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"Metalocalypse" Brendon and Tommy (2006) Print
Written by Patrick Douglas   
Thursday, 21 September 2006

Image"Metalocalypse" has quickly become one of the all-time most metal shows on television. Behind a brilliant idea and strong writing, creators Brendon Small and Tommy Blancha have tapped into a genre that few thought could mix with comedy. On Wednesday, July 5, 2006, a month prior to the shows first airing, Small and Blancha talked with The Culture Shock about the hopes of the show as well as the influences behind the creation of Dethklok. Metal.


Hey Brendon what’s up?

Hey how are you doing?

Pretty good. Where are you at today?

I am in the middle of a drive. I was pulled over at a gas station. I’m coming back from my parents house in Salinas, California. On my way from Los Angeles, California. What do you think about that? How do you like that?

Nice.

How’s that for an interesting story?

So you really got pulled over?

I’ve not been pulled over, but last time I made the trip was with the co-creator of “Dethklok” or “Metalocalypse.” I call the show “Dethklok,” so I’ll refer to it as “Dethklok” no matter what. You can change it later on. Last time I did this drive, I was with Tommy and my dog Ernie and we had just recorded Metallica for our show as voiceovers. I was driving late at night and I crashed and flipped my car and totaled it. It was a rental car, luckily.

And you had your dog with you?

I had my dog and everybody was fine. It was pretty metal, I’ll tell you that.

That sounds metal (laughs).

Yeah, you gotta crash a car and flip it once. According to Metallica.

This is weird. A week ago, I knew nothing about Dethklok and now they’re probably, I’d say my ninth favorite band of all time right now.

Oh yeah? That’s pretty good. There’s a lot of bands out there.

Isn’t it strange how a show that hasn’t even aired yet has impacted my life so much?

I am very happy to hear that. I’ll be honest with you. Where are you calling from?

Image

I’m in Montana.

Ok. Montana. Wow.

Right in the middle of Montana.

Awesome. Fuck yeah (chuckles).

Seriously, I’ve interviewed nearly 200 bands in the past few years and this show kind of hits home with me in a way. It’s weird because there’s some bands out there that seem as dysfunctional as Dethklok.

I’m sure. I’m sure there’s bands way worse than Dethklok out there.

The interview with the band from the press kit is as funny as the show.

I’m glad you liked it.

Having conducted so many interviews over the years, it’s funny for me because I’ve talked to a few bands that have sounded like that and have been to a few shows where you probably should’ve signed a “pain waiver.”

Yeah. Awesome.

Let’s start with that. As far as the comedy involved in this, doing the Q&A with Dethklok, where do you guys come up with this stuff?

We had talked about doing interviews in character with the band because I remember being, before I got into comedy and writing and all that stuff, I have been playing guitar since I was 15 years old and now I’m 31 and I went to music school and stuff like that. I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. I used to read guitar magazines and my favorite interview was one with Spinal Tap when they were in character. When Nigel Tufnel was in character. I loved it. The press kit, all the questions were come up by (laughs) the PR department at ‘Adult Swim’ and we just answered them. So we came up with the concert t-shirt with all the canceled dates. I don’t know if you can read it. It’s pretty small print. But, this band is followed by death and destruction. The plague of man.

I work with four metal head friends and they’ve all seen the DVD and they’re all excited about it. I’ve got a friend who’s gotten online to try and find bootleg copies of that t-shirt that came with the press kit.

Yeah.

Another one is even talking about subscribing to cable TV just so he’ll be able to watch it. Do you guys realize how gold this thing is going to be when it hits?

It’s funny. It wasn’t even plotted out that way at all. It wasn’t even thought of as an easily marketable thing when we came up with it. What happened was, I did another show on ‘Adult Swim,’ very low key, very dry conversational humor show. I did all the music for that show. The head of ‘Cartoon Network’ asked me when that show was finished if I had any interest in doing some kind of music show or something like that, using my music talents or whatever. I was like ‘sure, yeah.’ But I don’t know what kind of show that’s gonna be. I don’t wanna just start doing a show that I’m not completely in love with. It was kind of funny that me and Tommy had gone out and we’d seen like Cannibal Corpse and Nile and all sorts of death metal stuff and he was the only guy in comedy, that really I could go see metal shows with. No one else gave a shit about it. So we just kept going to see all kinds of shows and one day it hit us, this is our show right here. This metal world. The dysfunctionality of the brotherhood of what a band is and all that stuff, is a really great place. The show isn’t making fun of metal, because we love metal, like a lot. We really, really embrace it a great deal. The show for us is making fun of celebrities. And how celebrities, how the fact that they can get away with murder and all of that kind of stuff. Like literally. Celebrities have killed people and gotten away with it (laughs).

