By Holly Kirkpatrick
Photo by Mark Duggan
Science Man = punk/hardcore2
Science Man is a crazy experiment. From just listening, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the tenacious guitar riffs and resulting high-energy punk-inspired sound is the work of a band. But Science Man is just one person: the alter ego solo project of John Toohill (Alpha Hopper / Radiation Risks / Night Slaves).
Toohill is preparing for the upcoming Science Man LP Release show on March 8, and the stage presence of his persona should more than make up for the lack of accompanying musicians. Accented by the rubber gloves and eye goggles he wears, Science Man is as hyper as his music. It’s as though someone hit ‘pause’ on the moment Frankenstein created the monster and screamed “It’s alive!” in all his frenzied, unhinged exultation.
“I had to let him out. I needed Science Man.”
But for Toohill, Science Man is actually the monster in this analogy. Asked how he came up with the patchwork persona he says:
“I’ve been in bands since I was like 15. I think I tried to join one before I even learned how to play any instrument at all. And being in a band is a group activity. Especially in the DIY world I was raised in. You are like a gang. Brought together ‘cuz you were never cut out to be classically trained musicians. So everyone has certain important abilities that help make it work. Ideas, charm, leadership, organizational skills, a van, money. Whatever. You need other people. Going at it alone is better suited for painters or novelists or serial killers. And there is NOTHING worse than some hack lead singer with an over inflated ego who thinks they have it all figured out and can actually do this all by themselves without having it end up like a festival porta-potty getting knocked over on Sunday Night. Plus I never really saw myself as an acoustic singer/songwriter kinda soft-sounds guy. I watched pro wrestling and horror movies growing up. You can’t be a real, live, loud full band all alone. There is just too much to do. I needed someone completely unreasonable. So I had to let him out. I needed Science Man.”
A shaky video of the sheer bonkers energy of a Science Man performance is the thing that made me look twice on my Instagram feed and find out more. I listened to the bandcamp page and discovered the sound that the performer describes as “flowing through punk/hardcore/garage/rock and roll like some kind of a monstrous cross between Big Black, Motörhead, and Devo without having a throw back vibe.”
The DIY element of the project is huge. The LP will be released on the new Buffalo-based label, SWIMMING FAITH, also created by Toohill.
Get down to the Science Man LP Release Show on March 8 at Electric Avenue, and add Science Man to your 2019 playlists.