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  • Interview: Hollywood Undead

    Thu, 20 Aug 2009 10:58:01

    Interview: Hollywood Undead - Hollywood Undead's J-Dog and Funny Man talk about bidets in Japan, their new music, playing Epicenter and trouble at Danny Lohner's castle...

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    Hollywood Undead are poised for pop culture dominance.

    Their gold-selling debut, Swan Songs is the Facebook generation's Appetite for Destruction, and the band's rabid fan base gets bigger by the day. It'll grow again this weekend when they tear up the stage at Southern California's Epicenter festival alongside Tool, Linkin Park and Alice in Chains. Fresh off a successful Japanese tour, J-Dog, Funny Man, Johnny 3 Tears, Da Kurlzz, Deuce and Charlie Scene are ready to kick more ass.

    Of all the things in Japan though, what did they remember the most?

    "That bidet shit's crazy," laughs Funny Man. "The thing squirts you in your asshole, and it tickles like a motherfucker."

    "We all got drunk and dared each other to use the bidet," adds J-Dog. "So we had to do it. It actually catches you off guard. You're sitting there after you press the button and you know it's going to happen, but you don't know when. It's fucking crazy. Go to Japan so you can squirt your butthole [Laughs]."

    The life of a soon-to-be-platinum band…

    In this exclusive interview, J-Dog and Funny Man talk about why kids connect to Swan Songs, Epicenter, what the new Hollywood Undead music sounds like, waking up in Danny Lohner's castle, buying cheap booze and ninjas from the future.

    Are you gentlemen looking forward to Epicenter on Saturday?

    J-Dog: This is the most we've ever been played on KROQ before. We're definitely excited to be playing Epicenter.

    Funny Man: I've probably heard Charlie Scene on KROQ like five times today.

    J-Dog: Yeah, we've gotta hear his lame-ass voice doing the liners and ID's all the time.

    Funny Man: "This is Charlie Scene, check us out at Epicenter!"

    J-Dog: I just turn the radio off.

    Funny Man: "This is Charlie Scene, get V-I-P at Epicenter."

    J-Dog: He's saying some pretty dumb shit [Laughs].

    Funny Man: He's going to get famous, and we're not [Laughs].

    Are you particularly excited to play alongside any certain bands on the bill?

    J-Dog: Tool and Linkin Park.

    Funny Man: Sonny's playing and Wolfmother is too.

    J-Dog: I'm looking forward to seeing every band on the bill. Atreyu's playing, and we're also doing a tour with them. I haven't seen them in a long time. I never, in a million years, thought we'd play a show with Tool, so that's exciting. I've never seen Tool play before. I've only heard about how good they are and all the crazy shit they do. I'm really curious to see that. The last time we played LA was another KROQ show, the Weenie Roast. It's always fun to play back home, but it kind of sucks because everybody we know is always trying to get tickets. We're playing with Tool and Linkin Park so those tickets are obviously harder to get. We've got more tickets than usual this time though. We're finally moving on up. Once you sell a half-million records people start sucking your balls [Laughs].

    Funny Man: That could be the new liner on the radio [Laughs].

    Speaking of selling a half-million records, so many bands just can't do that anymore. Hollywood Undead's proven that kids will still buy music when it's real and quality. What is it about Swan Songs that's resonated with so many people?

    Funny Man: It's really about all of this touring and just getting out there.

    J-Dog: We really stay connected with our fans via the internet. After every single show we play, we stand outside there for hours talking to every kid at the show. Most bands don't want to do that. They just sit on the bus. We spend hours talking to the kids and signing stuff for them. After every show, we gain new fans and they tell their friends. In each city, the kids always come back too, and it keeps growing from there. We're gaining new fans every time we tour, and we tour all the time.

    So the way to succeed in this marketplace is to stay close to the kids?

    J-Dog: Yeah, music and bands are so fleeting nowadays. You can have a Top-40 single and maybe you'll sell a lot of records for a week or two, but the people buying your records aren't really your fans. They just like that one single. They don't care about the rest of your music, who you are, what you do or what you have to communicate. If you actually are in communication with your fans, they'll be with you for the long haul.

    Funny Man: They're the ones buying your fucking album and going to your shows. It's really cool to know what they think and get their input on what your album and show are like.

    J-Dog: We get bored as shit too on the bus with each other [Laughs]. We go out and mingle with the fans or look for tail to chase [Laughs].

    What do you hear from the fans? What's the general consensus from America's youth? Is it like the grunge days when everyone was angry?

