The Makers
w/ Tyco Party, the Droo Church, Seawolf, DJ MF Cake

Fri May 10, Chop Suey, $8.

If creating good art means enduring excessive consciousness, then the Makers have traded their sanity to get especially personal on their latest grand glam concept album, Strangest Parade. "We sacrifice a lot to be what we are--we exist in fucked-up lives," concedes frontman Michael Maker. "We do the wrong things, we live the wrong way, we struggle, and that's what the album's about."

Through its seventh epic release, the swaggering rock 'n' roll band talks about love, death, sacrifice, and creation but gives everything a personal slant. On "Suicide Blues," Maker admits, "I'm hardly alive/Ever since my daddy died." "Laughter Then Violence" is about the heated conflicts between band members who are like family (and, in the case of Maker and bassist Donny Virgo, are family). "When we get together, it's always very emotional," says Maker of the band. "We verbally destroy each other. But it somehow brings out something in us that nobody else can."

Maker calls "Addicted to Dying," likely the album's most rockin' track, "the theme for a lot of my friends and the guys in my band. We're not people who have a lot to fall back on. So, what we do, we always do full-on--perform like this is the last show we're gonna play or this is the last song we're gonna write. It's always like that, 'cause everybody I know, they're always hanging on by a thread."

Summoning a rock-opera-like demeanor, the Bowie/Queen-influenced record--produced by Kurt Bloch--finds fluidity through its heavy, soundtrackish instrumentation (piano, flute, synthesizer) backed by grandiose glam rock. "It has this feeling of going on a journey; you're going from one scene to the next, and it's somewhat seamless," Maker says of the album's bigger sound, another step away from the band's earlier garage aesthetic.

Although Strangest is very personal, the Makers also attempt to touch on issues that are generally identifiable. "We all are human beings, we all have the same problems, we all have the same inadequacies--we're so very much alike, which is funny 'cause we all [as humans] hate each other so much," he adds with a laugh.