Hollywood, CA. – It’s Halloween night on the Sunset Strip, and it looks like pretty much like any other night on the famed thoroughfare, with the host of characters crowding the street in makeup and costume. Inside the Whisky a Go Go, those costumed creatures of the night crowd the floor. As the under bill bands take the stage, the members of The Rhythm Coffin, an L.A. based “monster rock n’ roll” outfit are in their all black walled dressing room, which creates quite a contrast between those walls and their white facial makeup. While warming up and tuning his guitar, band founder, Gruesome Gereg, lead guitar and vocals, tells about the evolution of the band, starting as a solo performer over ten years ago, and going through various incarnations. Scarrie Carrie (white dress) and Eerie Emma (black dress), known together as the Ghoulie Girls, joining to provide backing vocals and general crowd involvement. Gereg relates that, “The Rhythm Coffin really became The Rhythm Coffin with the addition of Blood Baron Aaron on bass guitar about five years ago, which solidified the band.” The last remaining member of the band is Noose Neck Nick, although a recent addition, and in fact playing his first show with the band, is a “good fit for the band” according to Gereg.
As the band takes the stage in support of Michael Graves and Wednesday 13, Gereg greets the enthusiastic crowd with a “Mwahahahaha” and a brief introduction, then they tear into their set. The band belts out tune after tongue in cheek tune, like Gruesome’s Cockroach Coffee and Ghoulish Ghoulash. The fast pace and high energy of their show has the crowd playing right along with the band. But crowd participation is not only an involuntary response to the show, it is also a matter of self preservation, as props are likely to regularly visit the crowd from the stage, such as a 5 foot inflatable cockroach which is bounced about the crowd like the usual beach ball. A highlight of the show and its crowd participation, is the Headless Head Bop. During this song, the band tosses Styrofoam heads, (which in tonight’s case were given to audience members to decorate before the show) into the crowd, with the requirement that the participants toss them back to the band, creating a vicious cycle of flying heads. So keep your cranium on the swivel, or you may be bonked on your noodle by a flying noggin, like a certain photographer/concert reviewer was. During Scarrie Carrie From The Cemetery, the audience is solicited to provide backing vocals of “go Scarrie Carrie, go Scarrie Carrie!” then Carrie runs up the backstage stairs, down the main stairs, around the floor and back to the stage opposite of the side from which she departed. All of this is watched with anticipation and pointing from the rest of the band still on stage. Most of the songs performed are from their latest album Aint In My Grave Tonight. The finale of the show is the Rhythm Coffin’s version of The Monster Mash, a very fitting tune for Halloween, and for anyone who is not familiar with their original music, brings instant recognition. The band is joined on stage for this song by 4 foot cutout faces of Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula and the Wolfman dancing about the stage, adding visual excitement to the end of their show.
After the show, the members of the band visit with fans both inside and outside of the club. As they pose for pictures, always in character, the members prove why they are a fan favorite. The band remains at the venue long after their set to speak with followers and share the experience making it more personal for the attendees. The Rhythm Coffin may be viewed as a novelty band, with lyrics and stylings that are indeed tongue in cheek and a bit campy. A closer look however, or listen if you will, reveals that their original material, all written by Gereg, is at heart, good old fashioned rock and roll, which Gereg self-describes as “a cross between The Ramones, The B-52s and KISS.” In short, The Rhythm Coffin is a band which plays serious rock and roll, which doesn’t take itself too seriously.
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