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What Was The Freak Scene?

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The freak scene was actually a shoot-off from the Bohemian subculture, which originally started in the 1960s.

This scene is associated with many movements and is used to describe the people that were part of several subcultures. 

The freak scene included those that were a part of the hippie movement, pacifists, psychedelics, political radicals, and progressive rock fans.

The people in this group will have gone to free festivals, alternative society gatherings, happenings, and rock festivals.

Those in the freak scene were post-hippie but pre-punk; this was due to the time period the freak scene was most active. 

Now that we know a little about the freak scene let us delve further into what exactly this subculture was. So, let us start with the origin of the freak scene. 

Subculture and identity expression with clothing style tiny person concept.

Where Did It Originate? 

This scene got its start in the 1960s and was especially prominent when the hippie counterculture was a thing on the west coast of the United States.

This scene developed around the late sixties through the early seventies and then became more popular as the decade progressed.

It was during these years that the hippie or free festival movement really took off and there were several events that were held. 

One of the first places where the freak scene began was at Woodstock in 1969.

During this event, many people who were interested in psychedelic drugs went up to the stage and listened to the music while taking LSD.

In addition, some of them even danced on top of the stage while under the influence.

Other hippies would go to other places like Monterey and San Francisco to listen to bands play live for free.

They would also dance and enjoy themselves. 

Many musicians actually got into the freak scene and created songs that were indicative of the mood of the time.

Artists like Zappa, David Crosby, Don Van Vliet, and even The Mothers of Invention became integral to the freak scene.

people at woodstock festival

These artists had a lot to say about their views on life, politics, religion, and just anything else they felt strongly about.

Songs like ‘Freak Out!’ really spoke to the members of this scene. It was suggestive of the idea that you should express yourself freely. 

Use Of The Term ‘Freaks’

Bearded male with tattooes on his arms in black shirt and brown bow tie.

In the 60s and 70s, the word “freak” was often used to refer to someone who did something different or unusual.

For example, if someone wore clothes that weren’t considered fashionable, they’d be labeled a “freak”.

At times, the use of the word “freak”, however, could mean something derogatory, such as referring to an overweight person as a “freaky fatso.”

Why did the freak scene become so popular?

Well, because it meant being different, not conforming, and being unique.

Most of all, it meant having fun. The reason this particular subculture became so popular was that it promoted freedom of expression. 

When you think about how people identify others, you can see that this was similar to how people today tend to label people as freaks.

We call somebody a freak if he/she wears glasses, doesn’t wear makeup, has tattoos, or gets piercings.

All of these things are completely normal now, but back then, they were seen as weird. People who didn’t conform to societal norms were called freaks.

i love lucy stamp

The term “freak” came from the 1950s television show called “I Love Lucy”.

The theme song was written by Ray Burton and his wife Lucille Ball. Their lyrics talked about a couple named Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. 

Popular Bands Associated With The Freak Scene

Many bands and musicians were prolific in the freak scene. They identified with the way of thinking expressed themselves through their music.

The music of this scene was a mixture of experimentalist, progressive rock, and eclectic music which came together to create an interesting type of music.

Below are some of the most notable artists and bands that were associated with the freak scene: 

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Zappa was a musician who was born in 1940 in Chicago Illinois. He started playing guitar at age 12 and joined a band called The Youngbloods in 1965.

He played in various groups over the next few years until 1967 when he formed the Mothers of Invention.

Although he enjoyed making art, Zappa decided that being a musician was what he wanted to do.

He made sure that he wasn’t going to make any compromises with his musical style.

His music was always very loud and chaotic and filled with distortion.

His lyrics also dealt with social issues and political situations. Zappa died in 1993 due to complications from AIDS.

David Bowie

David Bowie Mural painted on the side of a street

Bowie is another artist who was part of the freak scene. He was born in 1947 in Stepney London England. As a child, he loved listening to records and watching TV shows.

In 1964, he moved to America where he attended college. He eventually landed a job at Columbia Records as a recording engineer.

In 1969, he released his first album titled “Space Oddity”. 

This would be followed up by albums like “Hunky Dory” and “Low”. It wasn’t until 1970 that he released his album “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps).”

He continued to release albums for many years. He passed away on Jan 1st, 2016.

Iggy Pop

iggy pop in concert 2016

Iggy Pop was born in 1942 in Detroit Michigan. When he was just 18 years old, he joined a group called the Stooges.

This was one of the earliest punk rock bands. Iggy released his first solo album in 1973. The album title was “Raw Power.”

He went on to release many other albums throughout the rest of his life. He died on April 4th, 2010.

The Aardvarks

The Aardvark was an American psychedelic rock band based out of San Francisco, California. Their name comes from the fact that they all had aardvarks on their shirts.

They released several albums between 1968 and 1972.

They disbanded after two members left the band. One member went into acting while the other became a painter.


This British band was founded in 1974 by Alan Davey and Richard Chadwick. Hawkwind has been releasing music since 1979.

They have a reputation for being a hard-rocking band. Some of their more popular songs include “Silver Machine” and “Lantern Of Love.” They still tour today.

The GTOs

The GTO’s were a group of female singers who sang about love and relationships. They were formed in 1968 in New York City.

Throughout the 70s, they released three studio albums, but none of them sold well. After disbanding in 1978, they reunited in 1996. They continue to perform today.

Final Thoughts

While we do not hear too much about the freak scene it is important to know that the people in this subculture were actually catalysts in helping to make music and fashion what it is today.