David Liebe Hart hangs in the graveyard for his “Haunted by Frankenstein” video

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David Liebe Hart can make just about anything seem like a good time, from collecting model trains to getting your pecker caught in your zipper. So it’s not surprising that in the new video for “Haunted by Frankenstein,” which he released just in time for Halloween (sorry we’re two weeks late to the party, DLH), he turns a visit to the cemetery into a one-man party. Watch.

Good times, right? “Haunted by Frankenstein” is from Hart’s amazing new album, For Everyone, his collaboration with Half Japanese’s Jad Fair and Jason Willett, which is loaded with similarly off-kilter moments of pop surrealism. The video, I’m pretty sure, was shot at the Hollywood Forever cemetery, although don’t quote me on that — especially because wherever it was filmed, I bet they didn’t have a permit.

Also, since I just read the sad news that Stan Lee died, I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that David Liebe Hart also now exists in comic book form. His superhero character is called Heartman and you can buy issue No. 1 of his adventures (illustrated by 48 different artists, including DLH himself) in the ArtByLiebeHart.com store. Excelsior!

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Rammstein announce first-ever stadium tour

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Two things that are hard to believe: First, that it’s been nearly 10 years since Rammstein‘s last album, and second, that a band known for its over-the-top, pyrotechnic-heavy live show has apparently never done a proper stadium tour before. But in 2019, both those things are set to change.

Less than a month after guitarist Paul Landers casually let slip in a gear interview that the band was working on new music, the German industrial demigods confirmed via their website that not only will they drop a new album next spring — their first since 2009’s Liebe ist für alle da — but they’ll be supporting it with a massive European stadium tour, with stops in 25 cities (full dates below). What will a stadium-sized Rammstein tour look like? Probably something like this, only with even more fire.

As far as the new music, Landers told MusicRadar that the band has been working together in one room, rather than tracking all the parts individually as they’ve done in the past. “We’ve decided to make the record more of a band-unit recording than a bunch of guys playing separately,” he said. “We’ll have to see how it all ends up on the record, but the basic idea is you are hearing a band playing … you could say it’s inspired by our live sound.” In the news post announcing the tour, they also mentioned that they’re working with an orchestra and choir. So it sounds like Rammstein fans are in for something epic.

Tickets for the European tour went on sale today and it looks like several dates are already sold out, so get your ass over to the Rammstein website if you want in on the action. (No tour dates for the rest of the world yet, unfortunately, except a couple dates in Mexico around New Year’s Eve.) Full dates below, right after Till and the gang rock your faces off with this live clip from Hellfest in France in 2016. That spark-shooting bow-and-arrow contraption really ought to be available in the Rammstein online store, don’t you think?

12/31/2018 Puerto Vallarta, Explanada Hotel Secrets
01/02/2109 Puerto Vallarta, Explanada Hotel Secrets
05/27/2019 Gelsenkirchen, Veltins-Arena
05/28/2019 Gelsenkirchen, Veltins-Arena
06/01/2019 Barcelona, RCDE Stadium
06/05/2019 Bern, Stade de Suisse
06/08/2019 Munich, Olympiastadion
06/09/2019 Munich, Olympiastadion
06/12/2019 Dresden, Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion
06/13/2019 Dresden, Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion
06/16/2019 Rostock, Ostseestadion
06/19/2019 Copenhagen, Telia Parken
06/22/2019 Berlin, Olympiastadion
06/25/2019 Rotterdam, De Kuip
06/28/2019 Paris, Paris La Défense Arena
06/29/2019 Paris, Paris La Défense Arena
07/02/2019 Hannover, HDI Arena
07/06/2019 Milton Keynes, Stadium MK
07/10/2019 Brussels, Stade Roi Baudouin
07/13/2019 Frankfurt am Main, Commerzbank-Arena
07/16/2019 Prague, Eden Aréna
07/17/2019 Prague, Eden Aréna
07/20/2019 Luxembourg, Roeser Festival Grounds
07/24/2019 Chorzów, Stadion Śląski
07/29/2019 Moscow, VTB Arena – Central Dynamo Stadium
08/02/2019 Saint Petersburg, Saint-Petersburg-Stadium
08/06/2019 Riga, Lucavsala
08/10/2019 Tampere, Ratina Stadion
08/14/2019 Stockholm, Stockholm Stadion
08/18/2019 Oslo, Ullevaal Stadion
08/22/2019 Vienna, Ernst-Happel-Stadion
08/23/2019 Vienna, Ernst-Happel-Stadion

Haunted Garage’s Dukey Flyswatter is having brain surgery and needs your help

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Dukey Flyswatter in action at the Long Beach Zombie Walk in 2013

[Update: If you can’t make it to the show, there is now also a GoFundMe page to help Dukey with his medical expenses. Give copiously!]

