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Rock Me, Asmodeus!

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"I'm the Devil, I love METAL!!!"

The Devil is involved directly in rock and roll, whether it be grabbing a guitar himself, or giving a musician some form of supernatural assistance.

After all, if rock and roll is a message from Satan, then Satan should rock out harder than anyone else. Ties into the moral panic surrounding rock and roll when it first came on the scene — many self-proclaimed Moral Guardians criticized it as "the Devil's music."

Can cross over with the Evil Diva if the musician who sold their soul to the Devil then proceeds to use their music to lure their fans to do the same.

The trope name is a pun on the song "Rock Me, Amadeus!" by the late Falco, Asmodeus being a Talmudic demon king.

Subtrope to Rotten Rock & Roll. Compare Villain Song, Heavy Mithril. Not to be confused with (though not mutually exclusive to) the demon prince Asmodeus.

This is not about musicians worshiping Satan, being accused of such, or mentioning Satan in their music. This requires the devil to get directly involved with the music.

In-Universe Examples Only:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess: Inverted. Mara's weakness is that rock and roll forces her to dance as long as she listens to it.
  • Deadman Wonderland has Genkaku who plays a v-guitar that doubles as a two machine guns. He even gets this line in the English dub. "DEATH IS ROCK AND ROLL!"
  • Death Note: Ryuk's character design (both the original, and the one they ultimately went with) evoke the image of a rockstar.
  • Gabriel Dropout: The opening theme is backed by choral music when an angel is singing and electric guitar when a demon is singing.
  • Hell Girl: One of the hell-banishments in the third season has Ai Enma's minions stage a rock concert wherein they play the background music for the scene.
  • Me and the Devil Blues: Johnson somewhat unknowingly makes a Deal with the Devil for musical talent (which is gained by the devil showing the person how to play, granting them amazing musical abilities the next time they touch a guitar). Johnson is soon afterward joined in his musical travels by a man named Ike who he suspects is the Devil in disguise, who is also a good musician.
  • One Piece: Brook is a living skeleton who's also a skilled musician. While aboard the ship he plays sea chanties but during a brief interlude in which he's trapped on an island of cultists who've confused him for Satan, he composes darker, more rock-inspired music, including his hit song "Bone to be Wild".
  • Seven Mortal Sins: Astaroth has a guitar on her person and styles herself as a rock musician. While the series has plenty of image songs, she's the only one who's singing them in-universe.
  • Shugo Chara!: As Guardian Charas of a J-pop Idol, Angel El and Devil Il (and their Chara Naris) both have a musical trait. El's is a calm and tender singing voice, while Il's is... an electric-guitar. Which made it even more awesome when Amu transformed with her. DEVIL'S TUNE! HA!
  • You Are Being Summoned, Azazel: Playing the guitar is Lucifer's favorite ability.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Apple: The devil (by the name Mr. Boogalow) runs a disco music company by the name of BIM, which somehow manages to take over the world with its ridiculous music, even instituting a "National BIM Hour" where everyone has to dance to their music.
