Hollywood Undead perfects the business of taking risks
By Jasen T. Davis
Hollywood Undead is the kind of band that defies classification because they are that original and that good. This confuses critics and entertains fans, so the alchemy is doing something right. With six members in hockey-style masks making music, it’s going to get eclectic.
The six young artists delivered solid work with their latest album, American Tragedy, which presented the listener with an audio smorgasbord to feed every rock taste. Building upon the successful formula that infused their first album, Swan Songs, the group has added dance, techno and synth elements to the mixture, giving their Revolt Tour the rocket fuel it takes to sell out seats.
Vocalist Funny Man pulled himself away from the fun he was having to chat with CULTURE.
I’ve heard you guys described as nü metal, rap, hip-hop, alternative rock and crunkcore. How should your band really be described?
There is no genre that sums us up. Our style of music is just what it is. I mean, rap, rock, metal . . . there is no description for what we do. We are Hollywood Undead. Everyone in the band is so different, I mean, there are six of us. Everyone just puts in their mix of personalities and music, and when you get to our show you get everything we have.
You released your first album, Swan Songs, back in 2008. How did it feel working on American Tragedy?
What happened was that our band went through a lot of changes, so we are just trying to take things to a whole other level with our new member. We went to the studio and just made it happen. Coming in and doing American Tragedy, I just wanted the world to see something new. We wanted to prove we could keep making great albums.
Did you get any complaints over your song “Been to Hell?” The song delivers a harsh portrayal of the entertainment industry.
Well, the message is “Just stick to your guns and go for it.” When you go to Hollywood you have to just go for it because there’s no room for anything else. Don’t even bother if you aren’t willing to risk everything. I’ve seen it happen a lot. I have to give credit to my girl. She’s been a songwriter for six years now, and she’s just making a killing, now. She had to really pay her dues, though. It’s a machine out here, and it will grind you down.
What are your thoughts on the legalization of marijuana?
Well, I think it should be legal, but honestly, I feel it’s never going to be. There’re just so many assholes that don’t want us to get high. I don’t give a damn, though. I grow my own weed and I’m perfectly happy with how things are now.
Why is it that there are still some politicians that are still standing in the way of progress?
Because they had a boring childhood. What’s funny is that right now I’m in downtown Sacramento, and I’m trying to find a bar, and I keep asking all of these politicians walking around here and they won’t tell me anything.
Your taxes pay their salaries, too. What’s up with that?
Exactly! I don’t give a damn about politics. It won’t matter if [marijuana] is legal or not; it’s always going to be there, no matter what.
ALL PUCKED UP
Hollywood Undead’s aren’t the only pop culture figures to make hockey masks pretty damn notorious. Jump back to the granddaddy of slasher flick franchises, Friday the 13th, and you’ll remember how Jason Voorhees donned a goaltender’s protective gear before hacking and slicing his way through nubile, sex-seeking teens at Camp Crystal Lake (Manhattan, too, but let’s not talk about that flick). However, the mask actually didn’t make its appearance until 1982’s Friday the 14th Part III, which featured an unmasked Jason removing a hockey mask from one of his victims.
They say you should always put your best face forward . . . well, here are a few dudes that would kindly disagree. In some cases, the disagreement would not be very kind.
Once hip-hop artist/producer Daniel Dumile dons his (in case ya didn’t know, the MF in his name stands for Metal Face or Metal Fingers, depending on the album), Dr. Doom-inspired mask, stand back cuz you’re in store for some of the most blunted, sampledelic beats this side of Madlib.
GHOSTFACE from the Scream movies
One of the freakiest villains to come out of the revived slasher film genre, Ghostface inspired countless trick-or-treaters and Halloween merchandise during the late ’90s. For the minutiae-minded, the mask was inspired by Edvard Munch’s 1893 painting The Scream.
This anarchist/freedom fighter from the V For Vendetta graphic novel and film used a Guy Fawkes mask to terrorize the fascist police state that had taken over a post-nuclear war Britain. His goal: blowing shit up. Nice.
Much like KISS did a generation before, Corey Taylor, Joey Jordison and the rest of the miscreants in Slipknot have always hidden their faces to the delight of their maggots, er, fans. Then Corey took off his mask for Stone Sour, and that just plain sucked.