Haunted Garage performing a reunion show at the Long Beach Zombie Walk in October 2013
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Genres||Horror punk, heavy metal, garage rock|
1995, 2001, 2008
Haunted Garage is a horror punk/heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1985. Fronted by B-movie actor Dukey Flyswatter, the band is known for their campy science fiction and horror movie-inspired songs and elaborately bloody and prop-filled stage shows.
The original incarnation of Haunted Garage lasted from 1985 to 1993, with several one-off reunions featuring varying line-ups occurring afterwards. As of 2013, a new version of the band is currently active with Flyswatter as the only remaining original member.
Haunted Garage was formed in 1985 by vocalist Dukey Flyswatter (stage name of Michael Sonye), bassist Ace McCoomba and guitarist Nyck Varoom. Initially, the band started out in a psychedelic/rockabilly style, playing covers of theme songs from vintage B movies ("You know, 'The South Is Gonna Rise Again' from Two Thousand Maniacs!, and 'Hideous Sun Demon' and 'The Blob' and stuff like that", according to Flyswatter) before eventually writing original material in a similar B movie-inspired vein. Following the addition of transvestite lead guitarist Gaby Godhead and drummer Stiff Slug, Haunted Garage's sound evolved into a more aggressive fusion of horror punk and heavy metal, a mix which the Los Angeles Times described as "The Dickies doing Alice Cooper" but which Flyswatter referred to as "splatter punk".
Haunted Garage was most recognized, however, for their over-the-top shock rock stage shows, featuring violent and surrealist theatrics which LA Weekly wrote made them "local horror-punk legends". Similar to bands such as Gwar, their shows regularly showcased an array of elaborate horror-themed costumes and props, with copious amounts of fake blood and slime sprayed into the audience while a collection of scantily-clad female dancers - dubbed "The Gore Gore Girls" - maintained a permanent stage presence beside the band. Dukey Flyswatter would often use hatpins to pierce various parts of his body onstage before settling on his trademark schtick, sticking mousetraps on his face. These flamboyant antics helped the band maintain a visible presence in the Los Angeles scene, performing with such high-profile bands such as The Cramps, the Butthole Surfers, Gwar, Misfits, White Zombie and Screamin' Jay Hawkins and regularly playing and headlining such famous nightclubs as the Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy Theatre and Raji's. In a 2013 interview, Tool drummer Danny Carey reminisced about a late '80s concert with Haunted Garage, Green Jellÿ and Pygmy Love Circus - "the three kind of big psycho bands of L.A." - as one of his most memorable shows.
In addition to the band's horror movie-inspired aesthetic, frontman Dukey Flyswatter worked on many low-budget B movies during his tenure with Haunted Garage, acting in numerous films including the cult classics Surf Nazis Must Die, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, as well as writing the screenplays for Blood Diner and Fred Olen Ray's Prison Ship and Commando Squad, among others. In 1987, Haunted Garage contributed several exclusive songs for the soundtrack to the film Nightmare Sisters, which also featured Flyswatter in an acting role, and appeared onscreen as a band in 1987's Cyclone and 1989's Breakfast of Aliens. In 1992, the band appeared on an episode of The Montel Williams Show alongside Sean Brennan of London After Midnight and Vlad of Dark Theater in a special about gothic rock and the vampire subculture.
In 1989, after independently releasing the demo tape Songs About Satan & Other Stuff to Piss Your Parents Off, Haunted Garage released the four-song 7" EP Mothers Day on Sympathy for the Record Industry before signing to Metal Blade Records, releasing their first and only full-length album Possession Park in August 1991. Possession Park received generally positive reviews from critics, with AllMusic calling the album "extremely fun and outrageously entertaining", writing that the band "should have been a lot more well-known", while the Chicago Tribune, though deriding the band as "Gwar Junior", admitted of the album's macabre sense of humor, "[a]s cheesy as it is, it's good for a laugh". Following the album's release, Haunted Garage carried out a tour of the United States and Europe supporting The Cramps before ultimately breaking up, playing their "final" show at the Coconut Teaszer on November 25, 1992.
