REVIEWS Back to Top
is Gargamel!’ you ask? First you must ask yourself, ‘Me, what exactly
am I?’ Well, we feel that you are all big, fat bags of happy that we are
here to open, sniff and spread around like fun butter."
Reviews From July 21, State Theatre: www.weeklyplanet.com-
by Scott Harrell
Soze South Florida nu-metallers Groovenics have almost everything they need
for the big time: crazy/colored hair, perma-scowls, crushing downtuned riffage
and an awful name. There's even an iota of originality to their sound, which
incorporates death metal, hardcore and electronic influences with aplomb. What
they may not have, however, is the clarity to realize that anyone who sees their
picture is going to immediately assign them fifth-tier bandwagon-jumper status.
Which may be why photos of Gargamel, the Orlando institution/disturbing aural-ADD
freakshow, are so hard to come by -- these guys aren't stupid. Over the years,
the Bungle-esque Gargamel have never really gotten the props their talent warrants,
and they gleefully continue running amok anyway. It's something that must be
seen to be appreciated. St. Pete groovecore institution Attica, who does it
better than anybody, and up-and-comers (and Band Name of the Week award recipients)
Kaizer Soze provide more-than-ample support.
2000/Puddin' Hogs/Gargamel!/Module One This is Retard-O-Bot's CD release party
and, in all honesty, while I enjoy their dumb-ass live shenanigans as much as
anybody, you've got to wonder exactly what the point of an ears-only experience
might be. But then again, who cares? They'll be performing at the show. Pinellas
groovecore ensemble Puddin' Hogs manages to avoid most rap-core cliches with
a super-heavy blitzkrieg style; they're no slouches onstage either. Orlando's
Gargamel! is a band every fan of heavy music should see -- a Bungle-esque combination
of ability and dark buffoonery that singlehandedly obliterates every cynical,
negative connotation of the term local band.
Review From floridaunderground.net -
10/20/01 - Spanky's West Palm.
this band is from Orlando, but this is the first time that i have actually seen
them. all i know is stories. This band is absolutely awesome. Their songs are
good and the lyrics are just absolutely hilarious. This is now one of my favorite
local bands. They do a meadley of a few different songs and they change up the
lyrics a bit. They stick everything in there from the macarana to green day.
Its crazy. They are a strait out metal band with a few influences of ska, and
so other stuff that i just dont know. It is crazy thats all i can say. The singer
has the most amazing voice and he does some pretty interesting stuff with it.
So do not miss them if they come near you. Even IF you dont like the music,
they are great to watch.
Unmasked, The Orlando Weekly, June 15-21 2000 -
by Mark Padgett
By Mark Padgett Published 6/14/00 Gargamel! is a strange animal, a five-headed
beast that prowls Central Florida stages like a hungry, metal-clad alley cat,
pulsing with a hard-rock beat and an unquenchable thirst for the absurd. Nobody
has ever accused Mandaddy (vocals), Webb (drums), Servobeonic Man (keyboards/samples),
Crazy Hector (bass) and El Diablo Guapo (guitars) of being normal. They
wouldn’t have it any other way. "I’m not happy all day and I’m
not pissed all day," says fearless leader Mandaddy, who embodies the band’s
primality with his somewhat darkly imposing presence -- clever, testosterone-loaded,
demonic. "So why not have music that represents all the different emotions
that you feel throughout the day?" Anyway,
says Webb, "There’s nothing worse than being bored shitless by a band
onstage ... or being bored onstage." And from Servobeonic Man, "We’re
not a very happy band, although we’re very funny."So,
after eight years of maturation, Gargamel! (the exclamation point has long been
an official, if overlooked, part of the name) presents itself as living, breathing
art, set to a macabre score. Sure, it is abrasive at times -- but so is life.
