On a hot and muggy sweat-drenched night last June, I had the supreme soused pleasure of makin’ the acquaintance of Dead Man’s Choir for the very first time. They were energetically struttin’ their crazed sonic stuff in the bar downtown where I worked the door. It was one of those hellish summer evenings when the air is so heavy with a suffocating swirl of humidity, alcohol-tinged tension is running rampant and wild, and tempers are flaring like a violently disruptive nuclear conflagration. Sure enough, halfway through DMC’s ear-scorching set, a full-blown Texas-style barroom brawl erupted. Fists were furiously flailing, tables and chairs were forcibly flung across the floor, beer mugs were precariously flying in every conceivable direction, and plenty of flesh was mangled, bruised, and lacerated (hell yeh, a raucous whiskey-sloshed scene straight outta a classic Clint Eastwood honky-tonk flick!). Through all the chaos, carnage, and destruction, Dead Man’s Choir thunderously rocked on, seemingly unaffected by the brutal display of testosterone-fuelled aggressiveness surrounding them. Their 100% wholehearted dedication to continue their performance uninterrupted, despite the uncontrolled hell-raisin’ antics of the bar patrons, indelibly impressed me to no end. From that moment forward, I became a foamin’-at-the-mouth fan of DMC. Indeed, their music, attitude, and raw primal energy had quite a startling impact on all of the Longview-area locals who were privileged enough to witness the mighty roarin’ wrath of Dead Man’s Choir during either one of their shows here in Hell Central (aka Longview, Texas). A few months ago, they once again sonically blazed through the area to the drunken delight of us all!
Anyway, Satan must surely be proud of these rockin’ ragtag ruffians, because they aurally personify trashy rock’n’roll belligerence at its loudest, liveliest, and most savage in all of its rebellious earth-shakin’ splendor! Close your eyes if you will, and imagine Chuck Berry strung-out on pure, unrefined trailerpark meth and frenetically jammin’ with the New York Dolls and the Dead Boys in a dark seedy dive on the Bowery with an audience full of drug-addled prostitutes, grizzly old homeless winos, pimps, dealers, pick-pockets, trenchcoat-attired perverts, and other such nocturnal lowlife undesirables. Yep, DMC would gladly play their hearts out for the most miserable dregs of society all in the name of decadent musical wickedness. Ladies and gentlemen, take heed… Dead Man’s Choir are the ferocious untamed embodiment of the Second Coming of Rock’n’Roll! I now present to you their dual guitar powerhouse, Kevin and Mike…
Kevin “I’ll Be In The Bathroom” Francis – guitar
Salvador “Can’t Someone Else Play Drums?” Preceado – drums
Jason – vocals and strange smells
Mike “Mr. Excitement” – guitar
Iron Megan – bass
Roger: Howdy, how do, and how dung, boys! Please enthusiastically introduce yourselves to the rock’n’roll-hungry Razorcake readership. State your birth-given names, aliases, ages, and underwear sizes. Also, enlighten us as to what musical instrument you pummel, bang, smash, and otherwise savagely abuse.
Kevin: I was born Aaron Elvis Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi. But some white guy already had that gig, so it was back into oblivion for another ten years until my mom spilled me out during the Summer of Love in Quincy, Mass. My birth name was Ugly Fuck. That was then changed to Francis the Moog when I registered for school at the age of twelve. My underwear selection comes straight from the hand-me-down pile at the local shelter, so sizes vary. I have been delighted to fill the guitar spot in the band for the last five years. I can and will damage all instruments in my path of destruction while on stage. I say this, because I have cracked my guitar headstock twice and the neck once.
Roger: How about a descriptively telling history of Dead Man’s Choir from cacophonous conception until this very moment’s noise-mongering plans for the immediate future? And please feel free to comment about any other bands you’ve been affiliated with in the past.
