View to a Kill 

Meet The Kill: Not metal, no math, not hardcore, not punk—think static rock.

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The Kill was a butt-rock band. Not The Kill pictured above, but an earlier local metal band with a spandex-clad, Sebastian Bach-lookin’ lead singer. They ruled supremely—at least, according to everyone at one of the band’s parties, which yours truly wound up at one inebriated evening. For as long as it took to do the math (that party was at least eight years ago, minus the life expectancy of most local bands—Sebastian is probably assistant manager at a West Valley Jiffy Lube today), I thought The Kill might have been making another run for the brass ring. But, to the dismay of many a closeted mulletboy, it was not to be. Introducing The Kill that is making the scene right now.

After jokingly defending the honor of his “brother” in The Kill Class of ’94, vocalist Jason Knott denies knowledge of the band—fame is fleeting, dude—and drops history on The Kill of the moment.

The band, he recalls, began and ended in summer 2000. He, bassist Sean McClaugherty (now of Hammergun), drummer Tyler Smith (Form of Rocket), guitarist Josh Asher (now with New Transit Direction) and guitarist Levi Lebo were “just messing around” and mutually parted ways before the leaves began to fall. Knott and Lebo decided to stick together, joining with Asher, Sandkicker drummer Daniel Whitesides and Lyndal Control bassist Jake Depolitte in September 2000 for a more earnest go. Taking its name from a vanity plate, the quintet produced a three-song demo and lit out on a handful of brief Western tours—a cure for road sickness contracted with previous bands. One year after forming, they began work on their newly released EP, cleverly titled Extended Play.

The disc, produced by the band with Andy Patterson, is a distillation of sounds from each corner of the loud rock arena. Punk spirit, prog-math precision, hardcore angst and metal savagery inform Knott’s yowling, the droning-driving-chugging guitar interplay of Lebo and Asher (present on the recording, but now full time with New Transit Direction) and the vapor-locked rhythms of Depolitte and Whitesides. It’s a bitch to classify, even for the band.

“We know it is definitely not the norm in any genre of music,” he admits. “I guess if we had the option of coining [a term for it], it would most likely be static rock, mainly for the abrasive overtones that seem to come out in our music. It’s just all of the things we’ve produced individually in the past coming together in a future tense.”

Tense. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good adjective to attach to The Kill. Extended Play is certainly wound up, a shook-up six-pack of odd-time pipe bombs. The relentless, ratchety mania of “Crashing a New Sun,” “Cigarette Burns On the Silver Screen” and “8mm Black & White” cause one to wonder, have they never been mellow? Until, strangely, the great, glorious din becomes as catchy as a pop tune (sure, it’s a stretch, but it reaches truth).

In what might appear to be a righteous DIY ethic, The Kill has issued Extended Play via Knott’s label, Stereo Records. It’s not, however. Knott has a more forthright explanation: necessity. “It was either sit around and wait for things to happen out of some lightning bolt from God, or do-it-yourself. I haven’t been to church in some time, so I’ll take the latter.”

He furthers that DIY reflects The Kill’s individual and collective personalities. No one in the band is comfortable trusting the fate of The Kill to a third party, lest they cock up the works. Consequently, the band will take itself out on a month-long tour in September, hitting the East Coast and Midwestern U.S., with possible sojourns into Canada.

To make sure they don’t suffer the same fate as The Kill That Came Before Them, pick up a copy of Extended Play at the Heavy Metal Shop, Graywhale CD, Lionhead Records and Orion’s Music or, eventually. Better yet, catch them live and pick it up at the merch table.

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More by Randy Harward

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