Friday, June 3, 2011
Flashback Friday - Scissorfight
The following is a quote from the introduction to a 2002 interview with Scissorfight, conducted by the website Chronicles of Chaos (www.chroniclesofchaos.com). “If you like beer, cheap women, bar fights, hunting, giving the middle finger, dirty sex, camping, pissing in the woods, Ted Nugent, gross humor, swearing, biker gangs, leather, brass knuckles, Motorhead, ignoring authority, facial hair, poor hygiene, Clutch, driving long highway stretches, drugs, tattoos and loud music, then New Hampshire’s shit-kicking, heavy rock act Scissorfight is just what you need.” And if you’re at all familiar with this band, then you know how true that quote actually is.
Scissorfight got their start in Portsmouth, New Hampshire back in 1995 when guitarist Jay Fortin (who would become better known for using stage names like Geezum H. Crow, Octocock and Fuck You), bassist Paul Jarvis and drummer Joel Muzzey started playing music together. In need of a vocalist, they eventually recruited a wooly mammoth of a man by the name of Ironlung to “stand there and look scary”. Before long, the band would relocate to Boston, where the unpredictable nature of their live shows would immediately garner attention and eventually contribute to a rather notorious reputation within the local music scene. According to their bio, during one such performance, Ironlung dislocated his shoulder and to the horror of those in attendance, spent the entire show attempting to knock it back into place. It was during this initial period in Boston that Muzzey decided that Scissorfight was not for him. Fortunately, the band didn’t have to look too far to find a replacement, as Ironlung’s brother, Kevin J. Strongbow would step in to fill the role.
A year later, with their lineup intact and plenty of shows under their belt, Scissorfight entered the studio and recorded their debut album Guaranteed Kill. The disc featured the band’s signature mix of down tuned groove, inane subject matter (e.g. “Supervirgin vs. Death Machine”, “Planet of Ass”) and Ironlung’s garbled growl. The album garnered three nominations for the 1997 Boston Music Awards, one of which Scissorfight took home. More gigs up and down the East coast followed, and in 1998, the band recorded their second album Balls Deep which expanded upon its predecessor with songs like “Stove by a Whale” and the fan favorite “The Gibbetted Captain Kidd”, leading to positive press in the media and Scissorfight’s first real taste of recognition outside of New England.
On the heels of this success, the band signed with independent label Tortuga Recordings for their next album, 1999’s New Hampshire, which was a brash, rock n’ roll homage to their home state and its motto “Live Free or Die”. With this release, the accolades and recognition continued to roll in, with the band appearing in a “You Hear it First” spot on MTV and MTV2 as well as scoring a high profile slot on the side stage of the 2000 Boston River Rave Festival which featured household names like Stone Temple Pilots and Godsmack. To keep their growing legion of fans satisfied, later that same year Scissorfight released an EP titled Piscataqua which featured two original tracks alongside covers of tunes by the Dead Kennedys, GG Allin, the Dwarves, Aerosmith and Nervous Eaters.
A year later, the band released their fourth full length, Mantrapping for Sport and Profit, featuring the classic cuts “New Hampshire’s All Right if You Like Fighting” and “Blizzards, Buzzards, and Bastards”. Then in 2002, they began their conquest of Europe by releasing American Cloven Hoof Blues, an album featuring a mix of new songs and re-recorded versions of some of their classics, the idea of which was to give the folks across the pond a taste of what they’d been missing. Over the next few years, Scissorfight would keep busy through incessant touring, slowing down now and again to feed their fans with new music by way of two EP releases, 2002’s Potential New Agent for Unconventional Warfare and 2003’s Deathchants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes Vol. 2. They were honored with the “Best Hard Rock Band” award at the Boston Music Awards two years running (2003/2004). And in 2004 the band documented one of their raucous (almost) hometown performances in the live album Instant Live: Middle East – Cambridge, MA 11/13/04.
Scissorfight’s final output would be their 2006 masterpiece Jaggernaut, featuring another of the band’s classic tracks “Victory Over Horseshit”. A subsequent tour of both Europe and the U.S. with Orange Goblin would follow. Unfortunately however, that would be the last we’d hear from the mighty Scissorfight. Paul Jarvis (bass) and Jay Fortin (guitar) would go on to play in a band called Mess With the Bull. Kevin J. Strongbow has supposedly played with Steve Brodsky of Cave In fame. And Ironlung, who never was one to play nice with others, has worked on a solo project he’s dubbed Dead Whale.
To my knowledge, Scissorfight never officially announced a breakup or disbanding, so we can only hope there’s still more self-described “acid mountain rock” to come from the boys from the Granite State. To quote the heavy metal rag Metal Maniacs, “Scissorfight…lay claim on territory made popular by Clutch, Stompbox and even White Zombie by incorporating elements of each in every facet of its output.” If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then you need to check these guys out…and if it doesn’t…well then what are you doing here?
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