November 25, 2014
Artist and Wet Nuns drummer
It was February of last year when I got the assignment from Oh! Inverted World (the UK blog, not that Shins album), I wasn’t looking forward to hearing this band’s music. I was bitter. A friend had described them as a “death-rock Black Keys” which didn’t move me to even open the link buried at the bottom of the correspondence in order to view the new video for “Broken Teeth” – by a band called Wet Nuns of all things. Instead, I went out, got blurry, and then staggered back to my apt and opened up Microsoft Word, going on a rambling Hunter S. Thompson-quoting screed of paranoia and cocaine-induced wit describing nightly visits from Full House’s uncle Jessie and white slavery (http://covermyears.com/own-personal-uncle-jessie/). I remember being somewhat pleased with that nonsense story to the extent that I now was surprisingly flush with the spirit to go ahead and Google the name Wet Nuns to really get down in it. I was ready. The memory that follows is why I’ve loved the duo ever since.
First off, I loved the song. “Broken Teeth” is two+ minutes of very familiar but oddly refreshing death-blues and the images that flashed off my computer screen that night and illuminated my grinding teeth were… what’s the word? Arty? Yeah, why not? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but knowing nothing of these guys I suspected there was something more to ‘em than just a NOLA aping Sheffield rock band with a weakness for sour mash. The fact that they were two English blokes conjuring Corrosion Of Conformity was hilarious to me. Digging a little deeper I found out that drummer Alexis was a visual artist and it suddenly all made sense.
Wet Nuns started as a smile. Two English guys who enjoyed doing the Southern American drawl. They were to metal what Ween was to country… sort of. What better and more un-explored medium is there besides the genre of metal? The perfect canvas. They were a self-described “joke band” and the joke was that they were serious, even when they weren’t. Take any of their videos for example. Filled with satanic imagery, dead animals, blood, and adult men sans pants, they were all masterpieces of the black absurdity.
I didn’t wanna dig too deep into them though, and I never did. I didn’t wanna know too much. When I went to see them in NYC I saw guitarist/singer Rob and Alexis slouched over by their merch booth and went over to introduce myself. When I explained that I’d written a piece on them a month prior Alexis smirked and told me that he’d hated it. We all started laughing and he turned to me with a huge smile and yelled “That’s a lie, I never even read the fucking thing!” Good times, good times.
When I heard that he’d taken his life yesterday, I honestly thought it was a joke. I hadn’t seen a status update from Wet Nuns’ Facebook page more than two or three times since they called it quits and I was hoping it was just a fuck around, a sick joke. It wouldn’t have been out of character. But, it wasn’t, and I don’t even know what to say. There are no words right now except…
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