a fact but i never said it wasnt
      4. disputable
      5. never said they were
      6. never presented myself as an expert ha i wrote this because i enjoyed researching it so it was all part of the learning process for me

  • G Dub

    What about Vanilla Ice? He invented rap! He paved the way for true rappers like Souljah Boi.

    • sega

      trolling hard.

      • Simon

        Pfft! Everyone knows that MC Hammer is the true pioneer of hip-hop!

  • christopheraneal

    “The stereotypical ’70s punk has spiked hair, tattoos and piercing, which at the time served to enforce their non conformist ideologies.” Um, no. This is a revisionist take on it. Few 70’s punks were tatooed, and the spiked hair and piercings were almost exclusively Sex Pistols fans (specifically, the Bromley Contingent who all hung out and/or shopped at Malcolm McLaren’s boutique, Sex). Most REAL 70’s punks had long hair, jeans, Converse Chuck Taylors, and a beat up old jacket, be it leather, denim, or an army jacket from the surplus store. In other words, they looked like any other teenager in the 70’s.

    • Alex

      get a dictionary look up stereotype and think about the context of that sentence in this list

  • Pauly

    You for got the band Death. They paved the way for the musical form named for them, Death Metal.

    One more thing, Ice T invented Gangsta Rap, not NWA. Look it up, dude.

  • Pauly

    I forgot one more, and I apologize beforehand for the pain I am about to unleash. The genre of crunkcore (crunk hardcore) was invented by brokenCYDE and unleashed on unwitting 13-year old girls with no musical taste whatsoever. Now the roster includes more talent deprived bands like Blood On The Dance Floor, made infamous by Jessi Slaughter (the girl with the “cyber police” dad).

    For a sampling, search YouTube for BrokenCYDE’s song “Freaxxx”, and you’ll see why they just might beat ICP in the category of worst band of all time. Don’t play that song loud, or you WILL create enemies.

    • Jimbo

      I can’t believe you just made me watch that. I’d like it if you could refund me for the bandwidth I’ve just wasted. I’ll be expecting a cheque in the post.

    • Maggot

      The genre of crunkcore (crunk hardcore) was invented by…

      Again, a musical genre isn’t, in and of itself, a “subculture”. This pertains to your mention of Death above, too. Unless maybe you want to talk about the subculture of “goth”, of which I wouldn’t attribute Death as being much of a factor, if any, in the forming of it.

      • Pauly

        I beg to differ. Death Metal was unheard of until Death appeared in L.A. in the early eighties with their growling vocals, machine gun kick drumming, and lyrics on all things morbid and satanic. Now centered out of Gainesville and Norway, bands like Emperor, Deicide and Cannibal Corpse would not exist if not for them.

        I would argue it to be a genre to itself, seeing that fans of other musical genres, even similar ones like speed metal, find their music unlistenable.

        On a personal note, I think most death metal sounds like Cookie Monster. I tried to understand the proto-hyphy crunkcore embraces, but I took an arrow to the knee.

        • Maggot

          Death Metal was unheard of until Death appeared in L.A. in the early eighties with their growling vocals, machine gun kick drumming, and lyrics on all things morbid and satanic.

          I’m not disputing that. I’m saying that your talking about the musical genre that they pioneered, not a “subcultural lifestyle”, which is what the list is about. As to the genre, one could argue that bands like Venom and Slayer preceded Death in pioneering the death metal genre. Though certainly Death is hugely important and infuential, no doubt.

          • Pauly

            Now I see my error. Sorry ’bout that.

      • Arsnl

        Hmm. That’s weird. Another (competitor?) site posted a list of origins of some words. And crunk is one of them.

        • Pauly

          • Arsnl

            Maybe. Apparently Conan O’Brien made it famous.

  • seerrrraaaa

    HOW/WHY/WHO IS SPELLING THE WORD “WERE” AS “WHERE” ALL THE TIME?!! How can you not catch that? After the past like 10 lists have been using “where” as “were” and vice versa. It’s driving my crazy! Make it stop!

  • Maggot

    A pretty fun list, I always enjoy the modern music-related themes and the ensuing debates they generate. I would like to have seen this list rounded out to 10 entries though. With a little more thought it could easily be done. For example let’s add Mötley Crüe (or possibly Van Halen) for basically spawning the whole Sunset Strip (Los Angeles, CA) glam/hair metal scene. Not just a musical genre, it too was truly a scene, a subculture, and was divisive because aside from it not having aged well at all and being roundly mocked, the backlash against it caused two polar opposite genres/cultures to emerge: grunge and thrash.

    Speaking of grunge, I wouldn’t necessarily make a case for Nirvana (or Melvins or whoever), because IMO grunge wasn’t exactly “divisive”…but I suppose you could make a case for anything being divisive, because there would always be some that are opposed to it. So with a bit of hesitation, let’s add them too.

    So we need one more – ok well I hate to go with the low-hanging fruit here, but what about the Beatles and the subculture of Beatlemania? Divisive because it definitely separated teenybopper kids from their parents, who were appalled at the appeal of such scruffy looking mop-tops corrupting their kids. Sure you could say the same thing about rock and rollers of the fifties, in particular Elvis and his lewdness (as perceived by parents/squares), but since we’re talking “subcultures”, I go with Beatlemania.

