Thursday, July 29, 2010
It’s a Scumdog Eat Scumdog World: Welcome to Attack of the Mad Axeman’s Wild Kingdom
Donnie: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?
Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
Like the gigantic grinding pink elephant in the room (who I’m sure will be joining the band next year), you’ve got to ask Attack of the Mad Axeman about the costumes if you get the chance.
Grindcore does so many things well, but the theatric is just not something that’s going to be widely accepted as cannon among your protein and potatoes type of grinder who may use the bug and bird getups as excuse to dismiss one of the best grindcore bands working today as a bunch of furries, a Gwar knockoff, The Locust wannabes or some lame joke band. None of which is true when you’re talking about the German four piece, of course.
But bowing to the inevitable:
"When you are on stage, then it's always a kind of theatre," drummer Helix Pomatia (he’s the snail) said. "You always do a kind of performance and you can do it interesting or boring. As animals we benefit from looking better than humans, of course. And there are so many human bands in comparison to animal bands, so people think that we are very special. (And about Gwar: they are from outer space; that's even more special.) But we would love to see more animals finding the way into the grindcore scene. We may live in the woods but we have something to say. And we want to make a good show, of course. When we earn respect for the grind then maybe humans will eventually take us seriously in general."
"In real life we have to dress like humans. It`s not nice, but unfortunately it's necessary," guitarist Bubo (the owl) said. "We all know that peace and coexistence are the key: but it's really dangerous if you start to trust human beings in general. Always keep your eyes, ears and antennas open!"
What we shouldn’t do, Bubo and Helix said, is confuse the band’s obvious sense of humor and threaticality with them being some sort of throw away parody band. While the humor is pervasive, the band’s topics can be deadly serious when called for.
"In my opinion, there are a lot of bands who are parody, but they don't realize it," Helix said. "Maybe the problem is that most humans are too serious about themselves. Most bands who are lecturing their audience don't have anything new to say. We mostly play in the punk- and hardcore-scene and bands there are always telling the same things: nazis are bad, religion is bad, squatting is cool, eating meat is bad, cops are bad... I totally agree with these things, but why do bands [preach] this to people who already know it and who heard this a hundred times before? In this case I can only cite Homer Simpson: boooring! When we decided to form a grindcore band, we didn't want to reproduce all the cliches that are bound to this kind of music, like evil guys growling about war or splatter-shit. We are animals, we behave like animals and we sing about animals' subjects. Sometimes that's serious, sometimes that's funny – who cares. We like to make jokes about ourselves and also serious subjects can be dealt with humor. I think that a lot of people appreciate it and some say that we destroy grindcore."
However, given their sense of humor, Attack of the Mad Axeman have put some serious thought into tormenting Glen Benton should they ever fulfill the vow made in the song "Squirrel v. Glen Benton" to avenge the poor rodents murdered at the Deicider’s hands.
"Whenever we meet Glen Benton, then he should dress warm," Helix said. "We‘re gonna put him into a church for one week and he will be tortured by religious songs and praying priests for 24 hours a day. After that we're gonna put him into a rocket and shoot him up in the sky, where he will be as near to god as a human being can be physically."
While their sense of humor is well established, what’s definitely not a joke is the band’s approach to songwriting and performing. There’s a damn good reason Scumdogs of the Forest ranked near the top of my 2009 list.
"In general, our style of creating new songs is pretty simple: we meet, mix up different ideas and shape them up with a good measure of straight and to-the-point old school grindcore-brutality," Bubo said. "And we're careful not to reproduce our own style. We want to keep it interesting for ourselves and, of course, for the fans. By the way, we decided to take care of two golden rules of old school grindcore: creating shorter songs (as a true grindcore band you have to have more track-titles than running time on your record) and to start even more songs with a 'four to the floor' snaredrum countdown."
And anyone who gets the chance to see the band live and focuses on the sartory and not the music is missing the point, Bubo said.
"I think we're not that glamorous and theatrical as a band," he said. "First of all, we're doing a good job playing our instruments so we can easily show you where the hammer hangs, musically. So, if you come to see us play you`ll get crashed by the true – non-theatric – grindcore spirit."