“Backstage pass to Hell, enjoy the show!”
That eerie twang and ominous vocal you hear is “Black Wedding,” the opening
theme to Nekromantix’s (Kim Nekroman – bass/vocals , Peter Sandorff –
guitar/vocals , Kristian Sandorff – drums) psychobilly B-flick, Dead Girls
Don’t Cry (released on May 10th via Hellcat). Dig how it builds to a
Benedictine blast, blowing open the church doors in a hail of spitting
guitar and double bass, offering a “Backstage Pass to Hell.” The church
makes for an ironic, inviting maw; you’re compelled, if not exactly willing,
to enter. You stick around because it’s a fuckin’ riot.
That has been the Danish trio’s (meat)hook – a creepy, fun vibe that is
inherently rock n’ roll – since singer/coffin bassist Kim Nekroman founded the
band in 1989. You might have sampled some of that on their Hellcat (and
U.S.) debut, 2002’s Return of the Loving Dead. Well, Dead Girls Don’t Cry is
actually the seventh instance of their signature brand of psychobilly and,
thus far, the best. And that’s a helluva feat, considering Nekromantix wrote
and recorded it on the fly (not unlike a bat out of hell).
“We did everything in a hurry,” explains Nekroman, citing a limited window
of opportunity, resulting from his recent relocation from Copenhagen to LA
while guitarist Peter Sandorff and his drummer bro Kristian stayed put.
Rehearsals began after a string of shows with Rancid and Tiger Army; they
budgeted a week to get a pile of 14 instrumentals down, then commenced
recording with Jon Silas Cranefield at the Steakhouse in North Hollywood.
“All the lyrics written at the last minute,” says Nekroman. “I woke up early
in morning and did the lyrics, then we stayed up late at the studio
recording. It was all very impulsive.”
To illustrate, think of “Black Wedding” as the opening credits, “Backstage
PassS” as the intense, harrowing taste of exquisite horrors to come. “Moon
Chaser” dampens the pace and the creep factor, setting up the listener for
the punk punch of “Wrecking Ball” and “Where Do Monsters Go?,” which lead to
the title track, where our antagonist serenades his captive bride-to-be.
Subsequent tracks “What’s On Your Neighbor’s BBQ?,” “Shock Star,” “Stone in
My Name” and “Dead By Dawn” amount to more striking plot points you’ll have
to discover for yourself.
Of course, there’s no real concept to Dead Girls Don’t Cry, “no deep source
behind it.” Nekroman says the band was simply trying to get a record out,
and somehow convey the band’s live energy in the process. The performances
are urgent and visceral, the pacing frantic and forebodingSjust like a great
horror film. “The sequence is really great on this album,” Nekroman
Nekroman recalls, “Somewhere around the age of six and seven years old I saw
Nosferatu and the old King Kong, and shortly after that, I saw Frankenstein.
I was kinda scared, but I saw something else in these movies. They grabbed
me and I kinda immediately saw there was more to it than some scary story.”
The fun in fright was key, Nekroman maintains, but a larger literary
And so Nekroman writes using as foils the Necronomicon, gargoyles, zombies,
killers, cathouses, cannibals, graveyards, kinky clerics, ghouls,
death-in-general and dead girls (sometimes cheerleaders) to make points with
underlying poignance. Dead Girls’ most notable examples: “Backstage Pass!”
(about the unseen melodrama of the backstage area, where “numb, fake” people
interact with no more sincerity or pulse than a pack of ambling zombies),
“Moon Chaser” (about LA dreamchasers, forever barking at the moon), and
“What’s On Your Neighbor’s BBQ?,” the cannibalistic implications of which
simply explore the fact that you never really know your neighbor.
Therein lies the Nekromantix philosophy: have fun and hold nothing sacred.
It’s ingrained in their sinister sound, which has defined and endeared them
to psychobilly fans over the past 15 years. And that’s what they’ll purvey
stateside, as they prepare for another round of thrilling U.S. shows.
“We’re not into writing a hit album at all; we’re not that type of band.
We’re all about getting more and more fans and be able to tour – just do our
main thing, which is playing live. To me, albums are just something you need
to do in order to go on the road.”