There are a lot of people that just kind of stand there and watch us with this confused look on their face," ponders Green Goblyn Project founder and songwriter, Xtian, (er, Christian.) "Sometimes I wonder if Green Goblyn is just one of those bands that you have to listen to a couple of times to really like it or make a decision on it."
Considering the cracked-skull immediacy of the Goblyn's melodic-punk assault, it shouldn't even take that long. Eight-year veterans of the Central Florida underground (the band hails from Cocoa Beach), the Project's kitchen sink of genre-shifts has landed them precisely nowhere commercially. Yet the group's surprises and many disguises make them one of the most consistently enthralling musical commodities this area has to offer.
Just don't call them goths ... or punks.
"I really hate when people label bands, or for that matter, when people play songs that sound the same over and over again. You get the whole album and it's all the same," says Xtian. "I just really love throwing people a curve ball and making every song a little bit different."
Case in point, "Revenge," a Psychedelic Furs midtempo riff in the middle of their latest EP, "Impurity Blanket" (which is otherwise laden with defiant spit-punk that splits the difference in a John Lydon-led Misfits). In that situation, a Beach Boys harmony may seem like the greatest defiance there is -- punker than punk.
"Well it's kind of like the Beach Boys if you mixed it with Black Sabbath," describes Xtian. Like wild-eyed horror surf, really, chewing on starfish and spitting up motor oil.
Remarkably, though, it doesn't come off at all as a gimmick. Considering the beaches to either side of us, and the darkwave and death-metal circuits that thrive in between, The Green Goblyn Project just might make sense. Holding it all together is a razor-sharp sense of full-throttle musicianship and deadly onstage charisma. Despite being soft-spoken nice guys, the band's darkly explosive intensity comes off as more of an outlet than a gimmick.
"It just comes out, man. It's like a monster," laughs Xtian. "I'm really just the most mellow, nicest guy you'd want to ever know -- behind the Green Goblyn curtain, I'm like a teddy bear. But for some reason, a monster just takes over, like a Jeckyl and Hyde. I get so mad, and so passionate about what I'm singing, it just drives me nuts. I take it out on the guitar and the microphone."
Which can be expensive.
"Every year I have to buy new guitars, because I beat them to death."
The current lineup of the Project is actually mach 2. Previously a three-piece (including Xtian's brother Mierd, then on guitar, now on bass), the band lost its drummer to tour-weariness two years ago. It picked up drummer Marc Tomestic (Sparky Domestic, he's called) and guitarist Travis (or Travisty), both of whom were fresh from a stint with the Joey Ramone-managed ska outfit The Independents.
"They called me up and said, 'Hey, we're coming to Daytona to play tonight, and we don't have a drummer,'" recalls Tomestic. "I'd listened to them for a full year when I was on the road with The Independents. All I did was fucking listen to that CD. I got so obsessed with them."
Tomestic also did time (and continues to on some level) with local heroes Skif Dank and has spent the past 10 years on the road. Between his and Travis' connections and the Goblyn's already growing fan base, the chance encounter has proven itself a lucrative one.
"We gave them a new set of legs," says Tomestic. "I think they would say that."
Xtian and brother Mierd's musical beginnings trace back to 1985, when Xtian taught his brother to play guitar. They formed a sort of metal outfit -- Mother's Mile -- that didn't quite match the duo's more melodic leanings.
"Green Goblyn was really just a side project for our 'pussy' songs," says Xtian.
The project took off, with a series of tapes circulating around the area in '95. Initial interest allowed the band to put its money where its mouth was.
"We always recorded ourselves," says Xtian, now 30. "The first Green Goblyn tapes that came out way back in '95 were recorded on a little four-track, and over time we sold enough of those. We've always been really into pooling our money, and whatever we made from tapes or T-shirts or whatever, we put it back into it. Now it's to the point where we're a 100 percent digital studio. It's just been a growing process."
The band is set to record "Saint Mary" for a forthcoming Rancid tribute, in addition to releasing a couple more EPs this year. At the core of the band's appeal, though, is the aforementioned, confusion-inspiring live show. The friction between tarmac and van tire in the bands never-ending tour schedule further fuels that adrenaline, and on tour is where they're happiest.
"It's almost like extreme dating or something like that," supposes Xtian. "You never know where you're going to end up, never know who you're going to meet. Touring is the best thing that's ever happened in my life, and the best thing that ever happened to the band."
As for the name, well there's little to be said of it short of the spelling issue; the "y" being implemented as a means of avoiding obvious Marvel hassles. Other than that, Xtian doesn't really remember its significance. It just fit. And like many a metal band before them, the band does include several renditions of little green men -- along with assorted death imagery -- in the packaging of their project.
But absurd imagery is just fun. The world is full of absurdity, after all.
"I had this girl, one time, when we were out in Texas. I don't know if she was a crackhead or what," remembers Xtian. "I sometimes wear a ski mask. She's standing there, and she's got like a 3-foot-long beef jerky bent into a question-mark shape. And she's like, 'You know you got a hole in your hat?' I was like, 'Yeah.' And she was like, 'Do you put your dick in it?' And she was waving the beef jerky way down by her waist and up by her mouth, shaping it like a question mark."
Potential album cover?
"We're gonna have to get a camera crew out and do a reenactment."