Since their disbandment, Flyswatter has attempted to revive Haunted Garage several times with varying line-ups. Three one-off reunions with Flyswatter and Godhead were held at the Whisky a Go Go in 1995, a Thanksgiving show in 2001 and Safari Sam's on June 16, 2008. In 2001, Flyswatter and Godhead appeared on an episode of The Clint Howard Variety Show, in which they announced plans to revive the band, though these plans would eventually fall through. In 2013, Flyswatter formed a new version of the band with himself as the sole original member, performing the first of a series of shows at Los Angeles' California Institute of Abnormalarts on October 5, 2013 with The Radioactive Chicken Heads, followed by a co-headlining appearance alongside The Dickies at the Long Beach Zombie Walk.
In August 2015, Haunted Garage began recording an EP under the production of Paul Roessler, marking their first recorded material in twelve years and first studio release since 1991. The EP, entitled Slenderman and Other Strange Tales was released digitally on various music streaming and download sites on January 13, 2016, with a physical CD release the following April. The album's title song, based on the creepypasta legend Slender Man and the 2012 stabbing case, received some minor media attention in the wake of the 2016 HBO documentary Beware the Slenderman.
On December 10, 2018, Dukey Flyswatter underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor near his visual cortex, for which Haunted Garage - including Flyswatter - performed a benefit show for days prior on December 1. As detailed on the band's official Facebook page, Flyswatter's tumor was removed and declared "benign" by medical professionals, though band activity would significantly slow down as he remained in recovery. On May 18, 2019, Flyswatter returned to the stage for a Haunted Garage show in Los Angeles. On August 9, heavy metal blog and promotion company Metal Assault released the cassette tape compilation Metal Assault Mixtape - Vol. 1, which featured a brand new Haunted Garage song, "Surf Nazis Must Die", based on the 1987 cult film starring Flyswatter. Haunted Garage headlined Metal Assault's "Mixtape Release Party" in Encino on August 31, 2019, which is to date the band's most recent show.
- Studio albums
- Mothers Day (1989, Sympathy for the Record Industry)
- Slenderman and Other Strange Tales (2016, self-released)
- Demos and singles
- Songs About Satan & Other Stuff to Piss Your Parents Off demo (1989, Crawling Ear Music)
- 976-KILL CD single (1991, Metal Blade Records)
- Welcome to Hell CD Single (1991, Metal Blade Records)
- Compilation appearances
- Rock Climbers: Hottest of Hollywood (1990, Sting's Ray Records)
- 1. "Dead and Gone"
- Tantrum Compilation (1990, Cocktail Records)
- 1. "My Disciple"
- Welcome to Our Nightmare: A Tribute to Alice Cooper (1993, Triple X Records)
- 1. "Halo of Flies"
- Metal Assault Mixtape - Vol. 1 (2019, Metal Assault)
- 1. "Surf Nazis Must Die"
- Soundtrack appearances
- Cyclone (1987)
- Nightmare Sisters (1987)
- Breakfast of Aliens (1989)
- The Dead Hate the Living! (2000)
- Night of the Demons (2009)
- Current line-up (2013–present)
- Dukey Flyswatter - lead vocals
- Andy "Satan" Chavez - lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Erik E. Wrath (Eric Erath) - lead and rhythm guitar
- Brian "The Beaver" Beaver - drums
- Pat "Paddy" Rowan - bass guitar, backing vocals
- Classic line-up (1989-1993)
- Dukey Flyswatter - lead vocals
- Gaby Godhead - lead guitar
- Johnny Ho - rhythm guitar
- King Dinosaur - bass guitar, backing vocals
- Stiff Slug - drums
- Former members
- Danny Dorman
- Nyck Varoom
- Joe Ramirez
- Jonnie Hell
- Mark Conn
- Mikaleno Admuson
- Ace McCoomba
- Sean Fodor
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- Thompson, Elise (November 27, 2018). "Benefit for Dukey Flyswatter at Cafe NELA Saturday". The Los Angeles Beat.
- "Metal Assault Mixtape Vol. 1". Metal Assault. 2019.
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