Hollywood Undead is an American rap rock band from Los Angeles, California. They released their debut album, Swan Songs, on September 2, 2008, and their live CD/DVD Desperate Measures, on November 10, 2009. Their second studio album, American Tragedy, was released April 5, 2011. All of the band members use pseudonyms and wear their own unique mask, most of which are based on the common hockey goaltender design. The band members currently consist of Charlie Scene, Da Kurlzz, Danny, Funny Man, J-Dog, and Johnny 3 Tears. The band has sold over 2 million records in the United States alone, and about 3 million records worldwide. Their third studio album, titled Notes from the Underground, was released on January 8, 2013.
The band originated on June 3, 2005 from a song titled "The Kids" that Jorel Decker (J-Dog) and Aron Erlichman (Deuce) posted on the band's MySpace profile to positive reviews, leading them to form the group Hollywood Undead with their friends Jeff Philips (Shady), George Ragan (Johnny 3 Tears), Jordon Terrell (Charlie Scene), Dylan Alvarez (Funny Man), and Matthew St. Claire (Da Kurlzz). In an interview with Shave magazine, J-Dog explained that when forming the band "Whoever was in the room at the time and played an instrument was in the band." Shady Jeff later left the group reasons currently unknown to the public. He currently works as a mechanic and is working on converting diesel cars into vehicles that can run on vegetable oil.
Swan Songs, Desperate Measures, and Record Deal (2007–2009)
The band only took one year working on their debut album, Swan Songs. The other two years were spent looking for a company that wouldn't try to censor the album. They first signed a record contract with MySpace Records in 2005 but they left the label after the label tried to censor their first album. They then signed a contract with A&M/Octone Records and their first album, Swan Songs was released on September 2, 2008 and reached No.22 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of release, selling 21,000 copies; which was later on released in the United Kingdom on May 18, 2009 with two bonus tracks. In April of 2009, the band toured with American electronic musician Skrillex as "Sonny and the Blood Monkeys". On June 23, 2009, Hollywood Undead released Swan Songs B-Sides EP through iTunes.
The band released a CD/DVD set entitled Desperate Measures on November 10, 2009. The set includes a CD of previously unreleased six new songs, three of which are cover songs, as well a previously unreleased remix of "Everywhere I Go", and six live recordings of songs from Swan Songs, and a DVD of a full live performance by the band. In December 2009, the band won Best Crunk/Rock Rap Artist at the Rock on Request Awards. In its first week of release, Desperate Measures reached No. 29 on the Billboard 200. It also peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard's Rock Albums chart, No. 8 on the Alternative Albums chart, No. 5 on the Hard Rock albums chart, and No. 15 on the Digital Albums chart.
Departure of Deuce (2010)
In early 2010, the band announced that singer, Deuce, had left the band due to musical differences. Hints of Deuce's departure were noticed when he did not take part in the Vatos Locos tour. After a couple weeks on tour, the band asked long-time friend, Daniel Murillo, to fill in for Deuce's role. This was not too long after Murillo had just advanced past the auditions for season 9 of American Idol. Murillo decided to drop out of the competition and join the band. Daniel Murillo was also the lead singer of the band, Lorene Drive, which is currently on hiatus due to his involvement with Hollywood Undead. Deuce later released a song titled Story of a Snitch against the group, claiming he was kicked out. The band stated that they didn't want to "stoop to his level" and chose to simply ignore the controversy. In mid-January, the band announced Daniel Murillo was an official member, going by the nickname of "Danny".
Not much was known about the situation until the subject was brought up by interviewer Bryan Stars on YouTube. Johnny 3 Tears and Da Kurlzz told the interviewer that the band had to constantly satisfy Deuce while touring. "It was so bad, that I don't think there would've been another record if he was still with us", Da Kurlzz told the interviewer. "We bent over backwards to accommodate Deuce", he said. Johnny 3 Tears, growing weary about the subject, said, "It was just that he didn't like being on the road, so we would have to do things to make him happy. He also claimed to be writing all the songs, and all this B.S.". The band decided to drop the subject afterwards, saying that they have moved on from the situation and would prefer not putting in too much detail.
Martini Beerman of rock.com interviewed Charlie Scene and J-Dog, and the two decided to explain the final events that led up to the split. Charlie Scene told the interviewer, "He wanted to have his personal assistant (Jimmy Yuma) come on the tour. None of us have personal assistants, we're not egomaniacs. We don't need that, and he wanted the band to pay for it and we did for like four months. After that we were like, 'we're not gonna pay $800 a week to have your buddy out on tour'. We went to the airport to fly out for our next tour, and he didn't show up. We were like, what the fuck do we do? We called him and he didn't answer. So for the first 2 weeks of that tour, I sang all his parts."
