Death Hymn Number 9 is a Gories/Hasil Adkins-style garage band that come pre-covered in actual goat’s blood and freak out like they got nothing left to live for, which might be why they dress like zombies. They will be playing the Lucha Lounge live Mexican wrestling show with 400 Blows and Friend Slash Lover tomorrow. We caught up with the guitarist, Troy, as he was lounging by the pool and having a margarita. This interview by Kristina Benson.
What kind of blood do you guys use?
Troy Bootow (guitar): It’s either from Party City or it’s goat blood.
From an actual goat? Where do you get the goat?
You get it from these Mexican shops in Fullerton—carnicerías. It’s fucking gross—it smells rancid.
Is it supposed to be some particular person’s blood?
It’s supposed to be somebody’s blood, like the John Doe of wherever we are. Somebody’s blood, but whose I can’t tell you. I don’t want to kill you so I’m not going to tell you.
What is it about Death Hymn and Mexican wrestling that goes together so well?
I heard there was gonna be midget wrestling. We are huge fans of hating on midgets that fight so this is going to be a perfect show for us. Violence makes a lot of sense for us, and also midget violence on top of that even makes MORE sense in the grand scheme of violence. I am deathly afraid of midgets and midget violence so I might go into hysteria—like lose my fucking mind actually.
Would that make for a better Death Hymn show?
Yeah—I might have a laughing fit and an anxiety attack at the same time.
Paul from the Red Onions and many other bands has been singing for you for a year—what do you think he adds to the band?
Paul’s the voice I always wanted for the band. I met him and I totally hit him up—like told him he should be in our band. But he was doing the Beat Killers and decided to ride it out for awhile. Then one day after we had some new songs, I texted Paul and he was like ‘Fuck yeah, I’d love to come down and jam with you guys.’ It was like an instant click. We just kind of improv jammed nad it was so much fun. Even between when we were actually practicing—the first five minutes it was like, ‘Yeah, he’s our singer!’ And once he got in the band it was so much more fun! He’s a great human AND a great zombie, so it’s great having him.
Oh—so you guys are zombies.
Yeah—we’re zombies. When we first started the band we were stoned and watching ‘The Munsters,’ and thought it would be fun to dress up as monsters. And it kind of just took off, and was a lot of fun. And now we never do shows without zombie paint. Pretty much every show we’re dead at some point.
Is that why you sit down when you play? Because of being dead?
No—I actually hate standing up.
Generally? Or when you’re dead?
Not in general, but when we first started jamming I’d sit down because we’d have like five-hour jam sessions. After awhile my back would just kill me from standing. After we started playing shows I was like, ‘I don’t want to fucking stand up! I have no desire to stand up whatsoever!’ So it just kind of went on from there to being no standing up ever. Also I play weird riffs, and sitting down it’s so much easier to voice them. I can’t even play the riff right standing up.
Also the drummer gets to sit down all the time anyway.
Yeah he does, the lucky asshole. Every drummer gets the prime spot.
Tell me about your new record.
It’s called Smokestack Frightening. And it’s only on vinyl. None of us in the band ever buy CDs, you know? We just kind of feel like it’s a dead format. We all are record nerds. So there’s a download code if you buy the vinyl so you can put it on your iPod if you want.
What do you feel like recording at the Distillery added to the sound of the record?
Mike [McHugh] is a very charming individual. And he’s so laid back, but he has a lot of good ideas and he’s super fucking comfortable to be around, which is important to me and to—well, the whole band, really, to feel comfortable with someone. And he really got the sound. He knows exactly what to do! He’s so much fun, and the quality of the gear he has is insane! All of his old analog equipment. I don’t think anything is newer than the mid-70s, tops. Plus I have almost every record he’s ever done—I’m a huge fan of In the Red Records—and everything Mike has ever recorded just blows my mind. He just seems like he really cares about what he’s doing, like he’s really paying attention. He gives good honest feedback too, which is good for us because we would have just gone with anything—any take! And I don’t think we did more than two takes on any song.
So when you play on Saturday will you do anything special to belatedly honor Cinco de Mayo?
I think we’ll just play and eat burritos after the show. That’ll be our tribute—eating burritos at Del Taco, most likely. That’s where we like our tacos from!
DEATH HYMN NUMBER 9 WITH 400 BLOWS AND FRIEND SLASH LOVER PLUS LIVE MEXICAN WRESTLING AT THE LUCHA LOUNGE ON SAT., MAY 7, AT THE NOMAD GALLERY, 1993 BLAKE AVE., LOS ANGELES. 7 PM / $10 / 21+. TICKETS AT GROOVETICKETS.COM.