Even with all of its quirky grandiosity, Gargamel! can always work up a satisfying
groove, thanks to solid musicianship and creative play. The emotionally charged
results are fed by a heady mix of metal, funk, alt-rock, art rock and good old-fashioned
pop. And that could be in just one song. The
truth is, Gargamel! is more of a creature of habit than a freak of nature. But
this month marks serious change for the band, which seemingly has been uninterested
in gaining mainstream acceptance. And Mandaddy’s voice is the perfect instrument
to lead this post-apocalyptic creature into battle. With the just-released "Touch
My Fun," the band’s second full-length, Gargamel! hopes to finally
prove to mainstream audiences that they aren’t just for freak breakfast
anymore. Even though their music is still a bit off the beaten path, tracks
like the space-funk slow-jam "Midnight Sexy" and the carnival creepiness
of "Perfect Idiot" can make a Gargamel!-as-pop believer out of just
about anybody. More
aggressive cuts like the riff-bearing rocker "Get on Your Motorbike"
rides the neo-metal groovy (or is it gravy) train. While the band’s 1998
debut disc, "Revulva," suffered from a changing lineup, as well as
makeshift recording and mixing situations, "Touch My Fun" boasts a
steadfast crew, superior recording and, according to the band, is "the
first one that sounds like us." So
why does Gargamel! consistently fly just below the major-label radar that, 24-7,
sweeps across our fair city looking for the next he-mannequin or power-chord
pretty? For sure, the masked mutants of Gargamel! stick out like a bloodied,
bruised thumb against the polished pin-up pop, oxygenated jangle-rock and late-night
funky breaks that make up Orlando’s musical landscape. It doesn’t
help that mainstream public perceptions decry Gargamel! as more Ripley’s
Believe It or Not than Sam Goody. But musical times have changed, and of late,
there has been a commercial resurgence in harder-edged, freakish rock. And
Gargamel! has a secret weapon: Mandaddy’s unmistakable roar, a rollicking
vocal roller coaster capable of hitting the highest of ear-piercing highs, the
lowest of the demonic lows and, almost casually, everything in between. The
Orlando native (raised in Altamonte Springs) has transformed his personal experiences
as a social outcast as well as his natural flair for the dramatic into a tightly
wound stage persona that is ready to explode -- or breakdown -- at any minute.
And then there are the lyrics. Mandaddy commands attention when he’s onstage,
whether singing, talking or screaming about drinking. He writes all of the lyrics,
leaving the rest of the band to supply the surrounding atmosphere. "Some
of the lyrics are deeply honest ... depressing ... admitting to self-hatred
and self-loathing, but at the same time laughing," says Mandaddy. "It
cracks me up because the yin and yang of the fact that some of the songs like
‘Midnight Sexy’ or ‘Perfect Idiot’ are actually about being
in an obsessive sort of love with someone where you feel like you love them
completely and utterly and they don’t love you, having this whole love-angst
thing pouring out. And then the next song will be about killing someone. "If
you don’t have the right sense of humor, it might be offensive or frightening.
A lot of it is tongue-in-cheek, but people can’t figure out whose cheek.
And which cheek," he says. Offstage,
Mandaddy is far more supportive than self-serving. He’s a chronic local-music
ambassador, who is committed in his unofficial role -- whether hosting local
TV show "Bootleg Television" (formerly "Bootleg Orlando")
or jumping on a last-minute bill to bail out a club owner -- or just bailing
somebody out in general. The
new record also marks the band’s phasing out of its signature use of grotesque
masks. Ironically, Gargamel! has learned that even the freakiest of freaks can
get labeled a rip-off. In this case, the feedback comes as a backlash to the
platinum parade generated by masked Midwest metal messengers Slipknot, who are
proof that there is a viable market for Gargamel!’s natural style. Only
their style developed years before the record-buying public could ever conceive
of such a distorted genre. "When you start hearing that you are ripping
off a band you never heard of that’s just coming up -- just getting started
-- when you’ve been doing it for a while, it’s like c’mon --
we’re not the first ones to wear a mask, nor will we be the last ones,"
says Mandaddy. (For the record, Mandaddy claims former Genesis vocalist Peter
Gabriel as his main head-gear wearing hero.) "It’s such a big detractor,"
he says of the pantyhose-based creations sported by Gargamel! The first question
most people ask Mandaddy if they run into him before a show is, "Are you
gonna wear the masks tonight?" "They are still there," assures
the frontman, whose hunting mask with orange-yarn hair has left an alarming
impression on many. "We still use them occasionally. We just don’t
want [the masks] to be a focal point, or [take any] pictures with them."
