Every now and then a band emerges from the underground to remind us why dark, heavy music matters. Right now, the band breathing twisted life into the stoner-doom genre is Demon Lung, emitting sonic gloom from its neon desert home in Las Vegas. With Shanda Fredrick's gothic voice, Phil Burns' coffin-splintering guitar riffs and Jeremy Brenton's pulverizing drums, Demon Lung's first album earned raves. Candlelight Records released The Hundredth Name over the summer, pushing the quartet to the forefront of underground metal.
Tucson Weekly had a chance to phone-chat with Lung singer Fredrick days prior to her band's Tucson debut as part of this year's Southwest Terror Fest.
The Hundredth Name was released in June, after which Demon Lung toured the West Coast. How do you feel the songs on the album hold up on the road?
Really well. The songs are dramatic enough so if you don't know the story behind them they're still entertaining. I mean, who doesn't love a song about ripping out a clairvoyant's eyes? It's been fun exploring the material and seeing what works live.
As the band's lyricist, you wrote a concept album based on '80s horror film Warlock. Was it challenging to keep to a concept about time-traveling witches?
I enjoy storytelling, so it was a lot of fun. Exploring moods and themes with music is about as good as it can get for me as an artist.
Are you a Vin Diesel fan? Warlock's screenwriter, David Twohy, is responsible for The Chronicles of Riddick, you know.
Don't insult me, dude. Of course I'm a Vin Diesel fan. The man has muscles that were sculpted in the heavens, then placed on his frame by a thousand singing cherubs. And his voice! That sultry, honey-dipped tone. It's like God is speaking through him.
Haha. At the Doom in June III festival in Vegas this summer, the crowd surged for Demon Lung's set. Did you expect that?
No. It was an awesome experience. To have people from my hometown be so supportive and proud of us was really cool.
Touring guitarist Brent Lynch adds burliness to Demon Lung's live presence. How's Brent working out?
Burliness, yeah, that's for sure. Brent has been a dream to have in the band. He contributes in so many ways. He's essential now. Plus, he's really fun, and that's always nice.
Demon Lung has great visual style. You wear elegant, creepy dresses that fit the mood Demon Lung conjures. How would you describe your fashion sense?
I'm heavily influenced by horror movies. I think it's pretty evident in the way I dress onstage. I prefer to look a little haunting, and the way light and fog look with the long white fabric of thrift-store dresses is perfect. I doubt I'll deviate from that style.
After Demon Lung signed with Candlelight, were you worried about weirdoes who get obsessed with rock celebs? Or did Vegas prepare you for freaks?
I have some concerns, sure. There have been a few instances of guys overstepping boundaries. But it hasn't been threatening, and my bandmates are always around to help me out. I've dealt with way worse on the Las Vegas Strip, for sure.
What has changed for Demon Lung since the release of The Hundredth Name?
Well, we've had a few changes in our lineup. Brent was added. Pat Warren, our bass player, had to leave the band for personal reasons, but he'll always be our friend. So Jason Lamb is playing bass with us now. We're still working hard at this, and luckily we continue to receive great reviews. We're still driving our old cars. But I couldn't be happier with the way things have been working out.
Is there a blueprint for your follow-up album?
We do have another concept in the works, yes. It's coming together quite nicely, and that's all I should say for now.
What do you think of Tucson's metal scene?
We've played Phoenix a few times, but this will be our first show in Tucson. We know the guys in the band Godhunter, so we have friends in town. This festival has been one of the most organized and professional things we've ever been a part of, so that's really great to see. We're looking forward to it. But the biggest reason we agreed to play Tucson is because of the abundance of Waffle Houses in Arizona. We enjoy an after-show gourmet feast at Waffle House.