Trashy and proud: To the uninitiated, a band called Preachers & Pornstars may elicit images of some white trash metal sleazefest — some ungodly mix of Nashville Pussy, White Zombie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, a truckful of moonshine and a garage full of crack.
The band’s MySpace profile does little to dispel the image. Under “Description,” they list one fan’s opinion of them: “If by some weird twist of fate Kurt Cobain (before he was killed by Courtney), Rob Zombie, and Ozzy ended up in a huge orgy with a gaggle of white trash debutantes, the stain on the sheets would be them.” Then there is the music. Shannon Parson’s growling vocals and Mike Jones’ thudding garage-metal guitars, along with song titles like “Roofies & Handcuffs,” may have you looking for the Jim Beam bottle or the “adult content” label.
Underneath it all, however, the music and songs pay at least as much heed to ’70s road warriors such as Grand Funk Railroad and Black Sabbath as they do White Zombie.
“Roofies” is a tale of what drummer Craig Byer calls “reverse date rape.” He says the song is a favorite among many of their female fans, because it reverses the whole “sexual power” concept. Other songs include the fuzzed-out working man’s blues of “American Anthem” and the anti-religion rant, “Preachers.” While “Roofies” certainly recalls the whacked-out younger bands mentioned above, the other songs come off more like raw 1970s-style rock.
“We’re not like that; we’re kind of regular guys,” says Byer regarding the Nashville Pussy and Rob Zombie comparisons. “We stick around after shows and talk to the fans and get to know them.”
Live and loud: Byer says the key to the band’s appeal is its live shows — and he does have some good stories.
“We were playing at B.B. Kings, and Shannon was twirling the microphone,” he says. “The cord frayed and flew across the room, almost hitting the fan in the head.” At one outdoor show, the frontman jumped off the stage, landed on a rock and badly sprained his ankle.
Byer has high praise for Parsons.
“He’s very much the frontman type. He gets up in your face. You meet him out in the parking lot, he’s the nicest guy. But up onstage, he gets so into the music, something happens. He turns into this different person.”
Swimming with sharks: As far as their future, Preachers & Pornstars have upcoming gigs with Prong and Drowning Pool, and will start having their songs played on Sirius Radio. They also have a CD in the works called Welcome to the Nightmare slated to be released in the next month. While Byer seems to be fired up about his band and playing shows, he is a little more wary and level-headed about diving deeper in the music industry.
“We’re not ignorant about the music business,” he says. “We don’t want to go into a pool of sharks and not know how to swim.”