American Tragedy and Redux (2010–2011)
The band soon began writing material for their second studio album; American Tragedy. On April 1, 2010, the band started its own iheartradio station, with horror and thriller tales. In recent interviews, the band has stated intentions to record their second album in summer 2010 and release it in the fall. James Diener, head of the band's record label, confirmed the next album for a fall 2010 release and believes that it will launch the band into more mainstream success, making it a "big next step" for the group. The band has also confirmed that producer Don Gilmore, who also worked on their debut album, has returned to produce the new album. Recording concluded around mid-November and the band began mixing the album the day after Thanksgiving.
The band began a marketing campaign for the second album. They co-headlined the Nightmare After Christmas Tour with Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour to support the album. On December 8, 2010, the band released the artwork for the album's first single, titled "Hear Me Now". The track was released on December 13, for radio and on the band's YouTube page, and was made available online as a digital single on December 21. J-Dog commented that this is his favorite song that the band has done so far. The song's lyrics tell the story of a person who is depressed and hopeless, taking a very somber tone to the track. Despite this, the instruments and melodies contrast to make a "great rock smash", reports AOL Radio blog. Within its first couple days of release, the single made it to number 2 on the iTunes Rock Chart.
On January 11, 2011, the band announced the upcoming album will be titled American Tragedy. The next day, they released a preview of the album on their YouTube page. On January 21, they released a new song, "Comin' in Hot" available for a free download. Also revealed in the "Comin' in Hot" trailer that the new album will be released in March 2011. In a recent interview, the group announced that the official release date for the album would be March 8, 2011 but as of February 22, 2011, it was announced that the album has been pushed back to April 5, 2011.
On February 6, 2011, the band released another song titled "Been to Hell", for a free download. Hollywood Undead member J-Dog said he will continue to release "sample" music for free download until the album has released, via Hollywood Undead email subscribers, Hollywood Undead website members, and Facebook fans.
American Tragedy turned out to be more successful than their first album Swan Songs, selling about 67,000 copies (66,915) in its debut week, while Swan Songs sold 21,000 copies in its debut. American Tragedy has also peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, while Swan Song's highest peak on the Billboard 200 was No. 22. It has also peaked at No. 2 on many other charts, while also reaching No. 1 on the Billboard's Top Hard Rock Albums chart. The album was also very successful in other countries, making No. 5 in Canada and No. 43 in the United Kingdom.
To continue promoting the album, the band headlined the Revolt Tour, along with 10 Years, Drive A, and New Medicine. The very successful tour took place between April 6 and May 27, 2011. After the tour, the band played several shows in Europe, Canada, and Australia. They will then headline the Endless Summer Tour with All That Remains and Hyro da Hero, which will take place between July 18 and August 7, 2011.
The band announced in August 2011 that they would be releasing a remix album containing remixes of several songs off of the American Tragedy album. The album will include remixes of the tracks "Bullet" and "Le Deux" that are from fans winning a remix contest for each, with the winners earning money, band merchandise, and their track on the EP. A music video will be released for the remix of "Levitate" and the title for the album was confirmed to be American Tragedy Redux, with a release date of November 21, 2011. On November 1, 2011, the band set out on another tour titled the "World War III" tour, with Asking Alexandria, We Came As Romans, Borgore, and D.R.U.G.S. Following the "World War III tour", the band also joined Avenged Sevenfold again on the "Buried Alive" tour, with Black Veil Brides and Asking Alexandria, with dates running from November 11 to December 14.
Notes from the Underground (2011–2013)
Following extensive touring throughout 2011 to promote their second studio album, American Tragedy, and their first remix album, American Tragedy Redux, Charlie Scene announced plans to begin a third studio album in late November 2011. The announcement came after the conclusion of the band's World War III Tour with Asking Alexandria. Charlie Scene stated that the band will begin writing and recording demos while on the Buried Alive Tour with Avenged Sevenfold and begin recording once the tour concludes in December 2011. He also stated the album will sound more similar to Swan Songs than American Tragedy. Commenting on the difference in recording this time around, he stated, "I would say that this time the label gave us full creative control. I think it's going to be more like 'Swan Songs' than 'American Tragedy.' It'll be a mixture of both; I mean, we all grow as artists, we get older, and we've been doing it a long time so I think it'll be more like 'Swan Songs' and I think the fans are gonna like it a lot.
