The Weirdest Vintage ‘SNL’ Musical Performances

Contemporary Saturday Night Live doesn’t always have its finger on the pulse the way it should. It’s done a few things wrong, like the ongoing race debacle that creators tried to make right with the recent hiring of more diverse cast members. And SNL isn’t nearly as edgy as it used to be, during the days of Eddie Murphy and John Belushi. But the gang at Studio 8H has always featured a wide variety of musical guests — some stranger than others. Dangerous Minds dug up a video of hardcore band Fear playing the SNL stage in 1981 (featured, below). Inspired by Lee Ving and company’s wild performance that seems wildly unusual for SNL, we rounded up some other weird vintage musical appearances.


Donald Pleasence can barely keep a straight face introducing Lee Ving’s hardcore band Fear. The 1981 Halloween appearance features Fear’s usual bait-y banter (“It’s great to be in New Jersey!”) and a flailing pit of moshers (including John Belushi, Ian MacKaye, Tesco Vee of The Meatmen, Harley Flanagan and John Joseph of The Cro-mags, and John Brannon of Negative Approach). After freaking out SNL producers with a wild set that apparently left behind $20,000 in damages, Fear was essentially banned from ever playing the stage again — and some clubs refused to book them after their SNL spot. The makers of the 2012 film All Ages: The Boston Hardcore Film write that “John Belushi also offered Fear the soundtrack for his major motion picture Neighbors that he was shooting at the time. The movie studio eventually forced Fear off the project after Belushi’s death.”