Let’s face it, not too many bands have ridden the mask thing to the top
of the charts. Plus, there’s also that nasty business of wearing a mask
night after night on hot, sweaty stages. To
put everything into perspective, it helps to know that Gargamel! was formed
on a whim, and the guys were having too much of a good time to call it quits.
Things have pretty much stayed the same. "It doesn't matter if the crowd
is into [us] or not, we’re gonna have fun either way," says Mandaddy.
"If we decide that [the crowd is] having no fun at all, we usually make
sure that they have a hideously bad time. I want you to either be dancing your
ass off, laughing your ass off, scared out of your mind or running out of the
club." Welcome to the future of mainstream freak rock.
CD of the year by orlando weekly -
by Reviewer: Orlando Weekly
rules in Gargamel!'s twisted alchemy - a sort of heavy imaging crushed in between
the knockout prowl of the band's rhythmic press and the heady syncopations of
Mandaddy's lyrical manipulations. But it's not that simple, really. Buoying
the experience is a sly sense of humor that finds experimental noodlings and
sonic whirligigs spinning naturally from an often predatory rock prowl. TOUCH
MY FUN takes the best features of Gargamel!'s theatrical live chops and cleans
them up into a viable - sometimes schizophrenic - mass-appeal affair. "Please,
please, it's just my honesty/ The one thing that's uglier than me," offers
Mandaddy on "Perfect Idiot", reprising a theme running through the
CD: self-actualization, presumably against everyone else. Occasionally it all
blows up into full death-metal salute, as on "Spacepants", an almost
indecipherable blow of aggro flagellation. Even then, though, a sense of ragga-dub
pops up for texture. Gargamel! is not here to be nailed down, after all. They're
here to be seen and heard.
Spacetree Records -
by Bing Futch
must be an unwritten rule that when a band releases a CD its lineup must change
immediately. This happened to Gargamel!, arguably one of the tightest and most
innovative bands in Florida. Their debut release, Revulva, was a maniacal exploration
of Zappa-esque orchestrations, credible mosh-rock and tongue-in-cheek grand
guignol posturing, with outgoing bassist Matt Lapham and guitarist Darin Bridges
passing the tiki torches to incoming axe-wielder El Diablo Guapo (Ray Rivera)
and bottom-tender Crazy Hector (Les Stover.) Since then, the band has evolved
in such a way that Revulva seems tame in comparison. Touch My Fun is the long-awaited
sophomore release from a band known perhaps more for donning ski-masks onstage
than its insightful and intelligent attacks on society, media and of course,
themselves. Ubiquitous frontman Mandaddy, the poster child for anger and self-loathing,
is in top form on every track – his alien voice barks, raps, shrieks and
buzzes. Hector and drummer Webb are an unbelievably tight pocket; witness their
solid funky groove on "Midnight Sexy," a tune that also shines a spotlight
on the mind-numbing guitar pyrotechnics of El Diablo (his mid-song solo is a
mind-freeing trip). Live standards like the psycho-moshing "Spacepants"
and the sexed-up rap-rock of "Penetration Vehicle" make the transition
from stage to disc in spectacular fashion. Newer tunes like the four-on-the-floor
power stomp "Get On Your Motorbike" and the spooky three-quarter time
"Ape Torture" show that these guys are always probing the next sonic
hole. Synths and samples are provided courtesy of Servobeonic Man who has graduated
from simply triggering loops to playing complex and high-profile rhythms and
melodies. And the imagery? Here's an example from the delightful sub-tropical
romp, "The Fly": "When decomposition is your disposition/ And
your only mission is decay/ You could have been a miser/ Now you're fertilizer/
Less of you each day." Take Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, Frank Zappa, shoot
them full of crack and have Gargamel! drink the blood. That's what this album
is like. Gotta love a band that turns Billy Joel's "Pressure" into
a balls-out rock anthem about whacking off. Bravo.
