killer BOB hail from Brum, and bring with them sounds of “aggro-grunge”, which sounds rather punky to us. None of this pop-punk stuff, but the old fashioned, pissed off at the system type. As well as featuring the exclusive premiere of their new video, “Francine Putrescine”, we dug deep into the band’s psyche to find out what makes them tick. Natalie Webster, killer BOB’s sing-stress and guitarist, answered our questions.
killer BOB are all the way from the Home of Metal – Birmingham, UK!
Nat (vox/guitar) and Pete (drums) met on the “Metal Dating” website in 2009 and have been in various bands in the Birmingham scene together over the years including Selfless, Scrage and female fronted Glenn Danzig tribute “MsFitz”. Nat basically begged Pete to form a band with her as she is obsessed with the grungy 90s. He gru(n)dgingly accepted and even seems to be enjoying the project now… We met Jim in the Box at a party and he was originally gonna play bass on the Nat Bite’s solo project. Both Jim and Nat were students at Birmingham Conservatoire (classical piano / jazz bass respectively) so it’s quite funny this is where their rigorous training has led them.
How long have you been playing as a band?
killer BOB were born in July 2016… nearly a year together already.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
In true 90s style, killer BOB is the name of the ominous demonic entity in David Lynch’s masterpiece Twin Peaks. You need to see this creepy muthafukka for yourself if you haven’t already. Chilling.
What are your influences?
I seem to write stuff that is either really aggressive or really moody and depressing! Soundgarden’s and Alice In Chains’ use of melody alongside downtunings is a huge inspiration as is the punk vitriol of bands like Hole, Babes in Toyland and L7. I’m also a huge Dimebag fan and not ashamed to throw in a huge Pantera rip off riff now and then to make the mix a bit more brutal.
However, Pete is not really a grunge fan and tends to put his own spin on the drums – more technical and metal influenced rather than grunge. He is a Meshuggah obsessive to the point of having the piss taken about him on this matter. Jim also being jazz trained can be heard putting in some tasty licks if you listen to what he’s doing.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I’m not sure if there’s any such thing as being unique anymore. Especially as we are actively involved in what is a bygone genre! But we really don’t give a fuck. If you come to our live shows you might be in for a rather intense experience and that’s where I think we come into our own. For a trio, we can unleash unholy hell. Come hear our live version of “Jesus Christ Pose” if you don’t believe me; the guitarist from Vice Squad said it was “bludgeoncore”. So that was a huge compliment.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
I just like to vent. About anything really. And cry. Sometimes it feels like a song needs to be written about something in particular and other times lyrics come out in an abstract way, usually just because the words sound nice together. Obviously being a woman, there is a historical backlog of oppression that does spill over in lyrics. And being a woman in a very male dominated metal scene has given rise to countless unfortunate experiences over the years. So something like “Woman, Leviathan” was written to encourage women to tear down whatever invisible societal bonds are holding them back from living life to the fullest.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
See above for a descriptor of our live shows! They are loud and brutal and usually a really good laugh too if the audience is willing to engage. I love a bit of banter with the crowd; it’s nice when people get a rapport going with the audience. Pete usually gets a lot of people come up to him and marvel at his chops on the kit, which is nice cos drummers often get hidden away. Many younger people really enjoy the shows as well as those of us who were there to experience grunge first time round. We just played our twelfth gig at the Chris Cornell commemoration night up at Muthers Studios in Digbeth.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
When I was in Scrage I pulled down the vocalist’s trousers on-stage. Unfortunately his pants came down too and his daughters were in the front row of the audience. I also dressed as a gingerbread person when on keyboards in Jazz Thrash Assassin and on another occasion delivered the entire gig in a really shit Arnold Schwarzenegger accent. Not really wild at all but it was funny at the time. I guess you had to be there…
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Pete plays a full on metal nerd kit with a stupid amount of cymbals (Just trust me when I say it’s a nerd kit.) I play a Gibson Les Paul 70’s tribute into a Laney Ironheart head and Orange open back cab. Jim plays a Jaguar bass into anything that is compatible with his TC Electonics head. He ain’t fussy at all.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
Trying to record as much as possible of the new album ourselves which is taking bloody ages but we’ll get there in the end. I’m also starting up a DIY night at Scruffy Murphy’s in Birmingham –90s/punk/alt disco. The first two dates are booked for Friday September 22nd and Saturday December 9th and will feature killer BOB, She Brew and fellow grunge obsessives Third Angle Projection.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Well that’s easy. Third Angle Projection as opening act because they are fucking brilliant and all round amazing people. So supportive and genuinely interested in creating a scene together with us where we can be rid of many of the horrible aspects that are frequently encountered when either trying to get gigs, or in the actual gig experience. If you are in a band I’m sure you’ll be familiar with some of these things. Probably not wise for me to moan about it on a public forum though.
Headline I would choose the deadest of hands… DEAD HANDS. Fucking incredible. Debbie Gough the guitarist is like a 19 year old female Dimebag. Although she would prefer me to say Mark Morton I’m sure. Riff monster and guitar goddess. Rich the vocalist genuinely could not give a fuck about what you think of him and his tiny twerking shorts. Great tonal range and emotive content in his vocals too which is sadly lacking in many ‘extreme’ music acts. Liam Cormier described them as “harrowing” at the recent Cancer Bats gig in Brum. I wholeheartedly concur.
Courtesy of previous Band of the Day artist Kemerov: Do you think that a music band should have a clear social and/or political stance with their lyrics and general attitude or should music and politics never mix?
The only thing that I think should exist in the creative process is that there should be no shoulds. Don’t close any doors. But be true to yourself.
Having said that, if you feel stirred up by something then let it come out. Music is one of the most powerful and potent forms of communication that exists. It is also highly cathartic.
I have written about child neglect and abuse and how society marginalises groups such as sex workers and those with severe disabilities. What is interesting however, is that on reflecting on the lyrical content of seemingly social narratives, some element of psychological projection is always present. We throw out our own internal worlds onto artistic canvasses. Even if we think we are writing about something far removed from ourselves.