The Fatal Flying Guilloteens

Seen these guys a few times now, and each time they impress me more and more. First and foremost, well, they’re absolutely insane, and ear-destruction-level loud. They play Estrus-style garage rock/pop, really, all the while dressed up in silly outfits (they used to wear cowboy outfits, but I’m told they’ve set that aside recently; they’ve also been known to wear tuxes and masks). Not wonderful technically, necessarily, but energetic, raw, and aggressive as fuck — co-vocalist Shawn Guilloteen thrashes around like a cross between Jon Spencer and spastic ex-Teen Titan Philip Niemeyer, and it’s amazing to see. They’ve also gained a bit of a reputation for being kinda hard to play with — for a while there, at least, they had a feud going with Austin’s Kiss-Offs, they’ve been involved in all kinds of fights with other bands, and there’s a much-inflated story that they started a riot at the closing of the Austin club the Bates Motel (they claim it’s not entirely true, apparently, but hey…). Either way, I think it’s pretty entertaining, as wild band antics go (and yeah, I’m a sick bastard). It’s funny, ’cause without the masks they’re the absolute nicest guys, I swear…

Their first release was a very lo-fi self-made tape (it’s not bad, for sounding like it was recorded in somebody’s car, mind you), on Grey Ghost, which they followed with three great 7″s — one on Twistworthy, one on Peek-a-Boo (both Austin labels), and one on garage-rock heaven label Estrus, Ask Marie Antoinette. Cool stuff, and they’ve only gone up from there, releasing an incredible first full-length CD on Estrus a few years back (The Now Sound for New Diaboliks) and then cranking out a second, Get Knifed, in the spring of 2003. The album sort of moved away from the countrified stuff and towards a more Drive Like Jehu, Sweep The Leg Johnny sort of sound.

As of 2007, they’ve got a new new album, too, Quantum Fucking, out on Frenchkiss Recs, and it picks up where Get Knifed left off, only honing the “new” sound (which is equal parts Frodus, Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu, Polvo, Rapture, & Barkmarket, but crazier than all combined) to absolute damn perfection. “Reveal The Rats” has already pretty much subsumed most of the band’s back catalog as the quintessentials Guilloteens song…

The stylistic change makes some sense, by the way, because the band had broken up for a while there (for a while there, they seemed to do it every few months, just to screw with their fans), seemingly for good, and then spontaneously reincarnated with a little bit of a line-up switch. Former drummer Mike now sings, alongside almost-former singer Shawn Guilloteen (who quit the band but had a change of heart), and former Port Vale drummer John Adams (er, Guilloteen) has now taken over on drums. Oh, and after trying the commuting thing for a while from his new home in Philly, founding member Brian McManus has left the band, supposedly for good. These days Erik Bogle of Bring Back the Guns does the guitar thing — haven’t seen the Guilloteens minus Brian yet, but I caught ’em with Mike on vocals a while back, and yes, the new incarnation still rocks ass.

These guys have all had their “side projects,” by the way — at least one of the members of the band was also in Houston hardcore “supergroup” Gun for a while, bassist Roy Guilloteen fronts a “metal” band called Defend the Ghetto, and guitarist Brian Guilloteen used to do both this deal with a guitar & a drum machine that he called The Fearsome Twosome (which has to be seen to be believed) and a crazed neo-soul thing where he called himself Filthy McNasty, which was kinda like Har Mar Superstar on crack.

Anyway, go see ’em if you get a chance — it’s quite a show.

Post by . This entry was posted on Sunday, February 3rd, 2008. Filed under Past Bands.

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