Fri June 11
8 NW 6th
It's barely a week before iconic terror-industrial vanguards Skinny Puppy kicks off their first tour in 12 years at Roseland, and frontman Nivek Ogre is chuckling nervously as he navigates his car through the streets of Los Angeles on the way to one of their final rehearsals. "Right now, everything is completely chaotic and I'm stuck in this purgatory world of, like, What the fuck am I doing? How am I going to get through this? Here we go! But it's really out of my hands now. The missile has been launched and I'm just along for the ride."
The band fell apart disastrously in the mid-'90s; Ogre quit from his long-standing creative and personal acrimony with co-founder cEvin Key, keyboardist Dwayne Goettel died from a heroin overdose in 1995, and the group's swan song, 1996's The Process, was marred by a traumatic recording and botched record-company handling. It's amazing Skinny Puppy ain't quite dead yet.
"That whole period was just a big clusterfuck for all of us," says Ogre. "I was in this mindset where I was never gonna forgive [Key], which looking back now, was really immature. But I really thought it was done. I was sure that was it, and I was just gonna disappear."
However, a triumphant one-off reunion performance at the 2000 Doomsday Festival in Dresden, Germany (complete with a massive, eerily perfect thunderstorm that rolled in at set's end) encouraged the surviving duo to bury the hatchet and begin work on new material. Four years later comes the fantastic (whew!) new The Greater Wrong of the Right, which retains much of the band's trademark menace--Ogre's cryptic delivery and apocalyptic imagery; sinister synthscapes, samples, and guitars; aggressive electronic beats--yet favors melody over tormented noise.
Still, Ogre admits, their famously intense, extravagantly theatrical multimedia shows do sporadically summon the old demons. "Some of it is a bit painful for me, because it takes me back to certain periods of my life when I was really messed up and tapping into that bad energy. But the great thing about Skinny Puppy is that it's always allowed me to confront my fears, to vent a lot of rage and exorcise stuff onstage. I get a real charge out of it."