The Band That Wasn't There


Toronto's alt-weekly NOW went to press with a surprising trifecta of heavy metal-themed features, including a lengthy profile of animator Brendon Small, creator of the cartoon Metalocalypse. Small's series follows Dethklok, a 40 percent Swedish, 60 percent American death metal band who inspire suicidal, Obama-esque devotion from their followers. So Small's next project is turning the band into a live act, while keeping them in the world of animation.

What will live audiences see when Dethklok hits town? Small describes the live show as "a big, stupid Disneyland ride, but with murder."

"There's a huge projection screen and a plot that unfolds, so there's just enough story going along to hang your hat on. The whole show is perfectly synched up to the band. There are animated comedy sketches, and each song has a little story going on. It's dynamic and stupid and funny and all that shit."

Small came up with a perfect compromise that allows him to keep his anonymity and spares him any lame stunts like dressing up in costume. Small's got too much respect for fans of the show (and himself) for that.

"Metal fans have such a fantastically strong bullshit detector that I would never embarrass myself by doing that. I'm not supposed to look like Nathan. I don't look like any of those guys. I look like Joe Regular, so I'm just supposed to sound like the band," he says.

Before we reach the Singularity, I think we'll reach the point when every trope from a pulp science fiction novel—in this case, artificially-created rock stars whom the audience recognize to be artificial—will come true.

NEXT: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?

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  1. Well, this post was over my head. But it sounds like Gorillaz.

  2. Gorillaz were somewhat different – they were a side-project of an already-famous band (Blur), and fans came knowing that the famous band was onstage doing stuff. Dethklok are a fake band created by cartoonists that have become famous, and will sell out venues, because people watch their cartoon.

  3. And it’s not not-Spinal-Tap either.

  4. A pretty good show. Brendon Small also made Home Movies which is one of my favorite shows ever. A rock opera based on Franz Kafka.

  5. I do cocaine!

  6. Weigel, do your homework. Not “40 percent Swedish.” Of the non-American members, 1 is Swedish, 1 is Norwegian.

  7. Metal fans have such a fantastically strong bullshit detector

    Right, because we all know how authentic metal is.

  8. Metal fans have strong bullshit detectors? HA!!! I can sum things up for everyone here: A group(goths) that shuns groups(non-Goth) that don’t follow their particular brand of elitism. Sound familiar?

  9. Before we reach the Singularity, I think we’ll reach the point when every trope from a pulp science fiction novel-in this case, artificially-created rock stars whom the audience recognize to be artificial-will come true.

    That’s been true of pop stars for decades.

  10. Damn you, Pottsy!!! Your post was shorter and more to the point.

  11. I’m still waiting for the Motherboy tour.

  12. All’s I know about metal I learned from reading Dave Mustaine’s wikipedia and wikiquote entries. Not sure how accurate all of it is, but they were damn entertaining.

  13. After further elaboration I have this particular Dethklok fan.

    Not bad!!!!

  14. Damn link!!!!

    *shakes fist in rage*

  15. Toki is Norwegian. Dildos.

  16. Here comes that guy!

  17. I just want Dr. Rockzo, (hes a Rock & Roll clown who does cocaine) to go on tour.

  18. Those metal fans are certainly sophisticates, almost up there with prog fans.

    That said, here’s a list of MetalVids I’m trying to add to programmatically, with literally thousands to go. However, Youtube keeps failing.

    That’s part of an exciting project I’m working on, and when that’s ready I’ll be sure to let all my friends at Reason know so they can take part.

  19. Dethklok = Irudo + Spinal Tap + Banana Splitz ?

  20. So, was Metal Monkees taken?

  21. Of course metal fans have a strong bullshit detector. We hate the insincere, unless it’s so over-the-top ridiculous that it overflows and becomes awesome. Hence Metalocalypse.

    Anyone else see the episode with Murderface’s “Nascar-type hybrid theatrical event”? Fucking sweet. The Viking racecar driver (with full beard!) killed me.

  22. Lonewacko posted something worthwhile?? Thanks for that, dude. It will cost me many hours of productivity.

  23. lunchstealer: many have tried to surpass Spinal Tap (including Spinal Tap itself), but this is the first rock satire to really fire on all cylinders. They’re like a demented Monkees from hell.

    And the album is great driving around music. Especially with $4.70 a gallon gas. That’s brutal.

  24. If I could I would go back in time and kill the guy who invented the Marshall amp. I think his name was Marshall, if I’m not mistaken.

  25. I might to the show in Atlanta just to catch Soilent Green, who’s opening up, because I haven’t seen live them in 4 years. For all the mockworthy over-the-top antics, the vast majority of metal and punk, good or bad, is more honest and down-to-earth than any other genres out there. It’s also quite often the cutting edge of music. And many of the smug hipsters that dominate music journalism are attempting to co-opt the genres now.

  26. Metal fans have such a fantastically strong bullshit detector

    Not so much an irony detector.

  27. If ever there was a concept on a TV show that resonates with conspiracy theorists, it’s the Tribunal.

  28. metal, as a broad broad genre, does seem to have a fan obsession with “authenticity” – particularly in the more extreme areas and, of course, black metal.

    why, i don’t know, but absurd costumes may have something to do with it.

    of course, none of this explains dragonforce fans.

  29. The obsession with authenticity in the more extreme metal and punk stems, I think, from their historical status as more or less outsider genres. And yeah, as a whole, I like to think metal fans can smell dishonesty from a mile away, whether it’s Poison, Limp Bizkit, or The Sword.

  30. Spinal Tap would kick Dethklok’s ass.

  31. Before we reach the Singularity, I think we’ll reach the point when every trope from a pulp science fiction novel-in this case, artificially-created rock stars whom the audience recognize to be artificial-will come true.

    Sci fi’s fascination with telepathy and precognition is BS and not based on science and will never come true. No nanobots in the blood stream or computers 1000 times as smart as any human mind will ever change that.

  32. Stormy Dragon, I’m pretty sure little girls could kick Dethklok’s asses. They’re not that brutal, they just carry bad luck for any fans or malefactors around them.

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