Saturday, February 15, 2014


Pumps Bar, the casual “anti-gentleman’s club,” as described by the owner, hosted an early Valentine’s Day performance presented by their lineup of dazzling talent, the Pumps Pin-Ups. Invoking the mystique of Prohibition-era New York, Pumps transformed into a speakeasy with local art gracing the walls and stage. Picture Boardwalk Empire drenched in neon and you’re on the right shadowy path.

Like the prior Halloween show (reviewed HERE), head Pin-Ups/planners Scarlett LaRosa and Spank Sinatra developed a narrative to tie the performances together. This time around, the story revolves around the two MCs, Joey Nova and Rocket Ships, and their roles in bringing various hooligans, criminals, and thrill killers to justice. Joey Nova, a smooth-talking, eagle-eyed investigator described as “the straightest dick in town,” accepts assistance from stool-pigeon Rocket, who demands immunity and protection from the cast of troublemakers she’s helping to indict. It’s an entertaining set-up, but the dialogue exchanges occasionally outstay their welcome as the audience awaits the next performer. Still, there are some gems, with Nova’s sharp wit meshing well with Rocket’s go-for-broke Loony Toons kineticism. The evening’s performers were the following:

Alyssa Calypso - With a dapper pin-striped suit, fedora, and pink carnation, Alyssa looked like an infinitely sexier female version of myself. She lights up the joint with an easy smile and mischievous eyes, dancing with energy that makes the crowd go insane, like she spiked the fruit punch. Seriously talented, and has shined in all of her moments in the spotlight at the last two shows.

Sophie Von Z - She performs with attitude and power, strutting across a stage littered with treacherous cables and wires with heart-stomping stiletto pumps. With a glittery dagger in her stockings, we know she’s dangerous, and she has the raven-haired femme fatale look to back it up.

Sinister Shabzzz - Nothing says gangster like… Michael Jackson? Since she danced to “Smooth Criminal” I’ll play along. She dances in a flash of bright tattoos and pin-striped clothing, ending with heart pasties and swinging tassels. She has that look that suggests she’d never crack in an interrogation room; just cool as can be.

Scarlett LaRosa - The founder of the Pumps Pin-Ups, Scarlett sang “Sooner or Later” and fucking nailed it. There was less singing than usual in the show, so she was a very welcome change of pace. Her voice just cuts through the song and sizzles with sex appeal. She changed a lyric to “I always get my man, or woman.” As an ex of mine used to say, “Hey, friction is friction.”

Sonny de la Vega - Dancing with strength and grace, she’s the type of dancer that makes me wish during this Olympic season that there was a nationally broadcasted burlesque competition instead of hours and hours of footage watching Bob Costas talk about curling with pink eye. She’s a treat and a treasure.

Heidi Glum - With two performances during the evening, Glum displayed charming dichotomy with delicate/manic performance styles. One half Cruella de Ville, one half Valley of the Dolls, Glum showed why that “Washington D.C.’s Best Drag Queen” title was earned.

Ariel Wolf -  At some point we were all taught not to play with fire, and luckily for us, Ariel Wolf ignored that lesson. She captured the audience’s full attention with fire tricks, passing flames between her hands and tongue, and ended by breathing plumes of fire into the air. Forget the Khaleesi in Game of Thrones, she’s the real mother of dragons.

Bianca Dagga - Total professional. Brilliant smile, sophisticated and classy performance with large feathered fans that truly transported me to a time of Al Capone and glittery showgirls. Her bra rained flower petals onto the stage, a subtle and ingenious touch that the entire audience greeted with a howl of appreciation.

Carlotta Boombatta, Lady von Winehouse, and Sandra - If you’ve ever watched the original Bonnie and Clyde and thought it should be way sexier (like, if Clyde didn’t have erectile dysfunction), this was the opening number for you. Good god, was this criminally hot. Sandra and Carlotta abduct a showgirl, share her, and end with a series of acrobatic and synchronized moves that leave them entwined on poles and in chairs. This made me believe in magic again.