In an interview with Keven Skinner of The Daily Blam, Charlie Scene revealed more information about the album's details. He revealed that there may be collaborations with guest artists on the album. "[Collaborations] would be awesome. I think it's bad to do [them] on your first couple records, to ask people on, but I think that the third record is kind of the point where maybe you can have somebody featured. I think it would be really cool to have someone else sing a chorus on one of our songs or do a verse." When asked about the masks, he replied that they will be upgrading their masks for the next album as well, as they did with the previous two albums. Charlie Scene also explained that the third album will be released much sooner than American Tragedy was, and predicts it will be released by the summer of 2012. "We have a bunch of songs written and we're writing more on the road. We brought some studio equipment with us so we've been able to work on stuff while we're touring. After this tour and we're back home, we'll be able to work with producers that we want to work with and dial all the stuff in that we have – skeletons of songs. We have some really good stuff that we're excited to work on for sure. One thing that we definitely don't want to do is take as long as it took for us to do 'American Tragedy' so there will definitely be a third record out next year and we're hoping for at the latest – summer." He also explained that the album will sound more like Swan Songs did, in the lines of it having more party tracks than American Tragedy did.
Artistdirect named the band's upcoming album as one of the most anticipated albums of 2012, along with other bands such as Linkin Park, Metallica, Black Sabbath, and others. The band revealed that Griffin Boice and Danny Lohner, who worked with the band on their previous albums, have returned to produce the upcoming third album. They also revealed that they will be upgrading their masks again, like they did prior to the release of their second album, American Tragedy.
During 2012, the band is scheduled to play in a series of music festivals, including Epicenter 2012, Summerfest, Aftershock, Rock Fest, and others, joining bands such as Stone Temple Pilots, Escape the Fate, Deftones, and more.
On October 19, they released the track "Dead Bite" from the album for a free download, along with a lyric video to it and announcement for the upcoming album's first single. On October 29, the lead single "We Are" was released along with the album title, named "Notes from the Underground". On December 10, the band released their official music video for "We Are" on their Vevo account on YouTube. The teaser of the video prior the release of the video credit's Slipknot's Shawn "Clown" Crahan as the director the music video.
The album was released on January 13 and sold over 53,000 copies in its first week, charting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on Canada's Top Albums chart. This makes it the highest charting album by the band so far, with their previous record, American Tragedy, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
Fourth studio album (2014–present)
On April 12, 2014, Johnny 3 Tears posted a photo to Instagram showing the cover for a new album set to be released this summer.
Musical style and vocal roles
Hollywood Undead's music features a wide variety of musical styles, generally blending hip hop with alternative rock and dance influence. However, many would identify them as rap rock. Half of the songs in Swan Songs display a more party-based style, such as the songs "Everywhere I Go" and "No. 5" while the other half show a more serious approach to the album, such as "Young" and "Paradise Lost". Many critics have stated to be confused due to the record's constant representation of different sounds.
The band experimented with their sound in their second album American Tragedy, and added in many more musical styles than shown in their first album. American Tragedy continues the band's original style, however, the album has less of a party-based style than Swan Songs, and instead follows a more serious approach. Out of the total 19 tracks on American Tragedy, there are only 3 songs that are based on partying, whereas Swan Songs had 6 out of its 14 tracks. "There is more rock, heavier sound and more pain in the songs," Johnny 3 Tears stated in an interview about the album. The band heavily experimented on the album, adding in more mainstream elements and experimenting with certain instruments that they did not use much in their previous efforts such as synthesizers or acoustic guitars. Many reviewers have compared some of this album to Linkin Park's first two records, due to the heavier tracks such as "Been to Hell" or "Tendencies".
The band is known for their vocal interplay within the songs, usually having 2, 3, and sometimes 4 rappers in a single song, while one member sings the choruses. However, some tracks are left to a single rapper, such as Johnny 3 Tears in "Pour Me", or Charlie Scene in "Everywhere I Go". And two of the songs, "Christmas in Hollywood" and "The Natives", feature all six of members. Guitarist Charlie Scene is known for taking part in the party-based songs such as "Everywhere I Go" or "Comin' in Hot", while also having roles in some of the more serious songs such as "City" and "Levitate". Johnny 3 Tears usually takes part in the more serious and heavier tracks, such as "Young" or "S.C.A.V.A.". Funny Man takes part in mainly the party-based songs such as "Comin' in Hot" and "No. 5", usually teaming up with Charlie Scene. J-Dog is known for his roles in the more fast-paced songs, such as "Tendencies" and "Sell Your Soul" and also takes roles in heavier songs, similarly to Johnny 3 Tears. Although Da Kurlzz doesn't take part in the rapping much, he usually provides screaming for songs like "Been to Hell". Danny (and formerly Deuce) provides singing vocals for the choruses in every song. However, in a few songs such as "Bullet," Charlie Scene sings a chorus, sometimes with Danny as a backup voice.
Names and Appearances
Each member has their own band name, each with a reason:
- J-Dog: From his initials 'Jorel Decker'.
- Johnny 3 Tears: Johnny being a name he likes, and 3 Tears was the band he was in before Hollywood Undead.
