Our favorite carrot-fronted, chicken-themed punk band, Radioactive Chicken Heads, are getting into the Halloween spirit early (or right on time, judging from how many aisles of candy and rubber skeletons took over my neighborhood drugstore this week). Their recently released video for “Cluck at the Moon” pays homage to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Ozzy Osbourne, and your favorite zero-budget B-movie splatter flick as it tells the tragic, horrifying tale of an innocent young carrot transformed by the light of the full moon into a bloodthirsty, teenaged werechicken. Watch.
“Cluck at the Moon” is from the Chicken Heads’ 2017 album Tales From the Coop, a mostly horror-themed collection of ska-tinged, spook-punk romps with titles like “Wiccan Chicken,” “Frankenchicken” and my personal favorite, “Poultrygeist.” (That’s one of those jokes that’s still great even when you see it coming from a mile away, right?) They even do a cover of “Somebody’s Watching Me” — remember that ’80s chestnut, by the instantly forgotten one-hit wonder Rockwell? It featured guest vocals by Michael and Jermaine Jackson, which makes no sense until you find out that Rockwell was the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. Usually nepotism produces zero-hit wonders, but occasionally it pans out.
Anyway, we’re sure RCH’s fans will “gobble” this one up. Ha! No wait, that’s a turkey pun. We’ve never had much cluck with poultry puns. Or have we?!
Well, it only took us five years, but we finally hosted our first-ever Weird Band Night, and it was amazing. Why didn’t we do this sooner? Because we’re control freaks and booking live music is the art of wrangling chaos. So many things are so completely out of your control that all you can really do is line up the bands and the venue and tell everyone you’ve ever met that they need to be there and then sit back and hope for the best.
But despite a setback or two (we forgive you, Haunted Garage), Weird Band Night was a rousing success. OK, the venue could have been a little fuller, and the show could have run a little more on schedule. And Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra’s name could’ve been spelled correctly on the marquee. But no one died and the bands were on fire. Plus the California Institute of Abnormalarts (CIA) might literally be the Weirdest Venue in the World (complete with its own oddities museum containing no fewer than two actual mummies) so we couldn’t have asked for a better place to host it for us. We’re putting this one in the win column!
First up we had the Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra from San Diego, playing their first L.A. show. As with all opening bands, they had to contend with the lower energy of a small audience, but they powered through a hilarious set that answered such burning questions as “What’s the most expensive way to feed a zebra?” (answer: Pop Tarts) and “Which species of bird are potentially poisonous?” (answer: all of them).
For a one-man/one-robot act, SPO had quite the impressive setup, complete with their own lighting and an audiovisual presentation that included vintage educational videos and lyric subtitles, so you could decipher the Stephen Hawking-like vocals of the band’s frontrobot, SPO-20.
Next up: The Rhythm Coffin, the ghoulish cavalry who swooped in and saved the day when Haunted Garage were forced to cancel on short notice. Their set was a big horror-punk/surf/rockabilly singalong with lots of great audience interaction, especially when they tossed what felt like about 300 styrofoam dummy heads into the crowd. This was ostensibly only for one song, “The Headless Head Bop,” but once the heads were unleashed, you pretty much had to keep your own head on a swivel for the rest of their set, lest you get beaned from behind by an overeager Coffin fan.
Last but certainly not least: The Radioactive Chicken Heads. What can I say about these guys? Every single song was a show unto itself. They broke out so many props and costumes and extra performers that, had I not met lead singer Carrot Topp in street clothes before the show, I might have started wondering if Dave Brockie faked his death and was now playing in a chicken-themed punk band from Orange Country. Their show was GWAR-like in its mind-boggling parade of wacky characters and costumes.
Thanks again to all the bands, Carl and everyone at the CIA, and most of all, all the friends and fans who came out to support the show. I hope you had half as much fun as we did.
[Update: Due to circumstances beyond our control, Haunted Garage had to cancel their appearance. The Rhythm Coffin will be rockin’ Weird Band Night in their place. Our apologies to all you Dukey Flyswatter fans out there. We’ll try to book them for the next one.]
So how’s this for sweet? After many months of trying to track down a venue dumb cool enough to host a show for us, we finally hooked up with the good people at the California Institute of Abnormalarts to bring you our very first Weird Band Night. It’s all going down on Friday, July 11th, so if you plan on being anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area that night, get your ass down to the CIA or I will personally hunt you down and make you watch One Direction videos until you’re begging for the sweet release of death.