That’s been the running debate. There’s one guy I work with who’s super into death metal. He’s from Nepal and he takes it very seriously. That’s what he lives and breathes. At first he was really hesitant, thinking it was gonna get made fun of, but he watched the show and he loves it.

Yeah. There’s a huge amount of responsibility that comes with doing a metal show, because metal heads are fucking diehard fans. I’m really into metal and I take it seriously too and I don’t like people fucking with stuff that I like a lot. Again for us, the joke was not about metal, because I wanted the metal to actually sound not bad, I wanted the guitar playing to sound good. I wanted it to sound mildly like death metal to a degree, or just like extreme core or whatever. I wanted it to sound kind of cool. Also, the joke is more about what a band is. A band is basically a family that’s not brought together by love, but by business. That’s kind of what we were going with.

Was there a band that inspired the music for this band?

Well, there were a lot of different things. It’s gonna go between different styles of metal. There’s gonna be some kind of death metal. Plus we also know our audience isn’t going to be just metalheads. It’s gonna be hard core metalheads but it’s also going to be people who don’t know anything about metal and so we’re gonna have to hold their hand and walk them through what people are checking out. I don’t think it sounds like anything in particular, but there are moments in the second episode where there’s a song, we allude to a little song called ‘Mermaider’ which is a song about mermaid murder and to me, I was thinking about Cannibal Corpse and Nile, you know. There’s other moments, like in their theme song, I layer their guitars and do the Queen thing. The backup vocals and those kinds of things. Then there’s gonna be stuff that’s kind of Metallica driven. And there’s gonna be kind more black metally kind of sounding stuff. There’s gonna be moments, where it’s kind of Maiden sounding and stuff. I don’t wanna do just one style of music. It’s gonna drift into different categories. Still at the end of the day, it’s gonna sound like … it took me awhile as we were developing the show to kind of figure out what Dethklok sounded like, so I just wrote tons and tons of music and just started experimenting and dropping my guitar down to C-tuning and stuff like that and just fucking around. So there you go.

When you hear the band doing the coffee song and all of that, that’s you doing the guitar, vocals, drums, all of that stuff?

That’s me doing all that stuff. I write. Tommy will do some of the lyrics, but all the music is just me sitting at home with my guitars and all that stuff and programming drums and stuff.

That’s good shit. Especially for a one man band.

It’s fun. I love it. It’s a blast. It’s the ultimate job as far as I’m concerned. I sit around and practice guitar all day long. It’s pretty silly, but I’ve listened to that kind of stuff since I was 15, like this ultimate guitar hero kind of stuff. It’s fun for me to goof off and to have a place to put that after practicing for so long. To have to build the show around the fact that I can do sweet arpeggios and fast sextuplets on guitar (laughs). But, yeah, that’s all me. I do Nathan Explosion, which is the lead singer and I play the guitar player also, Skwisgaar the blonde guy and I also play the drummer Pickles.

It sounds like you’re pretty busy. Are you cool with that? Doing the three characters voices and everything else?

It comes with the territory of being a control freak I guess. It’s a very small operation. I do three of the five bandmates and Tommy the co-creator does the other two guys. He does William Murderface and Toki Wartooth, the other guitar player. I like it. I enjoy it. I haven’t had any panic attacks or anything like that. I guess I’m doing alright. I have the weekends off. I actually enjoy working under time pressure and all that stuff. I like writing music quickly. I like challenging myself to write stuff fast and having the guitar stuff together and writing rifts and stuff like that.

It sounds like you’re already living the rock star life, flipping your cars.

Yeah. I’m crashing my cars and fuckin’ shredding. I have endorsement deals which is awesome. When we first got the show and started making phone calls. On the show Dethklok only plays Gibson guitars. We have endorsement deals with Crank amps and DigiDesign who does Pro Tools and all that stuff. For me, it is the ultimate job and I get to talk to fuckin’ shredding guitar players like … whatshisface. Jeff Loomis from Nevermore and stuff like that. To have bands like Arch Enemy and Metallica and Nevermore and other types that we’re talking to for the rest of the season coming, we get to direct them. Mark Hamill’s on the show too.

