Dillinger Escape Plan

Tues Oct 8

Crystal Ballroom

Plenty of bands talk shit on stage, but it takes balls the size of a Honey Bucket to actually take a shit up there--and throw your work at the crowd.

That's exactly what happened when spazcore/metal act Dillinger Escape Plan opened at England's prestigious Reading Festival earlier this month. Warming things up for acts like Puddle of Mudd and Prodigy, DEP vocalist Greg Puciato defecated on stage, put the mess in a bag, and threw it out at the audience, saying, "This is an example of shit on stage, which is all you're gonna get here today."

It takes a sick mind to push that angle with the public toilet concept, but Baltimore native Puciato, who's been fronting the technically and brilliantly heavy New Jersey band for the past year, said he was sickened by the rock-star catwalk he witnessed backstage, and his stinking grenade was an impulsive reaction.

"We played with the same bands at the Leeds Festival, and hearing some of their motives for playing music was disgusting," he says. "The guy from Puddle of Mudd killed me. The whole weekend he had this attitude of, 'Don't you know who I am?'--waiting for someone to come up to him, like, 'Hey, you're that guy from Puddle of Mudd!' The two singing clowns from Prodigy kicked us out of our dressing rooms so they could have a massage room. I feel horrible talking about other bands, but this isn't from a musical perspective, it's from a personal point of view."

If it seems like Dillinger Escape Plan are a little testy, it's because the band has never followed the backstage-rubdown route. Yet they're huge underground stars because of the band's sophisticated, ability to shred with impressive force.

Formed in 1997, the band has overcome multiple lineup changes, lost a band member to a partially paralyzing car accident (bassist Adam Doll, who added keyboards and samples to the band's latest EP), and slowly hammered away at decidedly unfashionable, complicated music. Between their skillful, light-speed time changes and their crushing grindcore-jazz-meets-speed-metal freak-outs, the band puts an artistic spin on caustic metal.

"We're a difficult band to listen to," Puciato laughs. "Not that we try to make it that way, but even hearing our new stuff that Chris [Pennie, drummer] and Ben [Weinman, guitarist] write, I'm like, 'Jesus Christ, how am I gonna learn this? How are people gonna be able to remember this?'"

One of Dillinger Escape Plan's most prominent fans--besides System of a Down, who took DEP on as an opening act for their European tour--is resident freak genius Mike Patton, who added vocals to the band's recent four-song headfuck, Irony Is a Dead Scene. Whether he's crooning about "When Good Dogs Do Bad Things" or venomously threatening to "eat your soul" on the band's electro-damaged cover of Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy," Patton adds yet another angle to an already multifaceted act.

"He came in and did something completely different vocally than was done on [1999's] Calculating Infinity," says Puciato, who opted not to record with the group for their first release with him as a member, to allow Patton's work to stand alone on Irony. "It opens the doors for us to do something really different on our next CD. If I were to come in singing on my first release, people would be like, 'Whoa, what's going on? There's something besides screaming.' But the way Mike did it, people are a lot more accepting, because no one is saying Mike's selling out [by altering the band's sound].

"They know you can't expect anything from him, and it shows you can't pin us down either. It frees us to be able to do whatever we want, and not have people concerned that we're not screaming all the time, or always playing at 100 miles an hour."