There’s a lot of fascination with what we refer to as the “undead,” lately. From the zombies on The Walking Dead, to the werewolves of Twilight, we let our imaginations run wild. The way we talk about these fictional characters and their unrealistic plots on a daily basis (as if they could ever happen), is pretty weird if you ask me. No matter how weird I think it is, it still won’t keep me from watching TWD on Sunday nights, just as long as the Chicago Bears aren’t playing.
But what if I told you that we are in fact living among the undead? And that Hollywood gave birth to a group of undeads, much like those of the apocalypse, and they are invading the world at an alarming rate. They are taking over cities across the world by storm, and leaving stages and music halls in flames. Figuratively, of course.
I’m speaking of Hollywood Undead, a rap and heavy metal group that hails from California, no need to worry, they aren’t going to eat you alive. This group has continued to display music interests that have totally different roots, and combine them to convey their messages.
The Cali based group consists of 6 guys: Johnny 3 Tears, J-Dog, Charlie Scene, Danny, Funny Man, and Da Kurlzz, were friends with interests in rap, jazz, and rock. At the time they assembled, there was a heavy influence from Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock in the rock and hip-hop culture. Both of whom had a similar typically conflicting musical preference, but found a way to make great music. While they have chosen a similar path, it was still a unique journey for them.
Hollywood Undead dropped their first album Swan Songs in 2008. They got off to an incredibly hot start with their debut album, which went platinum. Bursting onto the scene with such impactful music earned the group a strong fanbase in which they have remained closely connected with. One of the ways they have managed to connect and continue to build and grow with their fans is by putting out some free material. As vocalist Johnny 3 Tears told a writer for web based entertainment magazine,The Celebrity Cafe in a 2011 interview, “People are going to buy the record or they’re not going to buy the record.” He continued, “They can get it free either way so I think it’s a better relationship from band to audience for us to give it away as opposed to someone else doing it. Might as well do it ourselves.”
Since the group’s debut platinum album, they’ve since recorded three more studio albums. The second one, American Tragedy, came in 2011. This was an opportunity they used to become a bit more diverse musically. The album went gold, and while not AS successful as the first one, it gave the group members a great experience. While in turn giving the fans of the group some quality music, including “Hear Me Now” which hit number 2 on iTunes rock chart. As J-Dog told MTV much like the first album, the sophomore album has something for everyone. “We wanted to expand our creative palette as a band and grow. We wrote the first album years ago. Mentally, we’re not in the same place we were then. We got better at what we do lyrically and musically.”
Listening to an entire project from Hollywood Undead takes the audience through a wide range of emotions. It also journeys you through the many different experiences they’ve gone through first, or secondhand.
Equally as unique as their journey has been is a couple of traits that sets them apart from the pack. Physically, the group doesn’t paint their faces like so many other bands have. Instead, they have taken to wearing different masks, in which they attempt to have them designed to go along with certain albums and or songs, and their respective feel. Each member uses their masks to incorporate a different visual representation.
Then there’s the group’s most honorable trait, honesty. One thing that will always allow people to resonate to an artist, regardless of genre, is honesty. As J-Dog said later in the MTV interview, “They know we’re not bullshitting them. When you’re true to yourself, people connect with you.”
The group’s fourth and latest project which dropped earlier this year, “Day of the Dead,” continues down that truthful path they’ve paved. The album’s first single, also called Day of the Dead, struck huge instantly with YouTube viewers. The video made it to a million views in no time, and has accumulated a combined 4 million views through two Vevo channels. Day of the Dead also marks their first project under Interscope. The masked menaces are still striking big, now they just have the proper label fit to push them to higher realms in the industry.
– Blake Holmes