I’ve posted “NSFW” videos before, but I’ve never debuted a video marked XNSFW. As in extremely not safe for work. This new masterpiece from noise artist & performer Kevin Blechdom and director Lawrence Klein certainly deserves the label. Klein has been responsible for a number of very twisted Captain Ahab videos (like, the one where the dude screws another dude in his gaping gory hole, or that one where the bromance goes a bit too far). Blechdom…well she always seems to be probing the depths of the human psyche. But never has she gone so deep, so far.
It’s like these two went all Blind Beast on each other. But instead of twisted love games that turn into self-mutilation, they went for…baby!
“MAN SMASH” creators Kevin Blechdom and Lawrence Klein have made some pretty radical works over the years. Blechdom began making music ten years ago with the sly, post-noise noise duo, Blectum from Blechdom, and has only gotten more intense since. Klein has of course assisted Captain Ahab with their mission of ripping the tops of people’s heads off—and shitting inside their empty brain pans. Almost literally.
Now, they’ve got the electric drill to the balls of the underground music scene. Will they pull the trigger?
BUT OF COURSE.
Read about why and how and watch the video (at bottom of this post). And make sure you don’t watch this with anyone who’s easily offended. You’ve been warned!
Who came up with the concept for “MAN SMASH”?
Larry and Kevin had an idea for a concept band of 15-year-old girls called “Daddy Issues,” but were discouraged by the amount of money and energy it would take to make that happen. Another idea was in response to a Le Tigre interview Kevin had heard a while back, about how they were accused of being “manhaters” and felt it necessary to clarify their non-manhating status. The premise of the band, Daddy Issues, was going to be that they would be young, hot, unashamed manhaters. Then, Larry came up with the title MAN SMASH (inspired by “Hulk smash“), and Kevin wanted Larry to make her a video while he was still unemployed.
How would you describe the song/video in a nutshell?
“MAN SMASH” is the title and description, in a tortured NUT-shell. R u man enough?!?
Does it symbolize or explain a larger concept?
Did any previous artworks/music by others influence the creation of this video?
Basic Instinct–ice pick/Verhoeven
Antichrist—in hindsight (you’ll see)
Wild At Heart—fingernails and tone
Big Black—drum machine
The 90’s—alternative culture
Hate Breed—lyrical style
Catherine Kieu Becker (the recent Lorena Bobbit copycat that used a garbage disposal)—ingenuity
It says the lyrics are by Lawrence Klein. Do you think that’s ironic considering the subject matter?
This is clearly Larry’s most feminist work. He says he tries to ride the line between the exploitation of and authenticity of whatever the subject is in his movies. Yes, he is putting words into a woman’s mouth.
Who is “baby” (for those who don’t know)?
Corey Fogel—L.A. art drummer and former Gowns member.
How did you approach this person and convince them to be in your video?
Kevin and Corey are housemates. Kevin sent Corey an email that said, “Hey would you be into letting me defile you for some live show footage?” And he said, “Yes.” During the shoot, he refused to eat a brownie dipped in nutella because of the possible repercussions of being perceived as a shiteater. But considering what he had already put up with during the shoot, we dropped the poop-eating from the script. He is a pleasure to torture.
How was it playing “Momma”?
Kevin says, she felt old, but that it made sense since she’s old enough to have teenage kids. She says that playing “Momma” and Man Smashing was really cathartic.
Please describe the process of getting this all together. For example, how did you think up all the tortures and sequence them?
We wrote a 3-page stream-of-consciousness script. The torture we chose was determined by what we could afford. We shot in sequence by the severity of the torture. After we shot the video, Kevin wrote the song and Larry wrote the lyrics to fit the video. Justin Asher played the guitar. From conception to completion took about 3 weeks and $500.
Did “Baby” ever really get hurt? Or did you?
No, not physically anyway. And the fish was dead when we bought it.
What was the filming process like?
We spent five hours one night in Kevin and Corey’s garage. We filmed each set-up three times with different cameras.
Was the crew prepared for “Mansmash” in advance?
Yes, they read the script ahead of time and still showed up. The crew was Dalton Blanco and Cristina Bercovitz.
What happens at the end of the video?
Watch and learn.
What would you like viewers/listeners to take away from this?
Nausea and fear.
What else are you and Larry working on?
Some of this footage was shot as flashbacks for another movie-musical Larry is making with Jonathan Snipes from Captain Ahab. Speaking of Captain Ahab, Larry is finishing a new video for them, called “The Kingdom Of Light,” to promote their upcoming European tour. Larry’s also working on a Stephen King mini-series. Kevin is teaching and studying music at CalArts. She’s making a musical movie version of Georges Bataille’s, Story Of The Eye, and finishing a new EP with her band Blectum From Blechdom. Kevin hopes Larry will be unemployed again soon so they can make “MAN SMASH 2”.
Which was more torturous: making “MAN SMASH” or going to the Juggalo Gathering?
Juggalos take the crown. We still have nightmares, but Larry, I mean, LardOG is going to the ICP show in Anaheim next month, go figure.
Directed by Lawrence Klein
Starring Corey Fogel
Shot by Cristina Bercovitz, Dalton Blanco, and Lawrence Klein
Guitars by Justin Asher
Lyrics by Lawrence Klein
Music by Kristin Erickson
Mixed by Jonathan Snipes