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RADIOACTIVE CHICKEN HEADS

THE WEIRDEST BAND IN THE WORLD

Our favorite carrot-fronted, chicken-themed punk band, Radioactive Chicken Heads, are getting into the Halloween spirit early (or right on time, judging from how many aisles of candy and rubber skeletons took over my neighborhood drugstore this week). Their recently released video for “Cluck at the Moon” pays homage to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Ozzy Osbourne, and your favorite zero-budget B-movie splatter flick as it tells the tragic, horrifying tale of an innocent young carrot transformed by the light of the full moon into a bloodthirsty, teenaged werechicken. Watch.

“Cluck at the Moon” is from the Chicken Heads’ 2017 album Tales From the Coop, a mostly horror-themed collection of ska-tinged, spook-punk romps with titles like “Wiccan Chicken,” “Frankenchicken” and my personal favorite, “Poultrygeist.” (That’s one of those jokes that’s still great even when you see it coming from a mile away, right?) They even do a cover of “Somebody’s Watching Me” — remember that ’80s chestnut, by the instantly forgotten one-hit wonder Rockwell? It featured guest vocals by Michael and Jermaine Jackson, which makes no sense until you find out that Rockwell was the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. Usually nepotism produces zero-hit wonders, but occasionally it pans out.

Anyway, we’re sure RCH’s fans will “gobble” this one up. Ha! No wait, that’s a turkey pun. We’ve never had much cluck with poultry puns. Or have we?!

KRAYKULLA-WEBZINE

Now, this is one of the more original bands in the scene. Coming from California, these are Radioactive Chicken Heads and this is their new album “Tales From The Coop”.

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The album contains 13 hilarious songs of horrorpunk mixed with some rock and surf influences and old school horror movie vibe.

Now, lyrically the album deals with tales from the coop. Done in a parody way, but I am not sure if it was meant to be parody. You cant go wrong with song titles like “Wiccan Chicken” with great female vocal melodies or “Frankenchicken” or an excellent cover of “Somebodys Watching Me” by Rockwell and Michael Jackson. I really enjoyed the song structures varying from almost cabaret singing and melodies to more punkish stuff. I am usually very careful considering the bands that are original an unique but this one is definitely something new, fresh and different. I would like to see and listen to this band live because I am sure that their live show would be awesome. I really enjoyed this record.

THROW THE DICE AND PLAY NICE

It’s Friday the 13th and the newest recurrence of this infamously superstition-driven day has fallen so serendipitously within the month of October and, only a handful of weeks off from Halloween. Seems more like a bit of unexpected good luck than bad, doesn’t it? Well, if nothing else, at least some good luck can be claimed on this day dedicated to unfortunate events, thanks to Bandcamp and the “new arrivals” discovery section. Released today with thematically perfect timing, is Tales from the Coop, by Radioactive Chicken Heads.

If this sounds like a Friday the 13th musical prank, rest assured it isn’t. The Radioactive Chicken Heads are a real band, from Santa Ana, California, that not only has several albums, music videos, and an independently developed video game in its arsenal but was even on national television back in 2006 – on the Tyra Banks Show.

Fast forward 11 years and this ragtag band of punky poultry and vegetables is as theatrical and enjoyably entertaining as ever. Despite being so overtly comedic in its appearances, lyrics, and overall stage personality, this mega group – whose names include the likes of Carrot Top, Punky Rooster, and El Pollo Diablo – isn’t something just to be written off. Sure, listeners are pretty much guaranteed releases that are loaded with bird puns, and music that’s full of upbeat, classic punk structural repetition. However, underneath the showmanship, the Radioactive Chicken Heads are legitimately solid, clear, and consistent in their ability to play, record, and present well made work with care. (The delicate but prominently placed glockenspiel in the album’s title track being paired with low noted “ohhs” feels like something straight out of a Cloud Caverns track and definitely isn’t an instrument turned to in times of uncreative laziness) While the flash might be initially deemed an easy distraction from presumed lower quality musicianship, these folk are no slouch players and Tales from the Coop is one of the strongest displays of this goofy but committed ethos.

