Artist of the Week: Hell's Engine

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Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to introducingliston@gmail.com.

As our regular readers know, we experienced a bit of heartache about two weeks ago. Last week we were a downtrodden, inconsolable heap of self-hate. This week we’re friggin' pissed. It’s the second leg of the emotional decathlon one experiences after a relationship ends and it involves lots of porn, hateful anonymous comments to random blogs, and some sick punk rock.

It’s no surprise, then, that this week we’re totally digging rugged rockers Hell's Engine. On our patented Rugged Rocker Music Rating System we rate Hell's Engine two-and-three-quarter Lame Punk Guy In A Misfits Jackets out of four.

We got some time in with Hell's Engine bassist Helvis Sexxy and had him answer a few questions.

Houston Press: Clearly, Hellvis Sexy is your legal name, so let's skip right past that. Tell us a little bit about how you guys came together. Please, feel free to lie.

Helvis Sexxy: We are a group of longtime friends who all played in several different bands and decided to pull away from all of our projects and unite into Hell's Engine. The name Hell's Engine came about from a good friend of ours. We really did not sit around thinking about what it would be called; we kinda of went with it.

When I was asked what the name was all about, I just said, “Listen to our music.” It’s raw, rough reality. We are not role models, nor do we ever intend to be. I would not give my record to my own 12-year-old child (if I had a 12-year-old child). Our music is about all the shit your mother warned you about.

HP: Your music is about not wearing our sister’s clothes? Wow, that’s really specific. Tell us, what exactly is a Hell's Engine? We weren't even aware Hell even required an engine.

HS: Hell's Engine is a fast, hard pumping rage of emotions and raw reality. Our music is about real-life scenarios. We are not some poppy punk band singing about girlfriend break-ups and so forth. If you were in hell and riding the elevator down, we would be the background music.

HP: You've got a sweet little love song that juxtaposes a bilateral communion of existentialism and incarnate emotion. It really is a heartwarming, beautiful song and is sure to be a wedding first-dance favorite. Tell us the inspiration behind "Chopper Slut."

HS: “Chopper Slut” is a song about a girl I once knew who would frequent this local, shitty hole-in-the-wall biker bar. Her name I will not mention, but all she was about was living the fast life. If you had a bike and a lot of speed to do, she was surely to be getting on the back of it by the end of the night. I love that song.

HP: Given our current state of affairs, we happen to enjoy that song very much as well. This doesn't have anything to do with your band specifically, but we've always wanted to know: Why do rockers get tattoos and have long hair? I mean, part of being a rocker is not conforming, right? They don't want to be like everyone else, but then they look just like every other rocker. Seems a tad ironic.

HS: Everyone conforms in some way or another even if they [don’t] realize it. Does "originality" actually exist anymore? Everyone seems to look and sound the same these days. Fuck, man, you got us beat on that one.

But I will say we are not going to be the one's who'll say, "Lets do this or lets do that, so we can be different from everyone else." Trying to be different is trendy. People are losing the focus when it comes to being a rocker or a punk. It’s all about the fucking attitude!!!

HP: Yeah, man. We actually judge how punk someone is by the number of exclamation points someone puts at the end of a sentence. Hypothetically speaking, would you rather your son be in a Gary Glitter tribute band, pep squad or have a very strong affinity for watching men's gymnastics? Why?

H: None of the above; I have a daughter, thank God! Who the hell is Gary Glitter?

HP: Dude, Gary Glitter is only the gnarliest of all punk rockers. Google him, you’ll see.

Hell's Engine is currently recording its next LP with Digital Warehouse, to be released by Speed Freak Records. Check the band's MySpace page for show updates. - Shea Serrano

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