Earlier this week I posted a review of the latest album from The Mutant Members Only Club. As anyone who has ever listened to the band can attest, it is truly the type of music that can only be described as “one of a kind”. You can find that review here, or take a gander through The Deadhouse to take a look.
Following the review, I was able to get in touch with Tom Ihle, the one man crazed beast that comprises The Mutant Members Only Club. Given the positive response to the review and a desire to help spread the horrific word about the man and the band, we decided to go ahead and do a Deadhouse Interview to let people get a better look at the man behind the madness.
So without further a due, here is the newest Deadhouse Interview!
Who are you?
My name is Tom Ihle. I’m 27 years old and I come from the hills of Carroll County, Maryland.
What is your current project?
The Mutant Members Only Club
What first got you interested in the horror genre as a whole?
When I was growing up, everything was mutants. TMNT, X-Men, Swamp Thing, all of that stuff was extremely influential on my childhood. Plus who could forget Ernest Scared Stupid and Goosebumps and stuff like that? To be a kid in the 90s was awesome. So I’d probably say that my exposure to monsters and creepy crawlies and gross slithering little things came at an early age. I also remember renting the classics likes The Exorcist and Candyman on VHS and watching them with my neighbor Tim. We’d watch them late at night all fucked up on Coca-Cola and Cold Pizza. Some of those movies are still quite terrifying, though in a different way. Some of them are not however. I remember watching Thinner with Tim when I was 11 or so. That movie scared the shit out of me. I finally watched it for a second time a few years back………Not quite how I remembered it. Although, Robert John Burke is a very underrated actor. But that’s another discussion. Man, there is no denying that killer Jetpack scene in Robocop 3. Anyway, I wasn’t a Horror Nerd of Goth Kid or Metal Freak or anything like that in High School. But I was always obsessed with Movies. My exposure to Exploitation and Gore-fests came in my late teens when my friend Ryan left Bloodsucking Freaks in with my movie collection. I think that like most horror fans, I wanted to go on that magical journey to find the most fucked up movie of all time. I’ve seen Salo and Cannibal Holocaust and the August Underground movies, and all of that stuff. But you’d only have to spend a few minutes on liveleak.com to discover where the horror in the world really is………all around you. Actually when I was younger, I used to go to rotten.com all of the time. I wonder if they still update that site? Also, did you know that ‘Hey Man Nice Shot’ was written about Budd Dwyer? That’s great stuff.
What are some of your favorite horrorpunk bands?
Besides the obvious bands like The Misfits and The Cramps, I didn’t know much about Horror Punk when I started writing these tunes. In my teenage years I was always into Pop Punk stuff or Epitaph stuff. I’d listen to anything from Screeching Weasel to Sum 41 or Guttermouth. Most of my favorite horrorpunk bands are the guys and gals that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting (on the internet) since I started this thing. I’m always downloading new stuff. Recently I’ve been listening to Bad Whoremoans, The Theatre Zombies, and Wolfman Chuck and the Spookalele of Doom.
What about bands that don’t fall under the horrorpunk umbrella?
Like I mentioned above, a lot of Punk Rock and Alternative (Not Grunge) bands from the 90s. I’m a big Meat Loaf fan. I listen to some classic rock. I’m an oldies freak though. Obviously I’m obsessed with Doo-Wop. But I also enjoy Rock and Roll, Surf, Motown, Phil Spector Girl Groups, all of that good stuff. I’m also a big Ramones fan.
What are your favorite horror movies?
