heavy metal

Broke Bio

Band members
Bobby Patrick - vocals
Richie Duckworth - guitars
Shaun Phillips - guitars
Joe Doggett - drums
Ben DeLeal - bass


Think Iowa lays claim to the Midwest's most ferocious band? Think again. St. Louis' Broke deliver all the intensity and menace you can handle - without resorting to freak-show schtick.

The quintet's Rotten Records debut, A Clear Perspective of Nothing, offers hardcore tenacity, death metal insanity and industrial cacophony - all set to a groove that'll have you jumping like a fastball off Mark McGwire's Louisville Slugger. Leave the masks, uniforms and face painting to the kiddies at Halloween, Broke's sonic mayhem needs no cheesy window dressing."I don't want to be referred to as nothing but innovative," insists drummer Joe Doggett.

"Broke" can be defined as "separated violently into different parts." And that's the band's music in a nutshell on Clear Perspective where Doggett and Ben DeLeal's turbulent rhythms turn on a dime, Richie Duckworth and Shaun Phillips buzz-saw riffing plays off muscular, catchy hooks and Bobby Patrick punctuates his fire-breathing bellow with the odd rap or ethereal clean vocal.

"It's hard to explain what we sound like," Doggett notes. "It's not just kill-you-fast speed metal and not too like on-heroin slow. It's got that in-between good groove that people can bounce to. Hardcore, groovy, death pop - that's the best way I can describe it. We're doing what feels good.""I like it to be crazy," adds Patrick. "That's what makes it diverse and different, that's what makes it stand out."

Crazy is an apt description for tracks like "Sourcrotch," "Dead Alive," "Jesus on Acid," "Dead Girls" or the provocative "Erection Day." Going beyond mere spleen venting and misanthrope, Clear Perspective twists together garish horror ("Dead Alive's" title was inspired the splatter film cult classic of the same name) gallows humor (the eerily sing-alongable "Dead Girls don't say no" chorus), personal observations ("Acid" lampoons drug-induced epiphanies) and everyday atrocities.

"We finished 'Erection Day' on Sept. 11 and I thought it was the end of the world," said Patrick, the band's lyricist. "It was like the big cock of mother nature - actually I guess that would be father nature - coming to end it all."

Clear Perspective was slated to be recorded in Hollywood, with Coal Chamber's Mikey and Meegs producing. But after two weeks of pre-production, the sessions abruptly ended, in part because Meegs had his hands full dealing with Coal Chamber's never-ending internal drama.

Broke picked up the pieces, worked them around a bit and then headed to the Noiselab studio in New Orleans, another Mississippi River town that offered a more comfortable environment. "Hollywood was weird," Patrick opined. "New Orleans felt like home."Working with Mike Sanchez, guitarist with Acid Bath and Agents of Oblivion, and engineer Dave Reynolds, the band was able to complete the album in short order - save for a few 18-hour days of remixing later to give the guitars more punch.

Clear Perspective is a long time in coming. Broke traces back to 1997, when Patrick and DeLeal first played together. The other components arrived from Missouri and Illinois starting a year later, when guitarist Duckworth joined. The current line-up was completed three years ago with the addition of Doggett and Phillips, who helped steer the sonic direction of the band to what it is today.

"We started out playing hip-hop metal, it was cool at the time, but it got played out" Patrick said. "After Joe and Shaun joined, it changed the dimension of the band completely. We got heavier, mixed things up."Indeed. Their's is "nu" metal in the truest sense - it actually, well, breaks new ground. Broke's tornadic, bob-and-weave dynamics and constantly shifting array of styles, tone and texture leave no room for formulas or tired, knuckle-dragging histrionics.

"Overall, for the time we had, we're really happy with it," Patrick said of the album. "I think it's a good start."

Broke played regularly around the St. Louis area, headlining its own shows to an ever-growing legion of fans and opening for the likes of Testament and Slaves on Dope. Last year, the band put together a six-track demo and scored a deal with Rotten - where, conveniently, their former manager went to work. Musically, St. Louis is known mainly for the hip-hop stylings of Nelly and his St. Lunatics posse. Even though this is the heart of the Heartland, where metal has always had a home, few heavy bands have emerged from there to make an impact - even fewer without gimmicks.

With Clear Perspective, Broke is definitely looking to make some waves away from the fruited plains. The band played this summer's annual Milwaukee Metalfest, and plans to tour later in the year. Don't say we didn't warn you.

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