  • Bedazzled (1967): Once sequence has Peter Cook grant Dudley Moore's wish that he can win his love through the irresistible means of becoming a pop singer. Alas, Satan then upstages Dudley by taking the stage of a show, not wholly unlike Top of the Pops, himself. "Drimble Wedge" — Satan as pop star — knocks everyone dead and the girls rush over the unheeded Dudley to get to him.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Tommy Johnson claims to have sold his soul At the Crossroads for his guitar skill. Satan appears as a villain throughout the film, though he shows no interest in music.
  • Crossroads is built on the legend of Robert Johnson. Ralph Macchio plays a Julliard student whose real love is the blues, and particularly with the music of Willie "Blind Dog Fulton" Brown, played by Joe Seneca. Mr. Brown sold his soul for the ability to play blues harp; after breaking him out of an NYC nursing home and traveling to the Mississippi Delta, to get him out of the deal, Macchio goes double-or-nothing in a guitar duel against the devil's champion (played by Steve Vai). The soundtrack is a lot of awesome music by guitar master Ry Cooder.
  • Deathgasm: The protagonist stumbles upon some sheet music that, when played, turns anyone within earshot into demons.
  • Fallen: Azazel possesses people just to do bad Mick Jagger impressions. And kill lots of people.
  • Parodied in Jennifer's Body, where the Satanic rock band that sacrifices Jennifer to become famous is an emo band called Low Shoulder. The song "Through the Trees" is pure 2000s pop-emo as its most sensitive and lovelorn, while the band's members use their sensitive Nice Guy personas as a way to pick up chicks.
  • Labyrinth: Jareth, the Goblin King, was explicitly designed to essentially be Satan as an irresistibly alluring rock star.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: A variation in The Lightning Thief. Hades has the appearance and mannerisms of a Heavy Metal star.
  • Repossessed: Inverted. The devil hates rock music, and it is this that eventually drives him from his host.
  • Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare: Subverted. A heavy metal band goes to practice at a farmhouse where the family that once lived in it died mysteriously years before. The Devil takes an interest, and kills the band off one member at a time... and then the lead singer, John Triton, reveals the truth. He's the Archangel Triton, the band was an illusion (modeled after horror film characters - Satan angrily comments that he should have recognized the bass player), and he's come to avenge the family that was killed. Yes, folks, it's Rock Me, Gabriel!
  • Rock: It's Your Decision details the story of a Christian boy who is persuaded that rock and roll is Satan's influence on youth through references to drug use, the homosexual lifestyle of some of the artists, and songs like "Dancing with Mr. D", "One of These Nights", and even "You Need a Woman Tonight" by the Captain and Tennille.
  • Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny: The titular pick itself was crafted from one of the Devil's teeth, and was owned by some of the most famous guitar players in history. And then there's the movie's final song, a rock-off against Dave Grohl as the Devil, who really does play lead guitar and drums.
  • Trick or Treat plays straight a lot of the "evil rock and roll" myths with a musician who does... something vague with his soul before suiciding in a fire. He is resurrected and summoned by someone playing his record backwards, and then proceeds to terrorize.
  • The Witches of Eastwick: The Devil and a repressed music teacher play a literally explosive duet for piano and cello. After this (and a bout of wild sex), the music teacher finds herself in possession of supernatural musical talent.

