Random Rules: Brian Posehn
The shuffler: Brian Posehn, the deadpan, adenoidal comic from Mr. Show, Just Shoot Me!, and The Showbiz Show With David Spade, among other things. His new Live In: Nerd Rage (Relapse) displays his smartly lowbrow stand-up and his lifelong love of metal—including a one-off musical collaboration with Armored Saint's Joey Vera, The Cult's John Tempesta, and Anthrax's Scott Ian.
Pearl Jam, "Rearviewmirror"
Brian Posehn: Oh, that's not bad. I like those first two records a lot, and I still listen to them. If this came up in my car, I probably wouldn't fast-forward it. It's not as rock as I normally go, though.
The A.V. Club: Grunge is widely credited with killing off metal in the early '90s. When Pearl Jam and Nirvana came out, did you have any resentment?
BP: No, because metal sucked then. It was already dead. The bands that blame Pearl Jam and Nirvana are, like, Warrant and Trixter and shit like that. You don't hear Metallica complaining about Pearl Jam. Bands like Metallica and Pantera still survived. Anybody who died, died because they sucked, not because of Kurt Cobain.
BP: That's actually one of my favorite songs of theirs. It's pretty heavy. They were my first band. I got into Kiss before I got into anybody. The first thing I heard was "Detroit Rock City." I heard it in the school library, where I lived.
AVC: They had Kiss in your school library?
BP: No, this kid brought the 45 in, and he played it. It had the car crash and everything. That's when I knew it was for me: a rocking song with a car crash in it. And then when I saw Kiss, I was even more into it. I was already into comic books and horror movies at 9 years old, so it just made sense. They were a comic book come to life.
BP: Oh, man. No one will have ever heard of this band. It was Yngwie Malmsteen's first band. And Ron Keel was the singer.
AVC: Doesn't Ron Keel do solo acoustic stuff now?
BP: Yeah, he's a country guy now. He's kind of depressing. Steeler never really broke big. They were underground hair-metal. They played with all the popular bands, but they just didn't get popular. The only good thing about Steeler was that they had a 19-year-old Yngwie shredding along with them.
AVC: When you were a kid, did you ever try to play an instrument?
BP: No. Well, I tried. I tried playing the drums, and I could play "Boys Don't Cry" by The Cure. I wanted to play "Reign In Blood" by Slayer, but it just didn't come.
AVC: The Cure? Did you dabble in new wave or goth?
BP: I don't know if I was a poseur—I really did love metal, always—but I gave a lot of other things a chance. I wanted to meet, um, girls, so I would check out Depeche Mode. But mostly I wanted stuff with pentagrams and crowns of thorns on it.
Joe Satriani, "Echo"
BP: Oh, no. Goddamn it. It's on Surfing With The Alien. I bought it when it came out, and I put it on because it's nostalgic. Some of the old metal on here is crap, but it's mashed potatoes and chicken, you know what I mean? It's comfort food. It's comfort music.
AVC: Do you associate any particular memories with Joe Satriani?
BP: Just my stoner roommates working at Tower Records in 1988. I think we might have roasted one when we got home and cranked this record. And by "think," I mean "I know that happened."
Exodus, "Toxic Waltz"
BP: This is more indicative of what I listen to all the time. I love metal songs about metal. That's one of my favorite things. Nobody does that any more. Nobody sings about how metal they are, or about their fans, or about how crazy their pits are.
AVC: The song "Metal By Numbers" on your new CD is that type of song.
BP: Yeah, that was a guy in his very late 30s being pissed off at all the new metal. On my next album, I'll do a song about how metal I am.
AVC: How metal are you?
BP: Pretty fucking metal. Maybe I'll call it that.