The members sport their own rebellious fashion, pen pop culture-biting songs with hot-blooded punk rhythms, and "horror" is right in the name, but please don't deem the Danish act HorrorPops as psychobilly.
"I understand the confusion. We have an upright bass, so people therefore assume we're psychobilly," singer/bassist Patricia Day said. "It's funny, because we set out to do a band that was a combination of all genres. It always goes the opposite way of what you want. What can you do?"
HorrorPops with Longway and 7 Shot Screamers play at 8 p.m. Tuesday at The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western.
The HorrorPops' sultry seductress was practically born with a guitar in her hands. Her stepfather was a part of Laid Back, the Danish electro-funk duo made famous for its anti-drug hit, "White Horse." He not only gave Day a guitar when she was 6, but frequently took her with him into the studio. Day was only 17 when she dropped her first major release, and she'd been touring for years when she met (and later married) Kim Nekroman (real name Dan Gaarde) of psychobilly act The Nekromantix.
The pair formed HorrorPops a couple years later in 1998. Day and Nekroman, an upright bassist, taught each other their instruments so that they might develop new songwriting styles. Alhough the act launched a few singles in Holland, the members' careers didn't really take off until they moved to America in 2004, shortly after the release of the full-length debut, "Hell Yeah!" on Operation Ivy and Rancid member Tim Armstrong's Hellcat Records.
Day's protest aside, the HorrorPops' first album features tracks like "Horror Beach," "Ghouls" and "What's Under My Bed," which, along with Nekroman's musical background, helped make the band a darling among the psychobilly set.
Still, musically, the group has always staked out a wide expanse from New Wave and punk to ska and rockabilly. The only thing that's changed on its latest, "Kiss Kiss Kill Kill," is that HorrorPops has slimmed down to a trio for the first time since recording "Hell Yeah!"
"The problem was that (when we started) we weren't very good at playing these new instruments. We needed somebody that could actually play," Day said.
When the band's second guitarist, Geoff Kresge, left to tour with his other band, Tiger Army, Day said HorrorPops simply forged on without him.
"We're a little slow, but we realized we could play our songs and instruments. We'd done it for 10 years at that point, and realized we spent more time figuring out guitar parts for a second guitarist than anything else," she said.
Any difference is hardly discernible among the new album's infectious, hard-charging tracks. From the rockabilly bounce of "Heading for the Disco?," which savages 1980s metal nostalgia, and the explosive punk paean "Boot2Boot" to the two-tone ska rave-up "Missfit," with its Madness-inspired break keyed by the puckish swipe "My fist / In the middle of your face," "Kiss Kiss Kill Kill" bristles with energy and attitude.
That spirit carries over to the stage. Indeed, out on tour is the only place the HorrorPops really want to be.
"We come from a country that's five million people "¦ (in the United States) you can tour year around and not hit the same city twice," Day said. "Doing records, interviews, photo sessions and videos is all bullshit, and just a means to get us on the road. Moments like this, when we're in an RV park loaded with fucking seniors, and we're running around in the rain trying to barbecue, it's just golden." "Chris Parker