"I think that was super important because that's an album that's super dancey and complex, but also very poppy and populous. It taught us about making songs that were idiosyncratic but everyone can get into it in an immediate fashion," McKinley says.
And thus, he lays out the Battlehooch way, a fun-loving group of friends that long ago absorbed pop and now stretches it to weirder planes. Plus, there's that inclusive, all-in thing — the group is very much a part of the local Bay Area music community. It participates in nearly every creative project the city has to offer musicians. That Prince-cover Halloween show was part of the band's month long residency at the Knockout.
Battlehooch also was a part of the UnderCover Presents series of live full-album tribute shows in SF, participating this February in the Radiohead show by recording and performing a cover of "In Limbo."
"The original version is smothered in atmosphere, there's this dense, thick fog hanging over it, with complex polyrhythm madness," McKinley says. "So what we did was try to strip away all of that and present it as an actual song, just chords and a melody, and when we did that we discovered the song is actually really beautiful. So instead of having this very processed sound, we ended up having this kind of chamber pop sound with bass clarinet, synthesizers, electronic drums, acoustic guitars, and all of that."
Most recently, Battlehooch participated in the Music Video Race, profiled in last week's Bay Guardian cover story. The video made to the song "I'm Exploding" includes the band playing live, spliced with images of the musicians being nutty, dropping things into a bathtub, sticking a fork in a light socket.
Bassist Grant Goodrich explains, "I don't know if our concept got across, but in the act of us playing we were all involved in doing something a little bit stupid...then at the end we see our demise. It translates that Battlehooch is not just ridiculous, but fun too. I mean, don't even know if it's ridiculous."
And adding to that, the group has something else new to plug: an offer on BandPage Experiences (bandpage.com/BATTLEHOOCH/experiences). It's an app that bands use on Facebook as a way to promote themselves, and create their own sellable ideas and concepts. Battlehooch came up with an idea called "Scantily-Clad Housecleaning" ($300) offering themselves as your new housecleaning team in fashionable, seasonable sexy wear. There are no takers just yet.
FEMALE DRUMMER SHOWCASE
Finding a good drummer is always one of the hardest parts of forming a band. And yet, for some reason, there haven't been too many world-famous lady drummers — you can likely count them on one hand. Tom Tom Magazine set out to fix such gender inequalities by raising awareness about female percussionists and inspiring girls to pick up the sticks. It's covered Patty Schemel, Janet Weiss, Kim Schifino (of Matt and Kim), tUnE-yArDs, and the Dum Dum Girls, along with hundreds more in its four years of publishing existence. Now it's time for the drummers to give back, at this fundraiser for Tom Tom, also presented by Mission Creek Oakland and East Bay Express. The female drummer showcase includes local Oakland bands such as two-piece garage-punk act Dark Beach, vintage pop band Upside Drown, party duo Bam!Bam!, and Silver Shadows.
Sat/22, 9pm, $7. Uptown Nightclub, 1928 Telegraph, Oakl. www.uptownnightclub.com.