A 13 track album released on Friday the 13th, Tales from the Coop goes to the nines on delivering a concept album that connects with both the band’s Chicken fueled identity and the spookiness of today’s superstitions. Everything from the band’s heads to the album’s zany but well drawn “Night of the Living Dead-esque” artwork is working in sync. Not to mention that this will undoubtedly carry over with ease into Halloween. Hosting track titles like “Wiccan Chicken,” “Poultrygeist,” and “Killer Klownfish,” (great hat trick wordplay for that last one, to creepy things, Halloween, and the recent surge of killer clowns thanks to Stephen King’s IT.) The titles are just the tip of the silly songwriting iceberg.

 

 

Musically, Radioactive Chicken Heads mirror a punk rock that is more “approachable Ramones” than Bad Religion. It’s upbeat like punk but melodically singable and generally absurd like Reel Big Fish circa We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful (BMG Japan, 2005). The vocal style on many of the tracks is either exaggerated sing-speaking delivered in lower registers, peppy group female vocals, or features shouted group vocals that call to mind the aforementioned ska band or certain more goofy chapters of The Offspring’s catalog (see also, Conspiracy of One or Americana). Though elaborated adorned with giant character heads, the band isn’t one specifically aimed at children either, like the currently popular Finnish metal band, Hevisaurus.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of laughs to be had, as the lyrics and wordplay are too funny not to pass up. “Frankenchicken,” for example, which unfolds the basic story of Frankenstein with a fowl in place of its main character, ends up a hilarious figure not just for his mutant bird status but also for the fourth wall break at the end of the song, where the repetition of his name gets on his nerves.


Hey, where ya going? Come back!”
Ooooooh, Frankenchicken, Frankenchicken
That’s my name!
Ooooooh, Frankenchicken, Frankenchicken
Don’t wear it out!
Ooooooh, Frankenchicken, Frankenchicken
OK, shut up now!


Every song is its own entity in very distinct ways but every song also connects subtly on a lyrical and instrumental level, to the rest. As nonsensical as a chicken-centric horror story might be, Tales from the Coop is actually a perfect concept album. Sound effects and separate audio clips are sprinkled throughout the record to further the theatrical and conceptual tone of “Tales,” and enhance the compositional choices for other normal instruments (e.g. Police sirens and breaking glass pair with the see-sawing piano lines of “Officer Quackly,” which play out with ribbons of old-fashioned silent film musical charm.)

The thematic nature of Tales from the Coop is simultaneously the record’s greatest asset and biggest weakness. It’s not too likely this album holds up well at parties outside of days like Friday the 13th and Halloween but for the occasions where its humorously creepy duality fits, this album makes for a great surprise addition to party playlists. It’s polished enough to sound super mainstream but off the radar enough to fill heads with curiosity and intrigue when hearing the name Radioactive Chicken Heads turns out to be a first.

 

LOUDWIRE

Your favorite band of demented chickens fronted by a punk rock carrot made its way to network television recently. Radioactive Chicken Heads performed on The Gong Show, getting gonged off the stage almost immediately while performing a cover of “Surfin’ Bird.”

The Gong Show was an institution of American TV back in the late ‘70s, pioneering the elimination talent show format long before American Idol or The X Factor hit television screens. ABC revived the The Gong Show earlier this year, bringing Will Arnett, Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black in as judges for this particular episode. The concept is simple… if one of the judges hates what they see onstage, they can bang the gong behind them and immediately stop the performance.

It took less than 30 seconds for Jack Black to head for the gong after hearing Radioactive Chicken Heads. Will Arnett managed to slow him down a little, seemingly fascinated with the spectacle on the Gong Show stage. You’d think Jack Black would be kinder to a comedic act… ya know… since he’s in Tenacious D, but he was adamant to get Radioactive Chicken Heads to stop playing. Vocalist Carrot Topp didn’t take rejection well, falling to the ground and throwing a tantrum.

Watch Radioactive Chicken Heads invade The Gong Show in the clip above!