Rocket Ships - Joey Nova said it best: “Who knew that under all that crazy there was a crazy hot bod?” Rocket captures the confident silliness of Madeline Kahn and combines it with sly sex appeal. A stand-up comedian (comedienne?), she aims for laughs and usually hits her target with panache.

Kat - If you have ever been to Pumps on a busy night, Kat is usually there with the lovely Vanessa, combining as the city’s best bartending tandem. Tonight, Kat performed in a cupid costume, aiming her terrifying golden bow and arrow at the audience, and absolutely slaughtered all expectations. The bar was a blizzard of dollars as the audience showered the stage with dead Presidents and applause. Even though she’s a determined dancer with a cool disposition while performing, her smile and personality make you feel like you’ve known her for years after seeing a four minute routine.

Reina Williams - This talented singer/guitarist played an original song that I heard the audience humming the rest of the night. An hour later some gals next to me were singing it back and forth, so that’s the best compliment a musician could receive. She also had a Sevendust sticker on her guitar, which blasted me back to junior high when I saw them play with Rob Zombie. I was 16 or so, wore fishnets, and wanted to be a vampire. Ah, the good old days.

Unfortunately, it started snowing two hours prior, which definitely impacted attendance, but the audience was a lively bunch. I always look forward to seeing local artists use the space as a seedy gallery as well: Art from the immensely talented Aubrey Roemer glowed in the lap dance room, while work from The Art of Rain, Rachel Villanova, and Eli Sleepless also adorned the walls. Also, some of my favorite pieces were the raw, honest portraits of Lovefromistanbul by Gamze Redblood. They were stark and beautiful.

It was another successful event, and hopefully there will be some more singing the next time around (great respect to Joey Nova, Scarlett la Rosa, and Reina Williams for their performances). Still, Pumps transformed a snowy, miserable Sunday night into a warm three hours filled with dangerous ladies, criminal mischief, frantic wordplay, and bulletproof lingerie. Kat said it best as she exchanged high fives with the crowd after her performance: “God, I love this country.”

Follow the Pumps Pin-Ups here, and stay tuned for details on their next show:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The last time I heard from Bill Robinson it was a pleasant message of appreciation for reviewing an album by his other band from Chattanooga, Oxxen. Now snarling and blasting out dangerous feedback with Red Necklace as well, Robinson and Patrick Wilkey - who provides drums and “hellfire,” according to Facebook - carve out four songs from forty minutes of thick riffage and thundering drums.

Starting with the glacial crawl of  “Repression of the Snake,” Red Necklace’s eponymous debut album fuses the swampy danger of Primitive Man and the bombastic noise of Behoover, then covers it all with a wintery mix of muddy slush and ice. It’s entirely possible that I’m projecting my own brutal New York February onto these songs, but they possess glacial qualities, in my frostbitten mind. When it comes to doom duos, there’s usually an enormous responsibility on the drummer to punctuate riffs that, without percussive accompaniment, risk feeling like distortion swelling and flickering as a freeform passage. Wilkey particularly shines on “The Swarm,” guiding the song down smoky corridors in some frigid basement labyrinth with confident fills while strengthening structural integrity.

But doom’s success is eventually determined by the mood and attitude of its riffs. Red Necklace grazes various subgenres (Sleep’s bouncy, bong-worshipping stoner doom; the texture of Evoken’s foggy, funereal epics; the grimy sludge of NOLA’s various musical outlaws), but emerges from the album with their own stamp on a genre, matching impressive kineticism with riffs that never feel derivative. The songs occasionally thaw during gentler moments of morose tones and shimmering cymbals, but it’s really just spilled blood momentarily melting the ice. Robinson’s rasp and blackened blues riffs transform 40 minutes into an experience that builds upon well-known metallic foundations (hell, parts of “Repression of the Snake” even feel like “Enter Sandman” at times, if the Sandman was dressed in fresh pelts) and stomps forward with a black boot.