    A bonus item could be David Bowie (or more accurately Marc Bolan’s T. Rex) as pretty much spawning the earlier glitter glam culture (different than the 80s glam/hair). Divisive because many would shun it in favor of heavier and less androgynous stuff emerging post Yardbirds, like Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Led Zep.

    One final comment, about the Dead – I’m not a fan, at all. Can’t stand them. Lol, and they originated practically right in my own backyard. So yeah, I agree with the statement in the entry, that they are divisive because you either love ‘em or hate ‘em.

    • Will Trame

      I consider myself just a casual Dead fan. Their best two albums IMO were “American Beauty” and “In The Dark”. The Dead always seemed a victim of the studio jinx as the majority of their studio output basically just sucked. For a “psychedelic” band their first set was primarily second rate blues while “Workingmans Dead” and “American Beauty” were country influenced. I think the principal reason that “In the Dark” was so successful and good was that the majority of the material had been performed since about 1982 or so. The follow up, “Built To Last”, wasn’t. I was surprised at how badly that platter sucked. The band then retreated from studio work. The group is definitely an acquired taste.

    • Alex

      cheers for the feedback.. honestly i got lazy lol

    • Canadianguy

      “For example let’s add Mötley Crüe (or possibly Van Halen) for basically spawning the whole Sunset Strip (Los Angeles, CA) glam/hair metal scene.”

      Mmm, let’s not. Hanoi Rocks is the band that’s responsible for reviving glam in the 80’s.

      • Maggot

        Yeah that’s a good call. Believe me, I’m well aware of Hanoi Rocks and almost mentioned them in my comment, but I was more talking about the glam metal subculture scene that developed in and around Hollywood, CA and the Strip, rather than the genre/style of music, which is why from a historical timeline sense, I might lean more towards Van Halen (though they aren’t necessarily truly “glam”) than even Crüe. But hell man, we could go with the more obscure LA-based band London (Nikki Sixx’s original band), who preceded Hanoi Rocks, for earlier inklings of glam metal in SoCal.

        Anyway, other than Hanoi Rocks’ influence on the 80s hair bands, I wouldn’t attribute the spawning of the LA glam metal scene to them. The scene there was starting to flourish before they became more known outside of their native Finland. Well, not like the Strip wasn’t already a mecca for rock and roll since the 60s, but I participated a bit in that 80s metal scene myself and I’m drawing a bit on my own memory here, but in the early 80s, I don’t recall Hanoi Rocks being much on peoples’ minds (the minds of the typical person flocking to there, I mean), at least not until Vince Neil’s unfortunate traffic accident which killed Razzle in ‘84. Guess my point is, for a so-called scene or subculture, it’s kind of a “popular association” thing that I talked about in another post with regard to Nirvana/grunge, rather than who were the true “originators” of the grunge sound.

  • Axel

    Dave Mathews, or Jack Johnson for bros? Eh, eh?!

  • Blue

    Saosin pretty much jump started the Metalcore sub-genre
    Nirvana with grunge
    Bob Dylan didn’t create the genre but brought out the popularity of folk music
    The Beatles were the majors behind psychedelic rock.

    We need another list

    • Chris

      Wow, you know so little about music it hurts my brain. Did you just say Saosin(whoever they are) jump started metalcore? You need to take your ass back to the 90’s and learn a thing or two. Nirvana with grunge? Bleach is pretty much a thrash album. Dylan popularized folk? Have you never heard of Woody Guthrie? Psych rock was around before the Beatles released Revolver. You must be like 16 years old.

  • Linderlizz

    I really liked this list, but Miracle is a terrible example for ICP. Not a huge fan of them, but that song is nothing like their usual music.

  • VintageObsessive

    A well written list makes almost any topic interesting. This was a great one!

  • davo

    Jamie, are you able to put an option in to switch off the comments section? it’s killing my faith in humanity.

  • Lord_Nick

    i like this list!! don’t listen to the haters! though, another list would be awesome!! (mostly cuz i noticed a lack of Jimmy Buffett/Parrotheads and Nirvana)

  • Kevin

    I think the author has confused “subculture” with “living joke” in relation to number 7: Insane Clown Posse.

    • Jimbo

      Well said sir. I salute you.

  • LBC


  • Bells

    I’m sorry but the Ramones did not start punk, Vivienne Westwood, Jamie Reid, the Bromely Contingent and the Sex Pistols did. I think the only thing where you mentioned punk on that was actually accurate on this list was the straight edge movement, and that’s just common knowledge.

    • chris

      So, so wrong. You do know that McLaren put together the Pistols AFTER being the manager for the New York Dolls. And Im pretty sure MC5 started in 1964, which is kinda before 1976. I dont know if you are trolling or just fucking stupid.

      • chaela

        Bells is actually right. MC5 weren’t punk, but they certainly had a big influence. As a whole though Westwood did the punk fashion(idc what the hell anyone has to say that “it’s not about the fashion” back then, it was a huge part.), Jamie Reid did the punk art, Sioxsie Sioux and the Bromely Contingent were the punk fan base, and the Pistols kicked it off.

