The old “sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll” adage is weak-sauce for Bay Area transgressive rockers Stalin. Mix in body mods, heavy riffs, and devil-masked cocaine orgies and you’re on the right path to appreciating the hedonistic world of Stalin’s music, which would be Emperor Caligula’s main jam. I was able to recently catch up with the band and receive their thoughts on their new music video, the sex industry, and the joys of hate mail. Join the orgy below:
Mister Growl: For those unfamiliar with Stalin’s music, could you introduce the history of your band?
Stalin: The project started in 2011 with a group of very whimsical individuals that decided to give music a go. The original line up rented out a house to live in and rehearse, which unfortunately turned into a mix of a trash heap and party pad, although we managed to write 3 albums worth of material and are still in the process of releasing the first.
The idea behind the band is to simultaneously do whatever we want musically and otherwise without limitations or rules.
Mister Growl: I described your sound to a friend as “Peter Steele from Type O Negative fronting the Rollins Band and Antichrist Superstar-era Marilyn Manson,” but in a press release you referred to your band as “transgressive rock.” Does that mean you throw semen and feces into the audience, like GG Allin?
Stalin: That's an exceptionally complimentary description - why thank you sir. As for semen and feces being thrown at the audience -- that's not likely to occur anytime soon. We're romantics and that wouldn't exactly charm over our beautiful fan base. But, that's not to say that a Stalin show won't contain some unique entities that you might not see elsewhere. In fact, we'd assure that.
Mister Growl: You have a new video out for your song “California.” What was the production process like for that video?
Stalin: We shot the video in a day and a half with only a take or two per shot, so it was a bit rushed. It was also one of the more enjoyable creative things we've done - all of the sexual bits were shot early in the morning and the whole set devolved into the real deal by mid day due to having 30 Ciroc bottles on location, everyone on set was hammered and a few as well coked out of their minds and inhaling helium balloons. Yet, we managed to get some nice shots under a collectively hazy condition. People like "method acting," haha.
We can't wait to do more and have some amazingly enticing ideas to film. Making videos is arguably more fun than recording and mixing music in the studio. Two more on the way this year.
Mister Growl: I am a firm believer that movies/TV/music can corrupt God’s children and turn them into hedonistic demons. How many lives do you reckon you’ve destroyed by including profanity, drug use, promiscuity and sexual intercourse out of wedlock, Satanic/Pagan imagery, and provocative dancing in your video?
Stalin: Why capitalize the abrahamic "god?" He/it/she has the personality of an attention seeking teenager with a superiority complex and intensive jealousy, that's not very divine is it?
We can't comment on who and what we have influenced so far, but we have managed to aggravate quite a few hipsters and techies with the video and that's of course splendid. Those cunts are positively dead to identity.
Besides, you can't corrupt religious kids, they've been corrupted by 2,000+ year old racist, sexist, irrational, logically inept and ludicrous dogma from the jump. We feel bad for them and want to extend out a helping hand. It's all love...
Mister Growl: Was the “California” video just an excuse to kiss and fondle an impossibly hot tattooed gal, or is there another message as well?
Stalin: The video itself is a parody that few seem to spot outside of the Conspiracy Theorist realm, or those who watch a lot of Kesha and Lady Gaga material. Mainstream pop videos throw in more and more faux Illuminati material because it generates a lot of hits online from people that believe in power behind the throne and secret world orders and so on. So we took the basic elements and mixed in sarcastic product placement, the Baphomet, chifir induced rituals and then sexed it up more than they're willing to do in their prude teases.
So literally it's just taking the piss on mainstream music culture while throwing in some subtle anti-authoritarian overtones. We even put the plaque from the real Bohemian Club in it for our tin foil hat wearing friends.
Mister Growl: One of my favorite places I’ve visited in this country was The Lusty Lady in San Francisco, which tragically closed this past summer. What are your opinions of that legendary venue, and of the sex industry in general?
Stalin: Our bassist and one of our guitarists were thrown out of the Lusty Lady by a Tranny whose occupation was cleaning off cum stains from the walls and floor. They tried to get in a booth half priced for two and were in there laughing about the whole experience while other customers were "handling" themselves all business like. That's the only memory we have of that place.
The sex industry, as in porn and other outlets obviously has its place as a multi-billion dollar industry. The only people that denounce are social conservative types that detest it while enjoying it in the comfort of privacy and secrecy.
Not too many of those types in SF. Lots of freaks, creeps and people that can't afford rent amongst the new gen of liberal yuppies.
Mister Growl: There have been a series of disturbing violent incidents between fans involved with the San Francisco Giants/Los Angeles Dodgers rivalry. What do you think that sort of twisted fanaticism says about humanity?
Stalin: The irony is that the Raiders-Niners rivalry is calm and respectful. The more violent sport in the more violent areas having a calmer situation probably says that the slower sport that induces more boredom maybe is the culprit of twisted fanaticism and brings out the animal.
That idea could relate to the root of almost everything, or is just baseless pseudo-intellectualism.
The latter, definitely.
Mister Growl: On September 16th, 2013 you Tweeted the following: “Isn't it ever amusing that those who espouse "traditional moral values' have the worst closeted moral codes known to man? #prostitutechrist.” Why did you name our band Stalin, instead of Prostitute Christ?
Stalin: Just for you we'll rename a track on our next album 'Prostitute Christ'. We named it Stalin as jest, due to our anti-Authoritarian output it fits within the whole dark humor bit perfectly. We're totally down with Anonymous.
Mister Growl: As an East Coaster, I’m curious to hear how you’d describe the musical history and current scene in San Francisco.
Stalin: The history of it is fantastic, all the way up to when Silicon Valley drove up rent prices to make it the most expensive city to live in the United States. You had the 60s scene here that was very influential, you had the thrash movement in the 80s and as well a great alt-metal and alt-rock scene in the 90s. Janis Joplin, Metallica, Faith No More - significant acts.
Now it's nothing but beards, banjos and holding hands with a bit of electro pop. There's a gigantic market for that lifeless bilge and 20,000 different acts consisting of it.
Except for us.
Mister Growl: What have been your strangest and most rewarding experiences playing live?
Stalin: This project has yet to make its live debut, but in the near future expect us in a town near you. ;)
Mister Growl: You seem to be particularly proud of the hate mail the band’s received. What are your thoughts on that sort of antagonism, and what it says about the band’s music and image?
Stalin: We love it! But only when they put a lot of thought into their love letters or adoring compliments.
Mister Growl: What does the future hold for Stalin?
Stalin: Bringing the Stalin brand to wider and broader audience. Stay tuned if you like what we do, it's only going to get more fun.
Many thanks to Stalin for taking the time to answer these questions and share their new music. Go check out their website, watch the video for “California,” and listen to their music NOW: http://www.stalin.org/