As difficult as it is to make it in the music industry, you have to hand it to bands that risk having a gimmick complement their songs.
Some hit paydirt. Others are best forgotten.
KISS’ staple was their makeup and “7-inch leather heels” from the ’70s, early ’80s, and 1996 to the present. Slipknot has its masks and jumpsuits. Gwar has its outrageous costumes and blood-squirting devices.
And there’s Swashbuckle.
Time will tell if the New Jersey underground thrash trio of vocalist/bassist Admiral Nobeard, guitarist Commodore Redrum and new drummer Bootsmann Collins ever approaches the popularity, longevity or record sales of the aforementioned artists. Highly unlikely. But it’s difficult to fault a band for taking a leap of faith by dressing as pirates, wearing toy parrots on their shoulders and handing out foam swords to fans in the pits who mosh to their tyrannical thrash shenanigans.
Swashbuckle will bring its nautical nonsense aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas in January for the five-day “70,000 Tons of Metal” cruise from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico — a concert excursion that features 40 bands including thrash veterans Testament, Exodus, and Death Angel. But first, Swashbuckle will be the opening act for the Panic Over North America tour headlined by Soilwork and featuring Death Angel, Augury and Mutiny Within on Aug. 5 at Emo’s in Austin. (Stay tuned in a couple weeks for my interview with Death Angel singer Mark Osegueda).
Admiral Nobeard phoned me last week outside a Wal-Mart in Philadelphia. As you might expect, it was more lighthearted conversation, less interview — with just a tad seriousness thrown in:
Q: So, Admiral, can I ask your real name and age?
A: No, you cannot.
Q: What are you doing at a Wal-Mart besides talking to me? Isn’t there anything going on in Philadelphia?
A: I’m sure there’s stuff going on, but we just don’t feel like getting shot.
Q: What was the thought process when the band was first formed, as far as your gimmick?
A: Have fun, f— bitches and get money. That was pretty much it. We’re still working on the f— bitches and get money part. But we’re having a lot of fun.
Q: Do the foam swords in the crowd incite more moshing than usual?
A: Some kids dig it, some kids don’t. There’s always going to be a divided line. Some people want to be back in the crowd and be f——. I’m sure some kids will have fun, some won’t, some will walk out, and some people will be beat into a coma, as it should be.
Q: So there’s no chance of it being completely civilized?
A: We don’t go for civilization, we go for annihilation.
Q: How difficult is it to play thrash metal with a parrot on your shoulder?
A: I don’t know. He’s taped on there, so it’s not that difficult.
Q: Have you ever tried to teach a live parrot to headbang?
A: No, I don’t feel like cleaning up bird s— all over me.
Q: You can’t refer to your fans as Parrotheads since Jimmy Buffet has that covered, so what are they?
A: We call them suckers.
A: Because they came out to the show. No, we don’t have terms for them, we think that’s f—— stupid. They’re just people. Dudes and chicks who come out and want to have a good time.
Q: How is your forthcoming third album Crime Always Pays different than Back To The Noose, and when will it be out?
A: We have a new drummer, and he’s fantastic. He definitely came out on the record. It’s way more awesome. The songs are definitely more focused. You’ll have to hear the record. I don’t know what else to say about it other than it being baller as f—. My guess is it will be out late September or early October.
Q: I imagine the cruise is going to be unlike any gig you’ve ever played. Your thoughts?
A: I’m gonna throw people overboard during Death Angel and Obituary. And when we sail for the Gulf, I can’t wait to pee into the ocean of fire that’s going on right now. Every little bit helps. If I see a duck on fire, I’m going to pee on it and put it out.
Q: So what happens if you encounter real pirates in the open sea?
A: We high-five, we party, we pillage — and then we shoot them in the f—— head ’cause that’s what they deserve.
Q: How many cruises have you been on, and do you get seasick?
A: I don’t get seasick, but I do get people sick because that’s normal. I haven’t been on a regular cruise, so this will be our first. We’ll hold hands and go swimming with those inflatable palm trees.
Q: What do you plan on doing on the cruise when you’re not drinking or playing a show?
A: Drinking and playing a show. I have a one-track mind when it comes to that. I’m either drinking or playing a show.
Q: Who would win in a foam-sword fight between you and Captain Jack Sparrow?
A: Me because I’m real and I haven’t been in a movie.
Q: Friday’s concert in Milwaukee is going to be streamed live on the Internet. For those around here who are wondering whether they should check out your band for the first time, what would you tell them about previewing the webcast?
A: All five bands will be streamed, but if they want to come out to the show, don’t watch that show. Every time we play Milwaukee, it’s disaster. I think they hate us. So don’t watch that show.
Q: So you’re saying things are bigger and better in Texas, and they don’t hate you out here?
A: Of course. The stars at night are big and bright . . .
- WHO: Soilwork, Death Angel, Augury, Mutiny Within, Swashbuckle
- WHAT: Panic Over North America tour
- WHEN: 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 5
- WHERE: Emo’s in Austin (603 Red River)
- TICKETS: $18 general admission; $45 VIP (Meet Soilwork and Death Angel before show). Buy here.
- OF NOTE: Friday’s show from Milwaukee will be streamed live over the Internet at 7 p.m. CST at this link and is scheduled to include the band The Crinn.
- WHAT: 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise
- WHEN: Jan. 24-28, 2011
- WHERE: Sails from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico
- MORE INFO: www.70000tons.com
- OF NOTE: Check out some of Swashbuckle’s shenanigans on their YouTube channel here.
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