Nekromantix is one of the premier psychobilly bands in the world�a live juggernaut whose shows and albums are a guaranteed good time. None of that changes on Life Is A Grave�& I Dig It!!!, but they�re just not the same band. Antithetic to their horror aesthetic, they�ve changed into something�better.
For nearly a decade, Nekromantix wrecked across the U.S., U.K., Europe and Japan, emerging from the underground dirtnap to become one of the world�s most successful�let�s face it�genre bands. But rather than dwell in relative obscurity, Nekromantix helped bring psychobilly to the forefront of rock n� roll. So�yeah. Wouldn�t you say it�s time for a change?
After the release of Return of the Loving Dead, Nekroman decided the band had accomplished as much as they could from Denmark. He loaded up the hearse and moved to Beverly�er, the U.S. There, he enlisted new guitarist Tr�y Destr�y (The Rezurex) and drummer Andy DeMize (The Rockets). With Live Is A Grave�& I Dig It!!!, they�ve made an album that is pure Nekromantix while expanding on what, exactly, that means.
�When you�ve done so many albums in so many years,� says Nekroman, �you kinda need to do something new. But I hate seeing bands that totally change just because of that. I wanna stay true to what Nekromantix is all about. And I think we�ve accomplished that on this album.�
All the Nekro hallmarks are hit�the frenzy, the attitude, the horror, Nekroman�s pumping coffin bass. The difference is the band sounds like hell on wheels. Tr�y Destr�y�s guitar is cleaner, but meaner, and sounds like the demonic manifestation of departed rockabilly guitar heroes�but flying high on his own crazy, skittering brand of guitar wail. Behind him, Andy DeMize and Nekroman are as manic and psycho as Big Daddy Roth�s Rat Fink illustrations�and as well-oiled as the hot rods RF rode. They sound almost pissed and as they songs fly by and you pick up piece of lyrics like �suck my cajones� and �fuck you guys�rot in hell!� you wonder if they are mad�enough to kill.
�I just think that it�s more obvious this time,� says Nekroman, �a little more transparent, what I am writing about.� It�s a continuation of his efforts on Dead Girls Don�t Cry. �When people were discussing my lyrics, I could see that they really didn�t get the message. Not that it�s like a huge, big message, but I was just kind like, �Whoa. They obviously don�t see. They just think it�s about zombies and whatever.�
He wants people to know Nekromantix isn�t just a genre band with a horror pun for every occasion. He�s writing about everyday things like watching football and downloading porn (on �B.E.A.S.T.�), being stuck with fast food when you want proper food (�Rot in Hell�), trying to get laid and/or rekindle romance. Take this line from �Horny in a Hearse�: I needed something new and fresh to win my baby back/so I bought a 1959 hearse Cadillac.
�Hey,� says Nekroman. �This is not about me walking through the graveyard in the pale moonlight. This could be me walkin� down the street thinkin� about life blah-blah-blah. Maybe I�ve been too cryptic, to the point that all the lyrics are inspired by love or classic cars and wrapped in a horror theme or rockabilly greaser clich�s. But let�s face it�having those symbols make�I�m not gonna say all women�but some women�horny. And make the guy more interesting.�
The band, too. As Life Is A Grave� spins, the picture of Nekromantix�s growth and Nekroman�s vision for the band becomes clearer. They�ll never be content to be another psycho band on the circuit. This is real life and real music�not to be taken lightly. All the work Nekroman and his revolving cast of musicians have put in since forming in 1989 has to be toward a more significant end than small-scale dominance.
This desire is palpable in the album�s intensity, which ups the ante on Dead Girls. On that album, says Nekroman, �everything was done very fast, like bam-bam-bam-record. This time we really had the chance to learn the songs before recording them. I guess that shows. Plus having new blood in the band gives an injection of some kind. That�s what you hear.�
He explains most of Life Is A Grave� was �recorded in Hell.� Nekroman explains: �Recorded in Hell� is a term we used on �Haunted Cathouse� from Return of the Loving Dead. It means it was the demo version from rehearsals. So when we record in Hell, it means our garage.� Only the drums were tracked outside of the fiery pit in Hellcat�s warehouse, in a little mobile studio among boxes of Hellcat back catalog for inspiration. Longtime friend Niedermeier engineered the record and the band self-produced�but that last part, Nekroman says, ain�t so important.
�Yeah. No fancy studios. No big letters on the album saying �Produced by Kim Nekroman or Nekromantix. I mean, it is produced by us, but we�re not trying to appear as producers because we�re just a band. This is how we sound.�
That�s as simple as Nekromantix gets. Asked to sum up the last two years since Dead Girls, Nekroman just says he�s being touring all over the place. His plans for the future? �Touring all over the place.�
�Everyday something new happens,� he says. �And the motivation is, of course, the people showing up. The fans. And seeing that spread out more and more. It�s not just the five psychobillies that knew us when we were here the first time about six years ago. The exposure on our label has exposed psychobilly to punks, heavy rockers, metal people�that�s a big motivation. Every show�you meet a lot of new people every day. Then you get to go into the studio and write news songs. And I dig it!