By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
Despite the ready wit of every producer associated with San Francisco's foremost metal club, "Lucifer's Hammer," the crowd did not welcome Schäffer the Darklordwith open arms and raised gauntlets. In fact, after performing there last July, STD found himself the subject of mockery and derision, the venom of which momentarily saturated metal chat rooms around the bay. The tough guys online called STD a joke, and one could imagine the spittle glistening on their monitors as they worked themselves into a froth over Schäffer the Darklord's misguided audacity. A white boy from Iowa who wears a cape and ghoul makeup while rapping about post-apocalyptic clone sex and clothing from Hot Topic? He's got to be kidding. Well, yes and no. Yes, STD is determined to mine the humor implicit in both rap and metal, and no, it's not a put-on. He is doggedly devoted to both styles of music, which, in the feudal landscape of nightclubbing, makes STD something of a man without a country since even he knows that a fusion of the two is totally unacceptable.
"The hip hop kids hate metal/ The headbangers don't like rap/ But both sides hate rap metal/ Which is a no-brainer 'cause it's crap," rhymes STD in "Black Metal Queen," a wishful love song about the marriage that might one day unite the land. "'Cause our love transcends the binds of record store bins," he prophesizes. "So fuck Kid Rock, fuck Rage and I.C.P./ But God bless Burzum and Snoop D.O. double-G." The song's hopeful, somewhat milquetoast chorus ("White boy rapper, black metal queen") is laid over beats supplied by heavy-metal machine John Cobbett -- founder of "Lucifer's Hammer," singer of Hammers of Misfortune, and guitarist of Ludicra. Still, STD's credibility is dubious because he can't seem to parlay his geekdom (in my opinion, the true source of all star power, from Sinatra to Ice-T) into cool. Yet this might be the secret strength of Schäffer the Darklord. He will never be cool so he has to make us laugh.
To that end, in "Attack of the Clonefucker," STD explores the wet dream of every sex-crazed narcissist since Dolly the sheep was born: the inevitable "all-me threesome." STD is no simpleton-perv; his fantasy is a fractal, multiplied exponentially through the use of home movies and mirrors. "See it's me watching me fucking me and also me on the TV screen," he chants, invoking the fun-house future. "And on the couch there's also me watching me fucking me ...."
On a sampler from STD's upcoming full-length album, the Darklord gangbang gives way to a diatribe about bands on tour, bands that act like assholes on their home turf (Seattle), and ass-kissers everywhere else. As the drummer for Burmese and a longtime member of the prog-noise duo Bottled Og, the man behind the makeup is actually no stranger to the hypocritical machinations of the music "scene," and yet his stance as Schäffer the Darklord continues to be one of guileless expectation. In "I Am Schäffer the Darklord," the tale of the rapper's "mythic" origins accompanied by black metal loops and a Viking choir, STD reiterates his dream: "The hip hops and thugs don't dig the humorous shtick/ And the comedy clubs don't want the musical bits/ But the heavy-metal heads and rock and rollers cheer and clap ... because you're like me/ Fucked up, horny, and all evil/ You love it, you're puppets/ You will follow me to hell/ For I am Schäffer the Darklord/ And you are under my spell."
"The Rhyme of Lord Nordak" seems a fulfillment of that promise. An epic about a Norse warlord who has a change of heart, it is delivered in triple-time verse over a repetitive siren's wail. It sits in noteworthy contrast to "Quel Que Chose," a slow, slinky rap duet delivered in French, but both are unmistakably from the citadel of STD.
Sadly, since the recording of these songs, STD has decided to retire the face paint and black cape and move to New York City. This does not mean Schäffer the Darklord is no more, but your opportunity to prize or chastise him is on the wane. This may also be one of your final chances to get one of the Darklord's treasured black condoms, which will not only protect you from other STDs, but will also make your "dick look like a Darth Vader action figure."
Schäffer the Darklord supports Replicator on Wednesday, March 24, at Cafe Du Nord, with Black Ghost opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com.
Unlike Schäffer the Darklord, Le Scrawl is utterly indifferent to the restrictions of genre or rationality. This German quartet has been stomping through local nightclubs all month with its brain-scrambling mix of ska, grindcore, jazz, flamenco, and death metal. By "mix" I don't mean to imply the blending of disparate parts into a subtle amalgamation. Le Scrawl does not blend so much as slash, splice, and bludgeon. Individual songs, which rarely reach a full minute, sound like the schizophrenic nightmares of a channel-surfing biker on day three of a bathtub-speed run. An onslaught of drums suddenly gives way to a delicate surf melody; a bloody-fingered guitar solo careens into a wall of frisky, 2-tone horns; a bludgeoning bass line withers beneath a familiar spy theme. The only common thread is the hideous, inescapable growl of Mario Anders, which sounds like the voice of the Muppets' Animal washed in hellfire and distributed by Looney Tunes. Le Scrawl plays its last Bay Area date on Saturday, March 27, at 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley, with Voetsek, Jewdriver, Lux Nova, and Slit Wrist opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5; call (510) 525-9926 or visit www.924gilman.org.