- Charlie Scene: A mix up with Charlie Sheen in order to cause confusion, and admitted to being a big fan of the actor.
- Funny Man: Meant to be ironic. As Charlie Scene explained in the Desperate Measures interviews, Alvarez was given the name because "he was so un-funny, it was funny"
- Da Kurlzz: Due to his curly hair.
- Danny: His literal name.
- Deuce: Shortened from 'Tha Producer', he was also the bands producer at the time.
- Shady Jeff: A simple nickname.
Each member has their own unique style of mask, of which have been upgraded from album to album, these are the masks the band have used up to today. Some masks have a meaning to them whilst others are just for looks.
- Johnny 3 Tears: The number 3 represents his previous band known as '3 Tears', whilst the butterfly is a reference to the book 'Paradise Lost'.
- Funny Man: His mask recently refers to the Mexican Lucha Libre, as a sign that he is Mexican related.
- Danny: His mask bared the Christian cross, showing that he is of Christian faith or belief.
This table goes through the changes of the masks:
|Name||Myspace 2005–2007||Swan Songs 2008–2009||Desperate Measures/Departure of Deuce 2009-2010||American Tragedy 2010–2011||Notes from the Underground 2012–present|
|J-Dog||Beige hockey mask with round cutouts for eyes. Mouth taped dollar cheeks shapeless red spots – "bruises."||A white embossed mask slits for eyes narrowed. Under the eyes – blood splatter on the mouth – the bloody dollar.||Embossed pattern removed, blood now pours down the mask instead.||White mask with gray, "charred" spots. Eyes "burned" light on the mouth – one-dollar bills.||The mask is white, with filters of a gas mask on the cheeks. Instead of notes, his mouth drawn on a dollar sign. Also on the forehead an image of God's all-seeing Eye. Eyes burned and glow red.|
|Charlie Scene||On his head – a paper bag from the restaurant Del Taco. Over the top – dark glasses.||Black-and-white bandanna that says Charles P. Scene, cover your mouth and dark glasses.||No changes.||White bandanna that says Charlie Scene and dark glasses.||Bandanna became gray. Spectacles matte black, as in 2010 remained the same.|
|Johnny 3 Tears||White hockey mask, black smudges under his eyes, his mouth sealed with red cross / silver duct tape on his forehead several round holes.||Blue mask over his right eye – a black butterfly on his right cheek and chin some more, under the left eye – figure 3 . On his head – white-gold captain's cap.||No changes.||The mask has become more stretched vertically, figure 3 is located on the entire left side of the face and the light, butterfly pattern is more complex. Captain's cap was black.||Mask with elements of the mosaic, consisting of small parts. The three, as before, is on the left side of the face and the right The pattern of butterflies.|
|Da Kurlzz||Plain white theatrical mask with narrow slits for eyes, two round holes for a nose and a small mouth.||White mask, the right side is grinning, and the left – sad.||No changes.||White mask, the left part is – a fun, and right – evil. The mask has more wrinkles on the "evil" half of the show through the red glowing streaks. Also lights up in the middle of the mask line dividing the two-halves. Hair disheveled.||The mask has retained its old features, but is now more threatening. Wrinkles become even greater, and now two new half mask. Sad with his mouth open and burnt, evil.|
|Funny Man||On his head – black cloth without slots.||Black mask with gold letters FM on his left cheek, a sad expression on his face.||No changes.||Black cloth mask without slots on the left cheek white badge with the inscription UNDEAD, on his right cheek three white dots.||Black cloth mask. Silver pattern on the face, giving the style of Mexican masked wrestlers Lucha Libre . On the right cheek are seen three white point, and the inscription on the forehead FM.|
|Danny||–||–||Gold mask with black splats (after Deuce left)||Gold mask with a metallic sheen. Around the left eye – the Latin cross.||Gold mask with stricter features. Latin cross replaced the casings from bullets.|
|Deuce ex-member||White / gray mask. Under the circular cutouts for the eyes – blue stains. Mouth taped three stripes of pink tape lengths.||The mask has a silver, blue spot surrounded pink stripes, which have a cutout for the mouth. Of the eyes narrower.||No changes. (before Deuce left)||–||–|
|Shady Jeff ex-member||Red / black bandanna over the mouth and sunglasses.||–||-||–||–|
The '-' symbol means that the member wasn't in the band at that point in time.
- Studio albums
- 2008: Swan Songs
- 2011: American Tragedy
- 2013: Notes from the Underground
|2011||"Been to Hell"||AOL Radio: Top 10 Rock Songs of 2011||Won||5th|
|2011||Hollywood Undead for "Levitate (Digital Dog club mix)"||WGRD's 2011 Favorite Listener Band of The Year||Won||1st|
|"—" denotes a nomination that did not place or places were not relevant in the award.|