Happy New Year! Todd Stachowski and his video-savvy friend Paul Brown have launched a YouTube channel called donotwatch, which promises to post a new unwatchable video every week.
So far, they’ve released “Drive By Hater” (featuring Baltimore’s Turd Tsar, Chris Jensen of Jensen Plumbing Service) and “Harlem Shake Budd Dwyer Remix” (because you can never see enough footage of a municipal wonk blowing his brains out with a .357 Magnum on live TV).
All fine work, lads. But the highlight so far is their upload of the entire album 1+1=Death, the lone sonic release by Todd’s death metal band The Rockstars, in all its 10-song, 38 minutes and 22 seconds of g(l)ory. And as a tie-in, they’ve issued a “Rockstars Video Challenge,” promising prizes and a posting on their channel for any user-created video of a Rockstars song. Below, for your listening and donotwatch viewing pleasure is the complete 1+1=Death album:
Recorded at Orion Sound Studios in January 2006, 1+1=Death has a sound as thick and heavy as I imagine Brontosaurus poop would be, and Todd’s hoarse Norse vocals have never sounded more Satanic or more in need of throat lozenges (in fact, his voice is exactly how I imagine Road Warrior‘s Lord Humongus – the Ayatollah of Rock ‘N’ Rolla – would sound if he fronted a band). Beautifully illustrated by Stachowski himself (a triple-threat artist who can write, draw and play music), 1+1=Death is equal parts humor and outrage, like Todd himself, and (again like Todd) is always entertaining. Todd wrote all ten songs and plays guitar and bass, while Tasha Levine pounds the skins and longtime collaborator (and live performance madman) Tony Himlin contributes backing vocals. The resulting music has true cross-over potential, as I can see it entertaining metalheads at Dundalk’s old Zu as well as being put to use by the U.S. military to torture high-value detainees at post-Abu Ghraib secret holding cells. It’s that good!
But the highlights for me are the sound bites from cult movies that Todd samples in between songs. Always clever and to the point, like the Hairspray soundbite that precedes Todd’s homage to big-haired East Bawmer hons, “Hair Hoppin’,” and the Joe Pesci sample from Raging Bull – “You gotta shot. If you win you win, if you lose you still win. You just gotta get down to 155 pounds you fat bastard. Just stop eating!” – that leads into “No Way To Win.”
Things start off with a real punch in “DW730W,” the most commercial-sounding Rockstars metal song ever (written about a box label!), with Todd sampling some dialogue from a fight film (“You can hit him as hard as you have the God-given ability to hit…The people who make the rules intended for you to hit ’em hard!”). The song also also provides the CD’s title, with its classic New Math equation:
Subtract yourself, ’till there’s nothing left
Divide by nothing: 1+1=Death
Todd never did like math. I also like the romantic bickering dialogue that precedes “Yer Gonna Git It,” which sounds like it’s from some biker flick, “Get out! If you don’t drag your ass out that door I’m gonna cut you…I’m gonna cut your ass!” This is followed by such old Rockstars’ chestnuts as “Cat” (a deeply symbolic paen to female genitalia highlighted by Tasha Levine’s great cowbell-driven beat), “Giant Rat” (no doubt about Todd’s former housemates in Armistead Gardens, pictured left) and the very poppy “Hair Hoppin'” (this is my favorite tune, and it’s the one song in which Todd drops his Lord Humongus voice – he should try to get it on the soundtrack of the Broadway-version Hairspray movie because it would be perfect there). I love the soundbite for “Giant Rat,” too: “That thing is dangerous, it took my child. Now I’m gonna see to it that I destroy it!”
Watch Rockstars play “Giant Rat” live below:
1+1=Death is rounded out by “Leroy, Loretta & Hector,” “Operation,” “The Irresistable Force Meets the Immovable Object” and “Move Your Feet” (which has the great lines: “Sally was a bar stool/At least she looked the part/Born with a perfect body/She had a face like abstract art”).
Here’s wishing Todd and Paul all the best with their new channel. Baltimore Or Less is looking forward to not watching more donotwatch videos!
For more Rockstars live clips, check out “Rockstars 4Ts“@ AardVarkAudioVideo (YouTube)