By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
By Jena Ardell
By Mary Willson
By Bree Davies
IAMTHESHOTGUN formed in 2007 when guitarist Bryan Pelle met Kareem Hendricks through an ad for bandmates. The two bonded over a mutual love of the melodic death-metal band Dead to Fall, and subsequently struck up a musical partnership that has endured numerous lineup changes. The band didn't have a bassist at the start, but the pair soon recruited Jon Wells to fill in on the lower end. Today Lucus Garcia is behind the kit and Kyle Stroud fronts the outfit.
Earlier in its career, IAMTHESHOTGUN played in the circuit of bands that had connections to the DIY space Kingdom of Doom. SHOTGUN's style of brutal, technical death metal has evolved since then to include sound ideas and rhythms more akin to those of pioneering grindcore bands like Napalm Death and Brujeria. The act's latest, self-titled effort showcases this change in direction, which the members say came organically and unexpectedly. While the music is heavy and violent, it's clear these guys have a healthy sense of humor. We spoke with Pelle about that aspect of the band's songwriting.
Westword: Some of your song titles are very amusing and in contrast to the kind of music you make.
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Bryan Pelle: That's because we don't take ourselves seriously, even though we take the band seriously.
Some of them sound like there has to be a backstory. How about "Cheddar Is Good But Brie Is Better"?
We were making fun of basically the scene where people would call really low, guttural vocals "bree." So we did a kind of play on words. Money is good, and that's what cheddar is, but Brie is better — like money is good, but being brutal is better. It's kind of a hit on the music world. Money is cool and all, but playing metal is way better. We did a cheese reference because we're fuckin' nerds.
"Dahmer Style Potluck"?
That one, we actually just took a phrase and thought, "How fucked up would that be?" You can't get much more fucked up than that. It's not really about Dahmer or about eating, but about an incredibly fucked-up concept.
"Jon Wells Is in Vegas" has to have a story.
This one might be my favorite title — not because it's cool, but because it's so fucking stupid. Kareem and I wrote the song while Jon Wells was in Vegas. So we titled it "Jon Wells Is in Vegas." I wish it was a cooler story than that. I wish it was, "Oh, he was hammered, and he was calling us all the time." No. He was just there and we were writing while he was gone. It's so stupid, I can't help but love it.
Like a great, stupid inside joke.