Check out Red Necklace over on their Facebook page, then pre-order their album over on Bandcamp:

Better yet, order the cassette from Failed Recordings and Inherent Records here:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


So, Mister Growl wasn’t updated for a while, and this is why: Writing assignments from Decibel Magazine, Kung Fu Breakfast, Heavy Metal, and Girls & Corpses Magazine were all released in the last 2 weeks. Here are two issues of Kung Fu Breakfast with great material from their roster of inspired, unstable artists:


First of all, look at that amazing cover. That’s the sort of art that makes it easy to admit I was an obsessive Star Wars fan through about ninth grade, when I stumbled into Suffocation, Skinless, and Cannibal Corpse. I have a love sonnet written from the point of Salacious Crumb, Jabba’s cackling enslaved jester, along with a little drawing of the same character. There’s great stuff in this issue, especially for sci-fi fans. Does include nudity. Hopefully that makes you want to download it more.

You can download the issue for FREE here:


I was concerned I wouldn’t have much inspiration for this one (being an American with ties to only Scottish and Irish ancestry that are several generations past), but I wrote a story of the tragic life of a prison tattoo artist called “Ouroboros.” There’s a beautiful featured piece from Jess Towne, as well as superlative work from Jay Kantor, Caitlin Anne, and Robert Gullie, in his KFB debut. I must warn that there’s nudity and fetish photography included, because it bothers some people to be surprised by that stuff.

Download this issue for FREE here:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Hey, strangers! Decibel Magazine issue #112 has been out for a few weeks, and #113 will ship out to subscribers in 7-10 days. All you really need to know is this: LEMMY. J. Bennett does an amazing feature on the iconic frontman, and learns us all something important about blueberries -- there is such a thing as too many. Along with the “20 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014,” a Hall of Fame piece on Opeth’s Blackwater Park, and a great “Call & Response” from Mogwai vocalist Stuart Braithewaite. After all that, I have a few pieces in there cluttering the pages as well:

Page 32: Satan’s Wrath - Aeon’s of Satan’s Reign profile. Stamos and Danazaglou gave me awesomely intense answers in an interview that skewered modern metal, ultra-serious metal minions, and flip-flops. The album’s fun as hell, even though it’s “the same shit” as Galloping Blasphemy, according to Danazaglou.

Page 83: Grave - Morbid Ascent review. An EP for completists, it still has some great, filthy death metal. Sliced off a few points for a mediocre cover of Satyricon’s “Possessed,” but overall this should fulfill the blood lust of rabid fans of the Swedish death merchants.  I gave it 8/10.

Page 83: Great Falls - Accidents Grotesque review. A challenging, noisy, and ultimately invigorating release. If you like Dillinger Escape Plan and Jesus Lizard, give this menace a shot. Plus, Decibel scribe Shane Mehling plays bass, and he runs the crucial “Needle Exchange” column, making it a mandatory feature in each issue. I gave it 7/10.

Go over here to subscribe to Decibel Magazine. At $29.95 for a whole year this is one of the biggest bargains out there. The editors and writing staff are fantastic, and the design is sleek and filled with trippy illustrations. Definitely worth your money:


Loyal readers of Mister Growl know my (totally deserving) infatuation with the Louisiana metal scene. I recently interviewed Wayne Fabra, the founder of Black Witch God, and former member of the death metal miscreants Necrophagia, Christ Inversion, and the groundbreaking Graveyard Rodeo. Read ahead for an exploration of the Nawlins scene, killer threads, some somber reflection, strong opinions, and a history lesson in awesomeness. 

Mister Growl: You were an active member of Graveyard Rodeo since around 1980. How did you meet Tommy Scanlan, Perry McAuley, and the original lineup?

Fabra: It all started when I first ran into Lee Fucich, one of the founding members of the original lineup. I was around 12 or 13 and Lee used to hang out by this dude’s house in our neighborhood that was a great guitarist. He saw me there wearing a Ramones “Rocket to Russia” t-shirt. He asked me if I knew how to play punk rock. I only knew of The Ramones and The Dead Boys. He asked me if I ever heard The Sex Pistols. I heard of them and read a lot about them in a magazine called Rock Scene, back in the 70s. I knew how extreme they were but never heard the music. He loaned me Never Mind the Bollocks. I went home and played it on my parents’ big stereo system, I [nearly] shit my pants, their music was hideous, scary, and very raw and heavy. I must’ve played that album every day for a year straight. I mean that album is nothing to challenge. Even by today’s bands who claim to be so extreme. So, Lee and me jammed a few times and he eventually lost touch with me because summer vacation was over and he had to go back to school.

