Rhythm Bastard and his music: Support your local swole punk rock furry!
by Patch O'Furr
What is Rhythm Bastard? Hardcore Nerdcore Punk Rock. Alternative Laptop Punk. A DIY one-man-band with a furry Florida Man.
“Rhythm Bastard takes the stage armed only with his voice, his guitar and his bandmate, a laptop, playing a mix of punk and garage rock, with music inspired by every thing from video games, anime, comics and everything in between.” – Bio
His newest music is coming on July 1, so let’s hear about it from the Bastard.
(Dogpatch Press): You’re a hardcore nerdcore punk rocker with 10 years of making albums and playing nerd cons. What’s this collection you have coming out?
“Hardcore Nerdcore Punk Rock” is a Road Mix where I redid a lot of the songs I play live, but haven’t been on a proper physical album. Also in 10 years of writing and making music, I’ve learned a lot of new things and made a lot of tracks I’m proud of, so this is a way to look back on everything and go “damn, I’m kind of good at this”.
You’re swole, made your own fursuit, do a podcast about gaming, and could probably wrestle a bear. What talent don’t you have?
I DON’T have the talent to do it all on my own.
A lot of what I’ve done comes from reaching out to other people and always being ready to learn. Like when I was making my Thrash fursuit, I was always engaging with the Telegram groups for questions and feedback, and it’s a project I learned a lot from. When it comes to music, I’m ALWAYS bothering friends and family for feedback regardless of musical knowledge, since I just want to know how the song hits. Even though it might feel cut-throat and ultra competitive, there’s no downside to someone else learning what you know.
Other stuff I’m learning because I’m eager to do it? Writing a visual novel, learning Wwise, and making a VRChat avatar.
Are you really a bastard, and why or why not? What’s the story behind the music?
Depends on your definition ;). So the name “Rhythm Bastard” came from a blog I ran when I was first learning guitar, where I’d learn all the songs from the video game Rock Band, Initially, it was called “The Rock Band Experiment ”, shortened to RBExperiemnt. However, as I got into it, I realized I wanted to do MORE with music, so I decided to scrap the original concept and keep working on playing and learning. However, I wanted to keep the RB initials, so the R stood for Rhythm, because I like playing Rhythm Games, and the B became Bastard, because at that time I was really getting into the comic series Transmetropolitian. The main character, a Hunter S. Thompson expy named Spider Jerusalem uses the word Bastard a lot, so I always have this rebellious connotation toward the word. Anytime I bring up changing it to make it more “PG” or at least Ad friendly, people tell me “NO, IT’S PERFECT”
Thrash the Trash Panda is your fursona, when was he born and what’s his story?
The comedy website Something Awful used to have a weekly music column called “Your Band Sucks”. Occasionally they’d have a Q&A article where readers can send in questions. My predilection for raccoons came from one question where someone asked:
If animals (humans don’t count in this case) could play music, what species do you think would have the most talent and why?
and the answer given by Dr. David Thorpe was:
” I’d give it to Raccoons, because they have all the hallmarks of a great rock band: they come from working-class backgrounds, they’re not afraid to get down and dirty, they have an awesome gimmick (wearing masks), and they’re cute as heck. They’ve also got those little hands, so they could probably play guitars.”
And I felt that described me to a T.
Years later, when Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (a movie I have not seen even though I LOVED the first one, and LOVE James Gunn’s work) came out and Peter Quill brought the term Trash Panda into popularity, I leaned into the pun of “Thrash” panda, and the song was born. Eventually I just liked getting art of this character I made up for the song whenever I’d recite the lyrics so much, I made it official.
One fun tidbit I came up with is real name isn’t “Thrash Panda”, but something that’s foreign and hard to pronounce so he was like “Fine, yup, that’s it”.
When I commissioned HELLBREAKFAST to do the cover art for my album Bastardmania, which was the music I did for a video game that ended up being not used, I wanted the cover to resemble that of the game WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64. Obviously I’d be The Rock in center, but for the people on sides, I figured I’d do cameos from my musical ouvre. On the left is “Jonesy Spencerson”, a Radio Announcer character who did the interludes on my album Status Quo Radio, and on the right is Thrash. I loved the outfit so much I thought “YUP, IT’S CANON NOW”
Recently you played Furry Weekend Atlanta, where you had volunteers serve you as human mike stands. Could that be someone’s kink, or were you wholesome and just in a panel room without full amenities while grinding your way to main stage time?
I’m going to go with the former, since that sounds more badass. I tend to bring a lot of equipment whenever I do a show because I never know what a con will and won’t have, and most of the time I get thrown into a panel room instead of a stage, so I have to do whatever I can to make things interesting. I rarely play outside of Florida, where I can bring whatever I need, but when I have to factor in traveling further than a few hours, it gets dicey.
