Kill the Ego
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Kill the Ego

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"KTE video" - Kill the Ego

"Slaves Love Masters"

Slaves Love Masters - Review by Jason Caviness (Local Voice)

Kill The Ego

I've heard music critics utter the words "rock is dead" so many

times I can't stand it. Rock has been declared dead more times

than Rasputin and it's easy to see why. The airwaves are dominated

by wholly unimpressive bands and pop starlets with more booty

than voice. The mainstream music scene has become stagnant and

predictable with the masses buying up anything that the likes of

Clear Channel and VH1 tell them to. Fans of music who feel personally

insulted by crap-rock such as Fall Out Boy and Panic! At

The Disco have to dig a little deeper to find music with substance

and lasting quality.

But sometimes that music is right in your own backyard.

Kill The Ego have been playing around Oxford for about a year

or so now. Their reputation as learned musicians and reverent students

of rock is well earned, so when I got my hands on their first

release, Slaves Love Masters, I was hoping for the best and expecting

to be let down. I mean, how can a band with such a ferocious live

sound possibly match that heart-felt aggression on CD? Luckily for

us, they more or less did just that.

The record's seven tracks run the rock gamut. Their myspace

page cites their influences as Black Sabbath, the Pixies, Ramones

and Fugazi but I'm just not hearing any of Sabbath's bottom-end

doom and gloom here. In fact, I don't detect any metal in their

sound at all. What is glaringly obvious is the impact that Fugazi

and the Pixies have had on the Ego guys. KTE aren't afraid to play

around with the quiet-loud dynamics that were the hallmark of the

Pixies, nor do they shy away from the more tension-filled aspects of

Fugazi's catalog (this is a good thing, top 40 fans).

Vocalist/guitarist Max Hipp's guitar tone may sound familiar at

first listen but he's pushing those tones into places that their influences

have overlooked. On the album opener "What You Call

Living" the boys waste no time letting you know what the record

is about; energy and smart fun. The song somehow sounds like the

aural equivalent of a boxer bobbing and weaving, ducking one way

when you expect it to go the other. On "Pricks" the guitar –work

during the first verse is an exercise in tension a la the criminally

overlooked but essential Shellac, building toward a chorus that simply

explodes with catchiness. Never have lyrics like "Whooooooowoo-

hoo-oooooo!" sounded so damned righteous and meaningful,

and it's due to the slow burn that Hipp and company deliver. From

the first chorus forward the tune chugs along like an 18-wheeler

driven by a Falknerian idiot man-child, dangerous and fun as hell.

Fist-pumping choruses and anthemic guitars play their part, naturally,

but what makes the whole thing work on deeper level are the

lyrics and their juxtaposition to the song structure. "If You Want

It" sounds like music to raise hell with your old high school buddies

to but lyrics like "It's much easier to get with a stranger than

to pretend we're who we used to be" and "I feel like I was the desert

and you were the rain cloud over me" reveal the story of a marriage

falling apart and the bitterness that comes along with that. The joyous

inflection in Hipp's vocal delivery clash with the lyrical content

and the result is downright powerful. What exactly the "it" in the

title is referring to is left up to debate. Is it divorce or sex? If the

former, then ouch. If the latter, then damn, that's brutal.

The great thing about records, indeed bands, like this is the

timelessness of it all. I'll be listening to "Slaves Love Masters" in

ten, twenty years. No gimmicky Kanye West remixes for these

gentlemen. No slick production tricks to make the bottom-end

"heavier" or the vocals pitch-perfect. That sort of nonsense would

severely date the material. The songwriting is heavy enough as is,

thank you very much. And the vocals evoke plenty enough on their

own merits. Kill The Ego stand in diametric opposition to the Top

40 hackery currently being spewed forth from radios across the

nation. And that, music fans, is what art should be about. - The Local Voice

"Kill The Ego Dress Up Larrys Tonight"

Local rockers Max Hipp and Beau Bourgeois know how to squeeze a lot of energy out of a drum kit and a single guitar. After playing together in the metal outfit Morphist, Hipp and Bourgeois formed Kill the Ego, which has been their main musical project for more than a year. They list their main influences as H?sker D?, Fugazi, Minutemen, Ramones, Wire, Wipers and the Pixies.

"When you see Kill the Ego live, you see two guys in suits," Hipp said. "This is because when you listen to a lot of the Clear Channel corporate music, you've got a lot of businessmen and businesswomen masquerading as musicians. But we're musicians masquerading as businessmen.

"The suits are a symbol of power. We wear cheap suits, though. Mine's from JCPenney; I've had it for about 10 years."

"My dad gave me mine," presumably for use in obtaining a steady job, Bourgeois added.

Bourgeois said the group has a varied sound style.

"Sometimes we're loud; sometimes we're pretty aggressive, sometimes very melodic," he said. "We just try to roll up everything into one, but if it doesn't have energy, we won't play it."