CALIFORNIA ROCKER

Powerman 5000, Chicken Heads Come to Lucky Strike

By DONNA BALANCIA

 

 

The Radioactive Chicken Heads wrapped up the night in typical calamity — chasing each other around the stage, singing punk songs and even falling down.  It’s well worth any cost of admission to see this group and it’s entertaining on several levels.

We especially like that the Radioactive Chicken Heads don’t pull any punches. They know they’re punkers and don’t pretend to be anything else.  Their leader, Carrot Top, runs a tight ship and makes sure good conquers evil in the shows.

There’s a bit where a dancing cheese and a Rat Fink-looking Chucky Cheese come out and Carrot Top brings out a knife to — what else? — cut the cheese of course. Then they perform “Pest Control.” We loved El Pollo Diablo, who jabs Carrot Top with his pitchfork.  It is legend that El Pollo Diablo came from a Deviled Egg. They also do a song “I Looked Into The Mirror,” which Carrot Top does and lo and behold his evil twin appears and they do battle.

Anyway, it’s all in good fun. The Radioactive Chicken Heads have been around since the late 1990s and have gotten their fair share of attention in the press and have built a loyal following. Carrot Top’s imagination fueled this band as he said he always had characters in his brain.  He even wrote comic books on his characters.

 

METAL ASSAULT

Radioactive Chicken HeadsRadioactive Chicken Heads

Starting shortly before 9 PM was punk/rockabilly chicken and vegetable themed character band Radioactive Chicken Heads whose concept includes the lead singer Carrot Topp with his band of chicken heads that just want to be in a rock band but get thwarted by pests such as a Chuck E Cheese imitation character and a Badd Bunny. They definitely bring a smile to anyone’s face with the silliness of their simplistic punk rock song structure mixed with laughable characters, such as Bird Brain the bass player, and Poultry Geist who is a ghost chicken in a white sheet with X-ed out eyes. They have anywhere from six to thirteen people on stage depending on the song requirements, and when you think about how simplistic the nature of the music and story is and then how involved each song becomes with its different characters dancing and fighting somewhat GWAR style, it does become appreciated. While they started under another name Joe And The Chicken Heads in 1994 and obviously were influenced by GWAR and Green Jelly, they also have their own brand of ska punk and rock n’ roll that has given them a unique voice. It was refreshing that every song was different from the last and told a different story with a comedy skit flavor. Favorite numbers were ‘I Looked In The Mirror’, and ‘I Eat Kids’ which were both Barry Louis Polisar covers utilizing fun skits, the first of which featured an Evil Carrot character which battled the lead singer and accidentally revealed his face at one point as his headpiece came off during the fight. Breaking the suspension of disbelief at a show like this only makes it more fun, so no harm done there. Then ‘Pest Control’ happened as a cheese head character came out to dance and lure the Chuck E Cheese character into destruction and death by the lead singer with a plastic knife. He made a joke about how it was a stupid costumed character and how this band wants him to die because they, unlike him, like to “keep it real” and they unmasked him at the end to reveal a faceless face covered in a unitard hood with a spiral over the face. Then came the Badd Bunny song where a pretty terrifying giant bunny-faced person comes out and gets his face ripped off to reveal his radioactive red eye and metal insides by none other than Techno Destructo aka Hunter Jackson from GWAR. If all that wasn’t weird enough for you, the finale was even weirder where Techno Destructo now plays lead singer to the cover of David Bowie’s ‘Moonage Daydream’. So, again, a guy with a giant wrench hand and a cod-piece in the shape of a screw who just attacked a giant bunny sings a skillful but odd version of a David Bowie classic while twelve other rotating members in the band dance and play instruments in their various chicken heads and vegetable heads. If you enjoy fun and silly times with stage play and fun punky tunes, I recommend seeing these guys at least once.

OC WEEKLY

The remaining space in the back room at Slidebar became filled when The Radioactive Chicken Heads hit the stage. Most of OC's scenesters are very aware of these costumed performers. Perhaps not everyone takes them seriously, and apart from the obvious fact that they are not meant to be taken too seriously, it is not clear exactly how successful this band can become beyond the local venues which their punk fans routinely pack.

