When experimental grindcore outfit the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza hit the road, they're often shocked by the types who show up for their gigs. Of course, there's always a bunch of young longhairs there, donning their blackest accouterments. But the TDTE also attract some blue-hairs, too.
"Old ladies sometimes show up at our shows waiting for Tony Danza to come out onstage," guitarist Layne Meylain said. "I'm serious, because a lot of times, they'll put on the marquee 'Tony Danza' instead of our full name. So it'll be, like, 'Tony Danza and the Red Chord.' So these old ladies always show up looking for Tony. It's pretty funny. Apparently, old ladies love Danza."
Chances are none of the confused, AARP-eligible audience members will be picking up a copy of the Louisiana band's forthcoming LP, Danza II: The Electric Boogaloo, when it hits stores October 16. And true metal purists may stay away, too.
"A lot of people seem to have a problem with the name, because it's not a normal name for a band like us," Meylain explained. "We don't want close-minded people listening to our music."
So where did the band's name come from? "When we started out, all of our previous bands were really serious," he said. "We decided to play whatever we wanted to play, and we all have a sense of humor; we're not really serious guys. A lot of bands have these names that are all brutal, and really, these guys just grew up in the suburbs, and they still live at their mom and dad's house while they're on tour — bands with, like, the words 'death' and 'blood' in their names. We're not like that. We called the band the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza because Tony Danza is pretty cheesy, and tap-dancing is pretty awesome."
And no, Tony Danza isn't miffed by the tribute. In fact, before his morning talk show was canceled last year, the band was booked as a musical guest. Instead, Danza wound up mentioning the group in one of his opening monologues and played a clip of one of its tracks. The video now lives on in infamy on YouTube.
Only the future will tell if Danza II: The Electric Boogaloo proves to be as memorable. The LP is a straight-ahead, heavy-as-Louie-Anderson-riding-an-elephant record the band started writing material for last year. By May the set was written, and in June the band recorded its debut effort for Black Market Activities, the label owned and operated by Red Chord frontman Guy Kozowyk.
Meylain said Danza II is a concept piece about a midget named Cecil Bennett who strolls into a Louisiana dive bar for a good time — but instead is met inside with drunken patrons taunting him. When he reaches his boiling point and the verbal abuse becomes too much for him to take, "he goes out to his vehicle and comes back with chainsaws and just destroys the whole bar."
The disc also features the musings of Jesse James, an eccentric character the boys met while on tour with the Red Chord last year in North Carolina.
"You'll hear him singing at the very end of the CD," Meylain said. "We played this show and afterwards went to this kid's house. It was around 2 a.m. and I was sitting there, playing acoustic guitar in front of, like, 20 people, and they're all like, 'Oh, Jesse James is here.' And I hear this riding lawnmower, so I put down the guitar and go outside."
There, Meylain met James, "this old man with a sack of liquor who was riding down the driveway on a riding lawnmower. Dude's hammered and tells us he got a DUI, so they took his license away. So he drove down the freakin' interstate with a riding lawnmower and got another DUI — on the riding lawnmower."
James spent two hours with the TDTE dudes and sang — make that slurred — several of his own compositions. "We recorded him singing, and that's what ends the album. I think he drank himself to death like two months after that, but those kids are going to be really excited when they hear him on the record — and now, he will live on forever."
In an effort to keep James' spirit alive — and hype their LP, of course — the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza will head out on tour in October with Cattle Decapitation, Arsonists Get All the Girls and Veil of Maya. They've also booked a November trek with Full Blown Chaos, Despised Icon and the Acacia Strain.
But while those jaunts may seem like matches made in heaven, surprisingly, Meylain said the members of his band don't even listen to metal anymore.
"We pretty much listen to country when we're on the road, and we just write whatever we want to play — what's fun to play," he said. "Our influences back in the day were Pantera and stuff like that. But it doesn't matter — we always try to be innovative and invent something new, and that what we did with the new CD."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Not long after completing a tour with Marilyn Manson and Slayer, Orange County metalcore band Bleeding Through were invited to hit the road with Finnish goth-metal band H.I.M. Their tour will launch October 18 in Sayreville, New Jersey, and run through December 2 in New York. "H.I.M. is one of those bands that transcend a particular segment of people," Bleeding Through singer Brandan Schieppati said in a statement. "You see people in all walks of life wearing H.I.M. T-shirts, and we notice plenty of people at all of our shows wearing them. Even though stylistically we are quite different, the dark feel of both of our music translates to different people and grabs their attention." ... Los Angeles female-fronted Ozzfest veterans In This Moment have been tapped as the opening act for Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie's upcoming North American tour. The trek is set to launch October 18 in Seattle, with gigs booked through January 24 in Cleveland. ...
Sabbath-loving Southern-metal junkies Down will launch a tour September 27 in Reno, Nevada, with dates running through November 13 in Houston. Down III: Over the Under, the band's first album since 2002's Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, comes out September 25. ... Fellow Southern stoner-metal band Weedeater have plotted a tour that will start October 4 in Atlanta and end November 9 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Wilmington, North Carolina, band released its third disc, God Luck and Good Speed, in late July. ...
Alt-metal band Otep will release their third album, The Ascension, October 30. The disc was produced by Dave Fortman (Mudvayne, Evanescence) and, according to Otep, marks a concerted effort to break out of the nü-metal box some have placed them in. "We said, 'Genre limits and music fads be damned,' " frontwoman Otep Shamaya said in a statement. "Let's write music that is important to us and that motivates us. I wanted to write songs we believe in and let nothing stop us from building the album we want to make." ...
Supernova, the label owned by Today Is the Day frontman Steve Austin, has signed Complete Failure. The band, which features ex-TITD and Circle of Dead Children drummer Mike Rosswog, will release their debut for the label in 2008. "Complete Failure are the future of grind as we know it," Austin said in a statement. "Explosive and undeniable, this band is set to become an instant classic." ... It's not exactly the king of all thrash-metal collections, but Thrash Metal Warriors, which comes out October 16, features some worthwhile cuts, including a previously unreleased version of "Samurai Zombies" by Japanese black-thrash band Sabbat and "Chaos and Brutality," a new track by thrash vets Hirax. The comp also features songs by Toxic Holocaust, Kat, Slaver, Strike Master, Execution and Hatchet. ...
Five years after it faded into oblivion, the 2002 Overkill double-DVD "Live: Wrecking Everything, an Evening in Asbury Park" will be re-released. The first disc features a 21-song concert shot in Asbury Park in March 2002 and the second DVD offers the 60-minute documentary "Batmen, the Return." Overkill's new studio album, Immortalis, comes out October 9. The album will mark the recording debut of drummer Ron Lipnicki and will feature guest vocals by Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe on the track "Skull and Bones." ... Hardcore-metal purists Too Pure to Die will re-release their 2006 album, Confidence and Consequence, November 20 with vocals re-recorded by new singer Paul Zurlo (ex-Beyond All Reason). A brand-new disc is tentatively scheduled for the summer. The Iowa bangers will open the All That Remains tour, which starts Monday in Millvale, Pennsylvania, and runs through October 10 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The bill also features Protest the Hero and the Acacia Strain. ... Ambient post-metal Brits Jesu, which feature ex-Godflesh frontman Justin Broadrick, will return to the U.S. on October 28 for a handful of dates with Yakuza and Torche. The triple-threat will play four shows: October 28 (Iowa City, Iowa); October 29 (Saguet, Illinois); October 30 (Lawrence, Kansas); and Halloween (Denver).