Dethklok's Extreme Slapstick
Published Aug 24, 2009Brendon Small doesn't care if you think his band is a joke. The co-creator and writer of Adult Swim animated cartoon Metalocalypse - who doubles as voice actor, guitarist and vocalist for Dethklok, the death metal band it features - understands the reaction." "I'm not here to change anyone's mind, I just want to do what fulfils me creatively, [whether] you want to laugh at it, or want to know how you play that guitar part. We're one of the highest selling transcription books."
While Metalocalypse centres on the world's biggest metal band, the satire isn't about music; in Small's vision, "it's about narcissism. The majority of popular broadcasting has been reality shows centred on celebrities where everything, good and bad, is about them. That's what we wanted to make this show about - then it gets to be about the stuff we like, which is metal and guitars and explosions and blood."
Small, a self-described "indoor guitarist" who's studied for 20 years, blurs the lines further with this month's release of The Dethalbum II, and a subsequent headlining tour, even as he works on the third season of Metalocalypse, which will expand to half-hour episodes. "[Recording and touring] was all there in the original concept," Small explains. "It wasn't like 'hey, look at all this magical stuff that happened to me' - I was fighting for this the whole time."
The cartoon has brought Dethklok to a musical level that Spinal Tap never achieved, because Small takes the music seriously while acknowledging its absurdity. "It's like a great big stupid movie," he says. "It falls into the category of high stakes entertainment." As for the fake/real band debate, "I don't see a difference between how hard they work and how hard I work."