It's no secret to any of us, that untold legions of mediocre Detroit bands have released a torrent (get it downloaders? Torrent? AHAHHA!) of shitty EP's in a desperate bid to get noticed by what is left of Warner Brothers. Here at the DRB we have a stack of them right here by the main desk, specifically marked 'beer coasters'. It's also no surprise when three twenty something music brats find enough solace and understanding in one another to say 'Hey DUDE we should start, like, a band or something', often over a bong or twenty-four pack of Natural Light. At first everyone in the room is in agreement. What ensues is arguing, screaming, temper tantrums, pregnancies, speeding tickets, and the occasional sodomy.
Scotty Manzik: “The EEKS were formed around Halloween 2009 by myself and drummer Shaun (Rogan) Collins. Night after night for almost 2 years him and I would sit up all night smoking cigarettes and pot, listening to vinyl, talking about the lack of what was going on in Detroit and all the different ways we could benefit from it. Around this time a girl gave me a keyboard and I began teaching myself how to write "riffs" on it. I started thinking outside the box. I had grown tired of the standard "rock band" formula. It seemed too "safe".
I have to confess, I'm extremely proud of The EEK's. Not in the critical sense, but proud in the accomplishment sense. They've actually crafted a Detroit EP that manages to NOT suck hot donkey balls. For those of you up at 3 am and desperately trying to stay awake (or locate porn), The EEK's DIY 'Lady Kill Award' EP is like finding a Picasso at a garage sale. While each song is solid, there's actually two semi-killer tracks that stand out, the first being high voltage punk anthem 'She Screams'. This track clocks in at 1:57, but Scotty Manzik, Eric Giles, Shaun Collins, and Jon Clegg cram fifty minutes of energy and style into it. There are countless albums of established 'artists' who, with hours of studio time, handpicked songs, and a genius producer at the helm, still can't achieve what The EEK's have created in under two minutes. 'Wrapped Up' combines the soul of author Stephen King with the soul of Raiden from Mortal Kombat in a washing machine and spits out something a step to the left of punk rock. This track will grab your attention and hold it all the way through five o'clock of your next work day. It gets in your head and takes root like hepatitis.
Scotty Manzik: “I invited my friend Jon Clegg over one night and asked him to bring his BIG MUFF pedal. I ran the keyboard through the muff pedal, into a boss octave pedal and into my bass amp. The sound that happened was spine chilling. I showed him CDEFGAB and I had a bassist. Jon also liked The Melvins. BIG MUFF + MELVINS RECORDS = IN THE BAND. Then I went out and found the weirdest guitarist I could find, Eric Giles, formerly of the psycho trash group RUBBER MILK ORCHESTRA who was later joined by Collins, who drummed for the group during the height of their local success. Eric doesn't "play" guitar. He manipulates it. And it was the perfect racket to have dancing over the hooks that the mind attacking electronic bass is raping you with.”
Though these talented horror punks draw on themselves with black magic marker in an effort to conjure up the zombie nation, I must confess I've never seen a Romero film, where the zombie make up consisted of black magic marker. However, I don't see anyone local painting themselves up (well OK, a couple of guys at the City Club . . at least I think they were guys .) before they go on stage just to invoke a true 'horror feel'. Obviously artists have used make-up in the past, but somehow it's just got a different presence here. It sounds silly, but it actually comes across creepy as hell. Dario Argento might have a heart attack and die screaming if he saw these three play live, but in a positive way. And I have no doubt, their musicianship would raise him back to life as founding member of the crawling undead.
Scotty Manzik: “We wrote "Gotta Have It" in the first week of rehearsals. That song shaped the NEW WAVE PUNK sound of The EEKS and our future as song writers. We played that song for over a month tweaking knobs and experimenting with different sounds and effects. We soon recorded a demo of it in our studio and that's when Jon brought his horns to the table. The layers of horns buried under the mix brought a new eeriness to the recording and most our recordings after that. This "outside the box" way of thinking was taking our creativity and sending it in a direction we never expected. It was the freedom I was looking for. And for everybody involved. This version of "Gotta Have It" also had an unsettling 8 second intro taken from a "scary sounds" record from the 60's that had a skip. So we mic'd the stereo and reversed the file. It sounded like your dead grandmother escaping from hell to chase you through a corn field in Ohio. Eight seconds in you hear the opening bass notes and The EEKS are alive. Every element of that song paved the way for every idea we've had since. "Gotta Have It" was a full collaboration and glimpse of what was to come. When you mingle influences like Bauhaus, Britney Spears and the Sex Pistols together it creates a whole lot of doors in your song writing room to be kicked open. And The EEKS write and record with their door kicking shoes on. Finally in May of 2010 The EEKS were ready to deliver their product to Detroit and soon the world.”
I'm filing this one under Zombiecore, and filing a patent on the name 'Zombiecore' because I'm 73% certain that no one has used it this effectively yet. There's a little bit of Bad Brains here. And, most definitely, a bit of The Misfits, although I don't believe Danzig's band of ghostly goofballs was a direct influence, after talking with the band. Jon Clegg elaborated on their sound at a recent gig opening for The Ruiners at the Lager House:
“Well we stick to standard rock and roll, but we make a few differences and keep it creepy. Kind of like the Bauhaus type sound, but we don't like to stick to that sound. We do our own thing and try for a new kind of horror punk sound.”
Scotty Manzik: “These songs are mostly about situations and feelings I'm not always necessarily proud of. With the old saying in mind "nobody's perfect" I feel it's easy for an audience to relate to it. People feel better about their own guilty secrets after hearing our songs. We all have skeletons, vices and flaws. I've just become more OK with it than others."
Do your ears a favor. Check out The EEKs. Their ' Lady Kill Award EP' is a much needed, pleasant surprise, and a bargain at $5. A step above the usual twenty-something garage band crap that is being dished out left and right in our city of ruins. Hopefully soon, they'll do a zombie cover of Stryper's 'Honestly' complete with corpses moaning that hideous chorus.
Scotty Manzik: “Detroit sucks. It's terribly unsafe. Everyone I know is broke. It's dirty and it's cold. Detroit has been kicked in the teeth. And we're certain that these are the truest and very necessary ingredients for Rock n Roll to exist."