WHEN UNCLE ACID and the Deadbeats released their first full-length, Volume 1, in 2010, they'd never played a live show. But on the strength of that album, the band quickly spread across the underground, oozing into the ears of unsuspecting victims. By the time they released their second full-length, Blood Lust, fans all over the world were clamoring for it, and pressings of Volume 1 were going for hundreds of dollars to rabid collectors.
Countless bands sound like they were born too late, but the vibe that Uncle Acid puts out is particularly special. They add a slinky, slimy, slithery psych quality to heavy, bluesy throwback rock grooves, and then cover it with a veil of eerie darkness. Their music is inviting and friendly, but if you listen really hard, it can also give you the creeps. An Uncle Acid record is like hearing the thoughts and feelings of somebody with the charisma of Charles Manson or Jim Jones put to music.
As if aware of the band's sociopath leanings, Kevin Starrs (AKA Uncle Acid) conceptualized the band's third long-player, Mind Control, about a cult leader.
"It's a story about a guy who thinks he's God. He takes some pilgrims up a mountain to show them enlightenment, but once they get to the top, he kills them all. Being able to take their lives like that proves to him that he is God, so he comes back down and starts his own cult in the desert. He's basically a psychopath."
Writing a conceptual album might seem like a daunting task, but for Starrs it took a bit of the stress off. "It makes things easier for me to write. It's like writing one long story rather than nine or 10 short ones."
The concept melds perfectly with the music. There's a hypnotic quality running through the entire length of Mind Control that's like being persuaded to travel down a path to evil and depravity. Starrs claims he doesn't have to think too hard to put people in a trance.
"The music is weird... because it's so intuitive," he says. "You don't have to think when you're writing music—it just appears."