The origin of the group's name is uncertain. One story claims that the name was the result of the original lineup participating in a night of extremely heavy drinking which resulted in a bar owner throwing the drunk group out and calling them a bunch of "revolting cocks."
Losing Richard 23 and Patrick Codenys due to creative differences, the group's remaining two members were augmented by a rapidly changing set of musicians centered around Chris Connelly (Fini Tribe, later Damage Manual), Paul Barker (Ministry), Duane Buford, and Bill Rieflin (who is now playing for REM and Robyn Hitchcock), with around twenty others as irregular contributors or guest artists.
The single was quickly followed by an album Big Sexy Land in 1986, followed by a live album You Goddamned Son of a Bitch in 1987 and Beers, Steers, and Queers in 1989. After a lengthy hiatus, Linger Ficken' Good, was released in 1993 - this would be the Cocks' last album for over 10 years.
The first album was a mix of Wax Trax-industrial, hard rock, and EBM with dominating sampling and strong synthesized beats. The live album, with the change in personnel, featured a return to Ministry-like industrial rock - the Big Sexy Land tracks embedded in shouting and noise. This trend continued on Beers, Steers and Queers, layering sample over sample and pushing ever further into distortion. Linger Ficken' Good was released by Sire records and is a tamer affair, most tracks returning to the less layered material. Included was a cover of Rod Stewart's Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?, also released as a single.
In 2004, the band released iterations of "Prune Tang" to disappointing responses from fans. An album titled "Purple Head" was due in 2004, but was delayed until 2006 with a change in title, "Cocked & Loaded." The first single, "Caliente (Dark Entries)," a cover of sorts of "Dark Entries" By Bauhaus, with vocalist Gibby Haynes, was featured on the soundtrack to Saw II in 2005.
The Revolting Cocks are also known for their perverse lyrics and raunchy live shows, which made them a target for angry moralists in the late '80s / early '90s. In the mid '80s, their song "No Devotion" was put on the PMRC's "banned list", and in 1990, Britain's Home Secretary Douglas Hurd tried to stop the band from performing in the UK by refusing them work permits.