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Zachary Byron Helm: Black Leather, Bingo, And Nine Inch Nails

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Rocks Off likes to check in on Zachary Byron Helm and SORP Films from time to time just to see what the master of goth, industrial, and other dark music parodies is up to. Whether it's his masterpiece of mockery The League of Extraordinary Industrial Retards or peddling a rockabilly cereal we always know a good laugh at 90% of our friends is a sure thing.

We got something quite new in his latest film, Closer to Bingo though. Though much of his work is centered around spooky music and fans who appreciate it he hasn't really made a music video or a parody song before that we're aware of. Well, if you're going to start you might as well start at the top, and Helm did by bringing together Trent Reznor and bingo.

You can sort of see the connection, right? Trent revolutionized goth and industrial with his harsh beats, hard rock touches, and the epitome of the tortured artist soul. Bingo, uh, inspired a popular kid's song?

Well, both have gotten us in trouble with God. Reznor's blasphemous lyrics have surely earned us a spot in Hades, as have our penchant for adding the last line of the bingo song to "Jesus Loves Me." Helm's video is top-notch. Give it a gander...

Rocks Off sat down with helm for a brief conversation on the music video.

Rocks Off: First off, who can we thank for the song itself?

Zachary Byron Helm: The song was performed by Joshua Swann. When I set about writing the parody I looked online for NIN parodies and found very little, but I ran across a parody called "The Perfect Rug" and was astounded by his ability to sing in Trent's specific style and cadence. He is Australian. I don't know why that seems important to me, but it is.

RO: And now onto the meat of the matter. Goths and BINGO? Really?

ZBH: Back in the day I met a girl named Kelly from Baltimore at a local club. These were the good old days of goth when you wore white clown makeup and set the rest of the makeup gun to "Whore" whether you were a guy or girl. She told me we were doing something awesome and to get really dressed up. I figured "Really awesome" constituted a previously unknown goth night or an orgy so I was nonplussed when we pulled up to a bingo parlor.

I remember thinking to myself as I dabbed the paper, "This is lame, this is so freaking lame...oh holy crap! I'm only 2 away from winning some money! This kicks ass!"

In other words, the prospect of winning $200 for splatting some paper with a big giant gooey pen was sufficient enough for me to pull the PVC and chrome goth stick out of my ass for a night which was no short order by 1994 standards. I now use the same tactic for springing bingo on my unsuspecting friends, plus it's hilarious to go dressed like we went through the wrong doors and meant to attend the Manson concert next door.

RO: Why did you switch through various Reznor incarnations in the video rather than just stick with how he looked in "Closer?"

ZBH: I took the Weird Al, "Dare to be Stupid" video approach which is to parody the general atmosphere of all the artists work as much as possible. "Closer" is, as a video, kind of random and didn't give me a lot to work with. Plus I wanted to do "Wish," "March of the Pigs" and "Perfect Drug" which despite Trent's lack of affection for I have always found to be an astoundingly awesome video.

I also just wanted to see how much of it I could do. Not having a budget so to speak it's a challenge to try to ape something that costs thousands of dollars. I think the most money I spent was that wig at $30. Incidentally, those hot pants in the "Wish" scenes, you cannot find them anywhere.

I finally cut up a pair of Hannah Montana pants I found at Goodwill. Do what you want with that one. I found those the last day of filming and we shot it all in my front yard. Look closely and you'll see my neighbor's porch light in some shots.

RO: Are there any other traditionally old-people activities you think Goths should get into like shuffleboard, or macramé, or voting?

ZBH: You say that like there's a difference between old people and goths these days? I hate to break it to you but the general populace of goths is far closer to getting discounted pot roasts at Denny's than we are to getting student prices at the movies.

RO: And finally, will we see the conclusion to League of Extraordinary Industrial Retards anytime soon?

ZBH: Probably not. I made that movie with Rich and he has quickly become my own personal Bill Murray Vs. Ghostbusters 3. I have asked him to help me film it, especially since I'd really like to weigh in on Steampunk but it's not looking good at this time.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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