  • Good Omens:
    • Crowley points out to Aziraphale that Hell has almost all of the good musicians. Oddly, even classical musicians. Including ones, like Bach, who dedicated all their work to God. Heaven has only Elgar and Liszt.
      "Can you imagine eternity with Elgar?"
      Aziraphale shut his eyes. "All too easily," he groaned.
    • Crowley himself likes The Velvet Underground, and he listens to a lot of Queen, although that one is not entirely by choice.
  • John Dies at the End: Inverted in the first part, where the extra-dimensional demonic Wigmonsters are disgusted by music. When the group sings "Sweet Child o' Mine" to distract them, they turn around and walk away. Dave (the one singing) notes that one even spat on him.
  • Lord Dunsany: Inverted in many stories, such as "A Moral Little Tale", where the Devil greatly despises singing and dancing of any kind because they are expressions of happiness and love.
  • More Information Than You Require: John Hodgman notes that Steve Vai traded his soul to the devil for hot licks, then used aforementioned licks to try to kill Ralph Macchio, failing because his eyes were too doleful. It's that kind of book.
  • Robert Burns: The witches' dance that the anti-hero of Tam O'Shanter spies on has Satan playing the bagpipes to provide music.
  • The Screwtape Letters: Inverted. The forces of Hell are staunchly opposed to any music. That's because music is, above all, fun, and the demons hate fun. Silence is also unacceptable because it lets you think. They prefer good, old-fashioned, irritating noise.
    Screwtape: Music and silence! How I hate them both.
  • Silver John: Usually inverted, as it's implied that the protagonist received his skills and silver-stringed guitar from a holy source. Played straight, however, in "Nine Yards of Other Cloth", where he is pitted against a man with an ebony fiddle from a very different source...
  • The Wheel of Time: Asmodean, one of the Forsaken, was a child virtuoso on multiple instruments, although he never really fulfilled that early promise (and turned to the Dark One in hopes that he'd eventually manage it if he were immortal). After Rand captures him, he spends a lot of time pretending to be a traveling entertainer.
  • We Sold Our Souls is about a '90s metal band, Dürt Würk, whose frontman Terry Hunt sold his and his bandmates' souls to Satan for success, then launched a far more successful career with a new band called Koffin while leaving the rest of the band to rot. He continues to feed Black Mountain the souls of his fans in exchange for continued success. He has slowly come to realize that Being Evil Sucks, as he knows that he's going to Hell when he dies and that there will never be enough souls to satisfy Black Mountain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • CHiPs: In the Season 6 episode "Rock Devil Rock", a goth rock star named Moloch is threatened when he begins hearing messages that "Moloch must die" (and they progressively become more ominous, including "Moloch WILL die!"). Although the moral rage aspect is briefly addressed, Moloch's alter-ego — a twenty-year-old man named Mickey Northagen — and the officers realise the messages being subliminal and understood when Moloch's album is played backwards. Eventually, the cops and Northagen figure out that Moloch's morally corrupt, money-hungry record producer is planning to kill him during the filming of a Music Video so — as a result of what he figures will be a publicity stunt — he can make a huge profit with the sale of unheard of numbers of Moloch's goth rock album, and that the "Moloch must/will die" messages were created, backmasked and edited into the Moloch songs, so that teens can spend all their time listening to the songs and figuring out what it all means.
  • Ghosts (US): Part of the punishment in Hell is being forced to listen to Chumbawamba for all eternity.
  • Good Eats: Alton tells a legend about a blues singer who made a Deal with the Devil that helped him bring his music (and hot tamales) to the Mississippi Delta, in exchange for his soul. Alton then goes on to explain that at least the part about the hot tamales is a myth: that was not the result of a pact with Satan (or any other demonic force), but rather cultural exchange between Mexican and African-American laborers.
  • The Haunting Hour: The episode "Long Live Rock and Roll" involves a supernatural being heavily implied to be the devil challenging a teenager and his garage band to an electric guitar duel.
  • The Kids in the Hall: In one sketch, a garage band kid battles Satan in a duel of rockers. Whereas the Devil is able to use six arms to play a blistering solo that would leave any guitar hero in tears, the hero is nonetheless able to blow his mind simply by playing the opening riff of "Smoke on the Water". Even though Satan is the frontman of Evil, Bobby had something Satan didn't have — a Wah-Wah pedal!
  • The Mighty Boosh: When the Boosh travel to Monkey Hell, they smooth things over with the Ape of Death (monkey Satan) with a Glam Rock-inspired musical number that features a bunch of his minions dressed like KISS.
  • Saturday Night Live: Inverted in a sketch where Garth Brooks plays a struggling musician named Milo Jenkins who sells his soul to the Devil (Will Ferrell) for a hit song, but it turns out that the Devil's songwriting and guitar skills both suck. The Prince of Darkness struggles to get his guitar in tune, and the best songs he has to offer are banal novelties like "Fred's Got Slacks", Smash Mouth songs with reworked lyrics, and a Piss-Take Rap, forcing him to give up without claiming Milo's soul. Ironically, the Devil's sub-par skills end up inspiring Milo to write a song called "The Devil Can't Write No Love Songs", so he wound up helping after all.
  • Supernatural: Lucifer, who is a fallen archangel who needs a host body to walk on Earth, occupies several different hosts over the course of the series, including a fading rock star played by Rick Springfield.
  • A Year at the Top is about a band which sold their souls to the son of the Devil for one year of superstardom. It didn't last long enough for anyone to find out what would have happened had the series been renewed for a second year.
  • Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell: Subverted. After a hundred million years of practicing (on a guitar made from the flesh and bones of virgins, no less), Satan still can't manage to play the Epic Riff from "Cinnamon Girl" without screwing up.

