Throw Back: The Shaggs

Illustration for Tom Tom by Rachel Wolf

Hometown: Fremont, New Hampshire

Band members: The Wiggin Sisters (Dot, Helen, Betty and later on, Rachel)

Formed in: 1968

The world my friends, is divided in two. You either love The Shaggs, or you hate them. On the one hand, we’ve got Kurt Cobain, who applauded the Wiggin sisters for their contribution to outsider music. On the other hand, you have their lazy, almost bored, sounding tunes nagging at your brain in a way that could drive you mad. Lets agree on this though: The Shaggs have had an odd origin. You see, father Wiggin’s mother (Grandma Shaggs!) read his palm when he was a young man and predicted three things about his future: 1. He would marry a strawberry blonde 2. He would have two sons 3. His daughters would form a band. After the first two premonitions came true, he decided to actively pursue the third. And so, The Shaggs came to be, with Dorothy as lead guitarist / vocalist, Betty on back-up guitar, Rachel on bass, and Helen on the drums.

Truly, they are rather brilliant. The simplicity of their lyrics and instrumentation has that fresh-from-mom’s-basement feel. Its genuine yet seems effortless, their compositions are complex and irregular. Listen to the lyrics of “Philosophy of the World,” and try and tell me that is not musical genius.

Find out more here or read about them in Tom Tom Magazine print Issue 3 in stores NOW!

– Camila Danger

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