Remember when PS2 came out? The fact that it could play DVDs was mind blowing back then. I remember telling my dad that and he didn’t believe me. Well, we went to blockbuster and rented some movies. One of the movies I got, was Psycho. Oddly enough I’m looking at an unopened VHS copy of Edge Of Sanity (starring Anthony Perkins) sitting on my dinner table right now. I’ve never seen it before. I’m pretty excited. I almost don’t want to open it because it’s so rare to find a VHS still in its packaging. Anyway, I hold a special place in my heart for Psycho. But most of my favorite Horror films are the semi-campy movies with amazing practical effects from the 80s and early 90s. Movies like From Beyond and Terrorvision. They Live and Brain Damage. Big fan of most of John Carpenter’s Monster Movies. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (love the original also) and The Blob (Remake) Terminator and Robocop. The Return Of Swamp Thing and Beetlejuice (Plus Batman Returns is a masterpiece for all of time). Early Peter Jackson. Big Clive Barker fan too. This does not mean I don’t like Horror films from other decades. I’m just saying those types of movies are my favorites. I’m not a big slasher movie guy. I like the movies where we get to know the Serial Killer a little bit. Movies like Silence of The Lambs, Maniac, and Henry. I’ll also watch anything with Bela Lugosi. Can’t forget the TMNT movies or The Exorcist. Christ, I just keep extending this thing. I knew this would happen. I wish I could make a full list, but I don’t feel like dealing with that headache.
What are some of your favorite non-horror movies?
Anything with Nostalgic value like Stand By Me or Jim Carrey movies. I’m also very fond of Mafia movies. Anything dealing with the New York City five families. I just got done reading a book about Tommy Pitera.
The project used to be known as Retards With Rayguns, undoubtedly a controversial name. What caused the change in heart and the name change?
I wish there was one definitive reason that made me change it. But I started this project in 2010, so we’ll just say that I had four years of numerous reasons. I think at the end, it started to feel like the joke was on me. It was becoming increasingly difficult to reach new people with that name. Believe it or not, I never started this band to be controversial or offend anyone. I always assumed that people would realize and understand this is all for fun. I just write songs that I find entertaining. 2014 is a year of fresh starts for me. And with that comes the new band name. I think a lot of my fans thought I was making a move to be more “PC” and that the content of the songs would change. But I assure you, that is not the situation at all.
How did you come up with The Mutant Members Only Club as the new name?
Regardless of which website you visit, my band description will read something like this. “50’s style Doo-Wop combined with Horror Themes and Distasteful Dick Jokes” To be honest, I never felt like Retards With Rayguns accurately reflected or represented this project. It would have made a better song than band name I think. Maybe one day it will be. Anyways, when I was deciding the new name, I wanted it to finally fit my music perfectly. The objective was to come up with the ultimate Dick Joke,that is related to my tunes. That’s how The Mutant MEMBERS Only Club was born. After I picked that name, any hesitance I had of changing the RWR name was obliterated. I finally feel like I’m wearing the right skin. Imagine Leatherface killing 300 people to find the one face that molds perfectly to his own. That’s how this new name feels.
Your style is very unique, did you intend originally to set out on this path, or was there outside reasons to go with the unique style?
Horror Doo-Wop was always the goal. Right from the beginning. I had played in many bands and solo projects before this, with little to no originality. Horror Doo-Wop is the way of doing my own thing. Having my own voice. I’m glad that people enjoy it as much as I do. I listen to my music all the time. Yeah….I’m one of those guys.
What do you have planned for horror fans in the future?
To reach them. I feel like there are so many Horror Fans out there that would dig my tunes. Problem is, they’ve never heard of me. That was another reason to change the name. New opportunities have already opened up. I’m gonna be on a few new comps coming out this summer/fall.
Now for free reign, anything you want fans of the site to know about?
I have the grooviest girlfriend in the world. She designs all of The Mutant Members Only Club’s artwork. If you have any artwork you need done, please be sure to look her up here. She’s currently working a boring office job she doesn’t like, and I know she has the capability to design great things. Check out her Facebook page right here!
Well, there you have it. A glimpse into the mind of the man behind the madness that is The Mutant Members Only Club! I’d like to thank Tom for taking the time to do the interview, and all of you for reading! Until next time fiends and ghouls, Long Live The Horror!