About Gargamel! Jam Magazine June18-July1 1999.
**** (four stars) -
by Bing Futch
has been decided that if there were ever to be a Gargamel! movie, it
would be entitled "What Was That All About?" Known for quirky, hard-rocking, energetic performances, the band has existed in Orlando for
seven years and recently won the 1999 Jammy Award for Best
Gothic/Industrial Band, though they are neither Gothic nor Industrial.
They were also one of a handful of house bands at Will's Loch Haven Pub
near downtown O-Town. That is, until the day the live music died. May
29th, 1999. Gargamel! was the last band to play the three-year old
venue, which still serves beer and food. That evening, the group
released "Live Bootleg" in cool limited edition pressings with near
pornographic CD designs. The disc captures the live essence of Gargamel
! that is sadly missing from their still-brilliant debut CD "Revulva".
Here, the players shine in all their sonic glory: the sly digital
dexterity of keyboardist Servobeonic Man; the tight and creative
drumming of Webb; El Diablo Guapo's sharp-as-a-razor guitar work; Crazy
Hector's virtuoso bass lines and the wild, wild neck of lead singer
Mandaddy, whose pipes are like 300 channel cable, something different
every twenty seconds. Together, they are a formidable act, a solid
machine of dramatic dynamics and genre-skipping giddiness. Part Zappa,
part Boingo and all sorts of wha-fu'? You might have heard of the band
that comes out on-stage wearing ski masks, or the band whose 200 pound,
bald lead singer likes to chase people into the parking lot while
screaming his eyeballs red. That would be this band.
I see someone that's leaving the show because they hate the music
and they don't like the screaming and everything and they're walking out
in disgust, the fact of the matter is I enjoy chasing them out," says
Mandaddy, stroking his long and twisted goatee. "That way, people in
the audience are having fun watching them leave. It's like I lost them,
so I might as well make them really, really loathe it." It's with such
insidious glee that the entire band presents its carnival during live
shows, performances that have often been presented in the press as
garish grand guignol showcases. "It's weird because we've always had
reviews that mentioned this sort of GWAR comparison," adds the imposing,
but jovial Mandaddy. "GWAR has gigantic huge erect penises shooting
blood and dinosaurs being ripped open and they're absolutely amazing
theatrics and we put pantyhose on our heads."
are plenty of visuals for you to peruse on the CD cover as you
dive into the essence of Gargamel! There's plenty of high-energy boogie-
bait including the jazz-funky "Revulva" and the pit mosh unpredictability of "Booee Machine". There's a wacky 80's sort of
-rock feel to the "Perfect Idiot" before it wigs out and takes an
bath in El Diablo Guapo's merciless drag race on guitar. Gargamel!'s
songs often amble along in an almost civilized way before hulking out
with explosive fury. This fury is fueled by Mandaddy's emotional
outpouring of angst and self-loathing. On "Crotch Monkey", a loose
shiny soul spill, he sings "sucking slowly, licking the infected
sore/open your mouth and shut the door/it makes me sick to see you
smile/bringing back memories and bringing up bile" and the last word
becomes a possessed little girl shriek, as if said little girl was being
attacked by bats at Boney Island. Later, the song dissolves into an
electronic standstill as Mandaddy turns into a human didgereedoo.