“22 Centimeter Brain Tumor” sounds like the title of a song by Hollywood horror-punks Haunted Garage, and who knows? Maybe someday it will be. But for now, it’s the grim reality for lead singer Dukey Flyswatter, who discovered he had the tumor last month, but powered through a slew of Halloween-related Haunted Garage shows anyway, like the unstoppable splatter-punk beast that he is.

Now, as Dukey prepares to get that fucking thing taken out of his skull (he undergoes surgery Dec. 10th), he needs your help. I’m not sure what his insurance situation is, but even when you have coverage, shit like this can get expensive in a hurry. So his friends are throwing a little benefit party for him here in Los Angeles at Cafe NELA on Saturday, Dec. 1st. Our friends Radioactive Chicken Heads will be on the bill, along with Gitane Demone, Fifi and Haunted Garage, because of course Dukey’s playing his own benefit concert. Did we mention he’s unstoppable?

It’s my understanding that tickets for this epic night of punk rock and brain tumor-stomping will be a mere $10, though I’m sure larger donations will be gratefully accepted. For those of you not in L.A., I’m not sure how you can donate — I’ll find out if Dukey has a GoFundMe page or something. [Update: Now he does have one. Big ups to Pat Rowan for creating it.] He’s been a friend of the blog for many years and an L.A. living legend for longer than that. He deserves all the support we can give him as he fights through this.

Here’s a link to the benefit’s Facebook page again in case you missed it.

Is it in poor taste to end this post with Haunted Garage’s “Brain in a Jar”? It is? Good, because bad taste is what the inimitable Mr. Flyswatter is all about. Rock on, Dukey, and see you at Cafe NELA. Weird Nation has got your back.

Deadlift Lolita

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Howdy, weirdlings! It’s Election Day here in America, and I’m sure I speak for many of my fellow ‘Muricans when I say I will be spending the day distracting myself from the sorry state of our democracy by avoiding the news and de-stressing with as many non-American diversions as possible, like Scotch and whatever crazy shit they’re listening to in Japan these days. Which bring us to our weird band of the week: a kawaiicore duo called Deadlift Lolita.

If you’ve already guessed from the above photo what’s weird about Deadlift Lolita, then congratulations — you figured out that one-half of the duo is not actually Japanese. He’s an Australian who goes by the name Ladybeard. Did you also guess why he calls himself that? Man, you’re on a roll!

When I first heard about the existence of Ladybeard, I was inclined to dismiss him as a foreign carpet-bagger — probably some failed musician who jumped on the kawaii metal bandwagon after it blew up internationally thanks to genre progenitors Babymetal. Then I read a story about him on Narratively that traced his Ladybeard persona back to at least 2009, when the writer (who mistakenly credits Ladybeard with inventing kawaiicore — at best, he might have coined the term, but whatevs) spied him rocking out at a death-metal concert dressed in a full nurse’s uniform. Further research (by which I mean that I, uh, looked up his Wikipedia page) revealed that he’s apparently been cross-dressing since he was 14. So I misjudged you, Ladybeard. You are not a bandwagon-jumper but in fact a full-blown weirdo who just didn’t find your calling until you moved to Japan and became the world’s most improbable kawaii idol.

Ladybeard, whose real name is Richard Magarey, studied drama in South Australia before moving to Hong Kong and finding work as a martial arts stuntman and, later, a professional wrestler. Does he still wrestle, I hear you ask? Damn right he does, and he looks adorable doing it.

After moving from Hong Kong to Tokyo in 2013, he broke into the music biz with his first band, Ladybaby. Musically, if we’re being honest, they were pretty much a straight rip of Babymetal, except one of the three girls was replaced by a giant white dude who looked like a ‘roided-out Aphex Twin in pigtails and sang like Chris Barnes.

Not surprisingly, Ladybaby went viral everywhere the headline “Bearded Cross-Dressing Pro Wrestler Fronts J-Pop Metal Band” might get clicks, which is to say pretty much everywhere. More surprisingly, they were a hit in Japan, too, which isn’t always kind to culture-crashing foreigners but was immediately charmed by this ridiculous gaijin dancing around in polka-dot dresses and grinning like Andrew W.K.’s long-lost, gender-non-conforming cousin.

Well, mostly charmed — in that aforementioned Narratively article, Ladybeard admitted that he sometimes got static from male idol fans who were jealous that he got to traipse around with his young female bandmates. “When I was in Ladybaby, they’d give the girls a present at the signing session, then whisper something like, ‘Eat shit, you dirty foreigner,’ in my ear,” he said. “Then those same people hated me when I left the group.”

That’s right — Ladybeard eventually left Ladybaby, which makes sense when you’ve got fans telling you to eat shit, I guess. What makes less sense is that Ladybaby tried to carry on without him — first calling themselves “The Idol Formerly Known as Ladybaby,” which at least sounded like a cool nod to Prince, then going back to calling themselves just Ladybaby, which makes them the Van Hagar of kawaiicore as far as I’m concerned. Ladybeard, meanwhile, went off and started a new group called Deadlift Lolita with a fellow bodybuilder and pro wrestler named Reika Saiki, and even though their sound still owes a lot to Babymetal, their overall presentation is spectacular. Here, for example, is the video for their debut single, “Six Pack Twins,” which is like a glorious cross between J-pop, Wrestlemania and a protein shake commercial.

Since then, Deadlift Lolita’s music and videos have only gotten weirder — the outfits more outlandish, the music more hyper-caffeinated, the guitar solos more shred-tastic (courtesy of Isao Fujita, who they poached from Babymetal), Ladybeard’s vocals more cartoonish. He breaks out a bizarre falsetto on “Pump Up Japan,” whose video features what I’m assuming are some of his and Reika’s fellow pro wrestlers. Side note: I have zero interest in American wrestling but Japanese wrestling looks ah-mazing.

Sadly, much as David Lee Roth’s solo career languished while everyone rushed out to buy Van Hagar CDs, Deadlift Lolita so far has failed to catch fire the way Ladybeard’s previous group did. The video I’m about to leave you with has a mere 157,000 views a year after its release, while the new Ladybeard-less Ladybaby video has racked up five times that many clicks in just a few months. Maybe people are already over Ladybeard’s kawaii cross-dressing shtick — or maybe they’re just not prepared to accept this much cuteness and muscle definition in one package. Either way, nowhere near enough people have seen the insanity that is “Muscle Cocktail”:

Links:

Weird of the Day: Palais Schaumburg, “Kinder der Tod”

Palais-Schaumburg

We’d like to dedicate today’s post to new reader Jörg, who pointed out (quite rightly — thanks, Jörg!) that for a site about weird music, we’re sorely lacking in Neue Deutsche Welle or New German Wave — a particularly Teutonic strain of synth-heavy post-punk that arose in West Germany in the early ’80s. It had a brief run of popularity, leading to the crossover pop success of acts like Nena of “99 Luftballons” fame and this guy. But the original, more underground NDW was way too weird even for most Germans to fully embrace it. A lot of it sounds like a cross between Einstürzende Neubauten and early video game music — the kind of video games that might give you a small electric shock every time you lose, maybe.

Jörg was nice enough to send us links to a whole mess of this stuff, but the one that really jumped out at me was Palais Schaumburg, a band from Hamberg whose stuff managed to be both robotically stiff and kinda funky at the same time, in that way only Germans seem able to pull off. Plus, the video below for their 1981 song “Kinder der Tod” (“Children of the Death”*) is the kind of amazing ’80s artifact YouTube was made for. Suspenders and bad perms abound, and there’s a menacing figure encased in black stretchy fabric and a little performance-art piece about how you’ll die if you let anyone steal your flowers, or something. It’s all deadly serious but probably meant to be funny but it’s hard to tell because another thing Germans are great at pulling off is humor so deadpan it makes you feel like there might be something wrong with you when you can’t stop laughing at it.

Bonus fun fact: Palais Schaumburg was the first musical projects of one Thomas Fehlmann, who would go on to achieve greater renown as a member of another excellent weird band, British ambient electronic pioneers The Orb. I would never have guessed there was a direct link between Neue Deutsche Welle and ’90s rave chillout rooms, but there you have one.

*After we posted this, Jörg wrote us and explained that a more accurate though grammatically confusing translation of “Kinder der Tod” is “Children the Death” — from a lyric that translates to, “Children, (the) death is not that bad at all.” Thanks for clearing that up, Jörg! Or making it more confusing, which is probably more in the spirit of Palais Schaumburg anyway.