So, then I was 14 and a freshman in Chalmette High School. I ran into Lee again in his senior year. We got to be good friends. He said, “Hey man, you wanna start a punk band?” I said, “Hell yeah.” So, a week later he hands me a big stack of business cards and says, “Here, pass these around, this is to promote our band.” It said on the card: “Fourth Reich - Our time has come - Promotions - Call Tommy Mescaline.” I asked him who Tommy Mescaline was. He said he’s our rhythm guitarist. So, eventually they came to my garage and we started playing Sex Pistols covers, Dead Kennedys, X, Gang of Four, The Clash. Eventually Perry McAuley showed up one night with a full bottle of Greek Ouzo Liquor and weed. He was so cool, they all were; they were different and stood out from regular society. They taught me everything, what was cool, what sucked, it was a nothing-is-sacred kinda big brother 101 with these guys. It changed my whole upbringing, I fit right in with these guys. We use to go to a club called “The Beat Exchange,” a punk club on Chartres Street about 5 blocks from the French Quarter. I saw some great bands there. Tough crowd of people. Weird and unpredictable people.

It changed so much in the last 2 or 3 decades. It’s a fucking joke now, compared to what it really stood for. There was unity back then. People looked out for each other. It was awesome.

So we played a lot of really good gigs that gained us a lot of notoriety. We played with The Sluts, who were very influential, and Shell Shock. Shell Shock were fucking brutal when they first hit the scene. Damaged Scum aka Disappointed Parents, Red Rockers who were awesome until they sold out, which no one thought they would do. After going through a shitload of different names, from Fourth Reich to White Army, Raw Sewage, The Mange, The Malfunctions, then we were Bob’s Barbecue for a while. Then we kept the name Graveyard Rodeo, which Tommy came up with.

Christ Inversion tape

MG: Graveyard Rodeo were groundbreaking for the time, blending bluesy Sabbathian groove with a hardcore punk mentality. What were your inspirations, musically and outside of music, at the time?

Fabra: Well, like I said in the beginning it was Sex Pistols, The Clash, Dead Kennedys, Plasmatics, etc. Lee was a big AC/DC fan and played an Angus Young-style SG. Lee was so under rated, I’ve never seen anyone control feedback like him. He was influenced by Greg Ginn of Black Flag and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols. Those were his major influences. Later years we discovered Venom and Carnivore. That made us a much heavier band, along with Black Sabbath of course. Lee and Tommy especially would invent their own chords; that’s what made Graveyard Rodeo develop that of the wall sound. Real ingenious how it worked. Our mistakes actually became great ideas.

MG: As a significant contributor to the burgeoning New Orleans scene, you have experience with members of Down (Anselmo released music with Necrophagia), Crowbar, Soilent Green, and Eyehategod. How has the scene changed since the days of working on your Realms of the Undead demo?

Fabra: It’s changed a lot, and not for the better. Like I said, there was a unity. Now, I don’t talk to hardly anyone. Mike Williams [Eyehategod, Corrections House] is the only one who has kept in touch with me. He grew up with me in the scene. So, there’s a childhood thing going on there. But no one else bothers with me anymore. I keep to myself a lot so I guess if I made an attempt to show myself it would be different. But there’s really nothing there to see. It’s not the same anymore, and a lot of times I get very depressed because of the lack of interest. Everything is self-absorbed. Everybody changed. They’re all about themselves now. It’s really weird.

But there’s still a lot of cool people involved. I’ll get back in it when I’m playing full-time again. I don’t like supporting a scene that I am not a part of or having a band and playing live. It’s hard to find guys who are serious. No one wants to tour. They wanna play in local bars in front of 20 people. Not me. I’m used to playing to a few thousand. Once you taste it, you want more.

MG: How have you seen Graveyard Rodeo’s influence impact the scene as well?