  • One of the earliest examples of this trope, there is a legend (embellished by Madame Blavatsky) that violinist Giuseppe Tartini wrote the famous "Devil's Trill" after being inspired by a deal he made with Satan in a dream the previous night. Violinists that have tried playing the Devil's Trill themselves would not be surprised if this turned out to be true, as it is extremely difficult to pull off.
  • Robert Johnson has written "Cross Road Blues", "Me and the Devil Blues" and "Hellhound on My Trail" to capitalize on the persistent rumor that he made a Deal with the Devil to become a talented guitarist. What gives this legend weight are the facts that his life is Shrouded in Myth, that he went from a terrible guitarist to one of the greatest in history in a very short time frame and that he was the first victim of the infamous "27 curse."
  • Mephistopheles rocks in the opera Beethoven's Last Night.
  • Leslie Fish composed Chickasaw Mountain in homage to Phil Ochs, suggesting that he'd made a deal for his talent.
  • Pre-rock example: Irving Berlin's song "Pack Up Your Sins" suggests that "all the nice people" are having A Hell of a Time down there dancing to Satan's music, i.e. jazz.
  • Charlie Daniels' song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" is one of the straightest examples, except that it's not rock guitar, but country fiddle playing. It nevertheless rocks, hard. To boot, the Devil's fiddle solo is accompanied by Rock and Roll music, while Charlie's solo is accompanied by folk music and Bluegrass.
    • Expanded on in the sequel, "The Devil Comes Back to Georgia". Features more modern Country Rock from Travis Tritt, and "narration" by the late, great Johnny Cash. Instead of it being clear the devil lost, the musical duel plays out the song with no resolution.
    • The Adam Ezra Group adapted Daniels' song into "The Devil Came Up to Boston", which not only plays up every urban Hollywood New England stereotype imaginable, but is a subversion in that it makes the Devil significantly less impressive; instead of a golden fiddle like the original, he tempts a young man into a fiddling contest with a lotto scratchcard and a pack of cigarettes... and he still loses.
  • The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion frequently point out that they are not in the service of the devil. No one has ever accused them of such, but it sure makes for good lyrics.
  • Tenacious D's song "Tribute" they are able to drive away the Shining Demon by playing the best song in the world.
  • This trope is the very foundation of Black Metal. In fact, there are some bands whose members are genuinely theistic Satanists, like Gorgoroth and Deathspell Omega.
  • Finnish heavy metal band Lordi have basically made a career out of this, with such songs as The Devil is a Loser and Hard Rock Hallelujah.
    • Or averted or even inverted it. Sure, Mr. Lordi looks demonic, but the actual devil is a loser (and his bitch).
  • GWAR plays with this trope to hell and back (no pun intended). While they look nothing short of demonic, their backstory is that, after they were banished to Earth from outer space, they invented music by stretching dinosaur gizzards across the Grand Canyon to use as a makeshift guitar. They also killed an expy of Satan after being sent to Hell, along with the "Anti-Anti-Christ".
  • Orange Goblin has "You're Not The One (Who Can Save Rock & Roll)". A guitar player wants to save rock and roll, but the Devil tells him he can't because he doesn't have the blues. A decade later the guitar player's burned out and the Devil offers to give him the blues in exchange for his soul. He accepts, and becomes a rock and roll superstar, "singing the blues cos [he] ain't got no soul".
  • Mephistopheles is a character in Avantasia's Rock Opera The Wicked Trilogy. He's the villain, but he sure does rock hard.
  • Gorillaz:
    • Their drummer Russell Hobbs tried to get back on his feet after being exorcised by trying to make his magnum opus: The Seventh Heaven Hip-Hop and Harmony Album. Somewhere along the line it was possessed by demons and got warped into what Russell describes as a "wonky David Koresh tape" so tainted by evil that it made ectoplasm leak out of the speakers.
    • The band's bassist and founder, Murdoc Niccals, is a dedicated Satanist (Born on June 6th, 1966, might we add) that signed a deal with Beelzebub to ensure that the band was a success. Apparently the price of this contract was having everything bad that happened to the band be the result of Murdoc's selfish, soulless, satanic and downright stupid actions.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu:
    • In several editions, one of the scenarios included in the main book is about a prohibition-era New Orleans jazz musician who's been gifted a strange trumpet by (of course) Nyarlathotep. Said trumpet's music can bring back the dead as violent zombies.
    • In the adventure "The Evil Stars", the leader of a rock band turns out to be a worshipper of Hastur.
    • Delta Green has Charnel Dreams, the house band for NYC's Club Apocalypse. The band's lead singer/guitarist is a sorcerer, assassin, and worshiper of Nyarlathotep. The rest of the band either also worships dark gods or is willing to go along for the fame.
  • Exalted: Music is always being played in Malfeas, the Demon City, mostly as a matter of survival. Malfeas loves music and dance, both as participant and audience, to the point where it's the only thing that can calm his Unstoppable Rage, but it also has the benefit of warding away Adorjan, the Silent Wind, who kills everything she touches but is repelled by noise. Note, however, that Malfeas has very high standards, and anyone who performs poorly can expect to be crushed, incinerated, infected with a horrific illness, or trapped in horrific agony for a thousand years.
  • In Nomine: An official series of campaigns, the Revelations Cycle, starts with Furfur, a minor demon, trying to get himself promoted to Demon Prince of Rock and Roll by performing a song intended to summon Lucifer — the song needs to be sung ten million times to work, so Furfur records himself singing it, tricks a rock band into performing it, and dubs his own voice over the radio broadcast. Lucifer grants his wish, but on a whim makes Furfur the Demon Prince of Hardcore instead.
  • Mage: The Awakening: Grimoire of Grimoires has a band composed of varying flavors of Satanist (who are generally no more evil than most mages). Their entry has an album that is more or less deliberately invoking this trope, including back-masked occult secrets combined with a spell that influences anyone listening to the record backward to rebel against authority.
  • Warhammer: While he isn't the devil, the Chaos God Slaanesh granted his followers weaponised guitars, until those were changed into the sonic blasters of today. Why? Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll of course.

