The freak scene was a term used by a slightly post-hippieand pre-punkstyle of bohemiansubculture. It referred to an overlap between politicised pacifist post-hippies and generally non-pacifist progressive rockfans moving between rock festivals, free festivals, happeningsand alternative societygatherings of various kinds. The name comes, at least partly, from a tongue-in-cheek reference to the beat scene. One of the earliest instances of this usage to be popularized, was its appearance throughout the liner notes of the 1966Mothersalbum, "Freak Out". The following year The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's album sleeve notesparodied the expression with these words for track one: "COOL BRITANNIA (Trad. Stanshall/Innes) Someone letta Freak-Out? What do you think Reader?" Another musical reference is from Joni Mitchell's 1971song Carey: "A round for these freaks and these soldiers A round for these friends of mine..."
Aside from music, the subculture also made inroads into the underground comic scene with the introduction (in 1968) of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothersby Gilbert Shelton.
The freak scene was a stepping-stone between the hippie era and punk. The dissatisfaction with society's labelling of its subcultures had become self-parodying. The sceneevolved from the growing awareness that sexism, which still existed to a significant extent in hippie behaviour patterns, was unacceptable. The taking on of the derogatory word freak represented an embracing of identity politics.
By the early seventies it was completely common usage for progressive rockor fusion jazzfans and others to describe people as a "dope freak" or a "speed freak", "sci-fi freak", "jazz freak", "healthfood freak", "Jesus freak" etc., according to a person's main obsessions. The Phone phreaksalso arose around this time.
- 1 Hair and clothes
- 2 Music
- 3 See also
- 4 External links
Hair and clothes
The hairstyles were mostly long and unkempt but people were experimenting with other possibilities. Rock stars of the era such as David Bowieand Roxy Musicwere trying shorter styles and hair dye. Roy Woodof the pop group Wizzardhad hair down to his knees with odd colours dyed in. These musical iconswere influential. Shaven heads were seen occasionally but were not yet as common as they would become when punk began. There was a reluctance to make hair too short for fear of looking like skinheads(who at that time were still thought of by the freaks as associated with neo-nazism).
The clothing of the freaks used elements of roleplaysuch as headbands, cloaks, frock coats, kaftansetc. which suggest either a romantic historical era or a distant place travelled to. These were combined with cheap, hardwearing clothes such as jeansand army surpluscoats. The effect was to make a group of freaks look like a gathering of characters from a fantasyor science fictionnovel, like time-warped refugees out of Middle-earth. All of these appearances were intentional and enjoyed by the participants of the freak scene.
Music was an eclectic mixture around a progressive rock base. There were crossoverbands bridging rockand jazz, rock and folk, rock and sci-fi (space rock) and experimentalism in all directions.
A BBCradiopresenter, John Peel, presented a nightly show which played the music the freaks were mainly interested in.
Some of the major musical artists listened to on the scene were:
- Pink Fairies
- The Edgar Broughton Band
- Stomu Yamashta
- Joni Mitchell
- David Bowie
- Joan Armatrading
- Pink Floyd
- Steeleye Span
- Crosby, Stills and Nash
- Weather Report
- Miles Davis
- Alice Cooper
- Janis Joplin
- Frank Zappa
- T Rex
- Plastic Ono Band
- Fairport Convention
- Third Ear Band
Following the success of the 1978 smash hit "Le Freak" by Chic, the term enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence on the RnB scene by the early 80's, thanks to the efforts of artists like Rick James, Whodini, and Midnight Star. In 1981Was (Not Was)released "Out Come the Freaks" with the lyrics:
"Woodwork squeaks and out come the freaks
Woodwork squeaks and out comes Trotsky
Out comes Trotsky, yeah
Woodwork squeaks and out comes Coltrane
Woodwork squeaks and out comes Che Guevara
Che Guevara, Che Guevara
Woodwork squeaks and out comes the Powell
Buddy Powell, Buddy Powell"
- Underground culture
- United Kingdom Underground
- New age travellers
- Super Freak
- The Freak Zone programme on BBC 6Music
- Facsimile and excerpt from We are the people our parents warned us against by Nicholas Von Hoffman (historically interesting particularly for its demonstration of homophobia within a hippy social context preceding the freak scene's more enlightened attitude
- An excerpt from Richard Neville's book Playpower on the author's website- Richard Nevillewas one of the founders of Oz magazine.
- Freak entries in the Urban dictionary of slang:
Categories: Cultural movements| Sociology
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It uses material from the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freak+scene Wikipedia article Freak scene.