Ah, robots...is there anything you can't do? We've seen robots do all sorts of things over the years, but earlier this week came a bit of a surprise as a three-piece band known as Compressorhead, comprised entirely of robots, took the stage on German television to blast out its own version of AC / DC's "TNT". The performance appears to have set the crowd to rocking in no uncertain terms, and showed off yet another thing that robots can do.
Compressorhead, appearing on "Die Bulent Ceylan Show," consists of three members: lead guitarist Fingers, a guitar-playing robot with 78 purpose-built fingers, drummer Stickboy, packing in four arms and two legs to cover a complete 14 piece Pearl drum kit complete with double-kick bass, and bass guitarist Bones, who wasn't present for this particular song. But this particular trio represents some rather exciting points about the future of music.
Fingers himself, for example, is something of a marvel of recycling, having been built from the efforts of Kernschrott Robots, who in turn specializes in the direct recycling of industrial waste, including waste metal. Stickboy doesn't seem to share Fingers' ecologically sound origins, having been built instead by Robocross Machines, but the duo--and the trio as needed--seem to work well together, having recently been spotted at Australia's Big Day Out festival joined by such fairly major names as The Killers, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Indeed, Compressorhead bills itself as "the world's heaviest metal band," and it would be tough to find a band that actually manages to put more metal in front of audiences than Compressorhead, especially in terms of metal by weight or volume. Not even Dethklok is putting out this kind of metal.
But when I said this had impressive implications for the larger music industry as a whole, I meant it. Consider the primary purpose of a band: to offer a stage presence to hear music. There are few more memorable stage presences than Compressorhead--just look at that spiky haircut, made from what appears to be actual spikes, on Stickboy's head;and Compressorhead can run for days without rest.
Compressorhead will have no bizarre riders--you won't hear Fingers demanding only red M&M's--and security needs fall through the floor. One guard with a baton will likely be enough to keep scrap metal thieves and souvenir seekers at bay. Compressorhead's primary need is electricity, and venues already spend plenty on that for light shows; all it needs is music, which can be written for the band and programmed in. No worries about lip synching scandals or band members disappearing or getting hooked on drugs...the idea of a robot band may be just what a lot of venues were looking for.
While Compressorhead may not change live performance as we know it, it's certainly an idea worth considering, especially for venues hard hit by economic troubles.
Edited by Ashley Caputo