  • skin2win

    The Greatful Dead and the Ramones have musicians in the band. ALL the others, not really…

  • skin2win

    check my comment, did we say the same thing, only different?

  • Allen

    The list was of no interest to me but I am certain someone who follows the music scene might like it.

  • Dan

    I find the Dead are decent… but I wouldn’t say they are amazing. So now you have met a casual fan of the Dead. Theory busted.

  • Matt

    What an oddly specific list. I feel like you’re forgetting some major ones though. What about Jimmy Buffet and his parrotheads (not to mention million dollar margaritaville culture), Gaga’s little monsters, etc etc

    • ..,,l,,..

      I think lil monsters are covered under juggallos

  • HENpp

    A musical genre could have been established long before the often-associated subculture came to be.

  • madmex

    I am a casual Grateful Dead fan.

  • meg

    ugh, insane clown possie fans are the scum of the universe.

  • screwjack

    Jimmy Buffets Parrotheads is worldwide phenomenon larger than most on this list.

    • Maggot

      If you had a firm grasp of what the list was actually about, you might have rethought that comment.

  • ADHD

    LMAO the ramones oh cmon man, the SEX PISTOLS

  • john

    good list but way too heavily focused on punk, black metal for sure should have been included among many others

  • kennypo65

    Long time Deadhead here. To be honest, I liked the music, but what really attracted me to the scene was the people at the shows. It was a fun-loving carnival atmosphere. Just as one example of the attitude of the Deadheads: my friend and I were at a show in Buckeye lake in Ohio. It was a hot summer day and very sunny. A total stranger came up to my bald friend and gave him the hat off his head saying, “The sun is gonna burn you bad, man. Take my hat, you need it more than I do.” That was the kind of person I would encounter at every show. The Deadheads were kind and warm and very peaceful. Of course the fact that most of them were tripping balls might have had something to do with it.

  • Javier

    Appreciate the Minor Threat shoutout! Glad to see people acknowledge good music

  • Micowoco

    Ahem. In 1981, a certain German musical combo called Kraftwerk made a prophetic album, Computerworld. They envisioned a future in which people would sit in front a computer all day, feel a bit empty inside and try to get dates on-line.

  • I respect everyone’s concerns about adding Nirvana to the list, but I’m going to go ahead and lobby for them.

    Although Kurt Cobain and the rest of the band did not begin the grunge movement, Nirvana is one of the most defining bands of this 1990s genre. Grunge was not sorted out separately from”heavy metal” in the late 1980s, that is until Nirvana took the work of the bands before them (i.e. the Pixies, Mudhoney, etc.) and turned it into a nationwide trend. So although Nirvana did not begin the process of separating grunge from heavy metal, they are largely responsible for widening the gap. Listen to some of the 1980s metal music (not hair metal) and then listen to Nirvana’s music, particularly the heavy distortion and aggressive riffs in some of their songs (like the chorus of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Scentless Apprentice”). There are a number of similarities. However, in other songs (or parts of songs, like the verses of Teen Spirit), there is something distinctly different than heavy metal. This sound that Nirvana largely popularized (note, I didn’t say pioneered) forced many to reconsider the definition of heavy metal. It is in this way that Nirvana deserves a spot on this list: for defining more clearly grunge as distinct from metal.

    Any agreement with me on that?

    • Maggot

      I am not in agreement because you are lobbying for them for the wrong reason. You are making the same mistake as a lot of people in that you are focusing on the sound, not the “subculture”. One may beget the other, but they are two entirely different things, and the list is about the latter.

  • Randy y

    Casual dead fan here. I listen to a handful of songs but not many more.
    ICP as a band are talented if not a little obtuse. I agree with the workaholics definition of a juggalo: walking talking diarrhea
    Actually surprised sex pistols weren’t in the ramones spot. I guess they weren’t as influential but definitely embodied the nature of chaos to a much farther extent

  • Unperson

    Great list.
    But I would have included the following:
    Korn for starting the nu-metal genre.
    Nirvana who made hair metal unpopular.
    Mayhem who used to have a lot of controversies surrounding them (murder, church arson, violence, suicide) and helped spearhead a really f’ed up underground subgenre of metal.

  • Mojo

    Hey man you forgot Jimmy Buffett and his fans or Parrotheads.

    They’re divisive because they’re mostly annoying alcoholics looking to hide their drunken and obnoxious middle-aged failings in a make believe world of palm trees and stolen riffs and rhythms. Which makes normal sane people want to beat them into reality.

  • John

    DC Talk should be on this list.

  • Um, there’s a lot of artists that should be on here that aren’t. Perhaps make a “7 more bands that formed divisive music subcultures”.

    Included should be:

    Black Sabbath: Metal heads and heavy metal culture

    Nirvana: Grunge culture/mainstream alternative

    Anyone think the same?

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  • RCSkankmo

    I get tired of people trying to be all analytical with Heavy Metal like “oh its not heavy metal its Gnu metal Black Metal that’s Thrash Metal this is death metal hears glam metal ” there’s only 2 kinds of metal 1 the good shit 2 other.