  • The Book of Mormon: The Spooky Mormon Hell Dream sequence includes the Devil playing a Heavy Metal guitar solo.
  • The Devil: X-Black (the devil) has a much stronger rock sound to his music than X-White (the angel). Walpurgis Night is, the most of it, even though X-White sings a lot of it, it's X-Black's event.

    Video Games 
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night: One of the demonic creatures that can be encountered in the castle is a demonic rock musician called Tamako-Death who has a flame-shooting electric guitar that she shreds on, replacing the background music until she's defeated.
  • Brütal Legend: Emperor Doviculus isn't quite Satan, but he's a good enough substitute, and he rocks harder than anyone else with his quadruple-headed guitar.
  • The Conduit: Played with by Fang Jorgenson, host of the "Fang Bang Metal" radio show. He starts off as a stereotypical heavy metal DJ, but as the game's Alien Invasion proceeds, he interprets it with unrestrained glee as a demonic uprising.
    "So it comes down to this, the attacks are not done by terrorists after all. They are demons here to take the world for the Lightbringer! The Bug has plagued the masses. Demons are attackin' on our streets. Death seems to be at every turn. We may live to see the end of days!"
  • Darkstalkers gives us Lord Raptor, a metal rocker who wrote occult text into his songs. At his final concert, he killed his audience and himself, and a demon lord was impressed enough to grant him undeath.
  • Friday Night Funkin': The Big Bad, Daddy Dearest, is a demon who is stated to be an ex-rock star. His wife, Mommy Mearest, is a demonic pop star instead.
  • Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock: The final stage is a rock-off against a demon who may or may not be the Devil but is your manager, Lou, with your band's souls on the line. Set to a rock cover of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", no less. (Charlie Daniels thinks this use of his song is a perversion of it — if only because the game gives the Devil the possibility to win, when the point of the song is to state that The Devil Is a Loser — and finds Guitar Hero 3's content for Lou's Inferno to be shocking and inappropriate.)
  • Kingdom of Loathing: An optional side quest involves finding appropriate music to perform before Satan. "Appropriate music" is, naturally, Heavy Metal.
    "Oh, evil Satan
    oscillate my metallic
    sonatas live. Ho!"
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: The trailer for the mod Lute Hero is presented not by Lord of Darkness himself, but Death fills his role instead. In the sequence where the Lute Hero system was implemented in Dark Waters, you do end up visiting Hell at one point, where you meet a character who claims to be Satan's prepubescent daughter and who is the only divine figure who doesn't complain about how horrible your music is.
  • Total Distortion: One of the late-game locations is called "Hell's Garage", which is a literal garage surrounded by fire. Inside is a set of amps, some useful items, and a satanic-looking Macintosh with very valuable rock songs and video clips you can download after beating a Hacking Minigame. Subverted in that Satan himself never makes an appearance, though.
  • Warcraft III: In the bonus ending of the expansion pack The Frozen Throne, Arthas the fallen prince and newly-crowned Lich King rocks out to L80ETC's "Power of the Horde".

