If I may quote from one of the preeminent philosophers of the late 20th Century, Mr. Charles D., “Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant shit to me."
But maybe he should, according to Total Fucking Destruction’s Rich Hoak and his merry band of pranksters in Total Fucking Destruction because, as the song sez, “We’re all Elvis Now.”
“I was reading a book about consumerism,” Hoak said when I caught up to him before he hit the road for Maryland Death Fest. “Elvis died as a result of his commodification. He definitely had art, but he became a bloated pig of the music industry and died on his toilet. It’s sort of what’s going to happen to America. We’re all going to die bloated of oil. It’s a shame we don’t realize it more.”
That’s what makes Hoak’s jaundiced, agent provocateur perspective so interesting at a time when grind is weighed down by a cloned legion of imitators that are content to rehash the same hoary political diatribes without injecting any new insight into the dialogue. Somewhere in between the killing of the jocks and the eating of their brains, he’d like you to switch on the 14 ounces of meat you call your gray matter.
Now I loves me some Napalm Death. Fifteen years of listening to them and they still give me a tingly in my nethers. But c’mon, they’ve spent 20 years and recorded umpteen albums bitching about the same things and telling us what we already know. It’s no surprise the world is fucked, but how we deal and try to carve out a meaningful existence in the middle of shit is what we could really use some help with and that’s where Hoak, still a vocal champion of DIY ethics, remains an essential figure in grind.
But first a point of housekeeping. Remember when I recently said there’s only one drummer whose work I follow religiously? Allow me to publicly pull my Chuck Taylor outta my mouth and correct a huge fricken oversight: yes I’ll slavishly check out something with Hoak’s name attached because he’s consistently challenging metal’s status quo.
Case in point, you’re not gonna hear Hoak describe the new TFD album, Peace, Love and Total Fucking Destruction, expected out this fall, in terms of the most extreme extremity that ever extremed.
“I’ve always been down on the bands that say, ‘We’re the most brutal.’ The most brutal guys won’t take a shit on a dirty toilet,” he said. “If they want to be brutal, join the army. Go kill somebody. Go join the Red Cross and clean up after disasters. Having a child starve to death in front of yourself, that’s brutal. A Cannibal Corpse song is not brutal.”
I haven’t stopped listening to the acoustic grind, multimedia mindfuck that was Zen and the Art of Total Fucking Destruction, one of my favorite albums from last year, and Peace, Love and Total Fucking Destruction is already recorded and in the can, waiting for Hoak to sift through an array of label deals. And then he shocks me by speaking blasphemy, slagging Zen.
“Peace, Love and Total Fucking Destruction is eons beyond that,” he said. “[Zen] was far too metal for me. … [Peace] has come along a lot more to where I want it to be.”
He described the new tunes as “Minutemen meets Napalm Death and a little bit of Hendrix.” Hoak opened the super s33kr1t vault and let us have a quick listen to a few new songs and he’s not idly pulling your dicks either. “Fuck the Internet” is a galloping blast fest death threat to MySpace, while “Let the Children Name Themselves” channels the best of D. Boone and Mike Watt’s wanna be Dylan street poetry over fractured calliope keyboards and “The Doublerspeaker” invents and bowdlerizes Janice Joplin at upbeat punk tempos.
Take a moment to process that and then join me in saying, “Fuck, yeah!”
But first there’s this little matter of Brutal Truth hitting the studio to record their first new album in 11 years, which will be teased on This Comp Kills Fascists, a throwback teaser being put together by Relapse and Scott Hull in vein of Pessimiser’s classic Cry Now, Cry Later collections. Along side TFD and new wave bangers like Insect Warfare and the recently reinvigorated Conan-core of power violence squad Crom, Brutal Truth will unleash four all new tracks, one of which, “Turmoil,” is already up on BT’s MySpace page.
In a scant 1:08 “Turmoil” manages to reignite the Truth’s glory days in a holocaust of scorching riffs courtesy of Sulaco/Kalibas/Lethargy mainstay Erik Burke (replacing Gurn who has bowed out, spitfire drumming and hellbelched vocals.
Burke, an inspired choice known for skittering, slippery riffs in prior bands, officially takes over from Gurn, whose “wife and kids and two homes and a job that requires him to work lots of weekends” prevented him from making Brutal Truth the priority a working band should be, Hoak said.
And yes, a new full length is in the offing, Hoak confirmed. About the time we get graced with a new TFD full length, Brutal Truth should be hitting the studio and the songs in the works already out-rip “Turmoil,” which boasts the best production of the band’s career. No shit?
“The stuff since has been way better,” he said.
Lamenting the thin production that sucked some of the punch out of BT’s farewell disc, Hoak said the band is stoked to use “technology and our fucking understanding and ability to use the technology to really produce it better than Sounds of the Animal Kingdom.”
Hail to the Kings, baby.