Fabra: A hell of a lot, when we get credit for it. You can hear our grooves in practically every band out there right now from Louisiana. They might not notice it themselves, or act like they don’t. That rock star bullshit really burns my ass man. They act like they created this scene. Never give credit to the pioneers, never. Pepper Keenan mentions us from time to time. But overall they act like we never existed. We gave this scene a big kick in its ass and hundreds of people can verify that if they were asked. These new kids don’t have clue one of how this sound came about. We drove that ship first. Way before they even knew what hardcore music was. They ain’t bullshitting me. That’s why I am tucked away like some dirty fucking secret. That’s alright though. I can put together a new arsenal that’ll kick these newbies in the goddamn nuts. We were the heaviest and the darkest of any band. These new bands try too hard. When you try too hard it shows. When you do it out of instinct and natural ability, it speaks for itself. There’s plastic and there’s genuine, simply put.

MG: What are some of your fondest and strangest memories of the early 90s Louisana metal scene?

Fabra: The greatest memories was when we toured Europe and being in Christ Inversion. That was a great period of my life. I was heavy into Satanism back then and so was Phillip [Anselmo]. He lived in a real haunted house. We would have séances sometimes and we would incorporate Satanic Rites into it and we scared people to death sometimes. They would be literally running out the door. That house in Lakeview was awesome. Phil and I were very close back then. That’s what I miss the most: Hanging by his house getting stoned and watching horror films all night long. The 3 A.M. Verti Mart food runs. Greatest times of my life. I’d give my soul to relive those days again.


MG: Starting with 1998’s Holocausto de la Morte, you joined Necrophagia for numerous splits and EPs. As a drummer, what were the challenges of switching to full-fledged death metal?

Fabra: Aw man, it was like a breath of fresh air for both Phil and myself. We were friends since 1980 or ’81, when he sang in Razor White. He was always an outcast. His passion was always horror and underground music, especially old death metal like Necrophagia. Season of the Dead was always one of our favorite albums. So how this came about was pure destiny, I believe. He knew Killjoy from playing some Pantera shows with them back in the early days of Pantera; Cowboys from Hell era. So Phil asked me if I would wanna work with him and Killjoy in putting together a band.

Originally we weren’t gonna call it Necrophagia, so that just was decided after an awesome rehearsal session we had for the first time. It was chemistry with Phil and I working together. The ideas just flowed so easy. So when we recorded Holocausto De la Morte we started getting offers to do videos for upcoming releases of some classic horror films: Last House on Dead End Street, The Beyond or 7 doors of Death, Cannibal Holocaust. Even our good friend Jim Vanbebber [Deadbeat at Dawn] wanted to do a documentary film about us. It was a busy time for us, but I loved every minute of it.

MG: As a drummer in a “horror metal” band, what are some of your favorite horror films?

Fabra: My all-time favorite is Children Shouldn’t play with Dead Things; that film is so morbid and so evil, I salivate every time I watch it. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Changeling, Maniac, The Beast Within, Fear No Evil (The film that got me interested in Satanism), Don’t Go in the House, Toxic Zombies, Dawn of The Dead, Savage Weekend, Corpse Eaters, Doctor Gore, The Demon Lover and also The Demon Lover Diary documentary on the making of the film.

MG: You’re currently playing with Black Witch God. How would you describe the band’s sound and what does the future hold for the band?

Fabra: Right now there’s no lineup. I wrote all of the music except for a few riffs some of the guitarists wrote. I have plans in forming another band but for now everything I do is gonna be solo. It’ll be like the Bathory project from Quorthon. Wanna hear something weird about Quorthon? Back in 1986 I wrote Quorthon from a fanzine called Mutilator, an underground magazine that had a Bathory interview in it. Well, Mike Williams turned me on to Bathory. That long introduction on the debut album with the Sabbatic goat on the cover, man what a fucking killer record that was. Original for black metal. Anyhow: I wrote Quorthon a letter and told him if he was to ever re-release the first Bathory album, he should title the introduction and call it “Storm of Damnation.” And guess what? When that album was out on CD, it had the intro titled just that. I was blown away by that. That’s one for the books. Knowing that my idea made that much of an impact on Quorthon. I was never credited for it, but I did come up with that title. If you look at the first pressing of the album there’s no title for the intro, just the title track, “Hades.” I’ve been very busy. I wrote about 6 new Black Witch God songs since the split of the band. They’re very heavy and very scary. It’ll put me on the map for sure. And I’m gonna do all the guitar tracks, drums, vocals and effects myself. It’s gonna blow your shit away, I promise.

