Ever wonder what might happen if Alice Cooper and David Bowie got together and had a child with Lady Gaga? Are you a fan of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and theatrical rock shows with a fun theme? Chainsaw Masscara might have what you are looking for.
Formed in June of 2013, Chainsaw Masscara grew out of Robert Seawell’s (aka Hellbarbie Claire Storm) love of performing and a desire to make music inspired by the bands that influenced him the most.
“I’ve always loved rock and roll,” Seawell explained. “My influences were everything from ’80s new wave to David Newman to Iggy Pop and David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson — even to stuff like, I’m a big Kiss fan. I always wanted to go in that direction with my show and I really couldn’t in the scene I was in.”
Seawell has been performing as Claire Storm for a number of years in the gay bar scene, he said, and really couldn’t get away with exploring his more rock and roll, macabre side. Also, he felt like he wanted to take his act to another level. He got tired of the lip syncing and really wanted to sing and have his own voice be heard.
“I had wanted to do this project I’d been trying to put together for about six years called ‘Chainsaw Masscara,’ and I just couldn’t get a band together,” Seawell said. “I was very lucky to get to play Hedwig in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ last year, with my other project Misfit Theatre Group.”
The original members of the band were all in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” last year and Chainsaw Masscara sort of flourished from there.
“Hedwig was such a blast,” Seawell said. “I had such a good time doing that. It was one of my favorite shows ever. We had such a good time with it. It just influenced me on such a level where I felt I had to do something with it. So, some of the guys in the band in the show were like, ‘Why don’t you do it then?’”
The band has changed a couple of members here and there since last June, but Seawell is still excited about future shows and hopes that they will be able to record an album in the fall. The current members include Pablo Bravo on drums, Domino McCuilinn on bass and guitar (mostly guitar), David Walden on bass and Seawell on lead vocals, tambourine and, according to the band’s Facebook page, “thrills and spills.”
The band’s current “home” is at Joe’s Underground where they perform once a month, each show having a different theme. This month’s theme is “super villains and superheroes” and costumes are highly encouraged, but not required. Seawell just wants everyone to show up, sing along and have a good time.
“We always try to have a theme with our show,” Seawell said.” I think it gets the crowd excited, and we try to plan the songs with the theme. The show usually runs about two hours — roughly — a little over if I get chatty on the mic or get to talking to people — you know, cutting up with them.”
Seawell said that there are certain staples, certain covers that they always play, and that they always throw in one or two new ones. He also said that they have five original songs and are working on many more. He is really excited about this week’s show and mentioned that they have something really big planned for their anniversary in June. This week’s show at Joe’s Underground, on Saturday, April 26, is scheduled to start around 11 p.m., but Seawell recommends getting there earlier if you want to get a really good seat. He said they usually pack the house, so it might be a good idea to get there at 9 when the doors open.