Their music is rocking and silly, and their appearance and antics on stage are the stuff of a demented late-night children's TV show. Ironically, the number of performers along with their oversized prop costumes are frequently too many and too cumbersome for some of the small stages that they have been seen on. Now, if some filmmaker were to feature them in a club scene, that might give them the 15 minutes that would grant them a slot in the nation's pop culture psyche. However, whether they're even in it for the big time or just to have fun remains to be seen. As it is, both they and their audiences sure have a good time at their shows.

OC WEEKLY

Perhaps more of a comedy-punk band than a horror-punk act, this cult poultry-punk band is also very influenced by the likes of GWAR and Green Jelly, but take a lighter approach to creating a mix of punk, metal and rock set to a cast of cartoon-like characters, bizarre story lines and outrageous costumes, antics and props. The band revolves around a group of mutated chickens and vegetables, made by a mad scientist in a lab. Since 1994, these musical mutants have appeared on The Tyra Banks Show, toured the country with Green Jelly and tons of other bands, recorded three full albums, and have even had a video game created after the concept of the band.

OC WEEKLY

For the grand finale, The Radioactive Chicken Heads packed their epic act into the tiny space and reminded the audience that the core element of punk music is unmitigated fun. What seemed like a cramped space for the three piece bands did not deter the costumed performers from having 9-10 performers doing their thang. For the uninitiated, their “thang” is essentially like watching The Banana Splits as a punk rock band. Their songs are silly; they clown around onstage; and antics are just as much a part of their show as their music. During one of the more serious moments of their performance, lead singer Carrot Topp revealed that he had recently discovered Chuck E. Cheese was, in fact, not a real mouse; he's a man in a suit! As for these suited performers, it cannot be said that they don't keep it real; for who, beyond a lobotomized Disney employee, would actually take glee in wearing a crazy costume and would preach silliness while genuinely rocking out?

BIG WHEEL MAGAZINE

If you've been away from Los Angeles for a while, you may not recognize the Sunset Strip so easily any more. Corporations have taken over a lot of the venues, and pay to play has turned an area that launched everyone from The Doors to Motley Crue, hosted Frank Zappa, and inspired The Standells, into yet another boring strip mall of radio-safe over-processed bland and boring blah. Except last Saturday, when for one brief and shining moment The Viper Room woke up for about an hour, and The Radioactive Chicken Heads proved that music isn't dead, it's just mutated a bit.

Radioactive Chicken Heads are a band of mutant chickens, fronted by a carrot. They offer sound nutritional advice, like the cover of Barry Louis Polisar's "I Eat Kids", and battle evil, like El Pollo Diablo, who was hatched from a deviled egg. They are also hands down one of the best bands playing in Southern California today.

The Chicken Heads had a steep hill to climb when they first took the stage. The majority of the crowd was well-dressed, and held over from the previous performer, playing soulful top 40 type pop. There were a few glances exchanged when the first punk power chords leaked from behind the curtain, but people were already laughing and taking pictures by the time Franken-Chicken made his rounds of the crowd.

Because that's the thing, even if you're a Sunset Strip bunny in high heels and chandelier earrings who can't spell punk, let alone listen to it, there's simply no escaping the fact that this band is fun. And funny. And underneath it all, actually good musicians, something all too often skipped over in Hollywood's desire to create bands with good image.

The band played songs off the newest release "Poultry Uprising" as well as older fan favorites, including "Liquid Fat" and "Pest Control" (a song about killing Chuck E Cheese. Admit it, you want to.) before finishing with "Badd Bunny", definitely a carrot's worst nightmare. By the end of the night, everyone was a Radioactive Chicken Heads fan, and the Sunset Strip was a little bit better place.

OC Weekly

A pithy description of these art rockers would put them somewhere between Gwar and the B-52s on the weirdo spectrum. That's not to say they sing about love-shacks or drench their audience in fake blood. Within the context of the band's colorful mythology (involving mutated vegetables) they sing songs about the desire to be a dog, amazing zombie killers and homicidal rabbits. And with a sound that might work well scoring a John Waters, Ed Wood or Russ Meyer film, these mutants keep it kitschy.