MG: You’re also the creator of Equinox Graphix, an apparel company specializing in horror and the occult. How did your interest in creating apparel begin?

Fabra: Well, I always did create shirt designs for Graveyard Rodeo for years, layouts for the CD, stickers, flyers, and worked in several local fanzines, Public Threat and Pile of Flesh, which was an all death/grave-robbing/industrial culture fanzine that I did with my childhood friend Orcen Bender. Equinox is just something I always wanted to do, having a place where you can buy shirts with horror and occult related topics on them. Plus, the stuff I am working on now will have real black masses and rituals on the shirts. That’s something no one has done before, plus some other stuff I won’t mention that is in the works right now.

MG: I noticed some great shirts with vintage poster designs for the exploitation classics Mark of the Devil and Dario Argento’s Deep Red. What other designs do you have planned for the future?

Fabra: Well like I just spoke of, lots more underground horror films, occult, Satanic masses, demonic invocations on the actual shirts, long sleeves with designs on the sleeves, front and back, caps, posters, stickers, whatever I can print it on, it’ll be available. But mostly the underground stuff, I don’t wanna go too mainstream. A lot more gruesome stuff too.

MG: The website also says you accept custom shirt jobs. What’s the strangest shirt request you’ve received at Equinox?

Fabra: A few weird ones, actually. One guy wanted his mugshot and arrest record on the back. One dude wanted a shirt design with him getting his knob polished by his girlfriend. Strange people out there. Hey, they pay, I play. Only shirts though. That’s as far as I go with weird and kinky. I’m not that kind of a PUNK. A Punk rocker, but not a punk.

MG: You’ve achieved so much already, and your interests cover a broad spectrum. What are your goals for the future?

Fabra: More of the same. I just want the credibility and notoriety so people know where this music came from. I’ll do this ‘til I am old and gray. It’s all I know. I also wanna publish my books. I have about 12 manuscripts of Occult books, paranormal research, and a real horror non-fiction book about the experiences I had with being a black magician for many years, and my involvement in many secret societies. I also have a paranormal research team called the “Friends of The Dead” Paranormal Research Society.

(All material is solely the opinion of the interview subject, Wayne Fabra.)

Many thanks to Wayne for taking the time to discuss his illustrious past, present, and future. For those uninitiated with his musical endeavors, seek out Graveyard Rodeo’s Sowing Discord in the Haunts of Man as a starting place, and thank me in the form of love letters and Equinox apparel for my next birthday.

After looking at the Equinox catalogue, I see a really promising start in their designs. While I’m a huge fan of obscure horror and exploitation cinema, my favorite designs were actually those for Fabra’s musical acts. Black Witch God’s second design was particularly striking, presenting a statue of a winged skeleton embracing and whispering to a dying figure. Another shirt that caught my eye was the Graveyard Rodeo “Back From the Dead” reunion shirts, complete with an open grave. The Goblin logo is also modified for another Graveyard Rodeo shirt, a design that’s been borrowed by several other bands (most notably Church of Misery).

But if you’re leaning towards horror as opposed to extreme music, there’s plenty to be excited about here. With shirts with sick designs of The Beast Within, two options for The Corpse Eaters, and the intriguing illustration of The Demon Lover, there are shirts here that could either delight or stump even the most dedicated horror fiends and gorehounds. I’ve been to other websites offering horror-related merch and apparel, but I’ve never seen a variety dedicated to the underground as proudly as Equinox Graphix.

There are also options focused on Satanism and 420-friendly past-times, depending on your personal interests. Hell, I know plenty of people that fit both criteria. Encouragingly, the Equinox website promises that more designs are on the way and they’ll be expanding into other types of merchandise, including women’s shirts and mugs, so the company’s growth will be exciting to follow.

Check out the shop over on their website, and bookmark it to stay updated on their designs: