Metalachi is messin’ with Texas


I like to make fun of Texas as the land of Dubya and belt buckles the size of license plates, and I don’t intend to give those things up anytime soon. But it’s also the land of Christeene and these guys, so I guess they aren’t all bad.

More proof that Texas isn’t just for gun nuts and cousin-marriers: they seem to have a big ol’ ten-gallon hard-on for Metalachi, the awesome metal mariachi cover band whose praises we have been singing between long swigs of Tecate for some time now. And now Metalachi is gearing up to return the love with a nine-show swing through the Lone Star State. Hide your cheerleaders, Cowboys.

Here are the full dates. By the way, I had no idea you folks out in Lubbock had named a bar in my honor. I hope y’all have plenty of Shiner Bock on hand at all times, cuz you never know when I might drop by for a visit.

WEDNESDAY APRIL 3 – Antone’s, Austin TX
THURSDAY APRIL 4 – Backstage LIVE, San Antonio TX
FRIDAY APRIL 5 – Scoutbar, Houston TX
SATURDAY APRIL 6 – Brewster Street Icehouse, Corpus Christi TX
SUNDAY APRIL 7 – Trees, Dallas TX
WEDNESDAY APRIL 10 – Tricky Falls, El Paso TX
FRIDAY APRIL 12 – Jake’s Backroom, Lubbock TX
SATURDAY APRIL 13 – Clicks, Tyler TX
SUNDAY APRIL 14 – The Lucky Mule, Abilene TX

For those of y’all back here in L.A.: Metalachi will be hosting the third annual Drinko de Mayo party at the Roxy on Friday, May 3rd. Stay tuned for more details on that mess.

Let’s play this out with “Sweet Chayo o’ Mine,” as filmed by yours truly with an iPhone in one hand and a margarita in the other. Watch close and you can spot the moment when I switched hands cuz my arm got tired.


Weird Live Review: Metalachi


Ever since we first heard about them two years ago, we’ve been meaning to get our asses to a Metalachi concert. Not like we haven’t had plenty of chances; they’re a local band and they play L.A. all the fucking time. But somehow, we just never quite made it happen.

Well last night, we finally got our Metalachi cherry popped at El Cid, a combination nightclub/Mexican restaurant that, if they had any sense at all, would make these guys their house band. Because sweet Jesus (pronounced “Hey-Seuss”) does Metalachi put on a show, even to a half-empty room on a Wednesday night. By the time they finished up with an encore of “Ace of Spades,” I did not see one person who wasn’t horns-up and yelling along.


Even if this is the first you’ve ever heard of Metalachi, you can probably guess from the name what they’re about: They’re a mariachi band that plays hard rock and metal covers. No electric guitars, no drums (except one time when Dave Lombardo of Slayer sat in with them), just violin, trumpet, acoustic guitars and vocals.

You might think “Ace of Spades” with no drums and no Marshall stacks would sound pretty weak, but most of Metalachi’s set works surprisingly well because a.) these are great fucking songs and b.) behind the gimmick and corny stage banter (“Come closer! We won’t bite unless you’re a fucking taco!”), these guys are actually kick-ass musicians. The violinist, in particular, one Maximilian “Dirty” Sanchez, can fucking wail.


And yeah, the whole metal-mariachi-band gimmick is pretty great, too. Especially as embodied by the trumpet player, El Cucy, who looks like a refugee from GWARdalajara. Get it? Cuz he’s in a mariachi band and…oh fuck it. Just look at the pictures, for fuck’s sake.


Also: Yes, those are demon skull shinguards. Available at fine metal accessory shops everywhere.


Besides “Ace of Spades,” Metalachi also gave the Tijuana treatment to “Rainbow in the Dark,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “Black Dog,” “Here I Go Again,” “Bark at the Moon,” “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Livin’ on a Prayer” and, of course, the Greatest Hard Rock Song of All Time. Which is the subject of our first-ever Weird Band YouTube Video. Apologies for the shaky camera-work, we’re still new at this shit. [Update: The video was taken down, so you won’t get to hear Metalachi’s version of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” here. But maybe they got the right clearances from GNR, because you can still hear them doing it in the studio.]

So thanks for an excellent night out, Metalachi! We just have one humble suggestion: Add some Van Halen to your set. “Panama,” maybe? “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”? You’re the experts, we’re sure you can find something in the Roth-era catalog that lends itself to a little mariachi magic.



Some of the bands we blog about require a lot of explanation. We have to give you their whole history, explain how they pioneered some obscure subgenre no one’s ever heard of, tell you that all their instruments are woven from human hair or that they write all their lyrics by putting refrigerator magnet poetry on a Ouija Board or some shit. Some of the bands we blog about are fucking complicated.

And then there’s Metallagher.

Metallagher is a Metallica cover band in which the lead singer is a Gallagher impersonator. Between songs he tells bad jokes and during songs he sings and smashes watermelons. And that’s pretty much all you need to know.

If you really need more backstory, read this interview. You will not be at all surprised to learn that they thought of the name first and the band came later. Or that they’re from Minneapolis. Because really, what else is there to do in Minneapolis except get drunk and think up band names like Metallagher?

Like most cover bands, Metallagher are reportedly best appreciated live. Our friends Jay and Adam were the first ones to tell us about them, and they said the live show was a fruit-splattering spectacle worthy of GWAR. Except instead of going home covered in fake blood and alien jizz, fans go home covered in actual watermelon juice.

They really need more videos that skip that bad-joke-telling part of their act and get right to the fruit-smashing part. But this “promo video” gives a decent idea of what they’re about. Hope they come back to L.A. soon. Maybe for a double bill with Metalachi?


New Laibach covers compilation coming this November

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If you still haven’t submitted yourself to the awesome power of the totalitarian pop/industrial band Laibach, this might finally be your chance. Laibach’s U.K. label, Mute Records, is releasing a compilation of some of Laibach’s most distinctive cover songs, in a collection called An Introduction To… Laibach/Reproduction Prohibited. It’s available now in Europe and the U.K. and arrives here Nov. 6th.

Laibach have become justly famous for their many covers, which are by turns haunting and hilarious, thanks to their Wagnerian arrangements and frontman Milan Fras’s sepulchral growl of a voice. An Introduction to… omits many of Laibach’s most notorious covers, like “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” in favor of more mind-blowing oddities like “Bruderschaft,” an original Laibach tune done in the style of Kraftwerk, and “Geburt Einer Nation,” their nationalist spin on Queen’s “One Vision.” Also included: Laibachanized versions of two Beatles songs, Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man,” and their definitive, epic version of Europe’s “Final Countdown,” which they transform into the mock-operatic techno jam it was always meant to be.

You can watch the trailer for An Introduction to… here, but we’ll leave you with this video to “Final Countdown,” which invites you to become a citizen of NSK, Laibach’s art collective/micronation and self-proclaimed “first global state of the universe.” You used to be able to get an NSK passport online, but they had to stop issuing them because some scam artists in Nigeria were selling them to unsuspecting African nationals looking for ways to emigrate to Europe. And no, even though NSK passports do look convincingly like official travel documents, you can’t actually use them to cross international borders. The awesome power of Laibach is not quite that awesome.

Pink Project

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This week’s band comes to us from a reader named Alex Thermostellar Duddy (Thermduddy, to his bros) and from the dark, twisted heart of the early ’80s. Back then, much of Italy was getting its hairy-chested groove on to the synth-heavy sounds of Italo-disco, a whole weird genre unto itself that might have been the missing link between Kraftwerk and Detroit techno. Or it might just have been what happens when a bunch of Italian dudes with cheap synthesizers and a Giorgio Moroder jones try to make dance music after an all-night cocaine and Chianti bender. And I know it doesn’t sound like I mean that as a compliment, but I do. Italo-disco rules. It just rules in a trashy, gold-chain, uniquely Italian way.

