Brendon Small of Dethklok on Metalocalypse's unlikely Warlock Pinchers/Colorado connection

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Is Dr. Rockso based on anyone in particular?

He's based on every frontman that existed from the '70s to now. But mostly the '70s guys. There's a little bit of Paul Stanley, there's a little bit of David Lee Roth, there's a little bit of Steven Tyler -- like guys from a time when frontmen were fucking selling the tickets. Those guys were really working hard and amazing performers.

But the whole reason that came together is that we had a clown in an episode, like a birthday clown in a Murderface episode. I saw the clown and said, "Oh, he's dressed up like a regular clown." It's supposed to be kind of humiliating, and we thought, "What if we took that clown and made him the wrong genre of metal."

Then he was just there just chewing up the fucking scenery and just won't go away. Then the joke was on us that that character ended up being the breakout character of the show, and we can't stand him. We come close to killing him every episode, but he keeps on living somehow.

You went to Berklee. Do you feel that that helped in any way with the music that you do now, or do you feel like you've dispensed with that in some way?

No, I think it comes into play often. With a lot of music on the show, it's not even the band music, it's a lot of score stuff. There's a lot of tricks that I learned in Berklee. I was a composition and performance major, so I had to get in front of people and play. But most important was chord knowledge and understanding chord progression and understanding what my favorite music sounded like and why it sounded that way and analyzing it. All of that shit really comes into play when you're backed into a corner and have a deadline.

Whether or not you realize it, you develop a bag of tricks. So if you have to write a song in five minutes, you have to go, "I know how this works. I can go there and there, and now, I need to get into another key somehow." So it totally helps with that. Something about that school makes you want to learn your chops. It's all up to you, if you want to be a professional guitar player or not. You just have to put the hours in.

Obviously you've done a lot of soundtrack work that has nothing to do with being a metal musician at all. So that discipline probably came in handy there too?

Absolutely. And it's just fun too. You understand very quickly that whatever the genre of music is, you can adapt to it very quickly. You just have to understand what the components are. If I'm forced to at gunpoint to write a song indicative of a certain style, like reggae, I feel confident that I could do it.

Dethklok, with All That Remains and Black Dahlia Murder, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 20, Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson Street, $61-67, 303-837-0360, 16+

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.

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