Concept albums and rock operas are always iffy. There’s a good chance they’ll end up seeming self-serving, unnecessary, or just plain lame. Milwaukee-based punk band, Direct Hit!, wanted to make sure their new concept album, Brainless God, wasn’t lame. So when they made a short film based on the entire album, they threw in plenty of puking, serial killers, and disemboweling with hacksaws. They've described it as "Meatloaf meets Black Flag, as told by Stephen King, but a lot dumber."
Brainless God is out today from Red Scare Industries and you can watch the first four videos of the band's 12-installment video series above. We also caught up with Direct Hit! guitarist/singer, Nick Woods, right as he was leaving for his honeymoon.
Noisey: So you just got married yesterday?
Nick Woods: Yep! I'm excited to see a woman naked for the first time!
Well shit, thanks for taking the time to talk. When's the honeymoon?
I actually leave tomorrow morning at 5:30 a.m. We're going to Aruba. We booked the trip, and then Googled "Where is Aruba?" because marriage is built on willful ignorance for the sake of learning new shit together.
Why the hell are you leaving for a honeymoon the day your album comes out?
Because I'm fucking stupid.
Fair enough. What are you two planning to do in Aruba?
All-inclusive thing, I think? Neither of us wanted to have to plan anything else once the wedding was set up and when you go to those places, they basically just stuff your face for you and wipe cocoa butter all over your stretch marks and shit, so you don't even have to think about what you want to do. They already know. It's "get fat and bone."
I don't want to stand in the way of your boning, so we'll make this quick. Your new album is a concept album. How did that idea come about?
I just thought it was a way to take what people knew about our band and add to it. "Expand the universe," if you will. Sort of like what Aliens was to Alien. People know us as this nerd band that writes about monsters and action movie shit I think, and so a concept album was kind of a way to make something like that that was even nuttier. I also wanted to make a bigger-sounding album than the last record, and even though I think musicals are dumb, you can't really deny how epic some of the songs in Les Miserables are, or The Phantom of the Opera. Plus it helped a lot with writing new material. Having a story gave the lyrics direction, and sort of guided what the music had to sound like in certain parts. So it really all boils down to laziness. Doing a concept record let us autopilot more while still letting us "progress."
And what is the "concept" behind it?
It's about how love, the apocalypse, a serial killer, and a suicide cult help this battered woman find herself. The story's spelled out pretty literally by the lyrics. Between those and the video shit we did, people should be able to figure it out.
Are you ever worried you're gonna start spilling over into Green Day territory with that rock opera stuff?
Nah, not really. We don't pretend like our record is anything more than a musical Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Or a Steven King short story. We're not trying to say anything big about humanity or something. We're way more into making shit that sounds awesome rather than something that means something.
And you made videos for the entire album. How did that come about?
Because I felt like the narrative of the record was important to make it ours and so it needed to be explicit. When you play the kind of music we do, it's tough to tread new ground, you know? And so we wanted to make sure people knew the story and not just some loose collection of half-baked thoughts. We didn't really feel like the music and lyrics alone told it in a way that people would be able to distinguish the plot. The videos bring it to life.
The whole video has a fuzzy quality to it. Almost like it's a tape you guys found. What's that about?
We wanted it to look like the kind of horror and action movies we watched when we were kids, that our parents taped off of someone else's tape that they taped off live TV. It also helps cover up the fact that we're just a bunch of friends who wanted to put together a show with not a lot of money. It's a lot easier to make someone's ear getting cut off look fucked up when it's harder to tell that we made the ear out of plasticine.
I've been told your band's mantra is "Fuck you! Get pumped!" Is that right?
Yep. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
Any last words as you depart to Aruba?
Smoke weed every day.