Hollywood Undead Crawl Out Of MySpace To Invade Your Space

Al Shipley | October 24, 2008 12:00 pm

A while back, when Maura noted that one of the few albums that had experienced a sales increase during a particularly grim week on the Billboard 200 was by the MySpace-spawned mask-wearing rap metal goofballs Hollywood Undead, I cracked, “I don’t know if I’m dreading or anticipating this ridiculous band cracking a radio chart so that I have to write about them.” And so it is with a strange mix of horrified glee that I report to you that Hollywood Undead has debuted on Billboard‘s Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart this week with “Undead” at No. 36. As it turns out, as of the time of my comment, they’d already begun their climb on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart; “Undead” has since ascended to No. 21.

Hollywood Undead were anointed MySpace superstars way back in those heady days of 2005, before the dream of a social-networking site functioning as some kind of democratic equalizer that would launch musicians who are really good at clicking “add friend” was murdered by Tila Tequila’s attempt at a recording career. So it’s a little surprising that seeds sown three years ago, when Hollywood Undead racked up its first million plays, have finally blossomed into a major-label album release and a charting single. And the fact that the band sounds more like some kind of late-’90s throwback–think Insane Clown Posse fronting Stabbing Westward–only makes their recent victory all the more surprising and anachronistic.

Because MySpace is about the last place I’d look to follow a music chart, the first I heard of Hollywood Undead was this past summer, when Baltimore’s Virgin Mobile Festival held a Book The Band contest in which the public voted on a band to open the festival’s second day. And of course, the contest was widely mocked when an “Internet-only band” that had never played a live show before successfully mobilized its online fanbase to secure a spot on the same stage as Bob Dylan and Kanye West. I attended and reviewed this year’s festival, but didn’t show up early to see Hollywood Undead’s set because, let’s face it, the opportunity to crack jokes about some lousy contest winners is not a good enough reason to make a 10-hour day into an 11-hour one. Still, I welcome the insurgence of Hollywood Undead, whose members include Charlie Scene, Johnny 3 Tears and Da Kurlzz, because honestly, the rock airwaves haven’t seen a band quite this ludicrous since the decline of Limp Bizkit.

Another other noteworthy debuts on Modern Rock this week is at No. 33: “Love Hurts” by Incubus, which I was somewhat disappointed to find is not a Nazareth cover. It’s the fourth song to crack the chart from Light Grenades, which will be two years old in November. Back in January, I noted that Incubus, despite seeming past their commercial prime to me, was the only band to have scored three spots on Billboard‘s list of the Top 40 Hot Modern Rock Songs of 2007, and marveled at how faithful radio had been. Even back then, the album seemed to have run its course, with the third US single “Oil And Water” having finally dropped off the chart. Now “Love Hurts,” which was released as the album’s third single in Europe in mid-2007, is finally getting a surge of Stateside airplay, and it’s hard to tell exactly why. Incubus’ official site recently posted a video for the song, but it’s taken from a concert DVD, Look Alive, that was released nearly a year ago. Still, given recent statements from the band, which indicated that they wouldn’t be releasing another album until 2010, I can’t blame them for continuing to milk Grenades for even more chart success.