FWA was great, though. The show still ruled. I make things happen.
What kind of amazing show would you do on main stage? Would you include an interlude where you actually wrestle a bear? Should I include a call for furry bear volunteers? Or would you do something else amazing that gets cons to put you on?
To compensate for being on my own, I’ve learned to add more to my solo sets: Before my first song I do a big lipsync introduction to hype the crowd up, I throw Magic The Gathering cards into the audience, and I’m looking into a projector and videos that play during my songs to increase the WOW factor.
Getting a full band would also be a big help for sure. I’ve always been a victim of “Other Band Syndrome”, where I’ll start playing with a couple people and then their OTHER project starts doing well so they have to devote more time to that. But actually having a band with me would give me so much more flexibility and interaction.
As for your suggestion of bear wrestling, I’d be down for booking a Fursuiter Wrestling show at a larger con. That’s just a damn good idea. Neko Chan Punchy/Mr. Cat set the precedent for such a thing, so maybe you can see a Raccoon vs. Cat Grudge Match in the future.
— Neko Chan Punchi 🏳️🌈🐱 (Mr. Cat) (@realfozzcat) July 15, 2018
You wrote “Furry cons are Ren Faires mixed with Pride Parades.” That’s a cool description, do you want to give any more details?
Why I went with Renaissance Faires in particular, it’s that while there are inroads from corporate pop culture (i.e. Going to a Ren Faire because you like Game Of Thrones, Lord Of The Rings, The Witcher, etc. vs. going to a fur con because of Disney movies, Starfox, etc.), the VAST majority of people who dress up for them are going as their own character that fits the theming. The comparison to Pride Parades is that at Furry Weekend Atlanta, I saw people being themselves at 110% and loved it. While yes, the furry fandom is very heavily LGBTQ+, that comes from the fact that participation in the subculutre ENCOURAGES you to look at yourself in a different light.
What I like about the furry fandom is that it’s not around something specific, but rather a general concept, like being a fan of Fantasy or Sci-Fi, so it’s creator owned, and there’s no REQUIREMENTS. I play a lot of anime conventions in Florida and people tend to lose interest since while I’m playing songs inspired by video games and comics, something the con goers enjoy as well, they bail when they realize I’m not doing VGM covers or rapping over anime beats. Furries have been more keen to take a chance on me and my music, so that’s why I’ve been leaning more toward my furry side.
Have you encountered haters making bad decisions to mess with you and the fandom? I didn’t get the idea that most of your music is provocative, but I saw you did a Fuck TERFs song.
“Fuck TERFs” came out when SonicFox got temporarily suspended from Twitter for saying “Fuck TERFs”. A LOT of people get banned for sticking up for themselves, so I wanted to make a song where everyone can shout it out without having to worry about a Websites protecting Transphobes feelings. The only pushback I’ve gotten from it is online, and a lot of TERF hate directed at a 6’1″ attractive swole Cis Man sticking up for Transgender people comes off as really pathetic insults, like “moid” (the “male” equivalent of “Femoid”, an incel term for women) and “penis haver”.
What made me really happy was when I saw an uptick from people watching the song on YouTube because someone posted it on a transgender-led meme subreddit, and the comments were “This is what I needed, thank you!”. Occasionally I’ll do a twitter search and people quote it!
I also have a song called “Run Over Ronnie”, written shortly after Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis legalized running over protestors in the wake of the protests from the summer of 2020, and reworked the MC Lars song “Hot Topic Is Not Punk Rock” to “Think Geek Is Not Nerdcore” that focused on the consumerism of the Geek Brand, so I can be provocative when I want to be.
Have any good con stories?
At Anime Iwai 2021 in Fort Lauderdale, I participated in a cosplay runway competition as Meowscles from the game Fortnite, who is a muscular cat man with an otherwise human body. I didn’t win, but I was clearly the fan favorite. What I didn’t expect was someone recorded it, posted it on TikTok over some hella sexy music, and had a bit of a viral moment. I was moving at the time, so it made things a little less hellish seeing all the thirst.
Are you going to Anthrocon and what do you look forward to there?
Anthrocon is VERY up in the air for me right now since I’m waiting to hear back from them. Megaplex is local, and I enjoyed the experience of FWA so much that I’m still open to playing cons all over!
Is there anything else we should cover?
My manager is making me say this; HARDCORE NERDCORE PUNK ROCK COMES OUT JULY 1ST, support your local swole punk rock furry by checking out the linktree and if you want to book me, email firstname.lastname@example.org!
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