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Heavy-metal train wreck KnifeThruHead throws down the gauntlet to other pretenders to the throne

Judas Grease, Matthew Connoly, Kenneth Fucking Hoffman, Ashley Roachclip and Balls McCartney understand the seductive power of pairing tube socks with jock straps.

Judas Grease, Matthew Connoly, Kenneth Fucking Hoffman, Ashley Roachclip and Balls McCartney understand the seductive power of pairing tube socks with jock straps.

Speaking with KnifeThruHead is something like speaking with a roomful of escaped inmates from an asylum for the criminally insane.

Not that there is anything particularly evil about them per se—each of them, in fact, is quite personable in his own off-kilter way—but there is something about them as a group that just isn’t quite right. Perhaps it’s because the witty banter between the members centers on half-truths, exaggerations and tall tales and constantly circles the sort of homophobic taunts more suited to a high-school locker room than to the hallowed pages of this paper.

The very names of the band members speak volumes to their particular bent: vocalist Kenneth Fucking Hoffman, bassist Judas Grease, guitarist Balls McCartney, drummer Ashley Roachclip and saxophonist Matthew Connoly—who somehow escaped getting branded with a moniker like his bandmates’ by virtue of his currently serving in Iraq as a member of the 101st Airborne. Is this a comedy troupe, an FBI Most Wanted list, a roster of former members of the Wu-Tang Clan or a group of stoned frat-house boys?

Or try making sense of the band’s professed influences, a list that includes punk rocker-cum-performance-artist G.G. Allin, Hugh Hefner, NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, Michael Jackson, Poison, the Monkees, Guns N’ Roses, Barry Manilow, Robert Goulet, Pat Boone, Jim Croce and Rod Stewart. Lest we take any of these too seriously, band members are quick to point out: “Our current favorite is Michael Jackson. Not because of the music but because of the attitude. The lifestyle. The Jesus juice.”

Or try classifying KnifeThruHead into any recognizable musical genre. The best I could come up with is “performance-art grindcore metal,” as if there’s a category in your local record store for that. The band’s performances are heavy-metal striptease acts, with band members stripping down to jock straps during performances. The songs themselves would even make the late G.G. Allin himself stand up and take notice. (“Assmask,” a track available for free download from the SN&R Web site, starts with a lighting-fast speed-metal song with indecipherably snarled vocals until the memorable closing lines: “I wanna eat your ass! Gimme that big fat fucking ass!”)

“We just like to be sexy,” Hoffman noted. “If you’ve noticed at our shows, it’s all women in the front. It’s not like that with other metal bands. It’s just because we’re so goddamned sexy. It can’t be because of the music, that’s for sure!”

That may be true, although there also is something frightening about those live performances, a feeling that the band might just do anything—and I mean anything—in order to push the boundary between entertainment and offense.

It’s just this boundary that might be blurred when KnifeThruHead prepares for its Sammies-ballot band-showcase slot at the Roadhouse on June 25. “We’d like to throw out a challenge to the other bands we’ll be battling against,” Hoffman said. “We’d like to settle it by arm wrestling.” There was a pause, and then another member, maybe Balls McCartney or Judas Grease, chimed in over the speaker phone, “Or by sodomy. Whoever can sodomize each other the best wins. That’s how I’d write the rules. Look out, News & Review: Here we come.”

A slight pause and then another voice: “We don’t care if we win or lose, really. We’ve already been honored with the greatest gift of all, because we have 15-inch cocks.”

More information, not for the faint of heart or the ill of humor, can be found at www.geocities.com/knifethruheadgrind.