High Strung: The 25 All-Time Weirdest Guitarists
Hound Dog Taylor
Born with six fingers on each hand, Theodore Roosevelt "Hound Dog" Taylor once drunkenly tried to remove his extra digits with a razor blade. Thankfully, he was only partially successful, leaving his left hand intact to execute his wild Elmore James-in-crystal meth slide runs. Despite his clownish stage persona, Hound Dog loved to fight with his bandmates, and even wounded HouseRockers guitarist Brewer Phillips with a handgun when one dissing session got out of hand. A devotee of $50 pawnshop guitars and busted amps, Hound Dog rarely practiced, and he never performed sober. "When I die," he sagely predicted, "they'll say, 'He couldn't play shit, but he sure made it sound good!'"
He claimed to know only five chords, but nobody ever whipped a Les Paul with as much effete elan as the T.Rex main man. The bisexual elf's Freudian fixation on guitar flagellation began during his stint with mod provocateurs John's Children (wherein he routinely beat his ax with chains during live shows) and continued long after he'd morphed from acoustic folkie to high-heeled glam warrior. Bolan's weirdo credentials were more confirmed by his impressive string of gibberish-laden hits—songs like "Metal Guru," "Hot Love" and "Telegram Sam" so brilliantly walked the line between genius and idiocy, no one is sure to this day which is which.
"I'm from outer space and I'm here to kill you all," was a favorite between-song threat of the erstwhile Faith No More guitarist, and frankly it wasn't hard to believe him. With his Furry Freak Brother beard and man—the latter gradually turning into an unsightly "reverse Mohawk," thanks to pattern baldness—his penchant for wearing several pairs of sunglasses at once and his unapologetic love for classic rock, "Big Sick Ugly Jim" always seemed the odd man out in the groundbreaking funk-metal band. Since parting ways with FNM in 1994, the reclusive Martin as lent his searing tones to a handful of projects but his main interest seems to be growing giant pumpkins that tip the scales at well over 800 pounds.
The pretty boy of the Manson Family (Charles, not Marilyn), Beausoleil was a talented musician who played rhythm guitar in Arthur Lee's Love, back when they were still known as the Grass Roots. In 1967, Beausoleil landed a gig playing guitar and sitar for the Magick Powerhouse of Oz, an 11-piece rock band formed by filmmaker Kenneth Anger to provide soundtrack to his occult film Lucifer Rising. After a headed argument, Beausoleil stole Anger's car, camera equipment and 1,600 feet of his film—the latter of which he gave to Manson, who buried it in the desert and demanded $10,000 in ransom. While in prison, Beausoleil has built a wide array of electronic instruments, including the Syntar, a stringless, digital, touch-controlled guitar.
Angus is such an established member of the rock pantheon, most of us don't even flinch when AC/DC's diminutive lead axman duck-walks across the stage in full schoolboy drag, despite the fact the dude is several decades past his 16th birthday. But how's this for a job description: not only do you sport a velvet jacket-shorts-and-cap look on a nightly basis but you do it while playing impossibly loud blues licks, punctuating each performance with a striptease and a full moon of the audience. If that isn't a weird way to make your living for 40-plus years, we don't know what is.