Reposted from The Huntington Herald-Dispatch (7.8.2010)
If there's one thing The Renfields know about, it's horror movies. That, and turning their favorite horror flicks into catchy punk rock songs.
The undead Clarksburg, W.Va.-based "Transylvania pogo punk" (horror-based punk music where the listeners dance up and down) outfit comes to Huntington Saturday, July 10, for a show at Shamrock's Irish Pub with a new CD and a re-animated lineup.
You can say that on their new release, "Stalk and Slash Splatterama Part 2: Exploitation Extravaganza," they've taken on more of a death metal or thrash sound. But, just because there's a werewolf in the band, you won't catch The Renfields at the new "Twilight" movie.
"Absolutely not a fan of the 'Twilight' series," said singer-guitarist Vincent Renfield in a telephone interview. "It's not horror. It's some sort of romantic fairy tale for teenage girls.
"Without a doubt, vampires playing baseball is (expletive). We're not big vampire fans. There are no vampires in The Renfields, and never will be. Of all the people in Transylvania, vampires are the most whiny and least desirable to be around, kind of like emo kids here in the states."
While bands are known to write songs about their favorite kinds of rims, Satan or who they want to be president, all of The Renfields' songs are about horror movies. That, and life as an undead teenage punk band growing up in Transylvania.
Fitting into a particular music scene with their fun, horror-themed punk rock stylings and onstage costumes has not always been easy for the band. But Renfield said that events like the Zombie Walk at West Virginia University and horror conventions like HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati, and Cinema Wasteland in Cleveland are and will continue to be friendly environments for The Renfields to play.
"Whenever we go to a horror event, I always feel like that's our scene," he said. "When we can walk around and meet people in horror shirts, they understand the lyrics, and they get the music, they understand exactly where we come from. If there's anything I focus on, it's the lyrics, and making them relevant to the movies and including as many quotes from the movies, and having little "in" jokes; it's always cool."
While The Renfields were originally more influenced by the fun and catchy punk sounds of bands like The Ramones and The Mummies, more recent influences include King Diamond and Mercyful Fate, Renfield said, explaining the harder, scarier tone on the new CD.
"I wanted to reflect the tone of each film in the songs, and just being that it was the exploitation genre, it came out more death metal or thrash or whatever," he said.
"When I sat down to write "New York Ripper," it's violent, with over the top gore, and in my mind I wanted the song to make me feel the same way when I watch the movie. Trying to make every song fit the movie and make it feel like another aspect of watching the movie instead of fitting lyrics into the standard four chords.
"We didn't intentionally try to get heavier, I just think it was based on the subject matter," he added. "I thought it was kind of cool we could go the opposite way, away from the past punk sound."
The Renfields' love of all things horror includes playing extended samples of the movies in between and inside of their songs about the same horror movies. It's a total package, he said, one that they'll never stray from.
"As protective as I am about the samples and keeping them intact, I am about making sure our songs are about horror movies or Transylvania," he said. "I want to make sure that that we stick to what we're doing. A lot of times bands get to the place where they've done whatever it is they're singing about and they get pretentious or sing about something ridiculous. But for us, horror is the cause. If we're ever gonna ever organize a rally, it will be to protest some awful horror movie remake."
So, after turning what was a one-man operation, recording songs on a four-track with a drum machine in mono, Renfield said the band is where it will always be, on the couch watching horror flicks, and making music in true punk rock fashion.
"I don't know if it has to do with setting your goals ultra low," he said of the band's journey. "I don't know really how to play guitar or really know much about music. It's my basic rudimentary skills, and wearing pumpkin makeup just to get out of the crypt or the basement.
There were no expectations or anything, we just wanted to play songs about our favorite horror movies."
If you go:
What: The Renfields, Down Goes Frazier, Enoch
Where: Shamrock's Irish Pub, 2050 3rd Ave., Huntington
When: 10 p.m., Saturday July 10