I was going to ask you about him. What part does he play on the show?

He does the voice of the Senator. He’s the government tribunal that watches over Dethklok and he plays two of the characters. He plays Mr. Selaysee (spelling?) who’s kind of this ringleaders, weirdo, long haired, gray haired guy and he also plays Senator Stampington (spelling?). He was kind of an expository device. This guy who gives a lot of exposition and talks about … ‘cause these stories are short. We have a lot story to tell and a short amount of time to tell them. We have to develop these devices to tell the story. This governmental tribunal in the first episode, explains who Dethklok is and states their names and says that they’re a huge economical force to be reckoned with. And that’s Mark Hamill. And he’s awesome. He’s got a great voice. And he’s also Luke Skywalker.

That’s a bonus.

When you combine that and metal, you’ve got something that’s pretty awesome. In my opinion (laughs). Whether or not that has anything to do with the show, I would definitely check that out based on Mark Hamill and metal.

What does Kirk and James from Metallica and Michael Amott, what kind of part do they play in this puzzle?

I’m a huge Metallica fan and always have been. I grew up listening to ‘Ride the Lightening’ and ‘Master of Puppets,’ we found out they were interested in doing voiceovers and we’re like ‘oh, sure.’ We didn’t want them playing themselves, because in this world Metallica doesn’t really exist and other bands don’t really exist. It’s just pretty much Dethklok. Dethklok is bigger than the Beatles which is ridiculous, but that’s the show. We have them play … we wrote all the scripts for the first half of the season already, so we kind of sprinkled them as voiceovers throughout the season, so Metallica comes up in a lot of episodes, playing parts that actually really support the stories. We didn’t want them to just do the ‘Simpsons’ cameo walk on thing. Which is kind of cute and everything, but for us we always thought it was the slowest part of the ‘Simpsons’ when they’d have the Red Hot Chili Peppers there or whatever. We wanted to make sure that Michael Amott or the guys from Nevermore or James and Kirk are in the show and they have some kind of a story purpose for being there, first and foremost, other than a bunch of celebrities shoehorned in. You’ll see that Michael Amott plays … he’s actually got a fuckin’ amazing voiceover voice out of … he really actually did an incredibly great job. I was like ‘dude, you should have a career in this.’ ‘cause he’s got this deep, robust voice that’s really great for acting. He was great and he’d never done this kind of thing before and neither did the Nevermore guys. You’ll see Michael Amott playing this sinister pharmaceutical drug, selective tropic drug manufacturer, he plays a character like that. Nevermore plays … Pickles the drummer, he was in a kind of L.A. rock band, Guns ‘N Roses kind of band before he joined Dethklok and he rejoins his old band. They’re basically his old band, Nevermore is. They’re ridiculous. They’re basically a drug addled, Guns ‘N Roses-ish kind of people, but not as cool. James and Kirk in one episode, Dethklok awakens a troll from a lake in Finland and James Hetfield plays the troll and just screams and shouts through the whole episode and then Kirk Hammett gets eaten by the troll. Kirk Hammett plays the Queen of Denmark in one episode. In another episode, Dethklok, you know, they’ve made the most brutal album of all time, this under water album and they can’t top this album, so they have to take a break from metal and they have to do the opposite of tragedy, which is comedy, so they have to try and do stand up in this one episode and the result, this fucked up sea captain ends up being their comedy coach and that’s James Hetfield also. So they’re scattered throughout the show, and it’s kind of fun to see when they come up and it’s not that they just have one or two lines. It’s fun having those guys be in the show because they’re very excited to be there too. Metallica was fuckin’ awesome and very nice guys.

I spoke with Michael Amott about nine months ago and he seems really laid back and really mellow and I was thinking, ‘I wonder what kind of character he’d play in this?’

Yeah. He played two different characters. He’s got a real dry sense of humor and he’s funny, I sat and talked to him for awhile and he’s a super nice guy. Incredibly laid back and also a super dry sense of humor. He just used his natural speaking voice for one character and another character just became sinister, like a Shakespearian kind of an actor. It was really cool. All of these guys, who hadn’t done it before, totally rose to the occasion and did a great job. Plus I’m fans of them and so for me it was a real pleasure and I was just kind of wide-eyed.

I know you probably don’t want to name names or anything, but are there any particular musicians who inspired the attitudes of any of these musicians in this band?

It’s kind of funny. Some of them, I really feel like … we almost modeled them after family members. I think they ended up looking like four or five different kind of musicians. There’s Skwisgaar, he’s from Sweden, there’s a little bit pompousness. There’s a little bit of Yngwie Malmsteen in him. Then there’s, I don’t know, I think attitude wise I don’t think anyone is really based on anyone else. They kind of look like people. I think you can say that Nathan Explosion kind of looks like a combination of several people. I know people have been saying he looks like George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher and I’ll give ‘em that.

There’s a debate here about whether he looks like ‘Corpsegrinder’ or Danzig.

Yeah, they also thought Danzig. We also thought we were gonna get Danzig, so we made him tall so he couldn’t be confused with Danzig at all. He’s a very tall, scary dude. We didn’t want to get the Danzig thing. Some people think that the dreadover guy that’s like whatshisface from Strapping Young Lad.

Oh yeah. Devin Townsend.

We’ve gotten that. Which is also one of the reasons we made sure he didn’t look like Devin Townsend. We gave him the goatee and the dreadover so he wouldn’t look like that. I think there’s a lot of archetypal people that we are using and not using. But attitude wise, the way the characters talk, these are kind of inventions of our own. The vocal style of Nathan Explosion is clearly … could be a thousand different vocal styles, including George ‘Corpsegrinder’ and whatshisface from Six Feet Under and Nile and all of that stuff. That brutal, guteral voice. I’m now getting good at it, so it doesn’t hurt my throat as much. I’m not coughing up blood anymore (laughs).

This might be tough for you. If Dethklok was to have a show in Montana, what would you think would be the reason for its cancellation?

In Montana. Oh geez. What is one of Montana’s major exports?

Well obviously beef.

Ok. It would have to be something with beef. Rancid beef flood. It’d have to be some kind of … what was that mad cow disease. Hamburgers that were served at the concert would have to be how the concert was cancelled in Montana. A rancid beef barbecue explosion.

Alright (laughs).

Yeah. That works (laughs).

Thanks Brandon. The show’s awesome and I’m already looking forward to the DVD coming out and the crazy shit you guys do with that.

Absolutely. And we’re looking forward to putting out a soundtrack too and getting some of these guys to do some guest playing too.

Awesome.

That’s something that’s in the works.

This is gonna be huge.

Cool. I’m really glad you like it.

 

 

Interview goes from Brendon to Tommy.

 

 

Tommy.

Hi Pat.

What’s going on?

I’m so sorry for how stupid Brendon must have been. I know it must have been horrible.

No. Not at all.

Dude’s driving back from where we crashed, so I was like ‘dude, please don’t crash while talking on the phone.’

He recounted that story and it sounds really metal. It is awesome.

It is very metal. What could be more metal? Wow, we were just hanging out with Metallica, ‘look out!’ crash. (laughs).

I’m amazed the dog made it. That’s actually a pretty cool story.

It was mysterious because we were shocked because it may have been ejected. There was one scratch on my baby finger, literally. That was it. (laughs).

Awesome. I hear you’re moving today.

I’m in my new place as we speak.

Where is that at? Where are you talking to me from?

I’m talking to you from a loft in downtown L.A. Sunbaked, weird, shitty, downtown, god forsaken, L.A. where I’m like one block from the Walt Disney, bizarre new concert hall that’s all metal and strange shapes and two blocks the other way is skid row, tent city. It’s very odd down here, but I like the loft a lot. It’s amazing old building from like 1903 or something. I’m very happy with it. Where are you at?

In Montana. Like right smack dab in the middle of it.

Nice. What an insanely wonderful state. I remember driving through it. Just shellshocked. I used to live in Manhattan and I remember when I came back through Montana looking at the population and saying ‘my god there’s as many people in Montana as there is where I’m from in five blocks that way.’ It was really incredible. I actually love both. Are you from there?

I’m from Colorado, but my family is from here. It’s a great place. Speaking of shellshocked, they don’t have fireworks restrictions around here, so for the past three days, it’s been like Beirut. We’ve been under fire.

