experienced when tripping over the ending of a Phillip K. Dick short story. I remember like it was yesterday the first time I heard David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and couldn't believe how clearly I saw the story play out in my mind, like a deleted scene from 2001 released the year before (this was in the nineties by the way - I was not alive in 1969, let alone listening to glam rock). But SciFi is often more than just subject matter for lyrics, it can be reflected in the artwork, the musical sounds, and the whole mythos of a band. With that in mind, and a long holiday weekend behind me, I decided to create a list of the twenty most SciFi bands of all time.
20. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Okay, not a very SciFi band in general, but their 1969 song “Wooden Ships” is one of the first to ever put forth a post-apocalyptic world lyrically. As the last remnants of society board wooden ships to escape a war-torn landscape, they share ‘purple berries’ that haven’t got them sick yet. The song is somewhat obscure, but there are certainly ‘silver people on the shoreline’ and there are humans dying. David Crosby’s song was co-written by Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kanter, who chased a few fantastic White Rabbits of his own.
19. Gwar – Though their subject matter may be considerably worldly, with lyrics full of scatological references and live shows involving spraying the audience with fluids, Gwar are very much from out of this world... literally. The “Scumdogs of the Universe” dethawed from their Antarctic prison dedicated to destroy the human race. Dressed in ridiculous alien costumes, Gwar, including lead vocalist Oderus Urungus and guitarist Balsac The Jaws of Death, fill albums with their mythos, one of the most elaborate in music. For example, their 1995 Ragnarok album concerns Oderus and his alien sister Slymenstra being forcibly mated with the aid of rogue space aliens. Meanwhile, a comet hurtling towards earth incites the diseased populace to revolt – but the comet turns out to be Cardinal Syn a robotic agent of the Warrior Pope... and so forth.
18. Queensryche – This Seattle Neo-Prog band struck their most SciFi blow with the concept album OPERATION: MINDCRIME, a rumination on the powers of brainwashing. Their first music video, Queen of the Reich, featured a Star Wars like scroll and a post-apocalyptic future. Their second album, THE WARING, was inspired by George Orwell’s 1984 (and came out in 1984). A track from RAGE FOR ORDER, “Screaming in Digital,” has lyrics like “the computer word made flesh, we are one you and I.” Most recently, their latest self-titled album featured artwork by Craig Howell, who designed a number of pieces for the Star Wars franchise.