Serpent Throne’s Adventures in Metal and Celluloid
What happens when Ozzy Osbourne asks you to shoot a promo video for him.
Demian Fenton and Don Argott met one of their heroes a few years ago. The two local filmmakers were hired to shoot a promotional video for a music-industry client’s new album.
The client? Ozzy freaking Osbourne.
“We rolled up and there were all these fancy New York photographers there,” recalls Fenton. “And we looked like two dirtbags. When Ozzy saw us, he came over — he gravitated toward us — and told us stories about recording the first Sabbath album. It was totally rad.”
Fenton and Argott didn’t tell Ozzy about their own Sabbath-inspired, instrumental metal band, Serpent Throne, or that they had just released an album titled Ride Satan Ride, or that track seven was called “Back Stabbeth.”
“We didn’t need to tell him,” says Fenton. “He could tell we were huge fans — he knew just by looking at us.”
Serpent Throne formed in 2005, right after Fenton (editor) and Argott (director) finished making Rock School, a documentary about the Paul Green School of Rock Music. It was their first doc, and it was stressful, so they needed to blow off steam. “We rented a small practice space to set some amps up and riff, loudly,” says Fenton. “Slowly, but surely, everyone showed up, and we became Serpent Throne. There was no intention to start a band — we were just staying sane while making films.”
Fenton and Argott, both guitarists, have wrapped several documentaries since that first practice, includingThe Art of the Steal, about the Barnes Foundation’s controversial move to Philly, and Last Days Here, about the lead singer of Pentagram. Serpent Throne’s bassist, Colin Smith, has also picked up a film credit since then, namely as the producer, writer and co-star of Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles.
Serpent Thone’s drummer, (Demian’s brother) Sean-Paul Fenton, is the only band member not involved in film. But he’s a web programmer, and when he was hired to make a web site for some Vietnam veterans who flew helicopters during the war, the idea for the band’s fourth album was born. Released on April 30, Brother Lucifer is about soldiers who worship the devil and drop acid during the Vietnam War.
There are no lyrics — just savage shredding and scowling grooves. But you can feel the soldiers struggle as reality and morality disappear, and they ultimately embrace the dark lord. It’s heavy.
“We normally bullshit about a goofy concept — usually the plot from a crappy B-movie — and take it from there,” Demian says. “We just start jamming, and we never take ourselves too seriously.”
He pauses, and then corrects himself.
“Well, actually, we do take the riffing very seriously.”
Tue., May 28, 8 p.m., $12-$14, with Weedeater, Fight Amp and Old Wounds, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com.