One of the Italo-disco scene’s less heralded producers, a guy named Stefano Pulga, originally conceived Pink Project as a one-off—a slightly tongue-in-cheek disco rework of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” and Alan Parsons Project’s “Mammagamma.” It was a mashup decades before that term even existed—except that, given the more primitive quality of samplers back in the day (and the looser laws governing cover songs, as opposed to wholesale sampling), it was easier for Pulga to just get together with some of his Italo-disco buddies and a hired children’s choir and record the whole thing themselves. Released under the title “Disco Project,” it was probably never meant to be more than a curiosity piece, while Pulga turned his attention back to his solo stuff and his other, semi-successful group, Kano, who were churning out fairly awful Italo-disco hits like this.

But then something unexpected happened: “Disco Project,” at least in Italy, became a hit. The track’s popularity in 1982 reached such heights that Pink Project began getting invitations to appear on American Bandstand-style Italian TV shows—which was sort of a problem, because as a band, Pink Project didn’t really exist. Pulga solved this rather ingeniously by hiring some performers (one of whom may or may not have been Pulga himself) to show up disguised in black hooded monk’s robes and mime playing the song. Combined in this clip with a fresh-faced children’s choir, the effect is both disturbing and totally ridiculous.

Flush with the success of  “Disco Project,” Pulga decided to put out a sequel of sorts: another mashup, this time of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and The Greg Kihn Band’s “Jeopardy,” released under the title “B-Project.” As far as we’ve been able to find out, it was never a hit, but it’s even more fantastic than the Floyd/Parsons medley. And when Pink Project got invited to appear on another TV show, Pulga one-upped himself by…well, just watch and you’ll see.

Pink Project’s recorded output also consisted several other mashups, including a Police/Vangelis hybrid we quite like, a collision of Trio’s “Da Da Da” and Falco’s “Der Kommissar” called (obviously) “Der Da Da Da,” and a “Rockit”/”Superstition” mash that, sadly, is nowhere as awesome as that combo sounds. They also released a few original tracks, although the less said about them, the better.

All of Pink Project’s singles and their two albums, Domino and Split, are out of print, and there’s not much more info about the project on the web, at least in English. Even Stefano Pulga’s official website only mentions the group in passing (and in Italian, so we’re not sure what he says about it, except that it was “un prodotto nuovo”). But all of their stuff is widely available on YouTube and collector’s websites like Discogs, as well as a few of those naughty Torrent sites, if that’s your thing.

So what do you think? Italo-disco ’80s mashups—superior to hipster ’00s mashups? We say yes. Especially when delivered by guys dressed up like a low-budget cross between Xanadu and Lord of the Rings.


The Mini Band

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From the Jackson 5 to Black Tide to Smoosh, kids performing and recording pop and rock music is nothing new. But they seem to be getting younger all the time. And we’re not just saying that because we’re crusty old fogeys. Some of the kids in this latest wave of pre-teen rockers are so little, it looks like they can barely hold up their guitars, much less play them. And yet the best ones manage to rock out with more skill than your average happy hour cover band.

Case in point: The Mini Band, a pint-sized sextet from Berkshire, England who scored a YouTube hit late last year with a surprisingly credible rendition of “Enter Sandman.” Since then, they’ve started writing and recording original material, and they’ve even released their first music video, which you can see below. Both the song and the video ape mid-’90s alt-rock with uncanny accuracy, considering none of the band members were even born in the era of Soundgarden and Soul Asylum (the oldest of them, drummer Charlie, is 11; most of them are just 9). Either these kids are extraordinarily good for their ages, or mid-’90s-style alt-rock is so easy to churn out, even a bunch of 9-year-olds can do it. Probably a bit of both.

