Hollywood Undead: On the Edge

Unmasking This Dark, Gritty Band

hollywood undead
Hollywood Undead. Photo courtesy Total Assault.

Hollywood Undead melds the rap-rock aggression of Limp Bizkit, the brutally honest self-examination of Eminem and the objectionable content of gangsta rap. Hailing from Hollywood, California, the members of this six-piece unit perform under pseudonyms and wear masks on stage to protect their identity. Embodying the dark underside that lies beneath the phony glitz of Hollywood, the band’s songs often revel in the desperate ugliness of the city’s less-glamorous elements.

Gleefully amoral, Hollywood Undead demonstrates a penchant for casual sex and an obsession with angst-fueled diatribes leveled at their enemies.

Hollywood Undead's Origins

Hollywood Undead’s start was hardly momentous. In 2005, two Los Angeles friends, Deuce and J-Dog, collaborated on a few tracks and decided to post them online. But as interest increased, the guys formed Hollywood Undead with Charlie Scene, Da Kurlzz, Funny Man and Johnny 3 Tears. Originally, the band also included Shady Jeff, but he left the group before their debut album dropped in 2008.

'Swan Songs'

Signed to A&M/Octone, Hollywood Undead released "Swan Songs" in September 2008. Mixing rap, metal and pop, "Swan Songs" featured candid portraits of the band members’ childhoods but also contained unflattering attitudes about women that were often childish but could also be very funny. Clearly, the members of Hollywood Undead weren’t concerned with political correctness -- throughout "Swan Songs" there’s an undeniably juvenile streak befitting the foul-mouthed material and prankster spirit.

Consequently, the album makes for an unusual juxtaposition of early Beastie Boys-style irreverence and the gritty worldview of gangsta rap.

'American Tragedy'

In April 2011, Hollywood Undead released its sophomore effort, "American Tragedy." By this point, founding member Deuce was no longer part of the group.

In 2012, he released his own solo album, "Nine Lives." The first single from "American Tragedy," “Hear Me Now,” was another sizable hit for the band. Critics remained cool to Hollywood Undead, but the album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard charts, their best showing to that point.

Heading 'Underground' and 'Day of the Dead'

Two years later, Hollywood Undead unveiled "Notes From the Underground," which hit No. 2 on the charts; it topped the Hard Rock Albums chart. The sextet remained rude and antagonistic, but its melodic skill showed signs of growth. And on the single “We Are,” they played to their strengths: anthem-ready rap-rock that gets off on its own underdog attitude. The group's 2015 release, "Day of the Dead," has 12 cuts -- nine have explicit lyrics.

Current Band Members

  • Charlie Scene
  • Da Kurlzz
  • Danny
  • Funny Man
  • J-Dog
  • Johnny 3 Tears

Key Hollywood Undead Songs

“Undead” (Purchase/Download)
“California” (Purchase/Download)
“No. 5” (Purchase/Download)

Discography

"Swan Songs" (2008) (Purchase/Download)
"Desperate Measures" (2009) (Purchase/Download)
"American Tragedy" (2011) (Purchase/Download)
"American Tragedy Redux" (remix album) (2011) (Purchase/Download)
"Notes From the Underground" (2013) (Purchase/Download)
"Day of the Dead" (2015) (Purchase/Download)

 

Hollywood Undead Quotes

Johnny 3 Tears, on when he knew he wanted to be a musician.
"When I realized I like alcohol so much -- only occupation where [you're] supposed to be drunk." --Trig.com

J-Dog, on the band members' love lives.
"We have slept with a lot of the same girls, and that's not even a lie. Whoever reads this -- you know who you are." -- ARTISTdirect

J-Dog, describing the band's sound.
"We don't try to make our music. We live our music." -- ARTISTdirect

Former singer Shady Jeff, on how the band started.
"We were just a bunch of loser kids who sat around our friend's house all day, and we started making music and recording it on a computer." -- The New York Times

Hollywood Undead Trivia

  • Johnny 3 Tears took his stage name from a band he used to be in called 3 Tears.
  • J-Dog is associated with a magazine called Hollywoodland, which advertises itself as "The first magazine truly about Hollywood, by Hollywood people, for Hollywood people."