Alternately ridiculous and rocking, Madison rockers AXIOM have been bringing their own concoction of humor-laden grunge-metal for the past several years. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist, Jakob Wheeler, Justin Roettger on bass, and drummer Dan Stoffels, the band mixes influences from Primus to Nirvana to hints of GWAR (without the cartoonishness and fake bodily fluids) and just released their first full-length LP, Philly Phakeout, in June. Wheeler says the inspiration for the name came from “wanting to name the album after a move like ‘The Dirty Sanchez’ or ‘The Cleveland Steamer’ (grossout sex position jokes that became popular on the Internet and on MTV’s former late night sex show, Loveline) and Philly Phakeout seemed like a good name for one (”people will have to Google that one”, Roettger laughs.) As far as the reaction to the album title, Stoffels laughs, “Chicks have a mixed reaction, some are grossed out by it and some are slighty intrigued. Some only act like they’re disgusted so their friends don’t think they’re weird. And some grab you and pull you into the bathroom.”
They intersperse comedy bits throughout the record, Tenacious D and Adam Sandler-style, but when the music starts, they break right into the heavy with the first track and you know you’re in for something special when the first lines are “Don’t you forget to pack a lunch, when you come to feel my Donkey Punch“ (indeed, another grossout move that also serves as the title to the song.) “Shorter on Paper“ brings out hints of Hum meeting Alice in Chains with acoustic and softer guitars making way for a monster distorted dirge as well as providing a more serious counterpoint to the more absurd tracks. Those would include “Shaving The Slaves“ (which provides one of the most preposterously cool bass riffs on the verse you’ll hear this year) or “Coke Breath“ (a paean for a lost lover due to drug-induced halitosis.) Other standout album tracks are the instrumental, “Ocarina of Bar Time“ (a lovely piano-flavored geek shoutout to the Nintendo 64 Legend of Zelda title) and the soft-loud dynamic of “Gone Away“ (and its gorgeous acoustic guitar ending.) To get a flavor of what the band sounds like, they’d either recommend the punkish “Wallet“ (as in an ode to losing one’s) or the title track as songs that provides a good introduction to what they’re all about.
There’s a lot of posturing and seriousness in rock, but for those looking for something decidedly different and like the idea of heavy music laced with a lot of humor, AXIOM provides that alternative on their first album. As far as where they’re headed, Roettger says “Shows and more shows, we want to spread out more in the Midwest, start with weekend tours and work our way up to longer stints. Just get a new TV in the van and just go.” AXIOM is crass, carefree, and fun with their tongues firmly embedded in their cheeks. With their upcoming appearance at The Annex on November 1st, Roettger gives an idea of what to expect from an AXIOM Halloween party. “It’s a complete Star Wars geekout, up and down the board, the crowd will bleed The Force. If you like rock and roll and metal and fun, you’re gonna be blasted out of the water. If you’re looking for the best collection of Madison talent on Halloween and if you’re a Star Wars fan, you’re going to have a damned good time at the show. Trekkies are going to have to live long and prosper at home.”