The Mini Band are hardly the only precocious-yet-retro rockers on the block. There’s also Haunted by Heroes (the self-proclaimed “World’s Youngest Rock Band,” a title they can no longer lay claim to since they’ve all turned 11), Crime Scene (who win the “most vaguely inappropriate name for a kids’ band” award), and this Japanese kids band that we really wish we knew the name of. We probably could have added any of them to The Weird List, but there’s something about The Mini Band, with the sharp contrast between their rosy-cheeked English adorableness and their fondness for Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers covers (they do a mean “Dani California“) that makes them stand out. Also, we kinda love the fact that they’re just called “The Mini Band.” Maybe “Ankle Biters” was already taken.

Anyway, here’s The Mini Band, standing in a pile of dead leaves trucked in from a Screaming Trees video, galloping through their original track, “Find the Time.” Somewhere, the father of a 3-year-old is watching this and saying to his wife, “See? I told you we shoulda started her on guitar lessons already.” (P.S. For the record, at least one Mini Band guitarist, Zoe Thomson, can seriously shred.)


Dread Zeppelin

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It’s been too damn long since we made a cover band Weird Band of the Week, don’t you think? Let’s end the drought with a little “When the Levee Breaks,” as played by a reggae band led by a fat Elvis impersonator. Yes, people, we are finally paying tribute to the mighty Dread Zeppelin.

In case this ship sailed without you: Dread Zeppelin is a Led Zeppelin cover band that started right here in L.A. way back in 1990 or so…a time when Elvis impersonators were even more popular than they are now, if you can believe it. L.A. also gave birth around the same time to the so-called “Mexican Elvis,” El Vez; Nicolas Cage skydived into Vegas with the Flying Elvises’; and the band Living Colour felt compelled to remind everyone that “Elvis Is Dead.” Someone smarter than us has probably already explained this spike in Elvis mania, but let’s Google that shit later and get back to Dread Zeppelin, shall we?

Around this time, a semi-successful ’80s rock band called The Prime Movers was in the process of getting dropped by their label. (The Prime Movers’ biggest claim to fame, incidentally, was a song on the soundtrack to the 1986 film Manhunter. Their second biggest claim to fame was some seriously awesome ’80s hair in the accompanying music video)  Unable to release any of their own music, they decided as a goof to remake Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”/”Hey Hey What Can I Do” single, but in a reggae style. And just to make the whole thing extra-ridiculous, they recruited an Elvis impersonator called Tortelvis (Greg Tortell) to sing lead vocals.

The single was a hit, as was the band’s live show, which mixed up Zeppelin, Elvis, Bob Marley and other random bits of popular music like Edwin Starr’s “War” (“what is it good for? absolutely nuthin’!”) and the Yardbirds’ “Train Kept A-Rollin.'” Dread Zeppelin was unleashed upon the masses.

And 22 years and about a zillion lineup changes later, they’re still unleashing it. They’re latest album, SoSo, just came out last year. If you got the Zeppelin in-joke in SoSo before you even saw the cover art, congratulations. You can probably also recite entire chapters of Hammer of the Gods, which we’re sure makes you a hit with the ladies.

Fun Dread Zep side notes: Robert Plant is a fan. Tortelvis performs with a personal assistant, Charlie Haj, whose entire job is to bring him water and towels. They have an album called No Quarter Pounder. And judging from their Facebook page, they really love donuts. Hey, Tortelvis didn’t get that fat on banana-and-peanut-butter sandwiches alone.

It may seem to the casual fan like Dread Zeppelin have run their shtick into the ground at this point…and, well, they kinda have. But they have actually tried to mix it up occasionally. They released an album of disco covers in 1992. The Fun Sessions includes covers of non-Zep classic rock staples like “Smoke on the Water” and “Freebird.” (So yes, you can yell “Freebird!” at a Dread Zeppelin show and not be a total asshole. OK, you might still be an asshole.)

But let’s face it: Anyone who’s ever gone to a Dread Zeppelin concert has been there to hear Elvis/reggae versions of “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love.” Or Zep/Elvis mashups like the one in this video, which might feature our favorite self-indulgent guitar solo of all time. Mercy.

We usually only include one video per post, but fuck it. These guys deserve an encore. Besides, as excellent as the above clip is, it doesn’t fully showcase the band’s reggae chops. This one does: