Rock ‘n’ roll has a history of tragic mispairings — like in 1967 when the Jimi Hendrix Experience opened a tour for the Monkees, or when ABBA and KISS toured in the ’70s, and the more recent double-bill of the Scissor Sisters and Limp Bizkit.
Okay, okay, I made those last two up. But here are three perfect examples of band names that should never appear together on the same bills — but actually did!
• Ratt and Poison: An odd coincidence or the product of a booking agent with a sense of humor, 1987’s Ratt-Poison tour is a semantics and publicity nightmare. And predictably enough it drew barbs from music critics at newspapers all over the country, who were already more disposed to dig Elvis Costello than the leather clad likes of Warren DeMartini and Stephen Pearcy. This gem of a package toured the States in 1987, during the high reign of hair metal. Poison was a newcomer at the time, touring behind their debut album Look What the Cat Dragged In, a title that only made the pairing more awkward. And while Poison were riding high on their breakthrough hit “Talk Dirty To Me,” Ratt were past their prime, but still raking in lots of cheese on the arena circuit.
• Public Enemy and Anthrax: With those band names, this double bill would be rounded up by men in black helicopters and shipped off to Guantanamo Bay by Homeland Security today. But in the pre-9/11 innocence of 1991, it was only rock ‘n’ roll. PE was touring behind Apocalypse 91…The Enemy Strikes Back, a title alluding to the band’s controversial media play at the time, and the disc’s song “Bring the Noize” contained a shout-out to Anthrax, which made the pairing a natural. Plus, Anthrax’s Scott Ian was already wearing PE shirts on stage during his band’s gigs. And Anthrax was supporting their excellent Persistence of Time, which garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance.
• Meat Puppets and the Fluid: Where’s a family friendly place to go with this? This verbally unfortunate pairing was just a one-night-stand at Denver, Colorado’s German House in 1986. Denver’s own the Fluid would go on to become to first non-Seattle/Portland band to sign with the grunge happy Sub Pop label. And the Meat Puppets were on the legendary punk label SST, which elevated Black Flag and a host of other bands to international fame, touring after the release of the Out My Way EP. Both bands would break up and eventually reassemble, and while they still tour, this remains a one-of-a-kind double-bill.