(laughs).  The Eastside of L.A. did pretty proud too, but I’m sure they’re gonna be a lot more ingenious out there.

A lot of homemade fireworks going off.

I love that ‘what are the restrictions on fireworks?’ ‘Um. That’d be none. Thank you.’ (laughs).

Yeah. Just don’t get the gasoline on your hands when you’re lighting the fireworks.

Yeah. I made a tennis ball bomb when I was a kid and it worked way beyond my wildest dreams. You cut a hole in a tennis ball and you have all of these M80s and you just empty, I don’t know 20 of them, packed a tennis ball, wrapped duct tape around it and put a canon fuse on it and put it in the church parking lot. It was like a cartoon. The fuse was going down and there was this old guy walking with a cane and we’re like ‘oh, no!’ What are you gonna do, run over and go (makes blowing sound)? We were just hiding in the bushes across the street. And when that thing went off it just cracked the windows of the church. Ka-boom! Oh, my god, it was idiotic.

That’s a good idea. I’m going to have to write that one down and remember that for next year.

Tennis ball bomb (laughs).

Just put it off next to a church right?

Yeah. (laughs). In the parking lot.

I’m practically in love with this show right now.

Oh good.

I’m a rock writer and I’ve interviewed nearly 200 bands in the past three years and it’s hit home for me, and I’ve talked to a few bands that sound like these guys …

(laughs).

It’s an amazing, great show.

Good. I’m really glad. That means a lot coming from your perspective.

Oh yeah. I’ve talked to Slayer, Megadeth, Pantera, Van Halen, Anthrax, all those guys and I’m a huge fan of metal, so this is gonna be great. Like I was telling Brendon, I work with these four metal heads and they all have these different areas of metal expertise. There’s even one guy from Nepal and all he knows is death metal and he loves death metal and he was really hesitant about this show when we were giggling about it and he watched it and thought it was great.

Oh that’s good. It’s very odd because metal guys are like kind of so specific and such loyal fans. They’re like ‘show me.’ They’re not like ‘oh, I’ll just like it.’ We’re finding a very particular crowd. That was kind of our … we had Michael Amott, when he came in to do the voiceovers, he was like ‘usually, I don’t like people making fun of metal,’ but it’s like making fun of your parents, you love ‘em, but there’s plenty of ridiculous stuff just never derisive of it because we really, truly love it. But to go around and say there’s not funny aspects to it is even more ridiculous. So, I’m really happy, that’s exactly … guys like that and yourself just pointing ourselves to people like you and the networks, we’re golden.

It’s cool too listening to people, and I’m sure you’re gonna get this all over the place once it airs, but you’ve got one guy who’s like ‘oh, these guys are Deicide, I’m telling you,’ and you’ve got another who’s like ‘No, they’re based on Nile.’

(laughs).

It’s actually Brendon in his living room, playing guitar and doing voiceovers and all of that (laughs).

Right, right. I know, it’s so funny. If anything, they’re based on … I’ve heard that so much. What I love is when people get like ‘it’s definitely this’ and ‘it’s definitely that,’ and I’m like, ‘it is?’ (laughs). I didn’t know that. Yeah, they’re pretty much based on no one. Just fun archetypes.  That’s good.

The writing on this show is borderline brilliant, especially when you’re coming from the perspective of a fan of this kind of music and you’ve seen all the funny little things that various bands and people do and say. How much fun is it for you guys sitting down and writing these shows and coming up with these storylines that are over the top?

Oh that’s great. I’m so glad to hear it. A lot of that credit goes to ‘Adult Swim.’ We’ve both worked in the hell of TV development. It’s kind of like getting the keys to the cabin from grandma and grandpa. ‘No, it’ll be good. We won’t have a party.’ Then like lying to them. With ‘Adult Swim,’ we’re like, this is a specific thing, we’re way into this and we should be left alone to do this and they do that. That’s unheard of in TV. I can’t imagine the show happening anywhere else with its specifics in language and accent and inside jokes where you have to say, ‘why is it Burzums, ‘well Burzums, is a black metal,’ ‘but does that clash?’ ‘No, just let us call the restaurant Burzums.’ We have a restaurant called Burzums or the grocery store Fintrolls all the things that you obviously got and dig. That just doesn’t happen unless you’re at a weird place, like ‘Adult Swim’ that lets you do that. It’s ruined us for TV. I’ll have to go back to wrestling after this because if I can’t work for ‘Adult Swim’ and this wonderful freedom I’d start puking if I had to go back to some network and their version of ‘rock band’ or something. Yeah, we like metal too. Argh. It’s just awful. We get to kill all the pet peeves we’ve had about music, movies and cartoons. Not getting the tone, even like movies, animated movies. ‘God that’s just not rock and roll. That’s weird. No.’ So, I’m so glad you feel that way. I’m psyched. I’m really psyched.