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss: A very literal example. Asmodeus, the lord of the sin of Lust, is unamused with Moxxie singing his heartfelt love song to Millie in his own club, upstaging the poor imp with a bombastic cabaret number.

  • Adventurers!: The electric guitar is the instrument of "dark musical arts". The villain the Axe plays it.
  • Headbanged: Inverted and exaggerated. Jesus plays the drums, is a huge fan of black metal, and is apparently friends with Gaahl, an (in)famous black metal musician. Satan, however, hates metal and prefers easy listening — pop at the heaviest.
  • Penny Arcade: In an unusual take on this trope, the awesomeness of rock and metal is pretty much the only point that Jesus and Satan agree on.

    Western Animation 

  • And this Marilyn Manson shirt.
    Warning: the music of Marilyn Manson contains messages that will
    in your impressionable teenage minds. As a result, you could be convinced to
    and eventually, in an act of hopeless 'rock and roll' behavior, you will
    Please burn your records while there's still hope.
  • Subverted by an old Weekly World News article, which claimed that the Devil has switched to Gangsta Rap as his personal genre because he felt that rock music nowadays was for pussies.
  • There was a documentary about "the evils of rock and roll" called Hell's Bells, which claimed that rock musicians are possessed by the Devil when they write and/or perform their songs. There was a sequel, released in 2001, titled Hell's Bells 2, which suggested that many rock bands promoted LaVeyan Satanism through their general attitude, even though most of the bands they described probably had little to no actual knowledge of LaVeynote .
  • Bill Hicks had a routine on this trope, called "play from your heart". Basically he claimed that if the choice was between rock and the Devil and going to Heaven and listening to New Kids on the Block, he'd pick the Devil.
  • Varg Vikernes criticizes this trope on his website. He argues that Black Metal is not, nor can ever have been Satanic, because "Satanism", as it were, has never existed. Every recorded case of Satanism or Devil Worship before modern times has actually been genuine Pagan practices which have been demonized as "Satanism" by the Church.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Satan Plays Lead Guitar


Satan vs. Tenacious D

JB and KG were dumb enough to challenge the Devil himself to a rock-off.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / RockMeAsmodeus

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