Big Wheel Magazine

There are many arguments about what punk rock is "supposed" to be. Angry? Political? Violent? Silly? What often gets lost in these arguments is that at it’s heart, punk rock is supposed to be fun. Saturday night at the Knitting Factory was probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Opening the show were Los Angeles’ very own The Radioactive Chicken Heads. The Radioactive Chicken Heads are a group of mutated chickens, fronted by a mutant carrot, and supported by a tomato on guitar. You know, like any other band. The Radioactive Chicken Heads avoid the common pitfall of so many gimmicky bands, though. They’ve got good songs. No, scratch that, they’ve got great songs. With sort of a metal-ish Punk rock sound, they were definitely right at home sharing a bill with Green Jelly. The crowd responded well to the music, and even better to the lithely attractive "Wikkan Chicken" who came off stage to dance with audience members. If you’re not comfortable being freaked by a mutant chicken in a witch hat, you might want to stay home. The band isn’t all shock value though, they managed to squeeze in some public service announcements about the dangers of liquid fat, and the benefits of eating kids, as well as an excellent cover of The Who’s "Boris the Spider" (complete with dancing… er… cockroach. Just go with it.) before their set was over. If you’re looking for something brilliant, funny, and addictively catchy, head over to http://radioactivechickenheads.com to check out the tour schedule, or their mp3 page.

UCR Highlander

One of the best bands you've probably never heard of is also probably one of the most bizarre--but with a name like The Radioactive Chicken Heads, eccentricity is to be expected. The band's seven member lineup looks like a cross between a produce stand and a child's birthday party. The Chicken Heads are lead by vocalist Carrot Topp (no relation to the notoriously un-funny comedian) and feature the combined talents of Sgt. Psyclopps and Cheri Tomato on guitar, Bird Brain on bass, Wikkan Chicken on the keys, Bonehead on the trumpet, Frankenchicken on tambourine and Puke Boy behind the drum set. The story behind the Chicken Heads isn't drastically different from anything you might see on a typical "Behind the Music." Originally Joe and the Chickenheads, the band played their first show in 1996. All seven members lived on a farm together where the farmer's son taught them to play and then entered them in the county fair. However, due to artistic differences, the whole group was sold to Colonel Sanders and Ronald McDonald, who had a very different vision for the future of the Chicken Heads. The fast food gurus chopped off their heads, and the bodies ran away--fortunately, Carrot Topp managed to save his friends' heads, pulled some bodies out of a dumpster behind a cryo lab, started a new band and entered the newly formed musical force in a battle of the bands. They didn't win, but the Radioactive Chicken Heads decided to take their show on the road to prove that vegetables and chickens can rock just as well as any humans. And, judging by their live show, they just might be better than most mammalian musicians. The Chicken Heads raise punk rock to a whole new level: There aren't many bands that can pull off battling Chuck-E-Cheese halfway through their set and make mind-blowing music at the same time.

The Clountowne Thrifty Shopper Gazette

It's a crazy SoCal kinda thing; the children of that post-glam, proto-punk band The Tubes got cut loose in a drunken concept/nightmare of giant costume head characters from a post-apocalypse themed amusement park. But in this crazy place the Scooby Gang, unable to unmask them, run away in urine soaked fright. The punky, garagey inspired madness of Music For Mutants -- dripping with cheezy Farfisa-esque organ and twangy guitar licks -- hints at Oingo Boingo riffs delivered with sledgehammer force. Load your Walkman with some Chickenheads, climb into your sensory deprivation tank, turn it up loud and emerge a mutant. More fun than a freak show and you can dance to it!

Thrasher Magazine

The Chicken Heads are more fun than a shopping spree in a Mexican supermarket. These guys are f%@#in' crazy.

Daily Trojan

The Chicken Heads are playing for the guy on his way to hell, as one last wonderfully guilty pleasure of the eternally damned. This is crazy stuff, friends.

Jellobungreasia

For anyone who has never experienced this spectacle, it is a must see for all connoisseurs of fine entertainment.