Some musicians burst onto the scene with their artistic vision fully formed. But many other take some time to discover their true style, leaving a pile of weirdly uncharacteristic recordings in their wake. You know those awkward middle school photos you with bleached tips and Oakley glasses trying to look like a skater dude? Same kind of deal. Many of the primitive musical projects from these future-famous artists are straight-up bizarre, while others are so good that we wished they went that direction full time! They may not all be catchy, but they’re definitely all super interesting. Read on to see 10 of the most unexpected musical past lives of rock stars!
10. Trent Reznor was in ’80s new-wave band Option 30 (1983)
He recorded an entire album in the living room where actress Sharon Tate was murdered by the Mason Family, naming the studio Le Pig after the word that was scrawled on the front door in her blood. So yeah, we feel confident in saying that the Nine Inch Nails front-man is a pretty dark dude. But his musical career wasn’t always quite so spooky and ominous.
While a student at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, Reznor joined a local bar band who seemed content with mainly covering the Cars, Joe Jackson and (most unforgivably) Falco. Trent took the lead vocals and keyboard duties, while other band-mates wrote wrote a few originals. Funny when you think that Reznor later won an Oscar for handling that stuff. His stint with the group didn’t last too long, and he soon moved on to the band the Innocent, followed by Exotic Birds, before forming the ever popular NIN.
9. Vampire Weekend were an electro-rap group called L’Homme Run (circa 2003)
Yup, in addition to “Bitches”, Ezra Koenig and Andrew Kalaidjian’s college project had song titles like “Giving Up Da Gun,” “Interracial Dating.” But they will forever live in our hearts for penning the line: “The only flow you’ve got is menstrual.” Wow.