    J-Dog: I think most of them are just confused. Most kids at that age are. They're looking for an outlet. Kids come to our shows and say, "I've been looking forward to this for a month. This was one of the best nights of my life. You guys are awesome." I think the kids simply want something to look forward to, especially because the country's not doing too well right now and their parents aren't doing too well. I wouldn't say they're pissed; they're just looking for an outlet. When I was that age, it was the same thing for me. Kids just want to enjoy themselves. Our shows are flat-out parties. There are titties being flashed everywhere. Drinks are being served for free all night…well, that's not true, but I wish it was [Laughs].

    We need more shows that are a straight-up party.

    Funny Man: We get about six titties per show.

    J-Dog: Well, next tour we'll put on some black wigs, sit down with acoustic guitars and cry on stage for the whole show [Laughs].

    Do you see a lot of the same kids when you play a town for the second or third time?

    J-Dog: If we play three shows in a tri-state area like Texas and Oklahoma, the same kids will drive to all three shows, even though they're like eight hours apart. If kids drive that far to see us, we'll typically bring them on the bus, hang out with them and bring them backstage because they drove so far to see our show. They're buying their own tickets. It's not like they're asking us for anything. Some of them will bring us weird gifts [Laughs]. Someone will be like, "I hung out with you in Oklahoma City and we took a picture. Here are these cupcakes with your face on them!" We usually give them to Da Kurlzz hoping they're poison [Laughs].

    Funny Man: One girl brought us these edible masks. They were pretty cool.

    J-Dog: In Japan, all of the girls out there meet you in the hotel lobby and give you gifts. They gave one of us a little porcelain mask. They gave us random articles of clothing too. At six in the morning, you wake up in your hotel and there are Japanese girls in mini-skirts and high heels waiting for you. You're in your pajamas in the lobby, and they're all excited [Laughs]. It's a different world out there. It seems like they appreciate it way more. They're so polite in between songs at the shows too.

    Do you feel like you guys have changed at all since this started?

    J-Dog: No, we still don't have any money [Laughs]. Funny Man and I still skate around Hollywood on our skateboards getting tall cans. Two days ago we bought this bottle of vodka off of this dude we know from 18th street. He got a bunch of bottles, and he was selling this big bottle of Grey Goose for like 15 bucks.

    Funny Man: I had to exchange my Canadian money first though [Laughs]. It's all I had. We got the bottle and a twelve pack. Then we went to a cul de sac and called it a day. It was pretty fun.

    So that's the life of a gold-selling band?

    J-Dog: Yup!

    Funny Man: Save your European money!

    J-Dog: I gave it all to my roommate because she collects it. But then I was like, "Fuck, they're could've been 50 bucks there!" I could've bought another bottle from that dude. He had a bottle of Patron that I wanted. He was selling it for $35, but I didn't have it [Laughs].

    You've started writing and recording new music at Danny Lohner's house in between all that. What's Lohner's spot like?

    J-Dog: It's like a raunchy castle [Laughs]. It used to be Chaka Khan's house.

    Funny Man: Chaka Khan lived there?

    J-Dog: You didn't know that?

    Funny Man: I forgot [Laughs].

    J-Dog: Danny's got a real morbid style so he has werewolf heads and suits of armor.

    Funny Man: He's actually got a knight's table in his dining room.

    J-Dog: Last night he told me he did a cartwheel into a suit of armor one night when he was drunk. It crashed into his wall and broke it! He's got hidden rooms all over the place and all kinds of crazy shit. I was at a party there once and I fell asleep. The chick I was with just left. I woke up by myself early in the morning, and it was dark. Danny has stained glass on all the windows with God-figures on them. There are heads hanging from the ceiling, so I freaked out. I didn't know where the fuck I was [Laughs]. It scared the shit out of me. The mattress was all ripped up, and the sheets were pulled off. I freaked out. It's an awesome place to record though. Danny produced "Undead" up there.

    What does the new music sound like?

    J-Dog: Some of it sounds like the old stuff, and some of it sounds completely different. We're experimenting with newer shit to kind of push the envelope. We're also messing around and covering some songs for fun. We thought it'd be cool if we did that.

    What are you covering?

    J-Dog: Led Zeppelin and other shit you'd never expect us to cover [Laughs]—just for fun though.

    Is Hollywood still your favorite place?

    J-Dog: Yeah, it's the only place you can skate around and buy bottles of vodka off dudes on 18th Street [Laughs]. It's always great coming home.

    Funny Man: The best part was when I almost didn't pay him. He was staring at me, and I was like, "What dude?" He said, "Aren't you going to give me my money?" [Laughs]

    What was the highlight of Japan, other than the bidets?

    Funny Man: One night we all got into our kimonos and had a powwow smoking weed in one room. It's so funny.

    J-Dog: I was passed out, but the next day I saw photos of four dudes in kimonos smoking weed [Laughs]. It looked like a bunch of misfits—the most random looking group of people. They were like ninjas from the future [Laughs].

    —Rick Florino

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