Music’s Most Infamous Masked Performers


When you’re Ke$ha and competing with the likes of Lady Gaga, perhaps you feel like masquerading around Soho wearing a tiger-head mask is the way to go. Because here’s the thing: While for normal people masks serve as a disguise, when you’re already famous, they only get you noticed more. Click through for a roundup of musicians who have embraced the masked look, and in certain cases, prepare yourself to be a little frightened.

Lady Gaga is known for donning dramatic masks both onstage and off. Of this particularly scary S&M-inspired one, she explained, “It’s not just a mask, it’s a contemporary art piece.”

MF Doom: Also known as “Metal Face,” this American hip-hop artist/gladiator has weapons of mad beats.

Heavy Metal band Slipknot originated in Iowa, but, really, they come from your worst haunted house experiences. Corey Taylor said in an interview the masks were the band’s way of becoming “unconscious of who we are and what we do outside of music.”

Los Straitjackets: You wouldn’t normally put Mexican wrestling masks with surfer rock, but here it is. Flashy and kind of funny, we like that they don’t take themselves too seriously.

It doesn’t get anymore theatrical than Grace Jones. She’s described herself in interviews as being more cat-like than human, which explains the attire. Ke$ha, take notes. This is the real deal.

MSTRKFT: Nightmarish goalie masks aren’t just for scary movies. If you go to one of their live shows, you’ll see many fans wearing similar masks.

Concealing their identities from the public since 1969, the members of conceptual band The Residents are known for a signature look that involves eyeball helmets, top hats and tuxedos. See also: XXX Residents, a Japanese, electronic version of the original.

The Knife: Brother-Sister duo Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer want little do with the media, even if it means not showing up to receive awards and disguising themselves in the garb of plague doctors.

Self-proclaimed robots, Daft Punk make sure not to muddle their private lives with business. Their masks come in the form of $65,000 helmets. Because it can’t just be any helmet.

Animal Collective: The band dropped the masks after a couple of tours, afraid the costumes were becoming “too gimmicky.” Even though they claim to have worn the masks only for fun, Brian Weitz said in an interview what’s most important to the band’s aesthetic is providing a sense of mystery.

Gwar: With costumes like these, this shock-rock band can get away with just about anything. And fans worship them for doing so.

Any masks that we missed? Have a favorite? Terrified?