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Frodus Might Play a Scion Concert If Their Frontman Could Design a Car

Shannon Wang

When Frodus returned to the scene after a 10-year absence, guitarist/frontman Shelby Cinca and drummer Jason Hamacher decided to continue where their satirical commentary on corporate culture left off.

The 1998 album ‘Conglomerate International,’ which was recently re-released, pointed to a sc-fi future where all the cards were held by multi-national corporations. But now the band is no longer looking at possible futures for inspiration; it’s about the weirdness of now.

“It’s like being in the same boat as [author] William Gibson,” Cinca told Noisecreep. “He wrote all these cyberpunk novels kind of talking about cyberspace and virtual reality — and now actual reality is so weird. You can talk about people with mobile phones Googling and weird viral marketing campaigns. Similarly, Gibson realized how weird the present is. Why write about the sc-fi future that doesn’t seem believable? [‘Conglomerate International’] kind of seems believable in that it is totalitarian state-ish.

The band holds to this premise of looking around the day-to-day lives we all lead on their newest release, ‘Soundlab One.’ Much of the track ‘Too Big a Lie’ was inspired by a politically-frustrating trip to the American History Museum.

“Every exhibit was subsidized,” Cinca recalled. “The car exhibit was subsidized by [General Motors]. This isn’t a museum. This is fake because they say, ‘All of a sudden people found the convenience of cars to be better than riding trolleys.’ What about Henry Ford shutting down trains? They don’t talk about any of that. The ‘Star Spangled Banner’ flag is maintained by Ralph Lauren, and there’s a freekin’ Ralph Lauren logo on the plaque. So does that mean Ralph Lauren owns the American flag?”

He continued, “Someone needs to go in there with design plaques that look exactly like their informational plaques and leave them under them, so it looks like they have some truth.”

It seems unreal that even museums have reached the point of needing corporate dollars to survive; 20 years ago, this would be a backdrop for a novel. “It’s hard to gauge the reality of where things are now,” Cinca admitted. “Obviously corporations are huge because governments bail them out. It’s hard to see the truth. What really did happen? Where did all the money really go?”

Though it seems far behind us, Cinca admitted a remaining confusion over the bailouts of the banks and car companies. “I remember in eighth grade in history class: ‘In the free market, if someone has a bad idea it falls down, and someone with a better idea comes up.’ OK, that makes sense. So it’s weird to see big corporations with bad ideas and bad products get bailed out.

“I’m not an economist, so maybe it would be better than letting them fall. Maybe there would be mass hysteria. But at the same time, you could pay the unemployment for those that lost their jobs and they’ll all survive, and we’ll spend less money in the end than bailing them out.”

Of course the metal scene has needed the helping hand of corporations from time to time. The free shows sponsored by Scion are one example. Now as to whether or not Frodus would play a show paid for by a car company, Cinca didn’t have what you’d call a straight-forward answer.

“I don’t know how Scion is making money off of [free shows]. It’s insane. I’d be curious to see their annual report and see if it’s actually working or if it’s actually some kind of money laundering thing to help out friends,” he said laughingly.

Turns out, Cinca might be down for a show like this though — but only if “they let me make a custom car of my choice. Then that might make more sense; a weird fuel-efficient ‘Mad Max’ kind of car. It’s not like Scion is making missiles, so they’re not like a totally evil company … I’ll have more of an opinion if they let me make a car.”

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