There will be blood
The Zombats want to decapitate rockabilly, and make you watch
“I like the darker element of rock ‘n’ roll. If I had the money, I’d like to have blood exploding all over the stage, and severed heads falling out of the sky at our shows. I got some special magician’s paper from a Web site, so I could make fire an element at shows. I don’t think a lot of venues will allow that though.”
That’s Kid Evil. He’s the frontman for Chico’s all-things-eerie rockabilly romp, The Zombats. While the band is just getting started (the physics necessary for exploding blood are mind-boggling), it has quickly become the most gruesome group ever to grace our city’s graveyards. Their classic yet original style of rockabilly, accented with morbid theatrics, has put The Zombats name on everybody’s lips in a short amount of time.
They’re fun. They’re frightening. And there’s nothing quite like them.
“Kid Evil and I went to a Cramps concert one Halloween,” notes drummer Zombie Vixen. “It was life-changing.”
Kid Evil was living in New Mexico at the time, but kept in touch with the drummer. When he returned to Chico, they decided to start a band that killed some of the conventions associated with rockabilly.
“I’m really obsessive about rockabilly, but I didn’t want to do a cookie-cutter project,” Kid Evil says. “Sometimes in rockabilly you have to look or dress a certain way. I want to be separate from that.”
One separation the band members can take pride in is their knowledge of the style’s roots.
“I’ve noticed a lot of bands don’t know what rockabilly really is,” says Kid Evil. “I think a lot of bands have only heard Nekromantix or Tiger Army, and that’s cool that they’re doing what they like, but they don’t know the source of that kind of music. I like the old stuff better. You can’t buy it at Hot Topic.”
“It seems like a lot of bands aren’t doing their homework,” Vixen adds. “Not a lot of bands are like us. We’re in a different vein. We create a mood—a creepy mood.”
Among the artists included in the band’s influences are Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the legendary rocker who would arise from a coffin, dressed in a style somewhat resembling Baron Samedi, with a large top hat and a bone through his nose, then scream and howl about demons, curses and constipation.
Kid Evil has clearly taken a cue from Hawkins’ fashion sense—dressing in skull face paint and wearing a long homemade necklace with bones and chicken feet dangling from it. To complete the persona he dons unnerving contacts that resemble the eyes of a corpse. It’s a sight to behold.
The pieces began to fall into place with the addition of standup bassist Skank, who taught himself how to play music while growing up in the sticks.
“I grew up in a rural area. There wasn’t much to do,” Skank explains. “There were a lot of guitars around the house. One day out of boredom I started playing one.”
The Zombats have rounded out their lineup with Kids With Headlice’s Cody K (Codecay in this band) and Dirty Sister’s Judas Grease on guitars. Cody K is currently part of what Kid Evil refers to as the revolving door of guitarists. He replaced a guy who quit the band approximately two hours before a show.
“Cody’s in about a thousand bands, though,” laments Kid Evil. “Hopefully he’ll be able to stick with it.”
How this affects the band’s future remains to be seen. However, if the guitarist problem causes hang-ups in the band’s enthusiasm it doesn’t show. The Zombats have been playing more shows and recently opened for L.A. goth rockers Miss Derringer. The band has also recorded songs ("Decapitation Blues” and “She’s My Witch” to name a couple) that could find their way onto an album soon.
“It would be nice to record one really great record and then I’d be satisfied,” says Kid Evil. “That and playing live shows as much as possible, of course. I want to do something to watch, too. People are very audio-visual these days.”
And what would be more worth audio-visual attention than exploding blood on magic fire paper?