Monday, January 30, 2012

Disguster is Beyond Disgusting

Let's clear one thing up before I proceed any further. I'm writing about Disguster the punk rock band from Fullerton, Ca. A band that Gary Schwind of The Orange County Music Examiner calls "a high-octane, well-lubricated  rock n roll machine." Just what kind of lubrication is left strictly to your imagination (liquor, spit, motor oil, KY Jelly, bacon fat)  

There is another Disguster on the national music scene, a turgid group of black (as in Satanic) metal heads from Massachusetts. If that's who you were interested in, then read no further.  Disguster would have you think that they are disgusting.   On the surface and judging by their song lyrics that would seem to be the case. Or as their drummer puts it "We call ourselves Disguster because Disgust wasn't  disgusting enough."

Disguster sprung as a side project from a pair of Southern California bands.  Lead vocalist -KC (Kris Cass), drummer- Jorge E. Peru, bassist- Zac Cooper and guitarist Hedge all trace their  roots to The Co-Dependents, a band famous for literally bringing down the ceiling at The Doll Hut in Anaheim (the result of KC swinging from a ceiling fan)

The band's original guitar duo, Hedge and Reno (who KC refers to as skinhead bookends) and Jorge all played with Mr. Mirainga.  A band that started in Tempe, Az. before re-locating to Fullerton. That band had a run of success in 1995-96, highlighted by the inclusion of their song  "Burnin' Rubber" on the soundtrack of Ace Ventura, When Nature Calls. 

"my face is in your place, i'm looking in, you get the picture"

To say that Disguster has a one track mind is to state the obvious or as one writer said: "When you visit the band's page, you will see one song called Women and another called Drugs. I ask you, what is more rock n roll than that?" If go further and listen to the songs, you'll see that  they also cover  a full spectrum of misogynistic fantasies. It's more than amazing their concerts aren't picketed by rape crisis advocates and women's rights groups, whenever they take the stage. 

"My Kick" deals with stalking from the perspective of a potential rapist, "my kick I'm really sick, I'm in the dark and so is the victim" driven by a wall of guitar rock, KC spews out some sick desires "I see a girl and I follow her home" the video that accompanies the track was shot in grainy black and white "She's all alone, she doesn't see me  cause I hide behind the bushes" it leaves little doubt of the outcome "I wait around till the middle of the night."

"Maggot" is equally disturbing for its vivid depiction of assault, sexual or otherwise " I see you walking all alone, I see you talking on the phone, I'm going to follow you home" the frantic music invades your private space "My foot, your door, I'm not so human anymore, I get so high when you're so damn low" the drums and guitar riffs come flying at you like fists "I'm going to hit you with a backhand, I'm gonna get you in the back end, I'm going to beat you till you're black and blue." 

"Secret Shame" invites you to "Meet me on the other side of the glory hole, but don't keep me waiting" KC has a unique voice, in fact it's what keeps you riveted to the music, despite the vile subject matter. "You should know better but you're d-i-s-g-u-s-t-e-r" His vocals are best described as a high pitched yelp "You're gonna get it... don't keep me waiting" Bon Scott with blown out  vocal chords. 

"Six Way" starts out with KC flexing his muscles while Hedge & Cooper harmonize "You wanna feel these guns?" behind him.  Disguster is looking for a certain type of gal "Hot thrills, more pills she's lost her motor skills" when they find her they ask the question "Do you wanna go for a six way with Disguster?... meet me in the middle of the parking lot." KC usually preens and poses on the drum kit or sings the climatic ending perched from atop a bar stool.

Disguster does switch it up every now and then, "Communication Breakdown" is a crackling, straight forward rendition of that old Led Zep warhorse. "Free Pie" is damn near rockabilly, as the band goes on about the kind of pie you don't find on any kitchen window sill.  "End of the End" mixes "oi,oi,oi" punk rock with arena rock guitars to create a sound that is uniquely Disguster.  It's all on their debut full length album "Not So Sweet" released in 2009.

Now, here's the hitch... SoCal punk rock just like pro wrestling is rarely what it appears to be.  Kayfabe plays a big part in the Orange County music scene, it always has. Kris Cass is a family man, married and the father of two spanking new baby girls. Cooper has a college degree in electronics from Cal St. Fullerton. Jorge works his ass off playing in what Kris estimates as ten different bands. (Good drummers are hard to find, he explains.)

So who cultivates the repulsive  subject matter that you find on almost every song? KC anoints Jorge as "the super glue that holds the band together" but, you get a feeling that there's a general consensus. Their fan base certainly doesn't raise its arms in protest, and they have their legion of followers, having been voted  by  the O.C. Register's reader's choice poll as best live band. 

Given Orange County's rock music pedigree, that is a high honor. In 2010, following the band's appearance at SXSW in Austin, Tx., both Hedge and Reno decided to leave the group.  Disguster re-grouped with the addition of  Mimmo and Dana to head up their patented twin guitar assault. Disguster's heavy dose of ribald rock is not always easy to take and definitely an acquired taste for most. 

The following video is by no means "safe for work" (or for kids, mothers, grandmothers, Mormons or anyone with any shred of decency.)  Hosted by the delightfully slutty Franki Doll, Disguster plays a blistering set of pure adrenaline fueled rock and roll. Watch for a textbook windmill move on his guitar by Hedge that makes Pete Townshend look like a pussy.