May 072013

I’ve long thought the fat-assed, late-’60s Beach Boys who took the stage for some television performance in all white suits displayed the most clueless stagewear in the history of rock. At least they matched, but the form-fitting suits were all wrong for some of the forms that band offered.

This morning I stumbled across a band with a much worse sense of style. The Unit 4 Plus 2, as seen in the above clip, had absolutely no sense of fashion, at least on the day they showed up for this television appearance. They make Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show look like Audrey Hepburn.

Your mission today is to find a band with a worse sense of fashion than Unit 4 Plus 2. The winner of this Battle Royale will be graded on misguided trend-hopping, lack of coordination, poor tailoring, etc.


  20 Responses to “Battle Royale: Most Clueless Stagewear”

  1. Meh. They’re clueless for sure, but if you take out the harmonica player’s double breasted overalls, they just look like they didn’t put a whole lot of thought into what they were going to wear. As opposed to the Rascals, who despite being one of the top purveyors of blue eyed soul and psychedelically tinged, sunshiny pop, decided to dress like they all went to the same boarding school in the 1920’s. Is this a misguided nod to the Little Rascals? Who cares? It looks ridiculous.

    Much more egregious than Unit 4 Plus 2’s outfits are the way they keep sliding into the note when they sing “down in the easy cha-AIR”

  2. diskojoe

    Mr. Mod, you forgot the times when 3 of the Beach Boys were wearing those white suits & Mike Love was wearing some sort of TM poncho w/no hat, which made him look like late era Viv Stanshall.

    I have to concur w/cdm’s suggestion of the Rascals. Thank goodness they did drop those costumes by ’67.

    I was reading Randy Bachman’s autobiography in which he told the story about when the Guess Who was opening for the Jefferson Airplane & found an old Union Jack flag so that he could wear it like a poncho so that he could look “cool”. Unfortunely, the gig was on Remembrance Day & he got plenty of flak for disrespecting the flag.

  3. Yeah, the Rascals ditched the “Young” and the goofy outfits as soon as they scored a huge hit and finally had some say so about how they looked.

  4. I agree that The Rascals’ costumes (and Paul Revere & The Raiders’, too) were a terrible collective Look, but I think Unit 4 Plus 2’s overall schlubbiness and lack of ability to model their threads is bad on a deeper level. Maybe no one else sees it this way.

  5. BTW, that’s Bob Henrit, later of Argent and post-Avory Kinks, on drums in this clip.

  6. diskojoe

    You’re right, that’s him rocking the Lonsdale shirt about a decade before Paul Weller!

    Also, dosen’t the lead singer look a little like Elvis & the keyboard guy like Jose Feliciano?

  7. hrrundivbakshi

    The guy with the real fashion sense in this band is the guitar player. Think about it for a second: he is rocking a post-ironic 2010’s-era pastiche of a 1980s cubicle-dwelling worker bee… in 1969!

    Plus he looks like Pete Townshend with a fake mustache when the camera gives him the fly-by.

    But, look, sorry, these guys are nowhere *near* the worst-dressed band in rock. I present to you: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five!

  8. misterioso

    That’s also one of the lamest Basement Tapes covers I have encountered. Mind you, it still is better than Sonic Youth doing “I’m Not There.”

  9. 2000 Man

    I agree with Mod’s description of “schlubbiness.” They have a lazy look, but I’ve seen worse. I think the Bay City Rollers had the worst look ever:

    I really hate that the keyboard player is sitting sidesaddle. Makes me want to poke him in the eye.

  10. I briefly considered the Bay City Rollers but discounted them because they had a cohesive (albeit) hideous style that gave a nod to their homeland. Also, since they trafficked in nonthreatening tween-pop, their costumes are appropriate because it made them look kind of like stuffed animals who played guitars. I suggest that they actually made quite a inspired strategic choice. Popular Look that they might be trying to cop:

    Even though Paul Revere and the Raiders look idiotic, you can still tell what they were going for. Popular Look that they might be trying to cop:

    The Furious Five were a little tougher to get my head around but I imagine that before the photo shoot, Grandmaster Flash called up the guys and told them to dig deep into the closets and just come up with something that stands out. Not a very cohesive look but I imagine at the time they were more concerned with simply attracting people’s attention away from DJ Kool Herc in hopes of winning a decisive victory in the Bronx Hip Hop Smackdown of the mid 70s. Popular Look that they might be trying to cop: Funkadelic

    The Rascals stage wear didn’t happen by accident or through carelessness. Somebody put some thought into what the Rascals were going to wear on the Sullivan show, and I for one, would like to know what those thoughts were.

  11. cliff sovinsanity

    Ah, how can you pick on The Rollers man ? That was their shtick which is different from a fashion sense…to me at least. It’s like picking on The Mama’s and The Pappas for the fur hat guy, the big girl in the mumu, the nerd in the jacket and the hippie chick.

    How about Ten Years After?

  12. I’m not seeking a “worst” Look, but a more clueless one, a Look devoid of theme, forethought, aspiration. These guys I’ve put in the ring to take on all challengers look like their moms rushed out to the Young Person’s section of Korvette’s to grab some happening threads. The band looks totally unconvinced by their new Look.

  13. I agree that Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five failed (mightily) in their attempt at emulating The Mighty Heroes:

  14. I think Ten Years After is wearing the clothes Traffic chose NOT to wear on one of their album covers:

  15. Great clip. Will be hard to find one more “clueless”. Seems like there was no coordination among them at all, and each guy made a really bad choice.

    Not clueless, but a look that always puts me off is the one used by Dexys Midnight Runners, The JoBoxers, and Bananarama. I don’t like the painters overalls with the rolled up pants legs. JoBoxers sub suspenders for the overalls, but the impression is the same.

    No love for the exposed shoes and socks, all the silly caps and the schmatas covering heads and necks. Another example of the Lil Rascals vibe mixed with some Dick Van Dyke chimney sweep. Trying to be adorable or working class? Not succeeding either way.

  16. That’s a TREMENDOUS summary of that bad, brief-lived Look.

  17. misterioso

    Friends, please take in one of my favorite all-time clips, Neil Sedaka performing “Bad Blood” on the Midnight Special in 1975.

    The “Smoke the Best / Smoke Colombian” decal shirt! The plus-size jeans! (I like to think that they are Toughskins.) The dance moves! Takes my breath away every time I watch it. Sedaka is Back!

    Watch and learn.

  18. Neil has grabbed the belt from Unit 4 Plus 2’s grubby hands. Top THAT, Townspeople!

  19. But he makes up for the outfit by getting the 2nd string of Charlie’s Angels to sing backups.

    Least rocking use of the Bo Diddley beat ever??

  20. misterioso

    It takes three 2nd string Angels to replace Elton John.

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