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Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

May the Fourth Be With You

Ain't no party like a Darth Vader party with metal band Jedi Scum



A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, rebel rockers Galen Marek, Dash Rendar and Corran Horn (even their names sound intergalactic) joined forces to become the dark-sided scourge of the universe, a doom-core metal band that sings only about Star Wars. With a high midi-chlorian count and a penchant for sampling dialogue, noise loops and riffs from the films' scores, alongside speedy scream-core and heavy downbeat breakdowns, the band makes metal and Star Wars appear as if they were made for each other. And perhaps, they were.

That far-away galaxy is called Oakland, Calif., and the band goes by Jedi Scum, a self-described power violence three-piece that writes songs that revolve around Star Wars IV, A New Hope. With plans to move on to Star Wars V (ed. note: the Empire Strikes Back rules!), VI (which the band said has the best lightsaber battle) and write singles about The Clone Wars and the Old Republic, it's clear that George Lucas and company have offered up plenty of material for the band to cover in one- to three-minute scathing, guttural screams and ominously heavy guitar riffs.

Jedi Scum has chosen perhaps the most culturally significant science fiction series as the topic of its hardcore litany.

"It is the glue that holds our civilization together," said guitarist Corran Horn. "It's an amazing story of D.I.Y. and anarchy; the movie is so political and inspiring."

Plenty of bands take their name from the Star Wars universe, from hip-hop duo Jedi Mind Tricks, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song band Nerf Herder. Even indie swoonsters Eisley, who are named after the Mos Eisley spaceport, home to the scuzzy cantina, pull inspiration from Lucas' universe.

Niche bands, like Jedi Scum, that pay tribute to their favorite films by way of heavy metal are nothing new. Fantasy in heavy medal is abundant whether it's Rush's obsession with dragon slaying or seminal bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath incorporating J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings into its music (in 1969's "Ramble On," Robert Plant sings, ''Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor/I met a girl so fair/But Gollum, and the evil one crept up/And slipped away with her").

But bands that base their entire catalogue around fictional universes are something of a post-modern phenomenon. Wizard-rock bands Harry and the Potters and Draco and the Malfoys are two groups borne of Harry Potter-fandom and take a similar approach to Jedi Scum retelling the books in short song snippets.

"I used to wear a Lego lightsaber necklace," explained Horn in regard to the start of Jedi Scum. "We all work at the same place, and one day at work, Dash started saying, 'May the Force be with you,' instead of 'Thank you' to customers. Then it clicked, how about a Star Wars power-violence band in the vein of Graf Orlock." (Garf Orlock, if you haven't been immersed in the "cinema-grind" genre, is a Los Angeles band that samples audio from The Terminator, Alien, and Robocop, and takes its name from the cult-classic 1922 film, Nosferatu.)

Imitating Garf Orlock's habit of sampling dialogue at the start of songs, expect familiar Star Wars phrases like, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" and "I find your lack of faith disturbing," to precede the ear-assaulting metal of Jedi Scum.

Also, in case you were wondering, according to Jedi Scum, in the core-cast Star Wars band, Princess Leia would play bass, Han Solo would play guitar and Luke would be the drummer.

Sun., May 4

Jedi Scum, Venkman, and Under 15 Seconds

8 pm.

Third Street Pub, 314 SE Third St.


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