One of the most antagonizingly offensive bands to come out of the early ‘80s US punk scene was Fear. Their legendary performances in Decline Of Western Civilization and on Saturday Night Live helped bring them up from the underground, giving them their fifteen minutes in the mainstream spotlight. Lead singer, Lee Ving, was able to parlay that fifteen minutes into a modest acting career, appearing in Get Crazy ,Streets of Fire, Dudes, Clue, and most famously in Flashdance.
Fear turned up in some strange places in the ‘80s—a time when punks on TV or in movies were generally fakey cartoon caricatures of the real thing. The crucial reference, Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film, is an excellent resource in studying the ridiculous “punxploitation” in ‘80s media. Fear racks up no less than fifteen entries in that tome.
Now, one could argue that Fear themselves had a bit of a cartoonish image to begin with, but it’s still rather bizarre that some ad agency thought it was a good idea to hire them to do this series of “pro-wrestling promo” style ads for a chain of radio stations. These were top 40 stations, so it’s unclear what audience the advertisers were trying to appeal to by putting Fear on TV. Especially for the time and context, these are simply weird.
And if that wasn’t strange enough for you, may we offer this inexplicable inclusion of Fear’s “Beef Bologna” in a talent show sequence from the 1987 film Summer Camp Nightmare.
And, what the hell… as long as you’re here, let’s check out Lee Ving and some “punky” actresses (miming what is obviously Fear’s music), doing “Hoochie Coochie Man” in 1983’s Get Crazy, just because this is awesome:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Fear’s Lee Ving talks about their legendary ‘Saturday Night Live’ appearance and being offensive