Thanks to a resilient group of die-hards, the punk spirit lives on in Orlando. With a fan base that includes an established set of leeches who flock to every show mimicking their fashionably despicable yet intentional drag ensembles, Dirty Barby have risen to the challenge, unleashing their hair-raising act on our city. The group's performances often turn into raging band vs. audience battles that border on out-and-out brawls. It's not uncommon to see band members dragged from the stage -- in mid-song -- or punches thrown. It's controlled chaos with very little control. And everyone goes home happy.
It's not like the band needed to release their debut full-length CD, "Sleep When I'm Dead," to satisfy their faithful followers. In typical punk fashion, these leeches would've been content to keep this local secret to themselves. After all, if too much of an audience catches on, the opportunity to mosh and bash guitars with the band's flamboyant lead singer could eventually become a distant memory.
I caught up with the band at their home -- minus the soiled wigs, the smeared lipstick, the clanking of beer bottles and the abused mike stands that have been emblematic of their live shows.
"The theatrics pull people in and get them to notice us," says Puce Glitz, the group's energetically perverse frontman/psycho, who's been known to violently fondle not only his mike as well as his fellow bandmates but also a lucky fan or two. "Some people like the stage show. Some people like the music. Some like both. We simply want our audience to have a good time."
Although Dirty Barby's apocalyptic stage show makes Insane Clown Posse look more like a church choir, Glitz says that the over-the-top antics are only meant to enhance the overall performance. The group -- which also includes Kyle (drums), Mecca (rhythm guitar) and Brian (bass guitar) -- maintains that the music always takes precedence.
And just what is up with that nerve-shattering din? Although they do admire other "punk" bands -- specifically L7, Free Kitten, Red Aunts and the Butthole Surfers -- Dirty Barby refuse to pattern themselves after a particular style or genre. They prefer to leave the labeling to the industry suits rather than slapping one on themselves. Glitz sighs, however, and indulges anyway: "We don't claim to represent punk rock. It's always been lunatic punk metal."
Despite the proliferation of boy-band pop, prefab hard rock and feel-good anthems in today's music industry, Glitz feels that there is room for Dirty Barby's wigged-out aggression. In fact, he sees Dirty Barby's visceral assault as the antidote to today's chart-topping pop poison.
"It's time for a revolution. A girl/boy band revolution and the destruction of rap/metal and dick rock," says Glitz. "The youth culture needs punk rock with a new twist. We want to get our music across to as many people as we can and have fun while we're doing it."
Glitz and Kyle -- both founding members, both self-taught musicians -- are the driving force behind the band's success. Much of their creative energies are spent fine-tuning their lyrics. (Each Dirty Barby ditty takes on a variety of meanings as ill-mannered and intricate as piecing together the screeches from Glitz's lungs.) But it might be all for naught -- the band confirms that the audience doesn't always understand the words, thanks to Glitz's nearly unintelligible delivery. Still, they gleefully defend the messages they are attempting to convey.
"There's a lot of humor and seriousness, some political statements ... very few offensive lyrics in them," says Glitz, who first started writing songs with Kyle five years ago. "If the lyrics offend anyone, then they're not really listening. Either that, or they have a good imagination."
With a self-financed release and more than 50 live performances to their name, Dirty Barby's fervent fan support has been overwhelming at times, but definitely welcomed. The band's website also takes some of the credit, spreading their cacophony like a disease well past the group's home front. In Italy, the national music magazine Speed Demon logged on and picked up on DB's destructive daliances, going so far as to place them on the magazine's compilation album.
"We have no idea which song is on it," admits Kyle. "We just know we're on it, and we're just happy about that."
They've also run across a few "weird incidents" involving other European fans, situations that they're realizing all too quickly come with the celebrity territory. "Someone from Sweden," recalls Kyle, "called and asked all these questions about our personal lives and then sent us pictures of dead people." He pauses, most likely wishing he was making it up, and Puce finishes, "He's saving all of his money to fly over and see us play."
Determined now more than ever to capitalize on their fortune, the band's immediate goal is to focus on improving their craft and musicianship. The spirit of Dirty Barby, however, is something the band doesn't intend to compromise. "I'll never be a rock star," declares Kyle. "Those words make me ill. But music is something I will always want to do."
The band's infamous new 14-track epic, "Sleep When I'm Dead," isn't for the faint at heart or ear. In fact, you might have to look really hard just to find someone to listen to it. Featuring such feverishly paced songs as "PMS 666," the burp-ridden "Tarantula Eyes" and the head-piercing "Evil," Dirty Barby's debut is sure to leave you hoarse as hell -- should you attempt to karaoke along.
(If you do happen to make it all the way through, there's a hidden bonus "ballad," "Sad to Be Alone," that exemplifies the passion beneath the band's mission. It's the one moment of clarity on the album, where sheer musical havoc concedes to the literary voice. The antidote to the antidote.)
The new CD has given Dirty Barby a renewed sense of optimism. "There's a lot more hope for the us now," says Kyle. "This has been something I've been wanting to do my entire life. It's still insane to think that we've actually made a fuckin' CD!"