It got so pervasive that even Sweetooth started messing around with it. I’m not talking about some kind of newfangled drug, though drugs, in general, were prevalent before the Fort Worth metal sextet broke up in late 2013. No, this scourge was not nearly as insidious as heroin, coke, or meth but was 10 times more annoying, especially for a group of thrashers.
“We wanted to break the stigma that all the bands around here are stoner-rock,” said former Sweetooth vocalist/lyricist Jason Taylor. “We said, ‘Let’s step away from all that and take a different approach.’ ”
The “we” in question is Kill for Mother. Composed of Taylor, guitarist Bobby Tillotson Jr. (formerly of Warbeast), drummer Rick Nagler (ex-Grain), and bassist Andy Boyd (also ex-Sweetooth), the year-old band is decidedly anti-stoner –– in place of molasses-slow tempos are multiple shifts in tempo, in place of lavalike riffs machine-gun passages. Based on rough mixes of two freshly recorded tracks, Kill for Mother takes a heaping helping of Slayer, mixes in a little Dillinger Escape Plan-inspired mathiness, and tops it all off with a hint of hyper-melodic Maiden. It’s the kind of music that screams, “We musicians have nothing better to do all day but practice, practice, practice. Until our fingers bleed. And then because we don’t have day jobs we sit back and count the thousands of dollars that our major record label throws at us.”
Of course Kill for Mother is not affiliated with any major label (or any label, for that matter), and, for the record, the band members have good, stable day jobs but are certainly not Richie Riches. You’d never know from listening to “Unrecognized” and “Death of Texas.” The two dynamically complex, super-tightly performed songs represent the first of a string of Kill for Mother releases. The ultimate goal is to combine them and a handful of unreleased tracks into a full-length next year, Taylor said.
“Everyone sounds the same,” Taylor said. “As much as I love so much music, I just hear a lot of doomy sludge.
“I want to bring something else to the scene, even if everyone hates it and hates me for it!” he added with a laugh.
Kill for Mother took shape not long after Taylor posted a goodbye note on Sweetooth’s Facebook page. In response, Tillotson messaged him. “He said, ‘When are we gonna start working on a project together?’ ” Taylor recalled.
Tillotson once played in the 13-year-old Sweetooth. He left after getting picked up by Warbeast, the huge Arlington thrash outfit fronted by former Rigor Mortis frontman Bruce Corbitt. Tillotson left the band, Taylor said, to do his own thing. “He was just longing to do a project he wasn’t a hired gun on, and this was his first opportunity,” Taylor said. “This is [Tillotson’s] band just as much as it’s all of ours. Nobody is hired on.”
The guys emerged from the studio only late last year (after one weekend-long session). They went with Messastory Studios, a brand new multimedia production company in Dallas run by the radio-friendly hard-rock band Messer, to take advantage of the bells and whistles. “They’re also really good guys to work with,” Taylor said. “It was easy, and it just happened. … They wanted to do something heavy. … It was a good fit.”
Kill for Mother played its first show only last week, opening for Megaforce Records’ Mushroomhead at Trees in Dallas. The decent-sized crowd, Taylor said, included some Sweetooth fans –– who were only a little surprised by the facepaint.
“I didn’t know [our kabuki masks were] going to translate with our fans, but it seems like they fucking love it,” Taylor said.
Which stands to reason. The guy handling just about all of Kill for Mother’s artwork is Bill Hunt, who handled some special effects on the first three Lord of the Rings movies, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and King Kong, and who also did makeup on a bunch of slasher flicks, including Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic From Dusk Till Dawn. Taylor met Hunt rather randomly. Hunt saw a photo of Taylor with Kane, the pro wrestler who played the legendary hockey-goalie-masked, machete-wielding bad guy Jason Voorhees in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, which Hunt worked on, and who was Taylor’s best man. Hunt sent Taylor an e-mail, and a friendship blossomed.
“I don’t know why or what I did in a past life to deserve this, but this guy [Hunt] is a fucking angel,” Taylor said, noting that in addition to the face designs, Hunt also has created a monster, a costume of the monster for “a big guy” to wear onstage, and an entire universe around Taylor’s lyrics. “It should be a lot of fun,” Taylor said. “ ‘Fun’ actually is the best way to describe this band.”
Kill for Mother’s next step, Taylor said, is to get out on the road, starting with weekend jaunts but hopefully quickly graduating to providing major tour support. He and his bandmates, who are all in their mid-30s, have flexible jobs, he said. Being at this music thing for over a decade has emboldened the guys in Kill for Mother.
“The music is technical, it’s different, and it’s way outside the spectrum of anything I’ve ever done before,” Taylor said. “It’s going to take shape over the next few months, and we’re just going to run with it, go with what comes natural. I don’t care if anyone’s going to judge us by our stage show or what we want to do musically. … We wanted to get out [from under] Sweetooth and the past and do something that is fun and creative for us.”
Kill for Mother will join Croma in opening up for Hint of Death and Eagle Claw on Saturday at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666). Cover is $10.
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