For Bourgeois, energy doesn't always mean a fast tempo, and he notes that even slow songs can have a distinctive energy if executed properly.

Because the group's bassist, Chris Lowery, recently moved to Biloxi, this Thursday's show will feature drums and one guitar only. Hipp isn't worried that the songs will sound watered down, though.

"We try to write good songs that stand up no matter what format they're in, and if we didn't think that they still got across as a two-piece, we wouldn't do it.

"The constant in this, whether it's three people, two people, one person or 12 people, is that we're trying to make this about the song. It used to be, before the song was a commodity, it was a kind of social exchange, a form of communication. You listen to Woody Guthrie singing about hard times during the dust-bowl days; that's a form of communication that he would travel around the country and play before the song became something like a hit single that everyone went out and bought. I imagine we're playing folk songs, only louder."

Bourgeois says what sets them apart from other bands with "Kill" in the name is that Kill the Ego is less of a marketing strategy than a reminder to remain grounded.

"Kill Hannah is emo; we're definitely not that," he said with a laugh. "The Killers are like Brit-rock; they sound like Franz Ferdinand. We're not doing that. Our name is also meant to be a reminder to ourselves."

The band recently released its first album, an EP with the provocative title "Slaves Love Masters." Hipp says the title relates to the way power moves in our society.

"To me it's never been that interesting that people in power seek more power. What is interesting are the people who serve the people in power. It doesn't surprise me that, say, the CIA or someone in Iraq is torturing prisoners, or that someone in power would authorize that. What I'm interested in is how people are being slaves for these masters."

Bourgeois said the term slave can be applied in several different ways.

"There are other masters than just people. There is also being enslaved to systems, enslaved to repetition. People become slaves without even realizing it because there is not any defined master. You can be a slave to driving your car wherever you go."

Both Hipp and Bourgeois agree that subtle systems of slavery can be just as damaging as the more obvious ones.

"You can become a slave to technology in that we all sit in front of computer monitors now for hours and hours at a time, and that's becoming more and more commonplace and accepted," Hipp said.

Kill the Ego's music is available for download from its MySpace page, but Hipp says buying from the artist is the best way to go about it.

"If you buy music directly from the person who made it, you know that all that money is going to them and there's not some digital middleman getting a cut," he said.

"You can also order our CD through, but I would recommend coming to see us and buying it from us personally. That's how you connect with people. We're doing this because we enjoy it and we think there's some real power in music. We think that songs are worth passing to other people."

To young kids who want to be rockers, Hipp said they should "ask themselves why they want to start a band. If they say money, I would advise them to quit because there is no money in music, only pain,"

Bourgeois agreed: "Pain and suffering, which makes better music."

For those wondering why they should pay their hard-earned money to see Kill the Ego and Goodmorning Powerheart tonight, Max said, "You're going to see some of the best original rock music that Oxford has to offer, and that's completely worth $5." - Daily Mississippian


Slaves Love Masters 2006
Bomb Factory Rock 2008



Heavy metal band refugees Max Hipp and Beau Bourgeois formed Kill the Ego, a two-piece band of drums and guitar meant to sound decidedly un-metal, in Spring 2005. They wrote songs with the edge they were used to but without the grinding mechanical sputter they had grown tired of.

They decided to write songs that were "more accessible" to "normal" people. Songs with sounds familiar to those who listen to bands like Fugazi, Mission of Burma, Dead Kennedys, Wire and even Suicide, PiL, Pere Ubu or DNA. They were wrong about the “more accessible” and “normal” part of it but kept writing because they liked the music.

As the song list grew, they began to miss the bass guitar and asked local bread baker and friend Chris Lowery to play. Lowery played bass with Kill the Ego for 2 years and is featured on first album "Slaves Love Masters" (2006), which received a small but glowing review in the area's independent newspaper The Local Voice. After Lowery's departure they continued to play shows around the Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana area as a two-piece while searching for a replacement.

John Sonnett, who had recently moved to the area from Phoenix AZ, joined the band in 2007 and was featured on their 2nd full length CD "Bomb Factory Rock"(2008).

Since 2005 Kill the Ego have written a gargantuan amount of catchy, anthemic, butt-pumping, knob-slobbing rock songs. They have toured the South on different occasions, playing shows in New Orleans, Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, Atlanta and Baton Rouge, among others, opening for everyone from Blowfly to Bones. They have been asked the last two years to play their hometown’s own Oxford Music Festival, sharing the stage with local-turned-national talents such as Colour Revolt, Blue Mountain and the Kudzu Kings. Kill the Ego are currently in the process of releasing their first 7-inch single and another full-length CD as well as a separate collaboration with local hip-hop artists Stork and Nick B; all of which they have recorded and produced themselves in Bourgeois' home studio. Kill the Ego shows are sweaty, loud and a requirement for anyone looking to see real rock music in Oxford, Mississippi, or anywhere else.