Having worked in the indie movie world for years as a special effects make-up artist, Jeff Sisson flipped the script in 2005 when he formed Troglodyte with a group of KC metal vets. Using the gory Bigfoot exploitation flick Night of the Demon as inspiration, the band summons tales from the bog, crafting its Sasquatch-themed songs in the key of black metal. They make “music for the contemporary caveman,” are tied to a “1990 Florida sound,” and even have an odd connection to Sarah Palin, but despite the gimmick there’s surprisingly little schlock in their game. The Bloodsprayer might have said it best: “These unholy fuckers of mothers get up on stage in ape-faced masks and rock the fuck out about Bigfoot. And you know what? It’s really fucking good.”
The rest of the Trog roster has a cool lineup of veteran musicians. Were you a fan of the guys before you joined up with them, and before you donned the mask for Troglodyte were you involved in any other bands? Did you play guitar in Whoracle?
In 2001 I was laid off from my job here in KC. I was already traveling to L.A. from time to time, taking vacation time to work on low-budget horror films, so I saw this as an opportunity to move out and make a go of it. While living in L.A. I came up with the idea of what became Troglodyte. When I relocated back to the Midwest in late 2004, I reached out to Chris Wilson, who I had met through a mutual friend, to gauge his interest and see if we could make this happen. I make all the masks we wear and assemble our crummy stage attire, also!
Amazingly enough, there is another Jeff Sisson, who lives in Topeka, KS and plays guitar for Whoracle. What are the odds of two Jeff Sissons who are in death metal bands, right?
Do you still wear thermal underwear onstage or have you transitioned into something a little more “breathable”?
Hahahaha… I try to make myself a “little” more comfortable… not much. The whole reason I did that was to quite literally make myself as uncomfortable as possible, to create some kind of urgency while we played. I ended up just sweating a lot.
Messin’ with Sasquatch: Fair game or cruel and mean-spirited?
I think those commercials are amazing. The humans are the ones getting the short end of the stick in those… I love it!
You told Metal Band Art that producing a GG Allin bio-pic would be one of your dream projects and about a week back the band posted a cover of “Die When You Die” on Facebook. Are you going to see the Murder Junkies when they play the Riot Room next month, and what might it take to turn that dream film into a reality?
We used to cover a couple of GG Allin tunes when we played live: “Die When You Die” and “Bite it You Scum.” That recording of “Die” is probably four or five years old. We recorded them and just kind of filed them away. We actually have played with the Murder Junkies a couple years ago. I talked with Merle a few times before coming in to town. Nice enough guy. I shared the songs with him once via email, I think his quote was, “Great production, sounds tight, crummy vocals… GG would hate it. Congratulations!” I think the only thing that would ever get that bio pic made is excessive amounts of money to license the songs and convince my friend, writer/actor, Trent Haaga to play the role of GG.
Question in the form of an answer: “Cracula.”
What is the single greatest exploitation film, written/directed by Jeff Sisson, that no one will ever give me the 2.5 million dollars to produce? Man, you’ve really been diggin’ around on me!
The scene: Battle of the bands. You each only get one song to win the crowd over. Troglodyte vs. the Jimmy Castor Bunch. They tear into a rendition of “Troglodyte” and the crowd eats it up. What do you guys counter with?
Wow, I was just talking about Jimmy Castor this morning! Tough. First, there is no way to win a crowd over following up that song. That said, we’d probably go in to a cover of Fear’s “Honor and Obey” and then hammer-smash the eight people who we didn’t chase off with a performance of the entire Cruising: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack… Did I mention we probably wouldn’t be wearing pants?
[This article first appeared at Mills Record Company.]