Think Charlie Sheen minus the tiger blood.
But Anniston’s own Kill, Baby ... Kill! go deeper — six feet deep, in fact. These guys have risen from the grave and are ready to rock. There’s nothing cliché about what they’ve done to get here and their debut EP, Sometimes They Come Back, which officially drops with a release party May 13 at the Smoking Moose, stands as testament to a band that won’t even let death get in the way of becoming rock stars.
According to legend, back in the late 1950s, Kill, Baby ... Kill! was nearly as infamous for its mayhem and carnage off the stage as on. In an effort to earn some cash, these adrenaline junkies were known to do a bit of bootleggin’ on the side, running illegal liquor for the shady Uncle Hoot. But their story met with a tragic end before the band fulfilled its destiny to rule the realm of instrumental surf-punk-horror-core-rock.
On Halloween night 1960, while making a whiskey run for Uncle Hoot, the boys were ambushed by a rival gang and gunned down in cold blood; their dreams of rock ‘n’ roll infamy dying with them.
But, like the title of their new EP commands ... sometimes they come back. That’s just what the hoodlums of Kill, Baby ... Kill! have done — risen from the depths of hell determined to claim the glory death robbed from them.
“Sounds pretty good,” says Noah “Brains” Holt, who sounds pretty polite for a corpse. “When you’re an all-instrumental surf-punk band, it helps to have a story that gets people’s attention.”
The sound of Kill, Baby ... Kill! defies both logic and genre, mixing ’50s drive-in horror movie aesthetics with the pop-punk kitsch of bands like The Cramps and The Misfits and topping it off with a heavy dose of surf-music guru Dick Dale.
“Think the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction,” says Holt, who also plays guitar. “For anybody over say, 25, that’s a pretty good way to explain it. For everybody else ... they’ve just got to hear us and come up with something themselves.”
Holt grew up in Auburn idolizing the local mostly instrumental surf rock band Man or Astro-Man?
“Actually, I worshipped the ground they walked on,” he says. “It’s no lie that I started this whole thing as a knock-off of what they did just to prove that I could.
“It was when I met (the rest of the band) that we all realized that this could be something way better than just a knock-off.”
In the late 1990s, Holt also became obsessed with cheeky horror movies and decided to take his love of both that and surf music “to the next level.” By 2003, he moved to Anniston, founding the first incarnation of Kill, Baby ... Kill!, which survived about five shows before imploding.
And yet it was during what would be their final gig that Holt made a friend who has become not only a mentor, but also a producer of the band’s debut EP — Joe King, from the seminal ’90s punk band The Queers.
Kill, Baby ... Kill! opened for The Queers during a Anniston show that was actually shut down by the police. Even though his band broke up, Holt kept in touch with King, who lived in Atlanta. When the band, with new members — Chris “Loose Grooves” Eagle, organ; Rye “The Rev” Fannin, guitar; Josh “Shades” Jackson, drums; and Jeremy “The Wolf” Baggot, bass — decided to make a record, King offered to produce.
“We recorded it as live as possible,” Holt explains, “capturing that live energy, recording the whole thing with very few overdubs.”
While the thought of an instrumental band may make some people think pretentious and overly technical, for the members themselves, nothing could be further from the truth. Their live shows, which incorporate samples from horror films, government service announcements, along with projections of old horror films, maintain the same pop structure, allowing for the music to be as accessible as any other form of straightforward rock.
“Most of the time when I tell people I’m in a surf band, they’re like, ‘Oh, you mean like the Beach Boys,’ ... but that’s not even close,” says Rye “The Rev” Fannin. “The surf music I love comes mostly from soundtracks, and that stuff never has lyrics. It doesn’t need any.”
“I think our music paints a picture — where the lead guitars serve as the melody — just as good without lyrics,” adds Josh “Shades” Jackson. “Nothing gets in the way. And with the way our live shows are ... it more than makes up for us not having lyrics.”
Since 2010, Kill, Baby ... Kill! has steadily toured the Southeast and plans are being made to next year tour across the country to California and possibly even Europe.
“We played our first show in town with this lineup back in October and haven’t been back since,” Holt says. “We’re not the same band we were seven months ago ... they won’t even recognize us anymore. We’ve come a long way.”
Contact Brett Buckner at email@example.com
Kill, Baby ... Kill!What: Voodoo surf rock band’s debut EP release party with special guests The Mystery Men, Frontman and the Afterthoughts.
When: Friday, May 13, 9 p.m.
Where: The Smoking Moose, 1214 Noble St., Anniston
How much: Free
Contact: 256-741-9300 or www.reverbnation.com/killbabykillal