The Matadors have demonic flair
Their live shows involve foam machines, sprays of stage blood and sometimes even dancers - all likely to be employed on Devil's Night and Halloween as The Matadors headline back-to-back shows at Call the Office. Their antics are also part of what's kept the group at the top of their game, even years after its conception.
“This is our 15th year. It took a while to get to where we are but honestly its kind of lonely at the top now,” Hooch, lead singer and writer for the band, said during an e-mail exchange this week. Plagued by phone complications in their home of St. Thomas, we were forced to resort to computers. “My biggest disappointment of this scene is that there isn't one band pushing to be BETTER then The Matadors. They are all satisfied with being those bands that are not nearly as awesome as The Matadors are. I think I'm going to close up shop soon sort of like Artie Shaw did.”
The tone of his responses seems to be more his stage persona, but Hooch's love for old music (including jazz clarinetist Artie Shaw, who quit playing in the 50s due to his insane perfectionism) is real. The Matadors is in many ways a throwback to old blues and rockabilly acts - they're even a three-piece group, like many of the classic rockabilly trios.
That's not an homage to simpler times though. As Hooch put it, “Well, what more do you need? Keyboards? No thanks. You might as well have someone on stage doing math equations. Fucking boring.”
What does set The Matadors apart, however, is their modern punk rock attitude and flair for the demonic. It's called psychobilly to some, horrorbilly to others, but it's not to be taken too seriously.
In fact, so the story goes, The Matadors sold their souls to Satan in exchange for musical talent. Now part of the Luciferian Brotherhood of Baphomet, they tour around performing and spreading the word of Satan.
It's a schtick that's done with a nice touch of humour, but punk rock's fascination with the undead is something not quite understood by popular culture, especially given the success of bands like The Misfits and The Creepshow, another Canadian psychobilly band with a close connection to The Matadors.
Hooch bluntly explained, “I guess... it's funny mostly. Dead people walking around eating the living. That's some hysterical shit right there.”
He was quick to correct me about his undead tendencies, however, saying: “There might be like two songs about dead people The Matadors have released. Mostly they are songs about getting drunk as far as I can tell.”
And perhaps a closet intellectual, I could only imagine Hooch smiling as he wrote about the aforementioned songs Teenage Zombie Sluts and Bush Party Hand Job: “I think you need to read a little deeper dude. There is a pretty hilarious and complex commentary in there that might surprise you.”
Now, back from a short stint in Calgary, The Matadors are gearing up for a two-night mini festival of psychobilly and punk rock at Call the Office on October 30 and 31. It's a tradition that's been going on “since the dawn of time,” asserted Hooch, “but it will all be over soon, man. 2012 is coming too soon.”
Go check The Matadors out if you get a chance, especially if there are only a few years left before the apocalypse!
Tickets are $10 on October 30, $5 on October 31. Two-day passes are also available at www.ticketscene.ca