Music History

Band Uses Meat Cleavers As Musical Instruments. This Used to be a Thing, Apparently.

About 300 years ago, vigilante groups roamed Suffolk with meat cleavers, singing about all the horrible things they’d done.  Their targets were people alleged to have done bad things, so if the singers with the meat cleavers turned up at your place, you knew you were in trouble.  You were threatened with being given “the rough music”–which was a nice way of saying “You’d better leave town, mate.”  In the absence of government law enforcement, these bands were pretty effective at social control.

The Dead Rat Orchestra would like to resurrect this tradition–just without the beating and the hackings and the forcing of people into exile.  The group is using 12 bronze tuned meat cleavers along with a metal bucket, a barrel scraper and a salt box to recreate these old songs.  A show, entitled Rough Music, is about to be staged in the UK.

The BBC has more, if you must.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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