Satan’s last stand
Does the devil know when the devil’s dead? : KnifeThruHead, the area’s premiere man-thong-sporting, saxophone-blaring, innuendo-spewing metal band, just won a Sammie. But the band didn’t go to the awards show. Why? Because between booking gigs, manning live sound at a local bar, playing in two groups, running a record label and slaving at a full-time day job, frontman Kenny Hoffman was busy. In fact, he just might be the busiest man in Sacramento’s metal scene.
Let’s rewind to the third Saturday in October, when Sabado Satanico was going down at On the Y (670 Fulton Avenue). S.S. is a mini-fest of local and touring metal and punk bands, and Hoffman not only books the bands, he also acts as a sort of puppeteer who runs soundboards, manages the stage and sets up gear. Though much of his face is hidden by his bushy beard and thick-framed glasses, he greets people with a smile and a “Cheers!”
The band onstage, called Buried at Birth, is fronted by a petite brunette who emits growls that could come from a man twice her size. They finish and she smiles sweetly and says, “We just want to thank Kenny.”
Hoffman will be the first to tell you that he is actually a punk, not a metalhead. He found himself part of Sacramento’s music scene at an early age, when he fell in love with music such as the Dead Kennedys—and the middle finger they raised to politicians, parents, cops and all other types of authority figures. From there, bands like Slayer were the gateway into metal and a love for pure, unadulterated shock value.
“My first band was called the Ass Pirates. We wanted everyone to think that we were homosexuals,” he remembers. “It’s good to get a rise out of people. I like it when people get angry about artistic things that I do. I like to make people uncomfortable. That’s fun.”
In 1999, Hoffman’s knack for shock gave way to the birth of KnifeThruHead, a mostly naked parade of comedy grindcore that features Hoffman, or his stage name, KENNETHFUCKINGHOFFMAN, screaming along with metal breakdowns and a wailing saxophone.
But Hoffman laments changes in the music scene during the past decade. He says that the Internet has all but destroyed the sacred quality of the “secret club” that used to be underground metal and punk. Even with the ubiquitous information, shows are more scarcely populated, and you can never tell who might show up.
“You didn’t used to have to do tons of promoting, because people just knew,” he explains. “You put up a few fliers here and there if you could afford it, but mostly it was just word of mouth or the calendar in the News & Review, and everyone would go to shows.”
He shakes his head. “Now it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I saw that band on YouTube.’”
Rather than be discouraged, he sought to give like-minded musicians a place to unite. He founded his own record label, Buried in Hell Records, in 2000. And these days, KnifeThruHead is working on a full-length album, and his other project, doom-metal band Cura Cochino—fronted by his girlfriend, Priscila—is just getting off the ground.
Unfortunately, this Saturday’s Sabado Satanico will be the last ever at On the Y. KnifeThruHead, Valdur, Verlaten, Killgasm and Chronaexus will perform. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. and the cover is $6 to hail Satan one last time.
: Another band from the ’90s has regrouped and is back on the touring circuit. Most of you know them for their smash hit, “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” which seemed to ape the sound of Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails project. Richard Patrick has successfully carried the moniker through two decades and, in the interim, released a handful of albums. Filter is out in support of The Trouble With Angels and, thankfully, have decided to hit some secondary markets along the way (insert Sacramento here). Although their production has been leaned down a bit from the days of touring in support of Short Bus, don’t let that stop you from rocking out with your arms neatly folded. Filter plays this Monday, November 22, 9 p.m. at Harlow’s, 2708 J Street; $22.50.