Do they have any restrictions as far as what they’ll tolerate as far as language? Obviously the gore factor isn’t gonna be a problem.

Hilariously enough, we were worried about the gore factor, but once that second episode when Skwisgaar’s head gets splayed open and his anatomically correct … (laughs). They had no problem with that (laughs). We’re like ‘yay!’ In fact we should publish these, we did a lot of hilarious, they’re called FP reports. Standard FP reports. Like, ‘we shouldn’t see excess blood coming out of the head,’ you know after the fan kills himself. ‘No brain material.’ Like all these hilarious things. ‘Concerning Murderface’s use of the word lick this dildo.’ We’ve gotten the word ‘dildo’ through. Lots of blood. It’s almost kind of like when that deathcube landed, people were grimacing and dying with no arms, they’re like ‘fine.’ We were like thrilled (laughs). This is the telling about America. There’s the part in the second episode where the lead singer is fantasizing about killing all the other band members and Skwisgaar’s having sex with the girl and it’s literally like they’re watching it and they’re like ‘ok, he comes in and shoots a flaming arrow in the guy’s mouth. He cuts the other guy’s head off. The horse kicks through the guy’s head so the top of the head stays and kicks through the door and he goes upstairs and oh, that girls on his lap, we shouldn’t … we shouldn’t see him gyrating from behind.’ We had to do so much old school, like they’re not in the same frame. That sex scene had to be so tweaked. Head in half. Flaming head. Fine. Fine. Fine. ‘Is she on his lap?’ No. We get that crap. That’s network advertising. I’ve dealt with so much crazy shit all over TV with that. As long as you actually, the people are fighting for you, ‘Adult Swim’ is not like pay cable like HBO, like sky’s the limit. I’m satisfied. I’m always afraid to say that because you’re always wanting … don’t let ‘em know that. Because you’re always wanting more. Pushing it. We fought for pussies and we got it. (laughs). This guy says, in one episode, they have to play the acoustic guitars for the troll and Skwisgaar says ‘that’s grandpa’s guitar and grandpa’s guitar is just for pussies.’ I think he knows that. They were gonna beep that. We kind of wrote this thing that says ‘pussy has been all over AM radio for many years as far as a way of expressing cowardice,’ so we had this kind of lawyer thing going. The final verdict was ‘you can say pussy.’ Hooray!

So, there’s a lot of high-fiving going on when you get your responses back?

Absolutely. Yeah. When there’s a lot of … we’re like lawyers fighting the good fight for things like dildos and pussies. We did it. (laughs). It’s advancing culture and freedom of speech. It’s like ‘stop the press, they can say dildo.’ (laughs). Get back to work.

It’s awesome too. I get press kits all the time from bands and various albums and things like that and I get this press kit from ‘Adult Swim’ and I open it up and it’s like, dude, I felt like a kid at Christmas. It’s like there’s a t-shirt and a record. Like I was saying, all these guys at work have seen the show and they’re in love with it and there’s one guy who’s like ‘man, where can I get one of those t-shirts?’ and I tell him ‘it came with my press kit,’ and he says, ‘I’ve been looking all over the Internet for bootleg t-shirts.’ I’m like it’s not out yet. (laughs).

(laughs).

Have you thought about how you’re gonna market this thing?