Kevin: I wasn’t in the band at the beginning, but maybe I can remember some of the past history. I’d known the band before I reluctantly gave in and joined. All I really remember is thinking what a total horse’s ass the guys were. They always seemed to be shit-talking troublemakers who could not hold their liquor – stories of singer Jason being stabbed, beaten, hit over the head with a metal folding chair, and this was all before backyard wrestling was all the rage. The music wasn’t much different, I assume, seeing as I never really paid much attention before. I know they had a song about pirates and another song when the band would jump at the same time. The drummer had a cage drum set and called himself Hotrod. He left the band, never to be heard of again. He’s probably pumping gas somewhere in Long Beach. Then there was Freaky Tom. Everyone thought this guy was nuts, and rightfully so. I’ve heard of him thrashing convenience stores because the clerk was looking at him funny. He seemed to find a problem with everyone he encountered whether it was restaurant workers, cops, or some dudes at a party. This became a big problem when we went to record. That’s why his guitar on the first 7″ was recorded over. He had the worst guitar sound, and the guy mixing the record thought it would be a good idea if we just re-recorded the tracks. Anyway, he’s gone now. Tony was the original bass player right up until about seven months ago. He’s a great bass player, disciplined on nothing but Devil Dog albums. But he has a family, and playing out of town was becoming a problem. He couldn’t handle the touring duties. Later came Johnny Shadow who filled in on the two tours we did this past year. He’s a nice guy, but he also had trouble with life on the road. I guess road burn-out isn’t too unusual. Even the most stable person could go insane living out of a van with five guys. Who else is on the member’s list? Long-Gone Shawn pounded the drums for a few years. We gave him that nickname because, when the record came out, he had already left the band, so the name seemed funny at the time. I’m sure I’ve forgotten plenty of other people. The door is always open. Sometimes we get members who just fill in for a night. We’re actually working with a new bass player. Also, Sal, our drummer for the past few years, is now talking desertion.
Mike: I’d been a fan since the days when they would jump in unison during one of their songs. That was before Kevin was playing, and they only had one guitar. They added Kevin, and it improved the band. Then Jason called me, and the band’s never sounded so good. I’m still affiliated with The Dimwits.
Roger: Whether we want to admit it or not, each and every one of us mere mortal earthly inhabitants has been indelibly influenced by one person or another at a certain point in this ludicrous sit-com called life. For example, I can unabashedly proclaim that the unholy sacred trilogy of Johns – John Lennon, John Holmes, and John Lydon – were the ones who wreaked the most havoc on my impressionable young mind in the wickedly depraved days of my zit-faced pubescence (which just happened to abruptly end a couple of hours ago, I might add!). So who had the most profound influence on you, musically and/or otherwise?
Kevin: Speaking for me personally, because I really can’t or won’t for the rest of the band, I would agree with John Rotten. He had a lot to say, and I think he actually did well for being young and labeled as a spokesperson for the early punks, at least for the English scene. I know anyone that could pull off something as intense as what the Pistols did, and he was, what? Only nineteen or around that age. I’m also really impressed by Chuck Berry. He managed to become one of the most influential performers for shit-loads of guitar players. The guy spent years in and out of jail, and still managed to keep it together. He managed himself at the same time he had Top 40 hits. And the cool fucking way that he gets paid for each performance with a suitcase of designated cash. He gets up on stage, plays his songs with whatever band is backing him, and then splits. I would also have to mention Hunter Thompson. The guy’s pulled off some crazy shit and still managed to write some of the best books from the past few decades.
Mike: Keith Richards, Johnny Thunders, Iggy Pop.
Roger: This one’s a mind-twistin’ toughie, fellas, so ya might wanna slowly ingest a couple of twelve-ouncers while deeply pondering your final response! It’s the ultimate all-encompassing creed for any self-respecting hedonist worth his or her weight in human flesh: SEX, DRUGS, AND ROCK’N’ROLL! Which one of those three sinfully delicious activities is your personal perverse favorite? Please breathlessly elaborate, or may your firstborn child be cursed with the face of a camel’s ass (ouch!).
Kevin: I find Rock’n’Roll to be number one. It seems everything I do, I have to get the music going first. So if sex was the topic, you put on a record so you can get your beef-stick rocking. Drugs! Well, drugs ain’t fun unless you have a good soundtrack for snorting. I don’t think I’d ever do speed and then think, “Maybe I’ll read a good book for the next thirteen hours.” So music, sex, drugs, because music works with whatever you’re doing. Sex is fun but a lot of work. Drugs require money and free time, two things that are hard to come by.
Mike: They’re all a pain in the ass, but especially the sex. Ha ha, get it? It would be sex and rock’n’roll. Fuck the drugs… I give mine to the other guys in the band.
