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MISFITS OF METAL: Old

by Eli Kroes

For a genre comprised ENTIRELY of outsiders, it should be apparent that there is some pretty out-there stuff in the metal world. Here are some of my favorite metal musicians who are so weird they don't even fit into THAT scene...  

Starting with the name, it's pretty clear a group called 'Old Lady Drivers' isn't going to be anything 'traditional.' Then, take into account that the two main guys from this group now associate with Sunn0))) and you've got yourself some prime weirdo-metal.

Formed in the late 80's as Old Lady Drivers, these guys put out an insane album of joke-grindcore that rivals AxCx in terms of politically-incorrect lyrics and short song lengths. Along with the ridiculous Eric Clapton semi-cover, you'll find gems like 'Supermarket Monstrosity' and 'Old Ladies Always Break Their Hips' on the album. If James Plotkin and co. had only released this, they'd still be suitable for this column, but the group started taking themselves seriously after that disc and things got even weirder.

Shortening the name to 'Old' and paring the lineup down to mostly just Plotkin and vocalist Alan Dubin, they returned three years later with the genre-defying 'Lo Flux Tube.' By now a pioneering industrial-metal act, the group featured elements of 60's psychedelia, dance music, death metal, and avant-garde experimentalism, all built around the grindcore foundation.


Atop the chaotic mix, Dubin's temper-tantrum vocals sit like a painful scab. James Plotkin's guitar work, always the highlight of the group, is heavily effected and often doesn't even sound like guitar playing.

The group continued to warp their sound, putting out the deranged concept album 'The Musical Dimensions of Sleastak,' eventually taking out most of the metal influence. Their final album, 1995's 'Formula' remains one of the weirdest industrial albums ever committed to tape.


Both members have been in several projects since, reuniting (along with both Sunn0))) members) in the group Khanate, probably the most abrasive stuff you're likely to hear.

I would recommend any of Plotkin's projects for fans of head-warping electronica or industrial metal, but Khanate and Old especially.


Photo by Tim Parkinson.