“Murder for Breakfast?” Oh, hell yes. The Nekromantix are making the rounds, still touring behind 2011’s What Happens in Hell Stays in Hell, and they have a stopover planned for San Diego. The Danish-American psychobilly power trio goes back to 1989, when an ex-submariner and drummer named Kim Nekroman switched over to upright bass and started the band based on what he was hearing from the States: Stray Cats and the Cramps. But Nekroman went dark with his band vision in the way that norsk musicians often do, and better so than most. For example, Nekroman made his own double bass using a child’s coffin, a standard upright bass neck, and a crucifix. Haunting and memorable in a celluloid sort of way, the band wouldn’t have survived this long on such borrowed trouble and assumed roles unless they had substance. “Who Killed the Cheerleader,” for example, sounds horror-movie trite, until you come to learn that the song is really about loneliness, alienation, and the dark sides of pop culture — presumably American. Do they even have cheerleaders in Denmark? No. Probably not.
Since the Nekromantix are Nekroman’s vision, it makes sense that he is the only consistent member of a band who has a long list of ex-members with horror-flick stage names, such as Troy Destroy, Wasted James, and Grim Tim Handsome. Yes, it all does sound pimply and geeky, but 1994’s Brought Back to Life got a Grammy nomination. Return of the Loving Dead, released in 2002 on Hellcat Records, and as such a bit late for the rockabilly revival, still got this band their first major U.S. distribution and thereby opened them up to a wider audience. Forget about the nonsense — behind the props and shock song titles is an entertaining trio of roots rockers. In a word? Frantic.
Nekromantix: Casbah, Friday, June 7, 8 p.m., 619-232-4355. $16 advance/$18 day of show.