Have you ever wondered what the missing link is between the Misfits and GWAR? Us neither, but a reader named Jeremy just found it for us and posted it on our Facebook page (and hey, while we’re on the subject, go over to Facebook and “Like” us, will ya? I know, it’s annoying, but you never know…maybe if you do it, we’ll give you a pony). The band is called Haunted Garage and they appear to have taken the fine art of covering your audience in fake blood and real slime to heights that would probably leave Oderus Urungus clutching his codpiece in a fetal position. Okay, maybe not, but they were pretty fucking gross, is what I’m saying.
Haunted Garage were part of the L.A. underground rock scene from around 1985 until 1992, although they’ve done a handful of reunion shows in the years since. They only released one album as far as we can tell, a lost nugget from 1990 called Possession Park, although they also did the soundtracks for a lot of horror and sci-fi B-movies like Nightmare Sisters and The Dead Hate the Living!
The band was started by a B-movie actor and screenwriter named Michael Sonye. Among the credits on his IMDb page: Dorm of the Dead, Terrors From the Clit, Hollywood Chainsaw Bartenders and of course the immortal Troma classic Surf Nazis Must Die, which I’m pretty sure I watched in a bonghit haze back in high school and even then thought, “Wow, this sucks.” For Haunted Garage, Sonye made up an alter ego named Dukey Flyswatter who’s sort of a combination of Iggy Pop, Glenn Danzig and Dr. Frank N. Furter. The band apparently started out playing cover versions of songs from classic horror film soundtracks, but eventually started coming up with original tunes with titles like “Torture Dungeon” and “Brain in a Jar.” Their sound is usually described as horror punk, although Dukey also used the term “splatter punk,” which is a lot more evocative, don’t ya think?
Haunted Garage shows were highly theatrical and sometimes destructive affairs. A bio on the band’s MySpace page claims that their final show, at a long-gone Hollywood dive called the Coconut Teaszer, ended with the crowd tearing down the sprinkler system and girls getting their tops ripped off. Up onstage, most of the blood, gore and mayhem was faked, but sometimes the band could cross over into full-on freakshow territory. Dukey, for example, is famous for attaching mousetraps to his face. (And if you clicked on that link, I apologize. That’s gonna be a tough image to shake, huh?)
There’s a cool “video profile” of Haunted Garage on YouTube, which also introduces such other memorable band members as their drag queen guitarist, Gaby Godhead, their rat-loving drummer, Stiff Slug, and the “gore-gore girls,” who provided the eye candy. But the video that we felt would give y’all the best taste of Haunted Garage in all their gory glory was the one below, featuring a sort of necrophiliac love song called “Dead and Gone.” Stay with it till around the 2:30 mark, when it really takes a turn for the freaky.