From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Halloween fosters Evangelicals’ zeal
For singer/songwriter/guitarist Josh Jones, insomnia has its advantages.
Not only did he and his band the Evangelicals record much of the uncanny psych-pop music for their second album “The Evening Descends” in the middle of the night, he often passes the wee hours streaming films, especially horror movies, on Netflix.
“I don’t even order the movies, I know you can’t get a bunch of them instantly, but I don’t even bother, you know, I’m just too impatient,” he said. “But the horror movies for whatever reason, like, they’re all available (to stream). There’s so many more. I guess they don’t care. I guess it’s in their best interest to cater to weirdos who want to watch movies at 4 in the morning.”
With his love for the campy aesthetics of horror flicks and the outsized human drama of musical theater, it’s not surprising that the Evangelicals will once again perform at HallOPOLIS, this weekend’s annual Halloween extravaganza at The Opolis in Norman.
“If you think about Halloween, it’s such a strange holiday. It’s odd that it even exists, you know, this weird day that everyone dresses up and celebrates death and the occult,” Jones said in a recent phone interview from his Norman home. “It’s definitely one of my favorites because you get free candy and I love candy.”
The Norman-based rockers have plenty of appropriately eerie noise-drenched pop songs to fill a Halloween night show, from “Into the Woods” and “A Mouthful of Skeletons” from “So Gone,” the band’s 2006 debut album on indie imprint Misra, to “Skeleton Man” and “Here in the Deadlights” from their 2008 follow-up on the Dead Oceans label. Jones and his bandmates even got the chance to star in their own version of a lurid ’70s-style fright flick in the music video for “Midnight Vignette.”
“I’m no horror movie aficionado, but I do like to watch these movies for the aesthetics. You know, horror movies, there’s so many of them. It’s also strange that that’s even a genre, and there’s probably more horror movies than any other kind of movies except maybe pornos,” he said. “I guess ‘cause they’re cheap to make. … They’re sort of like the working man’s movie; you know, anyone can make one on a low budget.”
His five favorite scary films — “The Driller Killer,” “Carrie,” “The Granny,” “Wild Zero” and “The Toxic Avenger” — reveal his love of horror movies in all their varied glory.
“I’ve always been a fan of camp. I’ve always been a fan of musical theater, too, the human emotions or human drama that magnify a little bit is a good thing in my opinion,” he said with a scratchy voice and sniffling nose caused by a bad bout with allergies. “In high school, a lot of my friends were big theater people. … I did like the stage craft thing, like building the sets and stuff. So I was always watching these things in high school, and I loved them.”
He said a stage craft background comes in handy when taking an indie rock band on the road. Saturday night’s hometown Halloween show precedes the Evangelicals’ intensive nationwide fall tour, kicking off Monday in Phoenix.
“It does come into play actually if you know how to fix things and how to make things,” he said with a laugh.
Along with playing live music, the Evangelicals also are working on new music for their third album, which they hope to release next year.
“To me, it’s sounds different. You always want to make something that sounds different and new if for nothing else than keep yourself interested, but certainly so people don’t get bored with your music and your band and your art and to keep them entertained certainly,” he said.
He added, “It definitely has some heavy metal things going on there … for now. At least, that’s what we feel like this week. But yeah, I think it’s going to be a heavy metal record.”
In the meantime, Jones said he is looking forward to a wild night of costumes and candy, music and mania at HallOPOLIS. But he said the Evangelicals may pass on playing their wonderfully weird “Halloween Song” this year.
“I don’t know. We might. We’ve played it a lot. We might play a different type of Halloween song this year. I’m not sure. There might be ‘The Halloween Song 2: The Return of the F- – - ing Halloween Song,’” he said.
“In horror movies, the sequels are always better.”
When: 9 tonight featuring Rainbows are Free, JP Inc., Crocodile and Shi- -y/Awesome and 9 p.m. Saturday featuring Evangelicals, JP Inc. and GentleGhost.
Where: The Opolis, 113 N Crawford, Norman.
Information: Information: www.starlightmints.com/opolis.html.