Music

The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists  

Reference
8k votes 1.1k voters 44.5k views 119 items

Similarly to avant-garde rock and avant-garde rock bands, experimental rock takes rock music and takes it to places where many mainstream bands are afraid to go. Experimental rock bands are among the most interesting bands with extremely rabid, loyal fanbases. Usually, experimental rock bands will tinker with things like song structure, and showcases a different side of a rock band. Technical prowess is crucial for experimental rock bands to challenge the status quo. Beginning in the 1960s, experimental rock used elements from free jazz, classical music and even psychedelic rock to create a sound people had never heard before. Experimental rock has also called post-rock.

So, who are considered experimental rock bands? You can't think of experimental rock without bringing up Frank Zappa, Brian Eno and even Neil Young. These guys took traditional rock music and decide to create their own subtexture to their sound. How else can you accurately explain what Zappa and the Mothers of Invention did? They took traditional music and made it their own, hence the experimental rock label. Elements of Krautrock, ambient music and underground music were embraced by experimental rock bands.

This list of experimental rock bands should be a guide to the genre. Experimental rock This list answers the questions "who are the best experimental rock bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest experimental rock musician ever?"(119 items)
list ordered by
1
King Crimson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
King Crimson are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1968, that now is more international in membership. King Crimson have been influential both on the early 1970s progressive ...more
2
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
RayFracalossy added
Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised David Byrne (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Frantz (drums), Tina Weymouth (bass), ...more
3
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London in 1965. They emerged from London's underground music scene during the late 1960s, and became one of the most commercially successful and ...more
4
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over 50 years. With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that ...more
5
The Velvet Underground is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in 1964 in New York City by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus ...more
6
The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With a line-up comprising John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they are regarded as the most ...more
7
The Mothers of Invention is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
The Mothers of Invention was an American rock band from California. Formed in 1964, their work is marked by the use of sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. ...more
8
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, and bandleader. His work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form ...more
9
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (, BOH-ee), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry ...more
10
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Radiohead are an English rock band formed in Abingdon-on-Thames in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), brothers Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, ...more
11
Sonic Youth is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Sonic Youth was an American rock band based in New York City, formed in 1981. Founding members Thurston Moore (guitar, vocals), Kim Gordon (bass, vocals, guitar) and Lee Ranaldo (guitar, vocals) ...more
12
Syd Barrett is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett (6 January 1946 – 7 July 2006) was an English singer, songwriter, and musician who co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd in 1965. Characterised for his ...more
13
Kraftwerk is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
TCUhimself added
Kraftwerk (German: [ˈkʁaftvɛɐ̯k], lit. "power station") is a German band formed in Düsseldorf in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. Widely considered as innovators ...more
14
Brian Eno is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, RDI (; born Brian Peter George Eno, 15 May 1948) is an English musician, record producer, visual artist, and theorist best known for his ...more
15
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Lewis Allan Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013) was an American musician, singer, songwriter and poet. He was the lead guitarist, singer and principal songwriter for the rock band the Velvet ...more
16
Captain Beefheart & His Magic ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
Don Van Vliet (, born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and visual artist best known by the stage name Captain ...more
17
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Neil Percival Young (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After embarking on a music career in the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed Buffalo Springfield with ...more
18
Mr. Bungle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
JackSalvucci added
Mr. Bungle is an American experimental rock band from Northern California. Known for a highly eclectic style, the band often cycled through several musical genres within the course of a single ...more
19
The Residents is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
RayFracalossy added
The Residents are an American art collective best known for their avant-garde music and multimedia works. Since their first official release, Meet the Residents (1974), the group has released ...more
20
CAN is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
carl-taylor added
Can was a German experimental rock band formed in Cologne in 1968 by the core quartet of Holger Czukay (bass, tape editing), Irmin Schmidt (keyboards), Michael Karoli (guitar), and Jaki ...more
21
Soundgarden is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
AdamBell added
An interesting mix of metal, psychedelia, hard rock, punk, and eastern music that became iconic of one of the big four of the Seattle scene. Soundgarden was an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil (both of whom are the only members to appear ...more
22
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as the rhythm guitarist for ...more
23
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer-songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the ...more
24
Neu! is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
shacharhbr added
Neu! was a German krautrock band formed by Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother after their split from Kraftwerk in the early 1970s. Though Neu! had minimal commercial success during its existence, ...more
25
Butthole Surfers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Experimental Rock Bands/Artists
Kassie Lanzarotta added
Butthole Surfers are an American rock band formed by singer Gibby Haynes and guitarist Paul Leary in San Antonio, Texas, in 1981. The band has had numerous personnel changes, but its core lineup ...more