This week’s weird band was a tough call. You see, Los Angeles is home to not one, but two punk bands that dress up like Mormon missionaries. The Mormons did it first, forming back in 1998, and they take the extra step of wearing bicycle helmets to really complete the standard Mormon missionary look. Tartar Control came along much more recently, so normally, we’d give the nod to The Mormons. But Tartar Control has a robot, and when calculating any band’s weirdness quotient, robots beat originality every time. Plus, Tartar Control’s music videos rule.
So congrats, Tartar Control! You are officially the weirdest Mormon punk band not only here in L.A., but possibly anywhere in the world. Joseph Smith would be proud.
Tartar Control’s two human members, Sean and Robert, claim to be actual Mormons from Salt Lake City, who were sent to do their church mission in South Central Los Angeles. When and how they acquired their bassist/drummer robot, Robot, remains something of a mystery, unless you know how to read binary code.
Sean and Robert started out singing in the church choir, but somewhere along the way, they developed a taste for punk rock. They first caught our attention with the video for “Diabolical,” which is a delightful 83 seconds of gore, mayhem and goat-fucking:
Then we found the video for “Jesus Is Love,” which shows the band wreaking havoc in their native habitat, Anaheim punk club the Doll Hut:
Those songs are both from Tartar Control’s first album, 2012’s Holy Crap, as is their most recent video, “Smoking Crack,” which came out last year. We assume, since they’re Mormons and all, that “Smoking Crack” is a cautionary tale. Normally, I’m sure Robert, Sean and Robot all Just Say No.
Late last year, Tartar Control released their second album, We Forgive You. So far they haven’t made any videos for it, but they did release this fun little album teaser:
We haven’t had a chance to listen to all of We Forgive You yet, but so far, our favorite track by far is “My God’s Cock.” I didn’t know Mormons were so into talking about the magical powers of the Good Lord’s schlong, but they do wear magical underwear, so I guess crotch-related magic is a theme with them.
We’ll leave you with one of Tartar Control’s many helpful public service announcement songs (along with “Cramps Don’t Mean You’re Pregnant” and “Satanists Are Fucking Dicks”): “Brush Your Teeth.” Cleanliness is next to Godliness, kids, so brushing your teeth is like putting a little Jesus in your mouth.
Hey, so here’s another L.A. band we’ve been meaning to write about for awhile. Tartar Control claim to be God-fearing Mormons from Salt Lake City who try to spread religion through the power of snotty punk rock, but I’m not so sure. I think they might be actual snotty L.A. punk rockers who are just ripping off these guys. Oh, wait, their drummer is a robot? I take it all back then. They must be actual Mormons and their act is totally original! (Mormons love robots. It’s why their Chosen One is Mitt Romney.)
Anyway, Sean, Robert and Robot have a new album coming out in October called We Forgive You. You do? Thanks, Tartar Control! Glad that dead hooker is finally off our conscience.
While we wait for forgiveness, here’s a video for “Smoking Crack” off their first album, Holy Crap! Tartar Control forgives us, but who forgives Tartar Control?
For more Tartar Control, floss regularly and visit the band’s website.
Did you know ghoul-rockers The Misfits haven’t released a live album since the ’80s? It’s true. All their albums since the ’80s have been dead. In more ways than one. I kid, of course! The ’90s and ’00s Misfit albums are perfectly serviceable if your like your horror-punk with its rotting tongue planted firmly in its decaying cheek.
Anyway, the live drought is finally ending on Feb. 5th, when Jerry Only and co. will unleash DEA.D.ALIVE! on a terrorized populace. The album features all tracks from the post-Danzig version of the band, but there’s still hope for you fogey-punks who miss the good ol’ days of “Die, Die My Darling” and “Horror Business”: In an interview with Rolling Stone, Only says there’s some “’77-’83 material that we performed together back in the day that remain unreleased, just sitting in the vaults…It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Glenn and I might evaluate some of that stuff in the not-too-distant future and consider bringing it to the fans in a joint effort.” Which sounds pretty weak, I know…but compared to some of the words Only has had for Danzig in the past, it’s practically a Glenn ‘n’ Jerry lovefest.
That Rolling Stone article also features a preview of a track off DEA.D.ALIVE!, a live version of “Shining.” It doesn’t exactly make me wanna rush out and buy this set on limited-edition “solid gold” vinyl (and by the way, I’m pretty sure they mean solid gold-colored vinyl…otherwise I’m gonna start hoarding Misfits LPs for the coming apocalypse), but it does make me think it might be fun to finally go to a Misfits show. Like most people who own the T-shirt, I’m a poser who’s never actually seen them.
1.) The Devil’s Rain (3:39)
2.) Vivid Red (1:44)
3.) Land of the Dead (2:00)
4.) Curse of the Mummy’s Hand (3:18)
5.) Cold in Hell (1:54)
6.) Dark Shadows (3:18)
7.) Death Ray (4:02)
8.) Shining (2:39)
9.) American Psycho (1:56)
10.) Dig Up Her Bones (2:26)
11.) Scream! (2:22)
12.) Helena (3:24)
13.) Science Fiction/Double Feature (3:17)
14.) Saturday Night (4:10)
When I want to get into the Halloween spirit, my third favorite thing to do (after answering the door naked and offering Jager shots to the neighborhood kids) is crank up The Misfits. Seriously, is any band more synonymous with Halloween? I think not.
There are, of course, two versions of The Misfits: the original, Glenn Danzig one, and the latter-day, Jerry Only one, also widely known among fans as “the bullshit version.” I actually dig them both for totally different reasons. Danzig’s Misfits were fun, kooky and occasionally scary in a sort of Ramones-meets-Tales From the Crypt way; Only’s Misfits are fun, kooky and occasionally hilarious in a Dead Milkmen-meets-Killer Clowns From Outer Space way. See the difference?
Anyway, I figured this Halloween, it’d be good to honor the original horror punks with a spot on our ever-growing Weird List. Here’s a video from the Jerry Only era. Had they become total parodies of themselves by this point? Of course, but that’s sort of the point.
P.S. Not that the world really needs a new Misfits album, but we got one this month anyway. It’s called The Devil’s Rain and you can hear a track, “Land of the Dead,” by going to their website and clicking the Audio On/Off button. Yes, that’s Jerry doing vocals now. At this point, he can do whatever the hell he wants, but…man. Suddenly, for all the wrong reasons, they’ve gotten kinda scary again.