The Goddamn Rodeo | No Room for Clowns

prof_goddamn-rodeo_sm.jpg"We want the listener to feel like they’re on fire when they listen to the band."







Those who have been to a metal concert may have felt it. Perhaps it has manifested itself visually in the garb of certain fellow concertgoers. Or maybe it reared its ugly head in the lyrics, the sound, the posturing of a band that not only practices their instruments, but their moves on stage.

Contrivance. A beautiful-sounding word with an ugly meaning.

For a musical act, contrivance kills integrity, alienates audiences, and annoys listeners. No amount of shredding, roaring vocals, or furious kick drumming will buy back pride once a band has been branded with the awful "c" word in the metal genre.

Fortunately, the St. Louis metal scene is one blessed with a multitude of bands that reek of honesty and raw brutality. Check your posturing at the door. St. Louis-based groups have found a very receptive audience, and the fury and sheer vitality of their performances have won over a multitude of those hungry for an aggression that mainstream media outlets seem to eschew. Among those bands, few stand as tall as The Goddamn Rodeo, a group whose intensely chaotic sound is matched only by an equally intense disdain for contrivance.


"We want the listener to feel like they’re on fire when they listen to the band." says Nate Northway, guitarist for The Goddamn Rodeo. Together with fellow guitarist Josh Travis, drummer Brad Sexton, and vocalist Scott Freed, The Goddamn Rodeo has gone on the warpath, and it seems few, if any, obstacles will allow their vision to be compromised. "Every so often, a band hits the metal scene and is undeniably the new king, ignoring trends and fads. That band usually changes the way that fans and musicians alike view the genre. We want to be the band that does that."

The Goddamn Rodeo formed in June 2007, following the disintegration of Nashville Suicide Mission and When Knives Go Skyward. Rising from the ashes of these two local heavy hitters, The Goddamn Rodeo has already made a name for itself, having shared the stage alongside national acts and showcasing for labels in their short tenure. Their shows attract large crowds of frenetic moshers as well as wall hugging head-nodders, as heavy riffs and scorching vocals leave crowds anything but motionless.

However, it is their disjointed arrangements that distinguish them from their contemporaries. The harsh melodies seem only to quicken pace in "V" and "Swell the Fat" as the dual assault of Northway and Travis’s guitars intertwine and ring dissonant against each other. Amid such an intense paring, it would be easy to overlook the contribution of Sexton on drums, and listening to "You Were Right About the Machines" will easily reveal his deft precision. Amid this backdrop, Freed’s nail-grinding vocals seethe incessantly in the listener’s eardrums. With so many strengths on their side, it comes as little surprise that The Goddamn Rodeo has separated itself from an increasingly competent set of local acts.

While many metal bands cite a diverse list of musicians as being influential to their sound, The Goddamn Rodeo finds that their greatest source of inspiration comes from their fellow band members. High competition within the genre forces metal acts to produce works of increasing complexity and ferocity, but the band doesn’t let the pressure get to them. "We write over our heads a lot," explains Northway. "This ends up being a very good thing, because as it may be over our heads at the time we write it, within a few weeks, it’s a walk in the park."

Despite having been on the scene as a cohesive act for a relatively short time, The Goddamn Rodeo has already begun to view things in terms of the bigger picture. "St. Louis is our home, but we’re really trying focus on a national audience as a whole….[St. Louis is] a single part of a bigger plan." says Northway. "What we aim for is 30,000 crazy people taking off work to go watch The Goddamn Rodeo play on a Tuesday." Though many musical acts aspire for success of this caliber, the tenacity with which they approach their live performances in even the smallest of venues suggests that this dream is within their grasp.

Even with such lofty ambitions, the band has really embraced the following they have garnered within the region. "The STL scene has been kind to us so far," admits Northway. "There are a lot of true metalheads out there who make an effort to see and listen to everything they can. We enjoy knowing that there are people out there seeking what we are doing." | Joshua Vise

The Goddamn Rodeo can be found online at and

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