Reconfigured Kidney Thieves Rebound

The Los Angeles-based, industrial-tinged Kidney Thieves aren't sure what to expect when they hit the road for a five-day tour of the Northwest with Biohazard this month. Core members Bruce Somers (mu

The Los Angeles-based, industrial-tinged Kidney Thieves aren't sure what to expect when they hit the road for a five-day tour of the Northwest with Biohazard this month.

Core members Bruce Somers (multi-instrumentalist/producer) and Free Dominguez (vocalist/lyricist) have only one October performance under their belts this year since enlisting Moni Scaria (guitar), Christian Dorris (drums), and Sean Sellers (bass) in September. Aside from this singular show, held at L.A.'s Viper Room, they have not played live since May 2000 -- yet both Somers and Dominguez are more concerned with the reactions of overzealous metal fans rather than the effects of their self-imposed cloistering.

"We have to do all of our heavy songs, for sure," Dominguez admits. "I'm looking forward to touring, but I'm looking at this as an earn-our-stripes/get-our-feet-wet tour. Hopefully, it's plastic rather than glass thrown at us," she jokes.

When Somers and Dominguez first met through a mutual friend and formed the band as a studio project in late 1997, they didn't consider the traditional route of practicing, recording, and eventual touring as the necessary ingredients to being a successful act. Dominguez considers it essential for a band to devote strict attention to one project at any given time, and thus far the Kidney Thieves' main occupation has been honing and perfecting their craft at Somer's home studio. "It takes such a long time to make some of the songs," Somers admits. "The shortest song we've ever done took seven days, while another song could take a minimum of three weeks in the studio."

The Kidney Thieves have compensated for their dearth of live performances with a small yet revered collection of recorded material. An early, unabashedly titled EP, "S+M (A Love Story)," along with a debut album, "Trickster" (released in 1998 on the now-defunct Push Records), and several songs appearing on compilations and soundtracks (a stark cover of Patsy Cline's "Crazy" surfaced on the "Bride of Chucky" soundtrack) all attest to a deep admiration of such industrial progenitors as Nine Inch Nails and Ministry.

Yet Kidney Thieves have expanded their sphere of influence in order to defy simple categorization, with an EP of remixes titled "Phi in the Sky" -- issued Nov. 20 and featuring goth icons KMFDM, along with new dancefloor favorite Terminalhead -- and sophomore album "Zerospace" slated for Feb. 6, 2002, release (both are issued on Warner Bros.-distributed Extasy Records International).

Superbly capturing the sex-troubled throbbing of seedy discotheques and smoky rock clubs, "Zerospace" revolve around pulsing rhythms that work their way into feverish, jungle-beat bridges. This frenetic pace is often interrupted by molten guitar buzzing and eerie alarm sounds that act as a skittish foil for Dominguez's rich, breathy vocals, which lie somewhere between being a grittier, less showy Gwen Stefani and a more authoritative Alanis Morissette.

According to Extasy marketing director Rich Holtzman, there are many elements keeping the Kidney Thieves' sound and image left-of-center from both the moribund gothic and the nu-metal/rap-rock genres. "There is definitely a darker side to what they do," he says. "The fact that they have a female singer separates them from the rest of the pack. They are a sexy band, and they don't fit modern-rock standards because they don't appeal to typical chain-wallet banality."

WFNX Boston DJ Mike Traylor says, "Extasy has chosen one of the best producers in the U.K. breaks scene to prime the Kidney Thieves for sophisticated dancefloors. This additional exposure through club remixes not only exposes the dance listener to an artist they wouldn't typically hear, but should also help the Thieves' push for spins in regular rotation on college and alternative stations."


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