Grand Guignol – French Theater, KISS, Anne Rice, and Your Ex

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Alright, since this a song that we get asked about a lot just because of the title and they’e trying to figure out how to pronounce it. It’s technically pronounced Gron Geen-yole, but we kind of over-enunciate it and take the French out of it so that we can yell it and make it sound nasty. We’re not singing it en français, so we didn’t want to make it like when Alex Trebek puts in his phony ass accent when he uses a non-English term on Jeopardy.

This one is a pretty simple metaphor and it’s pretty much just about the most fucked up person that you know. Le Theatre du Grand-Guignol (The Theater of the Big Puppet – what an awesome name!) was the most shocking theater in Paris. Their specialty was horror plays that were overdramatic, bloody, and nasty. They were known for being completely over the top and stories about prostitutes, thieves, killers, criminals, etc… What they thought of as “ultra-naturalistic” plays, kinda like how we think of things that are “gritty” as more realistic (like compare The Wire to TJ Hooker.) Since then, it’s become a term for any kind of extreme graphic entertainment (think serial killer movies in the 1980’s like Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street or the torture porn of the past decade like Saw or Hostel).

They even have a theater in Interview with The Vampire based on the Grand Guignol-style with their Théâtre des Vampires where a girl is attacked by vampires onstage and the audience thinks it’s an act, when it’s not. And the crowd is shocked and excited by how “real” the blood is.

If you can’t guess, this is definitely NSFW. Unless you work somewhere with boobs. Or vampires.

But basically, that kind of theater or film or whatever, is just another way for us to indulge in the most horrific of human behavior and enjoy the visceral excitement of it, without actually having to go cut someone up. It’s about the worst of us. And some people are the worst of us, always causing problems, always being difficult.

I knew someone who would cause a scene almost every single, and I mean every single fucking time, we went out. Sometimes she’d come out of the bathroom and challenge me over talking to a random girl (when I could be doing something like just standing next to her while she ordered a drink), sometimes she’d steal something from the bar, sometimes she would start a fight with someone else completely out of nowhere. And all I wanted to do was have her be someone else’s fucking problem for once.

But it doesn’t have to be a girl. One time at a show, someone screwed around with my microphone stand while I was onstage (and he grabbed it from the floor in the audience), it knocked me in the teeth and the pain of it got me so riled up that I kicked him square in the chest. I wanted to hurt him (and I’m not sure if I did that, but he went away and didn’t come back, which to me was good enough.) Later on I found out that particular guy acts so completely different when he drinks that he even calls himself by a different name, a drinking name. That dude existed and he was a problem.

And I’ve met plenty of guys who, no matter what they do, always seem to find a way to get arrested, no matter whether their friends get away or not, they’re the ones who always end up getting stuck in the clink. Those people are who this song was for. The people who cannot be trusted to not get themselves (or more likely everyone around them) in trouble.

When we shot the video for this one, we wanted to do something funny, but also we decided on the Fatal Attraction crazy girlfriend storyline not just because we’ve had crazy girlfriends (which is true, but that would be lazy and this video was a shitload of work, anything but lazy) but because we thought that making Wendy Lynn the character would be a cool way for her to play against type and making Ben the amiable meathead who is the target of the chase would be extra ridiculous for people who knew us. As the guy who had to direct and edit the whole thing, I enjoyed being able to do the Benny Hill, Psycho, Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes, and other homages.

And out of all our songs, this is probably the most “classic rock” sounding of them all. We were looking to do something hard and fun, and well sometimes when you are looking to do something, ahem, “hard and fun”, you’ve gotta go for the cock rock, and that you makes you end up sounding like KISS (which was my first concert) or The Scorpions, so that’s where this track pretty much landed. Wow, from early Twentieth Century French Theater to Anne Rice to Alfred Hitchcock to Gene Simmons. I think this video pretty much covers it all!

Here’s the lyrics:

You love the drama,
You play the role,
and you’ll do anything,
to get my goat.
and when you bleed some,
it’s a horror show,
You think I’m crazy,
well you should know.

There’s always something wrong with you,
Someone’s always done something to you.
Stop being such a huge asshole.
Your big exaggerations,
always lead to a confrontation,
This little act is getting old,
you’re the Grand Guignol.

The sky is always falling down,
I can’t take you anywhere downtown,
It’s a bitchfest or a catfight,
don’t you know anyone you like?
You’re making threats so the stage is set for another breakdown.

There’s always something wrong with you,
Someone’s always done something to you.
Stop being such a huge asshole.
Your big exaggerations,
always lead to a confrontation,
This little act is getting old,
you’re the Grand Guignol.

You love the drama,
You play the role,
and you’ll do anything,
to get my goat.
and when you bleed some,
it’s a horror show,
You think I’m crazy,
well you should know.

The sky is always falling down,
I can’t take you anywhere downtown,
It’s a bitchfest or a catfight,
don’t you know anyone you like?
The stage is set,
off go the bets,
You’re making threats,
you’re killing pets,
in another breakdown.

There’s always something wrong with you.
What am I gonna do with you?
Stop being such a huge asshole.
This little act is getting old.
You’re the Grand Guignol.

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