John Hall used to be a street performer / poet, but he eventually decided, to quote, "20 minutes of me reading poetry are boring", thus King Missile was born.
Their style can be described as several minutes of Hall reading his free verse poetry, accompanied by various music.
Notable for being extremely quotable.
Their songs provide examples of following tropes:
- Abhorrent Admirer: The narrator of "Martin Scorsese", were he ever to meet Scorsese
- Ass Shove: "Up My Ass" from King Missile III, as one can tell from the title.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: "Detachable Penis"
- Cover Version: Versions of Richard Hell's "Betrayal Takes Two" and Buzzcocks' "Love You More" have appeared on King Missile albums. A few other times, they've done covers as part of tribute albums: The Rutles' "Doubleback Alley", R.E.M.'s "Get Up", The Beatles' "We Can Work It Out", and Orleans' "Still The One" note .
- Cluster F-Bomb: The Psychopathology Of Everyday Life is one of their most profanity-filled albums, mainly due to two songs: "The President" is a 3 minute rant against George W. Bush that borders on Angrish and contains 61 uses of the word "fuck", while "The Pain Series" is a set of equally profanity-filled reactions to physical pain, the causes ranging from hitting one's thumb with a hammer to getting a paper cut. The album cover lampshades this with a mock parental advisory label, reading "WARNING: CONTAINS LOTS OF CURSES: DO NOT BUY!"
- "Martin Scorsese" definitely qualifies as well.
- Early-Bird Cameo: "Wind-Up Toys" first appeared on John Hall's solo album, Real Men, but in name only. Though the lyrics and title were the same, the music was completely different.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Atlantic Records insisted on a placing a Parental Advisory warning label on their album Happy Hour, which the band weren't happy with. According to John S. Hall, for their next album, King Missile, they submitted a self-censored lyric sheet to the label, but kept the cursing in the recorded versions of songs, figuring no one at the label would actually listen to the music. The ploy apparently worked - despite probably having about as much objectionable content in it as Happy Hour did, the self-titled album had no such warning on the cover.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Many, many songs.
- I Am the Band: John S. Hall is the only constant member.
- Jesus Was Way Cool: Trope Namer, page quote.
- Interactive Narrator:
- "Domestic Life": At one part of the song, the wife character calls the narrator out for repeating what she had just said, and eventually threatens the narrator for saying "he said" and "she said" after everything they say. This causes the narrator to go on an insulting rant to both characters in his story, upon which they feel bad and apologize to the narrator and ask if there's any problems he has. He tells them his problems, but not before killing and raping them.
- List Song: "Up My Ass" is a list of things that go you would never ever guess where.
- "Equivalencies" counts as well, drawing comparisons between such as Shovels and Jesus, and Yellow meaning War
- "Gay Not Gay" divides its list items into those which are gay or not gay (or neutral, "like eating a sandwich")
- Loony Fan: "Martin Scorsese"
- Obligatory Bondage Song
- Margaret's Eyes, in which the singer tries to describe the color of Margaret's eyes while she keeps him on a leash and puts out cigarettes on him.
- Leather Clown, in which a fictional relationship with a non-existing leather-clad, female clown is described.
- My Lover, in which the singer describes how he enjoys his lover pouring candle wax on his nipples.
- Officially Shortened Title: They were originally known as King Missile (Dog Fly Religion) - when guitarist and co-founding member Dogbowl left the group to pursue solo work, the next lineup of the band became simply King Missile out of respect, since the parenthetical part of the name had been his idea.
- Refuge in Audacity: A number of their songs, the least of which being 'Miracle of Childbirth' which goes over in detail about the night your parents had sex to conceive you
- Stealing from the Till: "Take Stuff From Work", page quote.
- Transparent Closet: "Gay/Not Gay", see Quotes.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: Where "Detachable Penis" starts. It gets a lot weirder from there.
- Word Salad Title: The band's name in general, but especially the somewhat longer version they used for early releases: King Missile (Dog Fly Religion) does not have anything in common with missiles, kings, crowned missiles, dogs, dog flies, religion practiced by, or involving dogs or dog flies.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Also happens.