This Week In Metal (18/8/14 - 24/8/14)

The unseemly flood of Kiss mess shows no sign of abating. Beleaguered motormouth and one-time God Of Thunder Gene Simmons apologised via Facebook for last week's 'depressed people should jump off a roof' rant, insisting "I deeply support and am empathetic to anyone suffering from any disease" then explaining that he only meant drug addicts and alcoholics. "Unkind statements about depression was certainly never my intention," he clarified, before manfully refusing to talk about "the myriad charities and self-help organisations I am involved with."

Meanwhile Kiss’s original Spaceman Ace Frehley has been promoting his new solo album Space Invader by slagging off his ex-bandmates again, rounding on Paul Stanley with the fairly restrained observation that he’s “almost becoming a parody of himself.” Sadly the upshot of these public spats is that there’s now a whole generation with no idea that Kiss were ever ‘the hottest band in the world’ – spooky superheroes from space cranking out some of the hardest riffs from metal’s first decade (She, Parasite, Black Diamond, Deuce, Detroit Rock City, the list goes on) – more just a heritage-brand merch company staffed by bickering old men whose ill-thought-out pronouncements occasionally soil news feeds.

Embarrassment leads us naturally onto Biohazard, New York hardcore hip-hop metal thugs from the 90s. Drummer Danny Schuler has been sharing his thoughts on colourful ex-frontman Evan Seinfeld (better known to lovers of bad porn as Spyder Jonez), with particular reference to his career alongside ex-wife Tera Patrick in dirty movies such as Teen Sex, Tits and Sex Sex Sex (is it just us or are porn films less imaginatively titled than they used to be?). Unsurprisingly, this turns out to be a source of awkwardness for the band, Schuler telling Israeli radio show Met Al Metal: “I never saw a connection between what we were trying to say and pornography… To me, Biohazard has always been about rising above the shit in life that fucks you up,” he explains, sadly neglecting to add ‘the arse’. He’s pleased not to see a change in the band’s audience as a result of the association (it’s still dwindling at about the same rate), adding “when my kids go online and they search ‘Biohazard’ and porno comes up instead of music – that sucks.” It sucks long and hard; far better for them to find information about medical waste disposal and fatally infectious viruses than a tattooed man putting his willy in his wife’s mouth.

In other news that sounds like an April Fool from the mid-90s, Glenn Danzig – who recently lost a lawsuit claiming rights over Misfits merchandise – has announced that he’s working on an acronymically-pleasing EP of Elvis Presley covers. Danzig, traditionally dubbed ‘the Evil Elvis’ for his dark, impassioned howl and luscious black locks (and inexorable middle-age spread), had already announced a general covers album featuring his take on the bewilderingly popular Some Velvet Morning by Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra (previously reinterpreted by My Dying Bride and Entombed), as well as Danzigised versions of Black Sabbath and ZZ Top tunes, but it seems Glenn got stuck on Elvis. A release date of early 2015 is mooted, but Elvis songs seldom last more than three minutes, so he should be able to turn this EP around in an afternoon.

Finally, last week in Richmond, Virginia the hideous body of Gwar’s iconic frontman Oderus Urungus was cast into a lake aboard a longboat and set ablaze in classic Viking style, after eulogies from friends such as ex-Dead Kennedys agitator Jello Biafra and Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe, who said “To watch his stage gear burn was like watching part of my life go up in flames”. The “heaving, dribbling War-God” Urungus was the alter ego of 50-year-old Dave Brockie, who masterminded the larger-than-life shock-rock troupe from its inception in 1982 until his death in March of a heroin overdose. In a world where Babymetal are hailed as ‘bringing back entertainment’ and ‘putting a smile on people’s faces’, seems we need the OTT fevered imagination, conviction, commitment and sheer deviant joy of the Scumdogs Of The Universe more now than ever, and the following day a new-look Gwar was unleashed in tribute with new frontman Blothar, aka Mike Bishop, who previously portrayed bassist Beefcake The Mighty in the 80s and 90s. Drummer Jizmak Da Gusha has assured the world of Gwar’s permanence: “You can’t write off Gwar. Gwar is gonna last a thousand years with or without its past or current members.” Pay attention Kiss: this is the way to look ridiculous with dignity.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.