Gargamel! is in your face


Gargamel! is, from left, Servobeonic Man, Professor Knuckles, Mandaddy, Webb and Crazy Hector. The band is playing Eddie C's on Saturday as part of Rock 104's "Rock Solid Showcase.

GREGG MATTHEWS/Special to The Sun
Published: Friday, January 24, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 23, 2003 at 11:42 p.m.
Asked to describe his band with one word, Gargamel! frontman Mandaddy hedges for a moment.
"Psychotic," is his eventual answer. See, it's just not easy to classify this Longwood-based group, which will join fellow Orlando-area acts Indorphine and Supervillians for a Rock 104 show at Eddie C's Saturday night.
Gargamel! is popular with metal fans, but labeling the band metal is far from accurate. This fivesome takes seemingly incongruous elements of rock, metal, funk, reggae, jazz and rap and coalesces them into a beguiling mass of sheer in-your-face entertainment.
Fueled by bandmates Professor Knuckles (guitar), Crazy Hector (bass), Servobeonic Man (keyboards and other "digital manipulations") and Webb (drums), Mandaddy stalks the audience, at turns belting out primal screams and tender melodies.
"We get all kinds of reactions from people who've never seen us before," Mandaddy explains. "We get a lot of deer-in-the-headlights people staring, mouths open. But they stay. It's the best time in the world. Some people get scared, and that makes me want to scare them even more. Whatever you're feeling, I want to make you feel it 1,000 percent. We want you to either love us or hate us."
Of course, when you first talk to Mandaddy - who often wears a cape onstage - you feel compelled to ask: Dude, did your parents give you that name?
"I went shopping one day," he says, far more lucid and soft-spoken than one might imagine after seeing him onstage. "There was a kid with his father at the store. The kid takes one look at me and says 'What's that man, Daddy?' Then later, he was yelling, 'I hate that man, Daddy! I hate that man, Daddy!' It just stuck in my mind, so I am Mandaddy."
It's true that the singer doesn't exactly blend in. With his shaved head, crooked goatee and often provocative sartorial splendor, Mandaddy looks a bit intense. But he's become used to the stares.
"If you get frightened just by the way I look, then I probably wouldn't want to talk to you anyway," he says.
Despite the music's heaviness and the dark nature of Mandaddy's lyrics, he insists everything the band does is "tongue firmly planted in cheek."
Mandaddy, who beat throat cancer in his teens, has been singing about 15 years. He won't disclose his age but concedes nobody in the group is over 28. He also hosts a television show, "Bootleg TV," seen on Orlando's Fox affiliate, WOFL-35, that features Orlando musicians and artists.
His mother, who passed away in December 2001, was a vocal coach and, along with his father, always encouraged his musical pursuits.
"Of course, I could do an entire set of jazz standards and one screaming song, and that's what people would remember," he says.
The band has self-released three full-length CDs - one live - and is set to release its newest, "The New Tenderness," in April. Gargamel! has played every major venue in the Orlando area, with multiple shows at the House of Blues and Hard Rock Live! The group's CD "Touch My Fun" won the "CD of the Year" award in the 2001 Orlando Weekly Music Awards, and Gargamel! has received the "Best Hard Edge Band" award for the past four years by the same paper.
Take it from me, if you have yet to see Gargamel!, you really ought to head over to Ed's Saturday. You're in for an experience. By the way, if you happen to engage in a friendly game of billiards with Martie, the club's newest bartender, watch out - she cheats.
And away I go. Rock on. Contact Douglas Jordan at douwiljor@yahoo.com

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