BEST BAND TO LEAVE THE TWIN CITIES IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (2001)
American Head Charge
We'll allow that American Head Charge sound like Korn, and that their torsos alone could subsidize the south Minneapolis tattoo industry for a fiscal quarter. We'll admit that the band has gone Hollywood fast enough to make Tommy Stinson look like a tourist, moving into Rick Rubin's Hollywood Hills mansion to cut an album less than two years after opening for System of a Down, their friends on American Recordings. We'll concede that the lead singer's last name is Cock. And we'll further give you that he met another founding member in drug treatment, a sort of Minneapolis band-bio staple. We'll admit, in other words, that American Head Charge represent a sort of stereotype, and they crank their stereotype to 11. But hey, this one goes to 11! American Head Charge are not only bigger than you might expect, but better. And anyone who has been exposed to their live wrath knows those Anthrax-on-samplers grooves are funkier than any Coldplay-Static-X-Papa Roach "heavy rock" from La-La Land. Besides, in a cool Minnesota twist, the lyrics are pretty damn passive-subversive--new titles include "Americunt Evolving Into Useless Psychic Garbage" (the suits will love that one). No wonder the septet's TV-smashing, keyboard-crashing farewell show at First Avenue last year looked like a battle scene out of Glory: One audience member even thrust a giant upside-down flag toward the parapet before bouncers intervened. These musicians and fans maintain one of the few local shows with a pit that's still scary. And the pit is getting larger: After mixing an as yet untitled major-label debut, the crew will return on tour with Ozzfest to reach a wider audience than ever this summer. Stand back.