Thanksgiving with Dethklok and He Whose Ox Is Gored
Don't call Adult Swim's Dethklok a cartoon band. They get pissed, and rightfully so. Nothing about their music is cartoony. The Brendon Small–crafted death metal catapults a plague of double-kick-drummed, guitar-spat Ebola and pagan sex. It's pure Nordic riffage. This past October, Dethklok released their third full-length, Dethalbum III. In the single "I Ejaculate Fire," frontman and lyrical visionary Nathan Explosion croons majestically, "I ejaculate fire, a venomous fluid, cantankerous druid/It kills when I breed, with my death seed/Checkmate, the world dies when I procreate... I'm fried to my loins/Testicular propane, tanks exploding." The video features a pharaoh receiving fellatio from a decaying female with hard nipples; then he shoots fire out of his cock—destroying the pyramids—and goes on a killing spree. This Thanksgiving, Dethklok invited Seattle's own He Whose Ox Is Gored to take part in a special holiday meal. Ox's music exacts a hard, stratospheric, ISIS-ish scrawl; their Les Paul doom-gaze equations decipher and slam into Korg synths. It's heavy, and dreams of a rotting crow. Crow wasn't for Thanksgiving dinner, though—cowards were. Ox's Brian McClelland reported from the Dethklok-Ox holiday table.
What is Dethklok serving for Thanksgiving dinner?
Turkey made of the spines of cowards, stuffed with the bacon-wrapped hearts of babies, basted in the teriyaki tears of delinquents, or whatever. And Flamin' Hot Cheetos. And kale for the Ox bass player—he's on some organic thing.
Where are you? What are Dethklok and the Ox thankful for?
We're in a doom castle called The Hawk House. It's in Ballard. We gave thanks for Houdini by the Melvins, ping-pong in the basement, and the fact that the Acropolis in Portland still accepts cash. Mega-shredder George Corpsegrinder Fisher is here. So is Wilberforce Serial-Hawk Bassinator, and Evan "The Musical Redwood" Ferro. And the Dethklok dudes: Skwisgaar, Toki, Murderface, Nathan, and Pickles.
Adult Swim sent me an e-mail that Penélope Cruz, Flavor Flav, Vinnie Vincent, RuPaul, and Karl Rove are there. Can you confirm? Do y'all get along?
Yeah, sure, they're here. Let's see, Penélope Cruz: hate. Flavor Flav: hate. Vinnie Vincent: hate. RuPaul: hawt. Karl Rove: skate or die.
Why do all death metal bands have the same logo? What's that font called? I can't ever read the words. Don't death metal bands want people to be able to read what the name of their band is? Bands like Sfincter Hate and Wombgurgle. No one has ever heard of them because they only write their name in illegible metal font. It's like a combination of spiderwebs, lightning, and blood vessels.
It's actually called "Stickpile." It's our design guy's default font in MS Paint for Windows 96—he hasn't figured out how to change it to something else yet. He did art for the Wombgurgle split we did last year. It was great; we put it out on that last tour we did with Disnaard, Dillinger Escape Day Planner, Anticonocaustic, Troll Snatcher, Best Coast, Sky vs. Space, Fraadsbraven, Six Feet Wide, Nail Your Face to Your Ass, Scott Baio's solo project, Myocardial Infarction, Fecal Fountain, and Meshuggah. I think his name is Todd.
Who are your favorite bands?
Our favorite bands right now are Sandrider and Lesbian—definitely two of the best heavy bands in the country. Lesbian just pillaged Europe, and Sandrider will be embarking shortly on their WORLD TOUR. We're totally shredding with them at the Rendezvous on November 24. That shit is going to be packed to the rafters, no big deal.
What's Karl Rove doing right now?
He keeps spontaneously combusting into a human nut sack. He's Karl, then blam—a nut sack. Then he snaps back to Karl for a second, then he's the nut sack again. And so forth. He's pretty shitfaced. Someone's probably going to bang him. I've never seen a human nut sack. His face is basically just a vein.
And Vinnie Vincent is getting after the pecan pie?
Vinnie Vincent hasn't had any pie. Actually, he hasn't touched his food, or moved, for that matter. I don't think he's alive; he hasn't moved. He's propped up like Weekend at Bernie's. Don't hate on Vinnie Vincent, man. I know you're writing an article and wanna make fun of him 'cause he recorded guitar solos then sped them up to make people think he could play superhumanly fast, but I got nothing but love. The Vinnie Vincent Invasion is one of the better things that happened to glam rock in 1984.
Break down your song "Charming the Snake." It sounds so good. Where did you record?
It took us about six months to piece the sections together. We had this practice space with Sleepy Eyes of Death, and we would just hammer that song over and over. It was definitely more stoner rock in the beginning, too. When we finally got into Red Room with Chris Common, he took everything up a notch. There was a point when I was tracking that tapping guitar part at the end and I looked over, and he was playing bossa nova beats on my board, turning stuff on and off. I still don't know how he got some of that tone [laughs].
Are you ever embarrassed that you're an adult and you watch cartoons?
Like, Akira? On Blu-ray? In 5.1? No. That's how adults watch cartoons.
How are the Flamin' Hot Cheetos? What's Penélope Cruz talking about?
The Cheetos are fucking delicious. Penélope Cruz is talking death metal dudes and their hair and how they seem so "tough." Getting the right conditioner for your metal hair is what's tough. Everybody's hair is different, you know? Sometimes you go for straight-and-shiny, sometimes you go for covered-in-pigs'-blood—after a set of skull-walking, Savage Brew™–ing, and beat-blasting, you just want to know you're looking your best.
What's coming up for Ox around the holidays?
On December 15, we're raging with Serial Hawk, Bitches Crystal, and Princess at the Black Lodge. It's going to be our Merry OXMas/Birthday Rager benefit for the Seattle Passive Aggressive zine. The SPA guys have been killing it this year—we're throwing a party to celebrate James [Ballinger, founder of SPA] and the whole crew and a pile of our favorite Sagittarius dummies. Ox has lots of rad shit in the barrel. We've been working hard on our new record for a while now, and have demos completed from our preproduction; studio time starts in January. We'll be playing a pile of those tracks at the shows with our new drummer, Joel Coan. As our 10th drummer, he had to beat up all the other guys to get in the band. It took him a while, but he's resilient; he's a bicep guy in an ab guy's world.
Make fun of some bands for me.
You know what, let's make fun of all of the bands whose logos you CAN read. Right? Like, who would want to play chords where you can hear all of the notes, anyway? And the Black Keys. Do we need another Grammy-winning blues rock band? And baggy American Apparel tops. And that tagger kid SHIT FUCK—you know you're just a half-rate SHIT BARF. Shout out to SHIT BARF.
What merchandise is Ox selling for the Christmas season?
We only sell Snuggies. Bum flaps were big there for a minute, but that was just a fad.
What band does Dethklok have a beef with?
Definitely Wombgurgle. Those guys are dicks, even though they're the best melodic skate crust prog-core ska band in the business.