Always one of the tighter rhythm sections in town, Webb and Crazy Hector
provide ample support to allow El Diablo Guapo room for expansive, mind-
blowing solos that the band wisely use as dramatic showpieces. "Midnight Sexy", the group's trademark R&B romp song, gets a stealthy
blues-rock screamer of a fretjog that's nasty and neatly rendered--its
brain-melting conclusion is ear-tickling. He also tears it up ala
Carlos Santana in the huge Floydian slip of "Sudden Shit", a big
beautiful arena rock tune that is all about having to void your bowels
at an inopportune time. Throughout the CD are spontaneous jams that are
quite fun, including "Wills Cyberdance Party", which seems to catch
the band by surprise. "The way we write is so odd because we just write
as a band," says Mandaddy. "Someone may have a riff that they bring
but for the most part it just comes out of jams." That's certainly how "The Fly" must've come about. This whimsical, amorphous tune is a
screaming story that weaves funk, rock, confusion jazz, rap, and insects
hovering over a decomposing body. Both the fly and body have their
piece to say.
a wild journey of tongue-in-cheek fun that was captured live from
several different venues. Some pops and clicks bookend few tracks, but
the live mixes and bonus material by Servobeonic Man are stellar. The
band is also releasing a CD of their last show at Will's, an event that
Mandaddy, sitting on a barstool in the new remodeled pub, still can't
scary, slowly all the great places for local music are closing
right when all of a sudden, the scene is actually getting decent," he
says. "But I don't know, can you blame all these bands that are coming
from out of town and all of a sudden they're an 'Orlando band'? It's
hard to get gigs now because there's not enough places." Especially not
if you're a band that refuses to write "normal radio" songs that don't
jam on for six or seven minutes. They've been approached by suits who
are looking for an easily marketable product--folks that have been
turned away by the band. "Gargamel! does not produce a product, Gargamel
! produces entertainment, entertainment is the product." And product,
they've got--with a song on the soundtrack to the upcoming indie film "D
-" and Mandaddy serving as host of the Time Warner Cable show "Bootleg:
Orlando". But they're at their best when in the intimate situations
captured on this CD. If you like fun rock, pick this one up.
SpaceTree Records -
by David A Clark
the sophistication of Zappa and the uninhibited reverie of free-form jazz, plus
liberally sampling from the myriad of musical genre currently infecting the
airwaves, these Central Florida ne'er-do-wells have nailed their niche. A more
hip band cannot be found around here today.
from mere clips of a few seconds duration to cuts exceeding six minutes, the
13 songs on this CD are arty, witty, insightful, and extremely smart-ass. In
short, this is great stuff! The best cut by far is "Juan 40 Lawyers."
Get it? If not, you suck.
Space Tree/Locked Groove, -
by Bing Futch
lead singer has a set of pipes that were reportedly delivered to him via intergalactic
air-mail. After the subway roar and chanting, choking sound loops of "Intro,"
Mandaddy exercises that Diesel Voice during "Karate Summer." The tune
kicks off with a staggering, stuttering drum rhythm, served up with some psychotic
surf guitar chiming in the background. The insistent bass underscores chants
of "bite, bleed, bruise, dodge, parry, thrust," which reminds me of
an old Daffy Duck cartoon for some reason. Perhaps that's the intent, as a clean,
pure melody rings out -- the boyish voice of innocence regretting his existence,
first apologetic, then furious: "I'd stab myself in the face with a knife
if I thought it'd help, cause it couldn't hurt." Mandaddy then proceeds
to turn into Satan, and the band explodes in a pounding, stomping, grinding
mosh of a punk assault that rubbed its ass against my brain.
dark jazzy riffs of "Malt Liquor Knights" finds the band in a seemingly
contemplative mood, digital sound bytes concerning cannibalism are laced into
an urgently minor free-form jam before turning out a quite lovely melody. El
Diablo Guapo's guitar solo during this song is acid for those who don't do drugs,
and heaven for those who do. "Title Track" is a brief sound clip that
can really only be one thing, but you have to hear it for yourself.