Well, we kind of put our … we still have to write the second half of our season, so our focus is writing. While we’ve talked about all of that, and it seems like a natural marketing thing. I have to give a lot of credit. ‘Adult Swim’ was so cool, when we talked to them, they said ‘make it something simple.’ We see all sorts of press kits. ‘How about a thing of orange juice because the guys name was O?’ What the fuck? I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of ridiculous shit. They were thrilled. It’s like it should be an album and the funny shit about the plagues on the back. Our deal as far as that, they’re really brilliant as far as marketing stuff and I think us being so busy, we have no problem seeing what they’re gonna do and also working with them, basically we said, keep it simple. Like a rock band, other past album, t-shirts shit. I’m sure they’re gonna go nuts. That’s our only decree right now. That’s the gravy. I’ve seen too many people make mistakes like, ‘hey, what about the action figure?’ ‘Oh, you mean the action figure sitting on the shelf because the show sucked?’ They might be obscure to some collector, but right now it’s like jamming the whole first season and making it a crescendo and making it all good. Even our schedule is tough, but we have the same mentality of we’ve gotta keep fixing it and making it what we wanted. You know all the other problems kind of go away. I’ve seen so many other shows where marketing’s in check, t’s are crossed, I’s are dotted, show’s on time, shows on budget and ‘eh’ fuck it, the show goes away. It’s like we’re behind and we’re like ‘fuck it, we gotta redo that.’ (laughs). ‘We gotta make it better.’ We have that sort of mentality. The place that we work at is Titmouse in Hollywood, where it’s all one stop shopping. We do everything there. Voicing. Animation. I think it’s been a great model to pull something like this off at this level with this budget. At our budget, we’re making the show better than a lot of shows and we’re super proud and happy that it’s working. You’ve just gotta make it work. It’s almost like an engine ‘it’s starting.’ I’m relieved.

The basis of the show is great. I’ve been likening it to obviously the ‘Spinal Tap’ angle meets the old ‘Aeon Flux’ cartoons. Not the actual series, but the shorts that they used to have.

Right. That’s cool. That makes me super happy. The ‘Spinal Tap’ reference always comes and I’m completely happy about it, even though, there’s some differences. To me ‘Spinal Tap’ was so fucking good it ruined any kind of metal or rock comedy for about ten years just because it was too good. I always say when ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ came out with Jack Nicholson, it kind of ruined the play. They used to make that play on Broadway or produce it all the time. But, he was so good that it was like, who’s gonna play that now? It was so good, it just kind of shut down. It’s like, my god. It took like 20 years. It’s like, now we can kind of attempt something like that. I just watched it again recently and it’s just too good. It’s just a perfect movie.

Right. It does the same thing. It doesn’t really poke fun at rock and roll, but it kind of captures that era of rock and roll. You hear Dee Snider talking about how he loves it and doesn’t get offended by it. Your show kind of captures 2006 …

Yeah. Dude I hope so. That’s the reaction you want. Even when people are mad, you want it to be like ‘oh, god.’ That’s my favorite laugh, when someone doesn’t laugh, when they go ‘oh,no.’ You’re like, ‘was that funny?’ and they’re like ‘that was so funny.’ (laughs). That weird reaction. I was watching some VH1 ‘Behind the Music’ and some guys from Dokken or something were watching ‘Spinal Tap’ and they said ‘we just sunk into our seats.’ They’re really funny and they had it all in perspective, but they weren’t really laughing. They were like, ‘oh, they nailed it.’ Sometimes when you nail something it can be silly and painful. It’s just about celebrity too. It’s not particularly always about … ‘cause I found that shit ridiculous. Like ‘metal guys are stupid.’ We live in fucking Hollywood. Everyone’s as stupid as each other. In fact, I’d have to say, quite sincerely, working in pro wrestling and knowing a lot of people in metal, I’d put them at the top of the ladder in terms of professionalism and not being fucking premadonnas and just being good workhorses and people who express themselves creatively. They all have their downfalls, but Jesus Christ, how did they get at the bottom of the rung when fucking sitcom actors are all … there’s some fucking chowderheads, you wouldn’t believe. That’s my sincere viewpoint from pure experience. I’ll defend metal to the end.

Take me back to when this show started becoming a reality and you and Brendon started working on it, how did that work? Were you guys together on anything before on any projects?

