Rattlehead: The Gun Shy Interview


Chances are, you haven’t heard of Rattlehead. They’re a young, independent West Coast thrash band who sound like old Exodus and are living the fucking dream in L.A. And by “the fucking dream,” I mean the reality that young hair metal bands like Motley Crue experienced (and later documented in books like “The Dirt”) during the groupie haze of the 1980s, living out of squat houses and nailing Strip chicks with STDs doctors hadn’t even come up with names for yet.

Since forming in 2003, Rattlehead have amassed something of a reputation in Hollywood as a party band. It’s well-deserved because…well, Rattlehead like to get fucked up. “People think we party a little too hard,” says singer and guitarist Nick Baranov. “We had the Rattle House, which was a party house right in the center of Hollywood for a couple of years. If you ask any band that’s toured through Hollywood and spoken with us, you’ll hear form them that they’ve woken up hungover at that house. At least once.”

Parties at the Rattle House featured guest appearances by 18-year-old strippers, porn stars, foreign chicks, Lordi, Finntroll, Immortal, and even Ron Jeremy. “It was a two-story, two bedroom house packed with 100 people and a bar downstairs. It was over the top.”

Rattlehead, who cite Metallica and Iron Maiden as influences but sound more like Death Angel, have toured with the likes of Mantic Ritual and HexeN. They’ve just released a new LP called Tales From The Gutter which they released on their own and will start shopping to metal labels this fall, with hopes the disc will get remastered and re-issued worldwide.

For Nick, the ultimate goal with Rattlehead “is to become a household name — as ridiculously skyscraper-ish as that sounds.” He’d also take Rattlehead becoming big enough that he can make it his full-time thing, but…you know…baby steps.

Hopefully, Rattlehead’s hard-living lifestyle won’t get in the way of those dreams. In fact, they party so hard, some bands can’t take it. “We were on tour, and after seven days of nonstop raging, the drummer of the opening band had a psychotic breakdown in New Orleans,” Nick says. The drummer tried to commit suicide with a box cutter, and ended up running around the streets of New Orleans naked, screaming he saw the devil in his bass player’s eyes. “He was in the loony bin for two weeks. That shit was straight out of a movie.”

What Rattlehead do is different than the current thrash herd, and perhaps that’s not what labels are looking for. It’s an awesome, unique sound that blends thrash with more melodic metal elements like catchy choruses and hooks, “which is a little different than that old school revival that’s going on nowadays with every other band sounding like a Kreator rip-off.”

So far, though, the reception to the band and their music has been great. Its even helping some of the guys in the pussy department. I ask Nick if he knows where the girls who want to be aspiring actresses get dropped in L.A. and — bad man that he is — he knew.

“I think the midwestern girls come in at the corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga…that’s where the Greyhound is over there, and its conveniently located next to six or seven different hostiles on the Boulevard which me and my friends more often than not go and loiter at and try to scoop ‘em up,” Nick tells me. The band doesn’t go out on the bar circuit and hit on girls.

“We don’t have looks, we don’t have money — we just have a band, man,” he confides. “We depend on our live shows and we’ll draw a crowd and obviously, the girls just come after that. With the out-of-town girls, we strike it big, because they haven’t been exposed to the millions of egotistical bastards out here, so they’ll catch on if you tell ‘em you’re in a band, and they’ll come see the show. There’s an abundance out here. But the hostile…that’s my favorite, because when they’re from out-of-the-country, that’s even better. They see long-haired metal dudes and the panties come flying.”

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