R.I.P. Hardy Fox, Residents co-founder and man of mystery

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Officially, no one knows who is in The Residents. Unofficially, it’s long been established that one of their co-founders and chief sonic architects was a shy, unassuming Texan by the name of Hardy Fox (yes, his real name). And yesterday, the band confirmed that Fox passed away, aged 73. According to Fox’s own website, the cause of death was brain cancer.

Actually, true to The Residents’ flair for dark absurdism, Fox announced his own death weeks ago, posting a “1945-2018” banner on his website and a Facebook statement that read in part, “Yes got sick, making my pass out of this world, but it is ‘all’ okay. I have something in my brain that will last to a brief end. I am 73 as you might know. Brains go down. But maybe here is my brain functioning as I’m almost a dead person just a bit of go yet. Doctors have put me on drugs, LOL, for right now.”

Together with fellow Resident Homer Flynn, Fox would occasionally speak on behalf of the band in the guise of a spokesman for the Cryptic Corporation, The Residents’ management company. He and Flynn were always careful to refer to the band in the third person, as in this interview excerpted from the documentary Theory of Obscurity, in which Fox talks about The Residents’ early failed experiments in filmmaking and subsequent turn to home recording, at a time when making music outside of a professional recording studio was virtually unheard of:

Outside of The Residents, Fox also released music under the names Combo de Mechanico, Sonido de la Noche, TAR, and his favorite alter ego, Charles Bobuck. (Later incarnations of The Residents featured a character named “Chuck,” played by Fox.) One listen to his work under these other aliases and it’s immediately clear he played a major role in The Residents’ creepy, carnivalesque sound:

That song is based on a true story, by the way: Later in life, Fox and his husband, Steven Kloman, left The Residents’ home base of San Francisco and bought a chicken farm. This and other biographical tidbits are revealed in Fox’s book, This, which he released online in 2016 (along with a music compilation of the same name, which is amazing and can be heard on Bandcamp). My other favorite detail from This, which explains a lot about The Residents’ music: Apparently Fox heard music every time he orgasmed, a condition diagnosed as a mild form of epilepsy when he was a child. “I suppose I do not write music so much as have controlled seizures,” he wrote.

Fox did not enjoy touring, so he stopped performing with The Residents in 2016, though he continued composing for them until his death. The band posted a lovely tribute to him yesterday on Twitter and on their website:

It is with with great sorrow and regret that The Cryptic Corporation announces the passing of longtime associate, Hardy Fox. As president of the corporation from 1982-2016, the company benefited from Hardy’s instinct for leadership and direction, but his true value came from his longtime association with The Residents. As the group’s producer, engineer, as well as collaborator on much of their material, Fox’s influence on The Residents was indelible; despite any formal training, his musicality was nevertheless unique, highly refined and prolific. Blessed with a vital sense of aesthetics, a keen ear, and an exquisite love of the absurd, Hardy’s smiling face was a constant source of joy to those around him. He will be missed.

Rest in peace, Hardy Fox. You gave the world so much wonderful music, weird and otherwise. And without you, this blog almost certainly would not exist. So thank you.

It’s impossible to sum up Hardy Fox’s impact in a single video, but The Residents’ “One Minute Movies” comes close. Released in 1980, it features four one-minute songs from The Commercial Album. Improbably, it got a lot of airplay on early MTV, mostly because very few other bands at the time were doing music videos. Every time I watch this, the notion that it was getting piped into people’s cable boxes in Kansas makes me smile.

Bow Gamelan Ensemble’s “Great Noises” getting reissued Nov. 5th

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Turns out our timing in featuring British avant-percussion group Bow Gamelan Ensemble last month was better than we realized. Not only are they the subject of a gallery retrospective in Scotland that opened this past weekend (and runs through Dec. 15th), they’re also about to see their groundbreaking 1988 album, Great Noises That Fill the Air, get a special 30th anniversary reissue via U.K. label/distributor Cold Spring. This will be the first time Great Noises has ever been released digitally or on CD, and I’m pretty sure the cassette and LP versions were long out of print, as well. So yeah, this is a big deal for fans of avant-garde sound installation art.

The Great Noises reissue comes out next Monday, Nov. 5th, but you can stream the whole thing (and pre-order your copy) right now via Bandcamp. Here’s opening track “Two ‘Marimbas’,” which gives you an idea of the percussive merriment that awaits:

For more information on Bow Gamelan and the reissue, or to pre-order the CD, visit Cold Spring’s online store.