Running with the devil 

Schoolyard Heroes

click to enlarge At Hogwarts, Schoolyard Heroes were often accused of - using the dark arts.
  • At Hogwarts, Schoolyard Heroes were often accused of using the dark arts.

If you're gullible, you might classify the four members of Schoolyard Heroes as devout devil-worshippers.

Of course, you'd be wrong utterly, completely and terribly but even the members of the Seattle-based horror rock act would see where you're coming from.

"I can understand how people would maybe decide to throw up their arms about [our band]," says vocalist Ryann Donnelly.

After all, the evidence is pretty ... wait for it ... damning.

Exhibit A: Schoolyard Heroes' lyrics

Donnelly packs some serious pipes. So serious, in fact, that you might get distracted and miss exactly what she's saying. So here's a sampling of the lines she's spewing:

"Take off your skin and dance with me / Cut off your tongue and sing for me / Burn out your eyes in effigy, baby / Scream out your heart in agony."

"I am the devil and I've come to do the devil's work."

Behind those charming lines, add in dark guitar riffs, churning bass lines and thumping, march-like drums. Credit bassist Jonah Bergman, guitarist Steve Bonnell and drummer Brian Turner.

Sounds delightful, right? Actually, it is at least when it's coming from Donnelly's lips.

Donnelly's defense: "It's just a really fun aesthetic to write through. It lends itself to a lot of great imagery and a lot of stuff that you wouldn't necessarily get to touch on in, say, your typical high-school breakup song."

Exhibit B: Schoolyard Heroes' live act

On stage, Donnelly oozes sex appeal, crawling about the stage, la Madonna in her infamous "Like A Virgin" performance at the first MTV Video Music Awards. Her band scatters around, flailing about and jump-kicking. It's captivating as hell (no pun intended) but nothing too out of the ordinary.

Well, until Donnelly, still flaunting "come hither" eyes, mockingly slices her neck with her finger and almost chokes herself to death by wrapping her microphone cord under her chin.

(Or, at least, that's how things went down last Sunday, at the first of the band's two performances at The Black Sheep. The next one's Wednesday, Nov. 21.)

Donnelly's defense: "We are fascinated, admittedly, with horror movies."

Exhibit C: The online petition against the band

A few months back, a plea to prevent children from listening to Schoolyard Heroes popped up on the Web site ipetition.com.

It read: "We are a group of upset parents who are trying to stop a tragedy before it begins and that tragedy is Schoolyard Heroes ... They are evil! They want to corrupt our children and drive them to murder with their fascination with the dark and evil world of Satan."

(Both Donnelly and the band's publicist swear that neither the band nor their handlers had anything to do with the posting.)

Donnelly's defense: "You think we're Satanists? Really?"

Judgment: Really? Well, no, we tend not to think so. But the fact that some people do certainly adds to the fun.

That's fine by Donnelly, who just hopes that spirit extends to her band's live show.

"Come prepared to dance," she says. Or did she command it?


Schoolyard Heroes with Greeley Estates, Confide and As Told By
The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $8 in advance, $10 day-of-show, all ages; visit ticketweb.com or call 866/468-7621.


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