Music News

The Beatdown

Before noon on most days, I'm dead. Dead, but still breathing. And as long as I keep offering up "fresh meat" to Maris the Great, the growling, blood-splattering commander of the Freak Brigade, I'll continue to inhale and exhale on a regular basis. Besides, Maris, who's been murdering bands for five years on his website, (which now receives in excess of 2,000 hits an hour), is no longer content to feed only on local subjects.

"I killed a band called Bury Your Dead," he reveals, in a day voice that sounds conspicuously like that of Fred Rogers (who's deceased, at least). "They're on Victory Records. We bonded really well, and they invited me to tour with them and introduce them -- and kill bands on Ozzfest, because they're friends with a number of bands.

"It's not the entire stage," he says of his new opportunity. "It would be just introducing them. I don't think I can do the whole tour, so I've agreed to do two weeks."

Now, I know that Mootown music is a hot commodity right now -- but this is ridiculous. Even our mascot is getting high-profile gigs these days. "If this goes through, this would be wonderful, wonderful from a creative standpoint," he says, sounding as giddy about the prospect as Ned Flanders on his way to the seminary. "They would -- since I killed them -- they would be zombies, and together we would kill a band called Killswitch Engage."

Nice work if you can get it.

"I know," Maris agrees. "I've just gotten to the point where I can even say their name like that. For the first two weeks, I was saying 'Kill-Fucking-Switch Engage.'"

Don't cue up the freak-show theme music just yet, though. Maris is still making the arrangements with his newly Dead cronies. "Here's the deal," he explains. "Until my ass is sitting on the tour bus with them, until there's something a little more solid, I'm not officially announcing it, because, you know, everything in rock and roll is as stable as a junkie."

If all works out with Ozzfest, Maris plans to kill another ironically monikered hardcore band called It Dies Today -- as well as any other act with a death wish. And with any luck, his blood lust could catapult him to the sort of stardom achieved by second-stage alums like Drowning Pool. "If the situation goes in one direction, I wouldn't be surprised if I end up hosting the whole second stage or staying longer on tour with them," he says. "But at this point, that's what it is.

"I just got back from Ohio," he continues. "I hosted a big tattoo-fest there, and there was band called Pigface -- headlining band, really prima donnas. The deal with them: They were so freaked out by me, not only would they not let me introduce them, they didn't even want me near the stage. That's what I usually experience with most bands. They go through a period until they feel safe enough dealing with me, or whatever. So with Ozzfest, it could go in that direction."

After all, Maris has suffered though his share of detractors at home, from his now-infamous encounter with Drudgery's frontman ("Methods of Mayhem," October 31, 2002) to a belligerent drunk guy who recently threatened to beat him to within an inch of at the Soiled Dove. "He came up to me, and he spit in my face," Maris recounts. "And he goes, 'You're a fucking faggot. You're a faggot. I hate you. I should punch you in the face. You're a fucking clown. I hate you now; I've always hated you.' And I'm just looking at the guy, and I didn't know what to do. No one's ever done that before. So I'm standing there, and I thought, if I get in a fight with this guy, it's going to look really stupid -- pieces of my costume flying everywhere. So I went over to the doorman, and I said, 'You have a drunk guy over here who's trying to start fights.' And the guy is in a band, I guess, himself. He was so shocked that Maris the Great would speak to him out of character, he didn't hear anything I said. He grabs my hand and goes, 'Maris the Great, you've got to kill my band.' It made it worse. I was like, oh, my God. I could get my ass kicked here, and everyone thinks it's part of the act."

Kill or be killed, Maris has to move fast these days. His manager, Rainie Kelso, from Dead Frog Entertainment, has fed him more East Coast hardcore bands than he can possibly feast on, and a recent trip to New Jersey to visit one of those acts -- led by a curiously uni-monikered fella named Gook -- proved to be very harrowing for the self-proclaimed zombie fag. "I killed this band called Agents of Man," he recounts. (You could create a drinking game with the number of times his sentences begin "I killed this band.."). "And I love their music. Because Gook's in the band, they're considered very important. So I stayed at Gook's house, and he lives in the hood. I've heard the term 'hood' used in Denver, but here, people just use it as a term. In New Jersey, the hood is the hood. So I was in the hood as Maris the Great, stayed in character, costume the whole time. And they took me out to a local Chinese takeout place. And all these people were stopping their cars in the middle of the street going, 'Goddamn!'

"There was like this big buzz," he remembers. "And Agents of Man, they said, 'I can't believe it. You're a hit in the hood.'"

And what qualified this section of Jersey as the hood?

"I guess it's a real rough neighborhood," Maris says. "It's poor. There's a lot of crime. At night, when I went to sleep, I would hear all these cars zooming by and screeching their brakes. And the guys in the band would say, 'Oh, that's just another car that got stolen.' I was just like, 'Oh, my God, that's kind of scary.'"

Scary? For chrissakes, Maris, you're a zombie -- and you live in Aurora. Don't make us send you to remedial monster school.

Let the bodies hit the floor.

Upbeats and beatdowns: On Friday, June 10, Eight-O-Two and Fallout Orphan find a home at the Walnut Room; D.O.R.K. , Fong Jones Band and the Railbenders tie one on at the Gothic Theatre; The Things They Carry, Magic Cyclops and d.biddle help Matson Jones celebrate the release of its new doughnut at the Bluebird Theater; Herman's Hideaway hosts Dick Ramada (that's Dick and the Chicks to all you old-schoolers), Ten Cent Redemption, Rexway and the much-ballyhooed club debut of Shoot Romeo, the Mootown supergroup anchored by Bobblehead Rupp; Twitch, Rainbox and Tequila Mockingbird order another round at the Soiled Dove; and the Vulpes, Firetrees and the Funeral dirge-y up the hi-dive.

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Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera