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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Beware the Elephantmen!

    A former member of Acid Bath, and now frontman of the mysterious duo Deadboy and the Elephantmen, Dax Riggs’ life story seems to harness no element of normality.

    Growing up, Riggs was a devout Jehovah’s Witness and often spent his weekends playing the role of the menacing, suit-dressed, vagabond preachers who infringe upon doorsteps nationwide. In a very bizarre turn of events, Riggs found himself disproving his ever-so-earnest religious beliefs when he stayed up late one night to watch 1980 horror flick “”The Elephant Man.””

    “”At the time I was a young kid, and the movie had a really great effect on me,”” Riggs said. “”It made me question a lot of my beliefs.””

    It’s no surprise that Riggs ended up naming his current band after such a traumatic event, but the “”Deadboy”” aspect of the group’s name proved to be a little more abstruse.

    “”It’s really just a name to put my songs under,”” said Riggs. “”It has to do with a certain spiritual point of view.””

    At 12, after refining his outlook on life, Riggs ended up moving to Louisiana with his not-so-religious father. Less than a year after the move, Riggs’ freakish saga continued when he dropped out of school at 13 and left for Florida with a girl.

    “”When I left, I was just this 13-year-old saying I was gonna play music,”” Riggs said. “”It was a classic stooges story.””

    After several years on the grind, Riggs finally found success with the formation of Acid Bath. The band was an experimental group that often played heavy metal music with a variety of acoustic guitars, spoken word and sampling. Though it proved to be semi-influential and experienced varied success, the band abruptly broke up after the death of bass guitarist Audie Pitre, who was killed along with his parents when they were struck by a drunk driver.

    “”It was hard,”” Riggs said. “”After he died we weren’t this close group of friends anymore.””

    Several years after the tragic breakup of Acid Bath, Riggs facilitated the success of his current “”Deadboy”” project when he met his only fellow bandmate Tess Brunet, who plays drums and sings backup vocals.

    “”She lived a block away from me, but we met through her husband,”” Riggs said.

    The whole persona of the band has a mysterious feel to it, which seems to be almost symbolic of the elephant man incident. The music has an eerie vibe but puts the listener in a mellow trance at the same time.

    “”We’re trying to play guerilla rock,”” Riggs said.

    That is not an understatement. Having only a guitarist and a drummer, the duo is typically left economizing its sound due to the simple makeup of the band. Riggs’ elegantly spasmodic voice is able to escalate the uncanny sound of the band.

    Deadboy and the Elephantmen will play this Saturday at 11:45 p.m. at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Tickets are $7. The show is 21 and over.

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