Welcome to Dark Meat

Lights, costumes, body paint … perhaps a bassist wearing a dress paired with a Viking helmet. Sounds like a recipe for a fun show, or rather, a Dark Meat show.

Dark Meat, a 13-23 piece psychedelic rock band with dancers and horns and two drummers, will be visiting Mike ‘n Molly’s on Wednesday, June 27. In an interview with TinyMixTapes.com, bassist Ben Clack said that Dark Meat tastes like “clouds and butterfly wing filaments.” In other words, a band that tastes exotic, a band that tastes differently than your average Joe band. Clack also said that Dark Meat is a group of close friends that simply love to make music together – sounds delicious.

In an interview with the buzz, Clack said he met singer/lead guitarist Jim McHugh roughly 10 years ago in North Carolina when the idea of Dark Meat began to flutter around in their heads. The creation of Dark Meat truly flew while under the influence of an Olivia Tremor Control concert deep in the Georgian woods.

“Everybody was on acid and mushrooms and stuff. We just saw how good psychedelic music could be and how we could do that, too,” Clack said. “We started out with four [members], and after like the third or fourth practice, we just started inviting more people over to play and started flushing out different sounds, and the band just grew.”

Clack is the catalyst for much of the visual presentation now associated with Dark Meat. He cites Robert Rauschenberg’s performance art and past involvement with “anarchy theatre people” as primary influences.

“I was just really into free expression that takes place in public spaces and not being afraid to really stretch out your imagination – not hold that in. It was just about having fun and getting out of your head.”

The music itself is difficult to classify. I guess that’s what you’d expect from a band influenced by Black Flag’s Greg Ginn, Sandy Denny, and free-jazz composer Albert Ayler.

“We want to take people away from their day-to-day lives and really get them to start thinking about what’s inside, whether it be good or bad,” said Clack.

Right now, Clack is listening to Drakkar Sauna, who he describes as if they would be backing up Shel Silverstein or as “heavy, tripped-out, free form noise stuff” from Japan. The song writing of Dark Meat is done largely by McHugh; but, as you’d expect from a band of this size, the creative process is largely communal and reflects the personalities of each member of the group.

“Everybody is just kind of feeding off of each other. That’s sort of what our music is about. It’s just about our friendships.”

The cover of Dark Meat’s first album, Universal Indians, channels a ’60s commune, similar to the way the band functions as a unit. Even money is shared and put into the band – no one goes without anything they might need. They also happen to travel in a 15-person van.

“It really works. You’ve got to get along, so everybody kind of pushes out the little ego things, kind of loses their natural form of self and just realizes they’re part of this thing.”

Bringing back the psychedelic aura of the Olivia Tremor Control show, Dark Meat enjoys a good audience that likes to dance – freely.

“We just try to go for a full sensory experience, to turn it into this really interactive thing. We’re kind of just barely steering the ship. If you want to cover yourself in body paint and look crazy, do it.”

Summer nights are made for this kind of stuff. So strip down, paint on, and head over to Mike ‘n Molly’s, 105 N. Market St., on June 27, say around 8 p.m. – I’ll be hiding in the bushes flashing pictures. Hah, just kidding.

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