There are many arguments about what punk rock is "supposed" to be. Angry? Political? Violent? Silly? What often gets lost in these arguments is that at it’s heart, punk rock is supposed to be fun. Saturday night at the Knitting Factory was probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Opening the show were Los Angeles’ very own The Radioactive Chicken Heads. The Radioactive Chicken Heads are a group of mutated chickens, fronted by a mutant carrot, and supported by a tomato on guitar. You know, like any other band. The Radioactive Chicken Heads avoid the common pitfall of so many gimmicky bands, though. They’ve got good songs. No, scratch that, they’ve got great songs. With sort of a metal-ish Punk rock sound, they were definitely right at home sharing a bill with Green Jelly. The crowd responded well to the music, and even better to the lithely attractive "Wikkan Chicken" who came off stage to dance with audience members. If you’re not comfortable being freaked by a mutant chicken in a witch hat, you might want to stay home. The band isn’t all shock value though, they managed to squeeze in some public service announcements about the dangers of liquid fat, and the benefits of eating kids, as well as an excellent cover of The Who’s "Boris the Spider" (complete with dancing… er… cockroach. Just go with it.) before their set was over. If you’re looking for something brilliant, funny, and addictively catchy, head over to http://radioactivechickenheads.com to check out the tour schedule, or their mp3 page.
One of the best bands you've probably never heard of is also probably one of the most bizarre--but with a name like The Radioactive Chicken Heads, eccentricity is to be expected. The band's seven member lineup looks like a cross between a produce stand and a child's birthday party. The Chicken Heads are lead by vocalist Carrot Topp (no relation to the notoriously un-funny comedian) and feature the combined talents of Sgt. Psyclopps and Cheri Tomato on guitar, Bird Brain on bass, Wikkan Chicken on the keys, Bonehead on the trumpet, Frankenchicken on tambourine and Puke Boy behind the drum set. The story behind the Chicken Heads isn't drastically different from anything you might see on a typical "Behind the Music." Originally Joe and the Chickenheads, the band played their first show in 1996. All seven members lived on a farm together where the farmer's son taught them to play and then entered them in the county fair. However, due to artistic differences, the whole group was sold to Colonel Sanders and Ronald McDonald, who had a very different vision for the future of the Chicken Heads. The fast food gurus chopped off their heads, and the bodies ran away--fortunately, Carrot Topp managed to save his friends' heads, pulled some bodies out of a dumpster behind a cryo lab, started a new band and entered the newly formed musical force in a battle of the bands. They didn't win, but the Radioactive Chicken Heads decided to take their show on the road to prove that vegetables and chickens can rock just as well as any humans. And, judging by their live show, they just might be better than most mammalian musicians. The Chicken Heads raise punk rock to a whole new level: There aren't many bands that can pull off battling Chuck-E-Cheese halfway through their set and make mind-blowing music at the same time.
A pithy description of these art rockers would put them somewhere between Gwar and the B-52s on the weirdo spectrum. That's not to say they sing about love-shacks or drench their audience in fake blood. Within the context of the band's colorful mythology (involving mutated vegetables) they sing songs about the desire to be a dog, amazing zombie killers and homicidal rabbits. And with a sound that might work well scoring a John Waters, Ed Wood or Russ Meyer film, these mutants keep it kitschy.