Hollywood Undead meld the rap-rock
aggression of Limp Bizkit
, the brutally honest self-examination of Eminem
and the objectionable content of gangster rap
. Hailing from Hollywood, California, this six-piece unit perform under pseudonyms and wear masks on stage to protect their identity. Embodying the dark underside that lies beneath the phony glitz of Hollywood, the band’s songs often revel in the desperate ugliness of the city’s less-glamorous elements. Gleefully amoral, Hollywood Undead demonstrate a penchant for casual sex and an obsession with angst-fueled diatribes leveled at their enemies.
Hollywood Undead's Origins:
Hollywood Undead’s start was hardly momentous. In 2005, two Los Angeles friends, Deuce and J-Dog, collaborated on a few tracks and decided to post them online. But soon, interest started circulating, prompting the guys to form Hollywood Undead with Charlie Scene, Da Kurlzz, Funny Man and Johnny 3 Tears. Originally, the band also included Shady Jeff, but he left the group before their debut dropped in 2008.
Signed to A&M/Octone, Hollywood Undead released Swan Songs
in September 2008. Mixing rap, metal and pop, Swan Songs
featured candid portraits of the band members’ childhoods but also contained unflattering attitudes about women that were often childish but could also be very funny. Clearly, Hollywood Undead weren’t concerned with political correctness -- throughout Swan Songs
, there’s an undeniably juvenile streak befitting the foul-mouthed material and prankster spirit. Consequently, the album makes for an unusual juxtaposition of early Beastie Boys-style irreverence and the gritty worldview of gangster rap.
On April 5, 2011, Hollywood Undead released their sophomore effort, American Tragedy
. By this point, founding member Deuce was no longer part of the group. (In 2012, he would release his own solo album, Nine Lives
.) The first single from American Tragedy
, “Hear Me Now,” was another sizable hit for the band. Critics remained cool to Hollywood Undead, but the album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard
charts, their best showing to that point.
Two years later, Hollywood Undead unveiled Notes from the Underground, which hit No. 2 on the charts. (It actually topped the Hard Rock Albums chart.) The sextet remained rude and antagonistic, but their melodic skill showed signs of growth. And on the single “We Are,” they played to their strengths: anthem-ready rap-rock that gets off on its own underdog attitude.
Hollywood Undead Quotes:
Johnny 3 Tears, on when he knew he wanted to be a musician.
"When I realized I like alcohol so much ... only occupation where [you're] supposed to be drunk." (Trig.com, February 5, 2007)
J-Dog, on the band members' love lives.
"We have slept with a lot of the same girls, and that's not even a lie. Whoever reads this -- you know who you are." (ARTISTdirect, September 1, 2008)
J-Dog, describing the band's sound.
"We don't try to make our music. We live our music." (ARTISTdirect, September 1, 2008)
Former singer Shady Jeff, on how the band started.
"We were just a bunch of loser kids who sat around our friend's house all day, and we started making music and recording it on computer." (The New York Times, August 28, 2005)
Hollywood Undead Trivia:
- Johnny 3 Tears took his stage name from a band he used to be in called 3 Tears.
- J-Dog is associated with a magazine called Hollywoodland, which advertises itself as "The first magazine truly about Hollywood, by Hollywood people, for Hollywood people."