It basically evolved super nice and natural. We both had mutual friends from the comedy scene in L.A. here and I went and saw him perform and vice versa and we saw each other at a party here and there. We became the kind of people who would go see any metal show. Out of our group of comedy friends we were the … probably me, him and Brian Posehn were like ‘oh my god, Cannibal Corpse is coming, we’ve gotta go.’ We’d just go to shows. Brendon and I, we’d do some comedy things where he’d played a guitar teacher and I was a guy in the audience who couldn’t really play guitar and got pissed at him because … it was kind of an idea of a guitar virtuoso who’s so good he can’t even talk down to a student. He’s like this (mumbles) and it’s like ‘I can’t do it.’ Things like that. A breakthrough was, we were doing a show called the ‘Dumb Dildos Show,’ which was a weird sketch comedy. One of the things we did was, I  played George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher from Cannibal Corpse and was being interviewed. The premise was George Fisher was in ‘Glengarry, Glenross’ on Broadway (laughs). Brendon would play the Kevin Spacey part and I’d play the Jack Lemmon part, George Fisher with a microphone and really singing the guteral style. Even if people weren’t into death metal, it was just a dumb comedy, but it really worked, ‘cause it was surprising how well it worked and how many people found it funny putting a death metal vocalist in that play. We knew people at ‘Adult Swim’ and we were both working on different things. I was trying to pitch a show to HBO and this that and the other thing, we were always commiserating as we were pitching our different shows and all the difficulties of it, so we said, ‘we should pitch a show together.’ ‘Yeah.’ It’s kind of like a death metal cartoon. So we called ‘Adult Swim’ who were the greatest people in the world and Mike Lazlo’s like ‘a death metal cartoon? Hell, write up a paragraph and I’ll greenlight a pilot.’ It was like ‘what the fuck?’ These people are so great. We consistently kept it up. It’s like ‘what if an extreme metal band became 100 times bigger than the Beatles? What would the world be like?’ That kind of answers a lot of our questions in this world. We even named the guys. We were so into it in our heads that we named ‘em in an hour. William Murderface. You know? Just got into it. My friend, John Schnep who, he worked on ‘Space Ghost’ and he had some history with those guys and I knew him for some time, he designed the characters and sat down and a few tweaks here and there and Brendon and I did a theme song and we played it live a couple of times, did a little presentation and everyone started digging it more and more. By the time we got the paperwork done to sign the contract, they wanted 20. We did everything our agent and manager told us not to do. ‘Don’t do all this work. Don’t write a pilot.’ You know. And we just sold ‘em. Here’s a song. Here’s a name. Here’s what they look like. Here’s 30 ideas. They obviously dug it and the rest is history.

I asked Brendon this question and now I’m asking you. Putting you on the spot. If Dethklok was gonna have a show in Montana, what would be the reason for its cancellation?

I would say, Montana is very big. I would say Montana’s the perfect place for a comet to hit the earth, like it did in Siberia in the 1800s and causing the force of about a thousand megaton bomb and wipe out pretty much the whole state. Huge crater. Throwing the earth off its axis. Yeah. Remember, not a meteorite, a comet. Very rare for a comet to hit the earth. Very devastating.

Brendon kind of thought it’d be more along the lines of a rancid beef epidemic.

That’s very good (laughs). That’s very good. Then of course, the only cure for that would be the comet.

We’ll put ‘em all together. Tommy it was great talking to both of you guys.

Oh cool. I’m so glad you guys really like the show. I’m thrilled. Anything you need, just get in touch. We’ll send you some goodies as things are being invented and made.

There’s actually this buzz going around where people are coming in and going ‘I heard you had this cartoon, I wanna check it out.’ People are searching it out.

I’m thinking it’s gonna do good. I like people have different favorite characters instead of the obvious breakout. You don’t have a favorite do you?

Favorite character?

Yeah.

I’ve gotta go with Murderface. I think he’s the one that’s got me going. I like how he’s so self loathing.

(laughs)

‘I’m the fat one.’ (laughs).

Good, that makes me very happy. You have no idea. I actually thought, it was about a year ago today, dare to fantasize ‘one day, you think we’ll actually be talking to press and somebody will be digging it like this?’ It’s all coming true and the biggest thrill isn’t the idea that it’s working or that it’s gonna be on TV. It’s just that people get those nuances. That’s the thrilling part. Just like you said, ‘oh, I’m the fat one.’ I guess it all goes from there. That makes me really happy. That’s cool.

I’d be sitting there working and you hear someone quote the show and say ‘it’s a song about mermaid murder.’

(laughs). Excellent.

You guys did a fantastic job and I can’t wait to see the season.

Excellent.

Tommy, have a good one.

Take care.

Bye.

 

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