The Bloodhound Gang and Nerf Herder differ drastically in terms of musical style and stage presence, but they share emphasis on humorous (and often insulting) lyrics.

Laughing matters 

The Bloodhound Gang and Nerf Herder differ drastically in terms of musical style and stage presence, but they share emphasis on humorous (and often insulting) lyrics.

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While Nerf Herder now records for the indie label Honest Don's, The Bloodhound Gang is currently labelmates with Love's band, Hole. Like Blink-182 and The Offspring before them, The Bloodhound Gang has used humor as a weapon to wedge its way onto pop radio between preteen pop and testosterone-heavy Ozzfest fare. (The group occasionally merges these styles in concert with a bit Thünder refers to as "what if Marilyn Manson covered the Backstreet Boys?")

"Everyone's tired of the seriousness in rock," Thünder says. "For a while there, it was Matchbox 20 or Rage Against the Machine. Everyone was singing about love or politics. That's great, Rage Against the Machine, I'm sorry for the people of Peru, but I came to the show to drink beer, get rowdy, and jump around with my friends. It's time for people to relax a little. Of course, I think everything goes in cycles. In a few years, bands like us won't be able to exist, and it will be back to complaining about the president."

Perhaps misreading such a cycle, Arista dropped Nerf Herder (despite the fact that the group once delivered a rocking rendition of "Happy Birthday" to the label's head honcho, Clive Davis), and the band eventually ended up on Honest Don's, a San Francisco-based indie with ties to heavyweight melodic-punk label Fat Wreck Chords. "We wrote a lot of songs for Arista, and it turned out that none of them were really up to major-label quality," Gripp says with undue modesty, considering that tunes such as "Pantera Fans in Love" and "She's A Sleestak" would put the vast majority of major-label rock offerings to shame.

Nerf Herder is enjoying its share of success. How to Meet Girls is the highest charting college-radio album ever released on Fat Wreck Chords or Honest Don's, an impressive task considering that acclaimed artists such as The Muffs and No Use For A Name call those labels home. And although the group's submissions to the soundtracks for Home Alone 3 and Muppets in Outer Space were rejected, a situation Gripp describes humorously on Nerf Herder's Web site (see http://cahnman.com/nerfherder/music/meetgirls-liner.htm), its theme song for Buffy the Vampire Slayer continues to provoke new interest in the band. For the next few months, Gripp and company will tour with friends, collaborating on songs (Thünder has been known to join the band during "Sorry," Gripp joins the Gang for "I Hope You Die," and the whole touring cast often takes the stage during "Fire Water Burn"), and playing its infectious tunes to packed venues full of impressionable potential fans. Even the pessimistic Gripp might be prodded to admit that things could be much worse. However, budget constraints have him questioning the band's future beyond its current tour.

"I don't know what the future holds," he admits. "We have a lot of songs just sitting around, and maybe we'll use some of them if we make another record. Unfortunately, at this point we don't know if we will. We've blown all our tour support on this tour. We don't really have a lot of money to work with, and it's all going into this tour."

Money problems have also prevented the group from making any videos for songs from How to Meet Girls, which is unfortunate given the amusing content of the "Van Halen" and "Sorry" videos, which featured such guest stars as Valerie Bertinelli and Mark Hamill. Thankfully, The Bloodhound Gang has picked up the slack with its "Bad Touch" video, which features the group donning monkey suits while chanting You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals/So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel. This song's funk/synth sound differs somewhat from the blend of indie rock and sleep-deprived rap that characterized its previous hit single, "Fire Water Burn," but Thünder says this doesn't mean the group is headed in a different direction. After starting in 1993 as a band that relied solely on samples and sequencers, The Bloodhound Gang, since the release of 1996's One Fierce Bear Coaster, has attempted to become fluent in nearly any musical language.

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