Machine" starts like a Pink Panther movie, but soon explodes into a foaming
blister of punk abrasion. Crazy Hector's double-time bass riffs are like little
carbonated soda bubbles streaking through the ears. Drum master Webb nails impossibly
incongruous time changes throughout, molesting cymbals and whatnot. During the
opening to "Crotch Monkey," Mandaddy briefly channels the spirit of
Danny Elfman and gets away with it. The band shoots for a miry social statement
with "i.e. Happy," which takes the subject of homosexuality and packages
it in a collage of sound and fury that feels like a sonic piercing. My nipples
are hard just thinking about it, sort of funny and frightening all at once.
The funky, dark, and theatrical track "Little Milk Belly" is a wonderwork,
with a deep-shit scary refrain from Servobeonic Man on keyboards, and a hooky
chorus that Mandaddy stabs with conviction.
production is mighty. The god-like Steve Pietrofesa of Demonic Sound Design
brings screaming life to tracks such as the hilariously gruesome "The Birth
of Little Milk Belly," and the mixed-signals genius of "Secret Hand
Shake." If you laugh at the latter, you're a sick motherfucker. "Juan40Lawyers"
is a guitar-dominated track that features the coolest audio smash-up since Pink
Floyd's The Wall. During "March Of The Febermites," Mandaddy pushes
his neck to excruciating highs and lows, and then everything quiets down suddenly
and he sounds sort of like Simon LeBon. The amusing "An Intellectual Discussion
Concerning the Execution and Creation of the Previous Auditory Elements, and
Their Content" is a fun box of auditory cookies that ends the album with
a drunken flourish.
clear that Gargamel intends to provoke, prod, shock and raise the temperature
on the Uncomfortable Meter -- but it also turns the gun upon itself enough to
merit a listen. A fairly equal amount of nasty and nutty with lots of naughty
thrown in for good measure, this one delivers like Peter North. Pick it up if
you dare, and then you're prepared to see them live, perhaps.
by Ed Furniture/ Ink Nineteen
sitting up really late one night recently, typing long IM's to a girl I met
in NY. It was probably 2 or 3 in the morning. Pretty weird atmosphere, etc.
Pretty exhausted and spaced out. All of a sudden, I hear this light tapping.
I think, "oh, someone's at my window?" I look up, and the tapping
spreads to BOTH windows. I immediately think, "IT'S THEM! THE ALIENS ARE
HERE TO GET ME." I then realize it's coming from every wall, the ceiling,
the floor, my door...sounds like millions of little fingers scraping on EVERYTHING.
It sounds like a tank is going to come through my wall. I grab at my chest (my
heart is fucking racing) and just about jump out of my seat. I notice a cable
hanging from the side of my head. It's leading to the CD player. I reach over
and hit PAUSE as quickly as possible. I sit there for about ten seconds, trying
to calm down and regulate my breathing. My hands are shaking really bad. Finally,
as my rational faculty returns, I realize I had put the Gargamel CD in the player
about a minute or so before that, and forgotten about it (and the player didn't
read the disc ...it does that often, since it's so old.) After calming down
enough to MOVE ANY PART OF MY BODY ACCURATELY (besides typing lots of obscenities/expletives
to the NY girl), I look over at the CD player, and it is paused at 2 SECONDS.
was my first experience with the music of Gargamel. I have not been that scared
ever, not even in car accidents.
CD name: Revulva,
Type of music: Hard rock/metal,
Label: Space Tree -
by Dennis Walking
first listening to local band Gargamel’s debut CD, one might ask, "What
hell hath Primus wrought?" especially after hearing the heavy percussion-shout
bout of "Karate Summer." But that questioning betrays moments like
the screaming guitar leads in "Malt Liquor Nights," which remind one
that this is an extremely talented group of musicians, even if they do wear
ski masks and call themselves names like Mandaddy and El Diablo Guapo. At times
you won’t know whether to laugh, ponder or just run for your life.
is equal parts goofiness, virtuosity, jazz fusion, metal, sound sampling and
synth madness. Describing the songs as simply "eclectic" would be
an injustice. Scary might be more accurate; psychotic would be apt. An acquired
taste for some, "Revulva" is a rollercoaster ride into ordered chaos.
If these guys weren’t making music, they’d probably be on a serial-killing