I was given the brief to ‘scratch beneth the surface’ of 1960s subcultures and reveal underlying cultures that slipped beneth the smoke screen. Firstly I want to challange and interpret common perceptions of the 1960s and how I myself originally comprehended the era. That way I can delve deeper past my generalisations. So what do I first think of when looking at the 1960s era? initially I think of;
Jimi Hendrix/ Wood stock
The concept of ‘Free Love’
The 1960’s Freak scene
The term ‘Freak scene’ manifested from a variety of sources from lyrics of Frank Zappa’s album ‘The Mothers of Invention (1966). I realise this is a well-known subculture of the 1960s however I feel that it is perhaps overshadowed by people’s perceptions of the sixties which is predominately centred around ‘Hippies’, ‘Beatniks’, ‘Mods’, ‘Radicals’ and mary quant mini skirts. The 1960s does represent a time of mind exploration and thus came a selection of concept albumns and long experimental progressive rock.
The beach boys concept album pet sounds (1966) and Jefferson aeroplane’s second album Surrealistic pillow (1967) were both big influences for many progressive rock bands. The mid 1960s saw a surge in such prog rock styled music bands like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Genesis, The Who.
Zappa and his band The Mothers of Invention were central to the freak scene in the mid to late 1960s. They kept their fashion undefined aligning themselves with an visual apparence which cannot be defined by fashion or political leanings. This way keeping a neutral stance.
It is a bohemian styled culture that sits between post hippie and pre punk. The fashion included long hair, an abundance of hair dye, and often their fashion style often played on historical themes and tried to portray a group of characters. They explored elements of roleplay utilising items such as headbands, cloaks, frock coats, cape like garments to emulate a romaticised period in history.
Their attitudes were very relaxed and their social movements involved going to music festivals and alternative events