Roger: In your colorfully outspoken opinion, who’s the all-time most bad-ass rock’n’roll rebel-rouser in appearance and attitude? I personally gotta go with a rootin’-tootin’ toss-up between Gene Vincent, Stiv Bators, DeeDee Ramone, and Sid Vicious…
Kevin: Sid looked the part and, I suppose, played the part pretty good, but I think he had little in the brains department. I would put him in with the most menacing looking rocker. Iggy! You know when The Stooges were playing, that’s probably the craziest time for him. I think Cheetah Chrome was the ugliest motherfucker in the Dead Boys; he was pretty fucked-up for a long while, too. Arthur Kane from the Dolls. He was pretty crazy and wigged-out drunk. I don’t think anyone has ever looked that fucking bizarre as he did. Jason thinks Wesley Willis is cool.
Mike: Iggy Pop, Keith Richards, Stiv Bators.
Roger: Okay, on the flipside of that tarnished old coin, who do ya think most aurally defines the true sonic splendor of rock’n’roll? Again, another unbreakable tie for ol’ roguish mutt-face Rog: Howlin’ Wolf, Gene Vincent, The Sonics, CCR, The Stooges, New York Dolls, and The Ramones.
Kevin: Yeh, Howlin’ Wolf’s the best! He would ride onto the stage on a tiny little scooter all fat and crazy. I read somewhere that he would beat his guitar player if he fucked up the songs. So anyway, the Stones are pretty much the typecast of rock and roll. The Dead Boys have always been a personal favorite. I wish I could list some more current rockers, but who is there? The Strokes? Kid Rock? Blaaah… I’m going to puke… Blaaahh!
Roger: Dead Man’s Choir have been brave, brazen, and brash enough to loudly careen through the smelly shit-smeared anus of America (my hick-infested hometown of Longmooo) twice within the past year; and you managed to survive both visits incoherently intact and seemingly ready to raucously roar through here again in the very near future (we all damn well hope so!). I’s got to know: what do y’all really think of our despicable lil’ corner of Hades here in the lackluster inbred environs of Redneck territory? Be honest, fellas.
Kevin: I personally love being on the road. Touring is a great way to see the country, and what an interesting country it is. Kansas has the best scenery I’ve ever seen. Ha Ha. But, honestly, you see most of the country in a couple of weeks. New Orleans one night, Longview, Texas the next. People seem generally excited for touring bands to play for them, so it makes it all worth it when the locals take you home, feed you beers all night, and tell you funny stories about the local scene. It’s funny meeting people and making a connection with music, then leaving, coming back later and seeing the same people all excited to see us again. Touring is easily one of the simplest pleasures of being in the band.
Mike: You ‘necks like rock’n’roll, and you’re proud of it. It’s good to see.
Roger: By the way, upon your next soused-silly sojourn here to East Texxxas, you are cordially urged to bring a vivaciously voluptuous young California girl for me to corrupt, tame, and call my very own. She will of course refer to me as her Mighty Throbbing He-Man of Love (and then I awaken from the dream covered in brew-foamy drool, compliments of my sick’n’twisted silly self). So this next question begs to be asked: who has the biggest, bounciest, most buoyant, and most bodacious boobies to ever jubilantly jiggle across your television screen and/or in your face? Please do send all photographic evidence to Dr. Rog for my further scientific studies of gargantuan mammary glands… wheeeee!
Kevin: If we had some young good-looking girl to bring with us on the road, I don’t think you would want to touch her by the time we hit your end of Texas.
Mike: I don’t kiss and tell.
Roger: Let’s end on a negatively slanted sour note, shall we? Since we’re only human and therefore inherently evil, whose decapitated head would you most like to see skewered upon a fiery flaming spear sometime soon? I’d giddily sharpen my spear for the fat fascistic brainpan of Rush Limbaugh (and he wouldn’t even hear me comin’! HaHaHa!)…
Kevin: I can’t think of anyone. No one comes to mind. Oh, maybe Drew Carrey.
Roger: Thanks so much for vigorously rockin’ my world, DMC! I now leave you with the golden bronzed opportunity to express any closing comments, last minute ruminations, and other such colorful quick-witted quotes you may feel the compelling urge to unleash upon us all…
Kevin: Buy our records, come see us on tour, and leave your boyfriends at home.
What’s Wrong With Me 7″ (Know Records)
She Don’t Like It 7″ (Know Records)
Bite the Bullet compilation (Know Records)
Instant Asshole 10″ compilation (Sounds Of Subterrania)
Real Punk Rock compilation (Pelado Records)
Fist Full of Rock’n’Roll, Vol. 2 compilation (Tee Pee Records)
Street Rock’n’Roll compilation (77rpm Records)
Out with the Trash CD (Know Records)
Dead Man’s Choir
PO Box 1950
Burbank, CA 91507
Email: [email protected]net