Interview: Hollywood Undead
Mon, 09 Nov 2009 12:21:14
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There's no place like Texas…Just ask Hollywood Undead's
"Dallas is always great," says J-Dog with smirk and glimmer of mischief in his eye.
What makes it so great?
"Well, there's a Hooters a stone's throw away from the House of Blues so we always go there before we play. The girls just flock to our table [Laughs]. They ask, 'Ya'll playing across the street?' It's funny because they always say they've never heard of us," he laughs.
Regardless of the band's popularity among Hooters girls, a whole shit load of people have heard of Hollywood Undead, being converted by the band's unique sonic gospel. Their 2008 debut Swan Songs was certified Gold recently, and they're selling out shows across the U.S. on the Vatos Locos tour with Atreyu. Plus, Hollywood Undead have a brand new release, Desperate Measures, hitting stores on Tuesday November 10. Desperate Measures features brand new tracks, a live DVD and so much more. It's the perfect appetizer for Hollywood Undead's next main course—which is bound to blow even more minds than Swan Songs did.
J-Dog sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor Dolor author Rick Florino about Desperate Measures, what's next for Hollywood Undead, waking up later than Nikki Sixx and having something to say…
What's the story behind "Dove and Grenade" on Desperate Measures?
It's a fucking cool song! That's Danny Lohner right there. It sounds like a Nine Inch Nails song. Danny produced it and collaborated with us, and he definitely was a big influence on the track. It's a really heavy and in-your-face song. The instrumental on this song is amazing. I'd love to do more songs like it. If you listen to the lyrics, they come from the viewpoint of attacking something—people talking shit or whatever you want to call it. It's cool coming out on stage with a new song. The kids are used to hearing something old, so this lets everyone know that it's a whole new set. We've got new stage production and new songs. It's a different show.
How did the decision come about to do Desperate Measures?
We really wanted to come out with some new material. Our album came out a year ago, and it's just fun to record new songs. We've been playing the same songs for a year straight, and it's nice to have new songs to play during the live set. We've been playing the same set for about a year, and it feels great to have some new material.
Are "Dove and Grenade" and "Tear It Up" indicative of where the next album is going to go?
No, I wouldn't say that. They're just fun songs. I wouldn't say anything off this EP is how our second album is going to be. These are just songs that we wrote and released for now; they're not really foreshadowing anything. It's a one-time thing. Our second album is going to be better than our first though…
Is the live show becoming what you envisioned it being since the beginning?
Yeah, definitely! We have more input on how we want to do things. If we want to have certain banners made, we get those banners made. We can play the songs a certain way if we decide. I've always wanted to play bass during our live show, and I'm doing that now. Each tour, how we want the live show to be is coming together slowly more and more. We'll get a big fucking cannon and shoot Da Kurlzz out of it into the crowd [Laughs].
Is that the next tour?
That's next year! Next album we're getting that big fucking cannon. There's going to be a tightrope above the stage and a little Chihuahua. Da Kurlzz is going to walk across the tightrope, and the Chihuahua is going to follow him in a tutu [Laughs].
What's up with "Tear It Up?"
That song is just about being up in the club, fool [Laughs]! We actually wrote those lyrics a long time ago. We used to go to clubs a lot when we were back home, so we wanted a song that people could play in clubs and dance to—bitches be shakin' their titties to it and shit [Laughs]. It's really about us partying at clubs. We used to do that a lot. It's making fun of all the songs that repeat themselves saying things like, "Shake it like a salt shaker!" That kind of stuff was dominant at the time that we wrote those lyrics. All of those songs keep repeating the same things, so this is us making fun of that.
And "El Urgencia?"
I wrote the music, and Charlie Scene wrote the lyrics. It's another old school Hollywood Undead song. We tried to get back to our roots with that one. It's funny! When I heard those lyrics, I started cracking up.
Why did you choose to cover "Immigrant Song," "Shout at the Devil" and "Bad Town?"
Just to do something that people wouldn't expect…we thought about covering like the Beastie Boys or stuff like that, but that was a little too expected. We wanted to do songs that the band liked but everyone wouldn't expect us to cover. "Shout at the Devil" is a great song. Johnny 3 Tears loves Operation Ivy, so he suggested "Bad Town." We listened to that, and it was my favorite one to cover. To me, "Immigrant Song" was really fun too. I don't even know what to make out of that one [Laughs]. Nikki Sixx actually played bass on "Shout at the Devil." He came up to Danny Lohner's house and played bass on it. I didn't get to meet him though because I was sleeping in. Danny was like, "Come meet Nikki," but I woke up at 12 and he was gone already. The guy wakes up early [Laughs]!
What kind of rock star is recording shit before noon?
[Laughs] I read his book shortly after that, The Heroin Diaries. It was great. He actually wrote that whole song!
Do you have anything written for the next record?
We have some songs stockpiled, but it's hard to write on the road because you get sidetracked. We do write on the road, but not as much as we'd hope to. I'm actually excited to write the second record.
I have a feeling the next album is going to show how deep Hollywood Undead can go too.
I think for the next record, we'll evolve as a band. Any band that has a record out and comes out with the same album again, people get bored of. Take AFI or Linkin Park, every record that they come out with sounds a little bit different. It's great! You have to change. You can't just be the same band forever. People get tired of that. You've got to grow as artists. I think we'll definitely grow a little bit more. Being on the road has taught us a lot.
Songs like "Paradise Lost" and "Pain" are really powerful. Do you feel like you'll go further in that dark direction on the second album?
The people in this band are so different. Everyone has a different viewpoint on what he wants to do. It's still going to be mixed up. Funny Man likes to do songs like "El Urgencia." Then there's Johnny 3 Tears who is darker—he just thinks that way. I would like to go more in that direction because it's better for the live show, and I always enjoy those songs more. I definitely think we'll touch on that a little bit more. If you go in the other direction too much, no one wants to hear a bunch of white boys talking about being in the club [Laughs].
You're all very intelligent guys too, and you have "something" to say. That's why this band's connected the way it has.
That's the whole point. With our fans, we don't beat around the bush with our lyrics. If we want to say something, we'll say it. I listen to some of these other bands and they're talking about holdings hands and saying, "Hold my heart." It's like c'mon dude, don't fucking lie to these kids. You've had your heart broken, just tell them how it happened. People just talk shit about things that happened in life and they try to be poetic. We're more direct with it.
That honesty you have will last though.
We've always been honest. You've met us all before, Rick—you know we don't lie about things. We tell the truth. Now, I'm going to go read your book…
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…