The Horror Hootenanny originally began as a fundraiser for my show, Dr. Gangrene’s Creature Feature. At that time I was buying airtime from the local UPN station to air my program, and selling sponsor time to cover the cost. It was an ongoing struggle to sell ads and collect money, on top of shooting and producing a weekly show, and I was getting worn out, honestly. Jeano Roid from the Creeping Cruds came up with the idea of a “benefit” show featuring several bands to raise money to keep us on the air. It went over well, was a success with all the bands, and became an annual event everyone looked forward to. Over the years my show changed stations and I no longer needed to buy commercial space, so we switched the Hootenanny from a benefit show to an annual entertainment event and were able to start paying out of town bands more. All of which is a long-winded way of bringing you up to date on the hootenanny and what it’s all about.
I got to the Muse around 4pm and met Jeano there to start decorating. We strung Halloween lights throughout the place along with a full assortment of spooky props: spider webs, a full sized skeleton, severed body parts, skulls, etc. I also set up a video projector this year and had horror trailers and movies playing throughout the event. I had a handful of posters from Rue Morgue Magazine that I hung around the place too. We finished decorating about an hour before doors opened. Boomer, drummer for the Creeping Cruds, and I drove and grabbed a quick bite to eat and got back before the doors opened. I made a quick costume change, put in my contacts, slapped on a little makeup and I was good to go.
For the Hootenanny and other music events (including when my own band plays) I don’t usually dress as Dr. Gangrene. The main reason is I like to keep everything separated, so I don’t get too burned out. It gives me a nice release from the Dr. Gangrene gig, and a different creative outlet. It’s fun to dress in different outlandish costumes and this year I decided to channel a combination of Alice Cooper and Screaming Jay Hawkins and went with a bit of a witchdoctor getup, including carrying a staff with a skull on the end that I named HANK (in tribute to Screaming Jay’s skull on a stick named Henry).
This year’s hoot was a Zombie themed event. We worked in conjunction with the Nashville Zombie walk and held the Hootenanny the same day. The walk was at 4 and the doors to the Hootenanny opened at 7. We added an extra band to this year’s lineup – making it a total of five bands. The first band to play was The Coffin Bangers. They’re a new band, so they haven’t quite refined their sound yet. But they have good energy and got the show started with a bang. Afterwards there was a bit of excitement as the sound guy disappeared and I later learned he’d gone to break up a fight in the parking lot. But we got him back and the show continued without too much interruption.
Between each band I gave away prizes from my sponsors, which this year included Unholy Apparel, Rue Morgue Magazine, Scary Monsters Magazine, Evil Pumpkins, Wicked Witch Productions, Terra Fossil Wines, Lone Wolf Body Art, the Coffee Pirate, and Unkle Pigors. The way it worked was with every ticket sold at the door a person was given a raffle ticket they wrote their name on and dropped in a witch’s cauldron. Every time they bought something at the bar they also got a ticket. I randomly selected winners on stage before each band and handed out the goodies.
The second band to play was Alucard. These guys have been around for a couple of years now and they’re a really good band. A three piece vampire themed horror band, they always put on a good show. They’re a prolific band, as they’ve already put out something like 3 cds in 2 years, if I’m not mistaken.
We had a Zombie photo booth set up this year to document some of the creepy costumes. Almost everyone in attendance came in costume, as they got in for only $3 if they were dressed up. Lots of folks took advantage of the free Photo Booth and we got some terrific pics.
Next up was our band, Spookhand. The crowd was really great by the time we went on and the room was full. The sound wasn’t quite as good as I’m used to there, as far as what I can hear onstage. But we played through it and honestly played one of our best sets ever, despite sound issues. We played a trio of Misfits covers toward the end, which the crowd went nuts for: 138, Night of the Living Dead, and Brain Eaters. I incorporated a little shock rock antics to my set, and lopped off the hand of an unfortunate victim with a chainsaw, spraying blood into the audience. I then drank blood from his severed hand for my next song, I DRINK BLOOD. Good times.
Before the next band we crowned a zombie King and Queen and pulled them onstage to dance to the Prom Night theme. Was pretty silly, fun, and we had a special handmade trophy from Evil Pumpkins for the King and queen.
The Creeping Cruds played next and tore the place up. The crowd was at its largest at this point, and the Cruds scored extra points by coming out in drag and opening with the song SWEET TRANSVESTITE, which totally ROCKED! They were great as always and played several new tunes. A new Cruds CD may just be in the works soon, which is long overdue.
Before the next band we chose a Best Zombie, and gave out special prizes to the winner, including a $150 dollar gift certificate to Lone Wolf Body art in a custom made coffin from Wicked Witch Production, along with a handmade trophy from Evil Pumpkins. Sweet!!
DEAD DICK HAMMER finished out the night and let me tell you, these ghouls rock! If you ever get a chance to see them do yourself a favor and do so. Part punk, part rockabilly, part rock n roll, all evil! DDH is another three piece band from Kentucky, and the nicest bunch of ghouls you could ever hope to meet. They rocked the house and finished out the Hootenanny in style.
Everyone seemed to have a really great time and I’ve heard nothing but good reviews about the evening. We’re already planning next year’s event, and are working on bringing in 45 Grave if things work out right. They had hoped to play this year but are in the studio at the moment working on a new CD! We are even planning an event for this coming January too, as a year is just too long to wait between horror rock events. Nashville is a growing hub of horror rock, getting bigger all the time, and I aim to keep that trend growing!!