Horror fans love rock ‘n roll. That’s a given, but sometimes
the two mediums intertwine like Brundlefly DNA to make something new. That’s
what happened with Germany’s horror punk band THE OTHER, a Misfits-inspired
amalgam of all things ghoulishly quaint and blisteringly bloody.
Their new album, THE DEVILS YOU KNOW, is a tough disc filled
with macabre lyrics, pummeling riffs and somehow, plenty of creepy charm. Much
of that charm is due in no small part to frontman Rod Usher, a true genre fan
who’s managing to live his dream.
We spoke to Rod recently about movies, music and yes, their
connection to The Misfits…
FANGORIA: Your music is alive with the love of the macabre.
Was it always movies that moved you? When can you cite that love affair first
ROD USHER: My first taste of the horror genre was indeed a
movie; a Frankenstein production from Hammer, with Peter Cushing—that much, I
remember. I was about eight years old, frightened but also feeling sympathy for
the monster. And shortly afterwards, at
the age of nine, I started reading Stephen King and got into horror literature
with THE SHINING. Those early experiences shaped my taste for horror. I still
prefer movies that have an old school charm, that are not too one-dimensional
and that include some social or political comments. The same goes for literature,
and this influences our songs, lyrics and our artwork and outfits as well.
FANG: There is a clear link to the horror/punk of The
Misfits, you even cite this yourself. Have you found that to be a blessing or a
curse to you commercially?
USHER: At first it was a blessing, because people wanted new
music in a Misfits-style, but the band didn’t release anything after FAMOUS
MONSTERS came out. So, we had a fast start and even played with the Misfits
quite a few times. Now it’s a little redundant to read “they sound like The
Misfits” in every second review, because we don’t anymore. We’re still big fans
of the Danzig and Graves-eras of the band, and you can still here the influence
in our sound, but our music has lots of other influences as well, from Iron
Maiden to Bauhaus. It hasn’t become a curse, but I wish some journalist would
be a little more creative.
FANG: Talk about your lyrics. They are dark, but there is a
definite sense of play in them.
USHER: Thanks so much. That’s exactly what we try to do and
obviously, it’s even harder for me since English is not my native language. I
like to write my lyrics like I want a good book to be, with room for
interpretation and the possibility of reading between the lines. Plus, it’s
also important to be not too serious all the time but have some fun and play
with words. I’m always glad when people appreciate this because, for me, the
lyrics are part of who we are as a band.
FANG: With the new album, are you adding anything to the
stage show/tour to shock your audience?
USHER: We’re not GWAR or Alice Cooper, and simply cannot
afford huge theatrical shows, even though we’d love to work on more stuff.
Right now we’re working on things that don’t have so much to do with the album,
but with stage-decorations that fit our characters. Our Doc Caligari is
building a kind of laboratory around his drum kit for example, with pipes full
of blood and colored liquids and a machine that lets sparks fly. We’ll see how
that works out.
FANG: What kind of media support have you gotten from the
horror world so far?
USHER: Quite a bit actually and we’re very proud of that. FANGORIA
featured us online before, Rue Morgue just published an interview in the
magazine. Bloody Disgusting, Fearnet, etc. supported us and the two big German
magazine – Virus and Deadline – just have long stories in their new issue. We
also had an appearance in Andreas Schnaas’ movie VIOLENT SHIT 4. Our music was
used in a few horror movies and we played live shows at the German “Weekend of
Horrors” a couple of time and will sign autographs there this year. Hey, maybe
Stephen King has even heard our song “Castle Rock” on NEW BLOOD, since I gave
the CD to his son Joe Hill. And Rob Zombie wanted us as support on his last
German tour, but the booking agency put another artist on the bill. I do hope
there will be more things coming up, though. We’d love to play conventions in
North America for example, and maybe work together with authors, filmmakers,
FANG: The vision for The Other is distinct and clearly
defined. Where do you plan to take the band next? Any plans to actually make a
series of The Other-branded horror films?
USHER: Right now, a gifted German film student, Valerie
Götz, is doing a stop-motion video for
our song “Puppet on a String”. But I really do have the dream that we can do a
feature film on The Other some day. Like KISS did, only better and more
serious. Jörg Buttgereit is a fan of The Other and wrote a preface to our new
comic book. Maybe he’s up for it. If not, I hope Tim Burton will leave Johnny
Depp out for once and use The Other instead.
For more on The Other, head to their official site.
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