Written by Brian Linsky
Welcome to Killville, the home of Angry Johnny and the Killbillies.
Angry Johnny is a hell bent, revenge minded, Whiskey swiggin,’ poet, artist, and lead singer for the band the Killbillies. The rest of the band includes Goatis T. Ovenrude, Slabs Theilman, and Dwight Trash.
Angry Johnny and The Killbillies serve up their own unique blend of grim and murderous melodies that infectiously haunts you with songs about death, mayhem, shootouts with cops, odes to serial killers, revenge, and even murdering Santa Claus.
Angry and his gang are a Grindhouse film brought to life, and Killville is the murderous world where it all goes down.
To quote some excerpts from the Killbillies’ own band bio, “Angry Johnny and The Killbillies are Norman Rockwell’s worst nightmare come to life. Take a trip to a town called Killville where nobody gets out alive and about the best you can hope for is a quick and painless demise.
These murder ballads and tales of woe weren’t meant to be read about in a magazine, they were meant to be listened to full blast on a crappy stereo in a fast car, barreling down a dark and lonely highway heading to nowhere. So drink ’em up, smoke ’em if you got ’em, laugh and punch that hammer down, say a little prayer, hang on and enjoy the ride.
Song by song the body count continues to rise, and the broken hearts and busted dreams keep pilin’ up on the ground as you press the accelerator down a little harder. That cracklin’ Delco spits out an endless stream of revenge, damnation, double crossin’ and the occasional redemption.”
Obviously not your average band bio. I wanted to learn more about the man they call Angry Johnny, so I recently caught up with him and Goatis T. Ovenrude to discuss the method behind the madness of the Killbillies.
iH: The majority of your music is riddled with violence and chaos, does it become tough to keep thinking of new ways to plan murder & revenge?
AJ: Not so far. it’s much harder figuring out how to get away with it.
IH: In addition to your music, a lot of your artwork is angry as well with paintings depicting murder and suicide. As an artist, does your inspiration for your paintings come from the same place as your music does?
AJ: They all kind’ve just slosh around together inside my head. Maybe something’s wrong with my brain.
iH: Is it true that some of your artwork was found at a crime scene? Have your lyrics gotten you into trouble with the law?
AJ: Some guy “accidentally” killed an ex-mental patient during “rough sex” and buried her in the woods. He had one of my paintings on his wall, so the genius investigators from the Connecticut State Police figured that I must’ve had something to do with it. The body was too decomposed to determine cause of death so he was only charged with illegal disposal of a corpse.
iH: Listening to your music, it sounds like you’ve been through some hellacious relationships. How many of your stories and characters are based on actual real life experiences and people?
AJ: Probably most all of them in one way or another. The names are changed to protect the ignorant.
iH: In addition to your own paintings, you’ve also done album artwork for Shadows Fall & Dinosaur Jr… Any others you’ve done?
AJ: I did some crap for Slash Records and A&M a long time ago but my stuff has never really been in much demand. They’re just cartoons on wood after all.
iH: Goatis, In 2007 you won an award at the Fright Night Fest Film Festival for best soundtrack after scoring the independent horror film Gimme Skelter. How did you first get started doing the music for movies?
GTO: We have a friend Don Adams who is a film editor and screen writer, he came on tour with us once and I asked him if he ever needs music I’d like to give it a try. He passed my name along to some film makers and I was lucky enough to be a part of a movie that starred Gunnar Hansen. I met him and he was such a cool guy too. Don Adams also got some of my stuff and the Killbillies into Wrong Turn 6, so I owe him a lot.
iH: Is there a film or tv series that the Killbillies wish they’d be asked to provide tracks for?
AJ: I guess any TV show or film that’s gonna pay us lots of money.
iH: Goat, I know you recently scored the Horror / Comedy film Night of Something Strange, and you included some tracks from the Killbillies, how’d this gig come about?
GTO: One of the previous film guys, Billy Garberina, passed my name to Jonathan Straiton, the director. I asked him if he could send me a scene to score the music to and we could take it from there to see if we were a good match or not. He liked what I did and I was really impressed with the original footage, so we decided to go for it. That movie is absolutely crazy. It is ridiculously awesome. Jonathan needed to find a replacement song for the end credits and I suggested Angry Johnny. He had no idea who we were but he loved the songs I sent to him. He’s a fan now.
iH: Right on. You guys have done some work with Jim Stramel (Degenerates Ink, Reviled), How’d you first hook up with him?
AJ: Stramel tripped me at a bar we were playing at in Richmond. I landed on my face on the cement floor and got a concussion. We’ve been friends ever since.
GTO: Jim and his wife Renee are awesome! I always wish that they were closer to visit. REVILED is awesome too, I like how he’s breaking the story into a series of episodes. He’s another really dedicated film maker. A lot of people talk about making movies but he’s one that actually does it.
iH: What can you tell me about your Museum of the Strange? Do you have any authentic collectables?
AJ: As far as you know they are all authentic collectables.
iH: I’m a big fan of your X-mas album, Bang Bang Baby, Merry X-Mas, but I imagine that killing off Santa probably doesn’t sit as well with everyone. Any negative feedback over some of those songs, or has your fan base come to know what to expect from you at this point?
AJ: I’m sure there’s folks out there who can’t take a joke that might be offended if they ever heard it but you really have to go out of your way to come in contact with our stuff. Plus, we’re certainly not for everybody. Anyway my mom likes it, so that’s good enough for me.
iH: Over the years you’ve killed off a lot of people in your songs. Do you keep track of the body count at all?
AJ: No but I was thinking of making up a drinking game based on the body counts, but I’m pretty lazy, so I probably won’t.
iH: What’s next for Angry Johnny & The Killbillies? Any new albums in the works?
AJ: “Dance Dead Man Dance”, the sequel to “Dance Of The Shufflers” is just about mixed. And “Don’t Go Down To Voodoo Town” is also almost ready. Plus “Down At Your Grave” and “Creepier Than Me” are coming soon, along with a couple more.
GTO: I write music for TV mostly. A lot of shows always need background music. I’ve been doing it for almost 10 years now and it’s finally paying the bills. So, I’m really lucky to be doing what I love to do.
iH; Thanks guys, I look forward to hearing new music from you guys and hope we send some new fans your way as well. Check out more from Angry Johnny and The Killbillies by visiting their official website. You can listen to a few of their tunes below, and you can buy them here.