Our lineup is pretty excellent for our first time out, if I do say so myself. Co-headlining are legendary poultry punks the Radioactive Chicken Heads and monster rockers The Rhythm Coffin. And to open the show, we’ve got the unholy man/machine duo of the Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra, up from San Diego and making their L.A. debut. All this for a mere 10 bones, and possibly a dry cleaning bill if you stand too close to the stage.
For more info or to RSVP, check out our event page on Facebook. Not that you have to RSVP or anything. It’ll be first-come, first-served at the door the night of the show. But RSVP anyway so we can show our parents that some people actually take this blog at least somewhat seriously.
And now, to help you get as pumped as we are, here are some videos from our bands. You know you gotta come out and see this shit.
Usually when a band posts a new video this late in the year, we just assume it’s gonna be yet another lame cover of “Jingle Bell Rock” or some such tinsel-bedecked piece of crap. But not the Radioactive Chicken Heads. These costumed purveyors of snot-punk mayhem have a much more appropriate message for when you’ve just wasted your weekend shoving baby strollers out of the way in a futile attempt to find the last iPad Mini in town for your high-maintenance girlfriend: “Cluck You!”
Before we get to the clip, we should also mention that this coming February, the RC-Heads celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band with a show in Orange County, Calif., where they got their start. 20 years! Hope they’ve upgraded their costumes a few times or else the inside of that carrot must smell like a Port-O-Potty on day three of Bonnaroo.
Usually I save my zombie impersonation for the morning after the party. But Saturday, Oct. 26th, I’m gonna be moanin, shamblin and bitin people in the head during the party. It’s the sixth annual Long Beach Zombie Walk Festival, motherfuckers! And this year, they’ve got a music lineup that’s practically ripped from the pages of this here blog.
Tickets to the festivities are a mere $15 and zombie attire is optional…but why the hell wouldn’t you smear yourself in fake gore before going? Especially if you’re taking the Metro. Nothing keeps the panhandlers away like fake gore. Well, except maybe real gore.
Because you demanded it (no, really, one of you guys did), we decided to bring back polls to Weirdest Band in the World. Actually, we brought them back to our Facebook page, but close enough. And thanks to your tireless clicking, we have a new Weird Band of the Week: The Radioactive Chicken Heads. Pat yourselves on the back, people. I think you actually got this one right.
The Radioactive Chicken Heads are apparently from right here in Los Angeles (who knew?) and are a costumed punk band made up mostly of, well, radioactive chickens. They also have a lead singer who’s a carrot and a guitar player who’s a tomato. There’s an elaborate band mythology on the bio section of their website that kinda explains the whole thing, but we’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say that farmers and a giant, rampaging bunny are also involved.
Musically, the RCHs have a lot in common with other jokey punk bands like the Dead Milkmen and the Aquabats. They also sometimes seem like a children’s band, but other times not so much. Unless you’re the kind of parent who doesn’t mind explaining to the children who Ron Jeremy is. Yeah, that’s him slinging pizza in the video below.
P.S. Thanks to reader Chris Garcia for suggesting we add these guys to The Weird List.
P.P.S. Did we mention we now have polls on our Facebook page? It’s true. Go vote in the latest one, won’t you? (You’ll have to like us first, though. Don’t worry, we’re pretty low-maintenance.)
Back in olden days, when TWBITW was still a smooth young pup of a blog and not the craggy old coot you see before you, what’s now the Submit a Band page was called the Submit & Vote page (in fact, that’s still the URL, because Jake and I are too lazy to change it). Each month (ish) we posted a new band up there and asked you, our beloved readers, to vote on whether you thought they were weird or not. Thanks to your tireless button-clicking, such immortal acts as Army of Gay Unicorns, Dolchnakov Brigade and Extreme Turbo Smash were inducted onto The Weird List. But Jake and I are control freaks, and we weren’t too happy with the fact that other, not-so-weird acts like Social Climbers and The Atlantas also got voted in. So at the end of 2011, we pulled the plug on polls and returned TWBITW to its original state as a benevolent content dictatorship.
But over the past couple of months, we’ve encountered a problem we never expected to have: So many of you are now submitting bands to us that are varying degrees of weird, we have a kind of insane backlog of Weird Band of the Week candidates. So we decided to bring back the poll. This time, however, in a shameless attempt to get more of you people to like us on Facebook, we decided to post the poll over there in the Kingdom of Zuckerberg. Also, Facebook polls—or “Questions,” as they’re officially known—are way easier to update than polls here on WordPress. And did I mention that Jake and I are lazy?
So head on over to Facebook and vote for your favorite of four current nominees for a future Weird Band of the Week slot: Cogs, Skull and Bones, the Radioactive Chicken Heads and Vitamin Wig C. And keep those weird band suggestions coming!