If Rainbow Destroyer had their way, every day would be Halloween, Gothic chic would be uniform and zombie movies would be as routine as brushing your teeth.
Mo Hayes and Foster Longo, who make up the electro-pop duo, are something out of an old-schoolRomero flick, where brain-starved zombies creep around every corner.
Rainbow Destroyer is hard to ignore — leopard print everything, sequin shorts, studded jean vests and zombie-like makeup are all a part of the band’s essence and attitude. Their music is Top 40 pop, but their lyrics are dark and asinine and their bass lines could make bones rattle six feet under.
“When I was younger and enrolled at the Paul Green School of Rock Music, the first show I did was Kiss,” Hayes recalls. “I went from being a really insecure, super low self-esteem 16-year-old girl to somebody in full Kiss makeup, wearing a mini skirt and fish nets and an underwear top with bat wings I made myself. I was spitting fake blood on strangers and having the fucking best time ever! I think that having the make up, particularly for me, has allowed me to step outside myself and do things that are more entertaining and go past what I would normally do.”
Longo and Hayes met at the School of Rock in 2005. Longo arrived with a firm grasp on classical piano but Hayes had yet to pick up a bass and sing rock ‘n’ roll to a crowd.
For both bandmates, learning to perform through the school was the greatest lesson learned.
“It was the first time I got to experience being on the stage in that context,” Longo reminisces. “It just completely changed how I felt about music and what I wanted to do with music. It really opened things up.”
Lights, glitter and smoke fill the scene when Rainbow Destroyer hits the stage — all of the right elements to create a danceable hypnotic trance over any crowd. On several occasions, at Philly spots like Tabu, The Trocadero Balcony and Voyeur (where they opened for Sharon Needles), their format resembles a cabaret show. In most cases, Rainbow Destroyer acts as a house band in a way, playing after or in between drag shows.
“There is an attitude that there is something you owe the crowd,” Longo says. “I see people who just stand there and sing and don’t do anything. It’s like, ‘I came to this show, probably spent money on it, you have my attention and you are wasting my time.’ I just consider a bad performance rude.”
Waiting In The Dark, an EP the band self-released in December, is a tantalizing fusion of catchy pop, juicy bass lines and a Tim Burton Gothic mentality.
“Midtown Village (Tonight)” contains all of this, as well as cameos from some of their friends from the LGBT community. The track includes speaking parts from The Goddess Isis, El Roy Red and Messapotamia Lefae, who all share in Rainbow Destroyer’s kitschy theatrics. The song is all about going out, getting drunk and having a big bite of “honey roasted, red pepper realness.”
“We spend a lot of time in the Gayborhood and with the drag queens there,” Hayes says. “We wanted to describe to someone who maybe doesn’t know about that culture in the city, what going out in that context is. I think we did a pretty good job.”
Rainbow Destroyer is searching for the missing piece to take their live performance to the next level. They want to turn over the computer and special effects responsibilities to someone so the duo can truly put on a show the whole way to the graveyard and back.
“In (one of our music videos) I put the raw lamb neck in my mouth,” Hayes says with a maniacal grin. “I’m going to continue to tell myself that I am really committed.”