The thing about cock rock (see also: butt rock, ass rock, Guns ’N Roses, horse turd), what makes people like it before they realize how low-brained it is, is that the guitar riffs are provocative and seductive. They follow a natural, musically logical progression that is organically pleasing to the human ear. This is why cock rock — a grunt animal not fit for the wild — has been able to survive: It approaches people with sad, obvious eyes, and they give it food.
Throw one dissonant note in there, into one of those grand riff progressions, and you have a real beast, a thing of raw beauty, wit and intellect that will one day soon (hopefully) be responsible for the death of cock rock. If Louisville were representative of the whole world, VRKTM would have the big teeth.
It is most pleasing when a band is gutsy enough to play a 4/4 rock riff and throw a fifth beat in one of the measures, or play a near-scale just weird enough to be unique, just straightforward enough to keep your head bobbing. It’s an enviable balance for a band, and this vowel-less wondersome are all about it.
Add in maniacal vocals delivered on the brink of on-key, full of humorous social and political commentary, and you have this study in expanding boundaries: dueling guitars that hit metal harmonies enough to satiate the Death (the band, not the existential pondering) fan in you, an unshakable rhythm section, and a usefulness for space rock like cooks and their spices. I know that sounds weird, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, having heard a few of VRKTM’s new tunes: These guys are brilliant.
LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?
Darren Rappa: If I were Mayor of this city I would be too busy trying to restrict businesses that pollute our air (like DuPont, LG&E) and exploit our residents (like Wal-Mart, KFC, McDonald’s) to give a shit about promoting people like myself. Although I would fuck with them less, which would allow them to promote themselves better. I wouldn’t let people who live near busy streets impose codes and regulations based on what they think is proper. But if some whiny musician approached me, I would tell him to get on MySpace like everyone else.
Dave Bird: The Mayor shouldn’t spend time promoting music as far as I’m concerned. If a musician isn’t happy with his or her popularity or income or whatever, they should work harder or find something else to do instead of worrying about what a politician is or isn’t doing for them.
Jason Hayden: Do all I could to expand Kentucky Kingdom, to compete with Cedar Point.
LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?
DR: I think all the musicians in Louisville are a bunch of pretentious crybabies who need a lot of attention.
DB: Far and away, the answer is Bill Terry. His songs are hilarious, heart rending and sonically enthralling all at the same time. The Second Hatefull Masterpiece album is the best record made in Louisville since the Carter Family recorded here.
JH: Chris Layton.
LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?
DR: Homemade Peeps.
DB: Human flesh. Lightly grilled.
JH: Honey Nut Cheerios.
LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium.
DR: I think Anne Northup and Southeast Christian Church are incredible works of art (in a demoralizing context). Everyone here complains that the rest of Kentucky is so redneck when the fact of the matter is that most of them live right here in Louisville.
DB: George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” series, especially “A Storm of Swords.” Also “Babe II: Pig in the City.”
JH: The Trailer Park Boys Series.
LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?
DR: Hey, how about some deregulation in the Kentucky Department of Education to stimulate some much needed improvement, even though that’s really what somebody should say. Stay in school, kids.
DB: Has c d kaplan ever written a column in which he doesn’t talk about how cool he is? Hasn’t he ever heard that saying about aging hipsters? He is what Tony Kornheiser would call a “preening schmo.”