That concert snippet, an accurate portrait of MSI's rapport with its crowds, opens Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy, the group's mysteriously ignored 2000 album. In addition to being an intoxicating mix of swaggering gangsta rap bravado, hyperactive dance beats and quivering upper-octave vocals, Frankenstein Girls pushed all the buttons that regularly send perennially concerned citizens to their protest-mobiles.
"Backmask," the record's first song, urges listeners to kill themselves in no uncertain terms. The next number, driven by a devastating break-beat, a sample of Siouxsie & the Banshees' "Happy House" and the boast Bitches love me ... throughout the projects, offends on an impressive number of levels. Later, MSI wraps a pulsing bass throb around the refrain faggot, faggot, faggot; crafts an indelicate Mother's Day sonnet (I love my mommy 'cause she fucked my dad); and links some activities that aren't covered at the Truman museum to the revered locally bred president ("Harry Truman"). Yet the moral-watchdog community, which has blown gaskets at much, much less, failed to attach its "Won't someone please think of the children?" rhetoric (and subsequent free publicity) to Frankenstein Girls, even as the group played to thousands of impressionable young people while touring with Insane Clown Posse and Korn.
Actually, one track on the album did cause a major stir, though the uproar came from air-guitar-addicted classic-rock fans instead of parental-advisory-sticker sticklers. "I Hate Jimmy Page," an attack on conventional musicianship, outraged countless Ledheads.
"If you want to get away with murder, just say you hate Jimmy Page somewhere on your record," advises guitarist Steve Righ?. (Righ? also has a bone to pick with contemporary party starter Pink, bitching that she stole his in-name punctuation schtick.) "If I could go back in time, I'd tell [Judas Priest's Rob] Halford and Ozzy [Osbourne], 'Say you hate Jimmy Page, and you won't get in trouble for that backward shit.'"
"There's, like, a hundred hidden messages on Frankenstein Girls, and everyone went right to the Jimmy Page," Urine adds. "They'd say, 'Why are you attacking that old Chinese broad?' 'Because he played guitar.' 'Oh, that's horrible; you're bad people.'"
Mindless Self Indulgence's disdain for traditional instrumental acumen is real, reflected by its embrace of looped beats, programmed drums and atonal vocals. But much of the venom on Frankenstein Girls is satirical, a fact telegraphed by the group's use of Lenny Bruce's quote "It's the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness" on its back cover, as well as a liner-notes disclaimer that reads, in part: "If you don't have a sense of irony, or you are a piece of shit bigot ... return this album immediately."
True, other envelope-pushers, from Anal Cunt to Eminem, have unconvincingly downplayed the hatefulness of their content, but Mindless Self Indulgence actually seems to deserve a pass. For one thing, the "bitches" talk seems like more of a parody of macho rap-metal than evidence of a misogynist viewpoint, given that the band boasts an all-female rhythm section with Kitty on drums and new addition Lyn-Z on bass. And for another, its members aren't afraid of being coy about their sexuality, something that lyrical gay-basher Slim Shady would never do, all Elton John-hugging aside.
"He's actually gay," Urine says of Righ?, who has been daydreaming about Kansas City's "honeys" and says "I'll get in trouble with the gods of chastity, because there are so many honeys in and out of my urethra." But Righ? agrees with Urine's assessment of his sexuality, adding "I'm trying really hard to have a new image."