It’s probably no surprise to anyone who’s been a close follower of my blog over the years, that I’m a fan of some pretty fucking weird music. I’m a Juggalo who regularly bumps the likes of Insane Clown Posse and I’m also one of the only people you’ll find on the internet who’s willing to both praise and defend MySpace era Crunkcore.
My taste in music is definitely not “normal” by any stretch of the imagination. I love “outsider music”. I tend to enjoy stuff that’s either critically panned by the majority or completely insane shit that most people just can’t get into due to how bizarre and weird it is.
And this band are most definitely the latter. I’d honestly go as far as saying that they’re the most weird and strange musical act to ever exist. Ever. And the story that accompanies their music is just as bizarre and fascinating.
So who exactly were Five Starcle Men?
Well, there’s actually very little information out there on the group. In fact, now that I’ve decided to write this blog post, there appears to be even less information out there than there was before. Their Wikipedia page was deleted because Wikipedia’s admins are idiots who don’t think the band is “notable” enough (like that matters) and the one WordPress blog that covered the band has been… Deleted… For some reason. It’s honestly kinda creepy.
But anyway, they were supposedly two teenagers from the desert town of Lancaster, California who got together in the early 90’s and made some of the weirdest fucking music to ever be produced. They were also really into dextromethorphan (DXM), an active ingredient in cough syrup which can produce dissociative and hallucinogenic effects when taken in high doses. And they got high on the stuff constantly. And it just so happens that they wrote and recorded all of their songs while tripped out on the stuff. Which resulted in some really strange, bizarre and borderline unsettling music.
The experiment sadly came to an abrupt end when one of the members, Glenn Hobbs, reportedly killed himself during a DXM trip gone horribly wrong. The other member, Luke McGowan, is supposedly still alive and kicking today, now a professor of neuroscience at California State University. Apparently. The remainder of the story is shrouded in mystery, to the point that some speculate that the band didn’t exist at all and that the story of Hobbs and McGowan was just made up to fuck with people. But then, there are plenty of people who were heavily involved in the 90’s underground music scene and they’ll all talk about Five Starcle Men and how big of an impact they had on the scene (which honestly makes the lack of information about them on the internet even more bizarre). There’s also some very limited footage of the duo performing live, although it’s so heavily edited that it looks like you’re watching an acid trip in video form rather than a live performance. Definitely worth checking out if you… Want to give yourself nightmares… Seriously this shit is fucking weird.
And there’s also a very short excerpt taken from a recorded interview with one of the members and it’s… Really fucking bizarre. To put it lightly. The kid being interviewed sounds so fucking disturbed that it honestly just adds another layer of creepiness to the whole project.
Do I even need to talk about the weird fucking imagery splattered across all of the bands work? I do? Well… Just look at this shit.
As for the music itself… Well… It’s even weirder than the accompanying story.
All of the bands music, from just about every release they ever produced, was collected into a compilation by the Japanese record label Lost Frog Productions. It was titled Gomba Reject Ward Japan and was released on Archive.org for free back in 2007. The compilation is quite the fucking journey, and upon immediately starting it up, it becomes evidently clear that something just “isn’t right.”
The sound is warped and distorted beyond recognition. The “lyrics” (if you can even call them that) are nonsensical, surreal and often just incoherent mumbling and screaming. Tape loops and samples supposedly taken from random objects litter the production, and there’s basically no rhythm or coherence to any of this shit that listening to it from beginning to end can only be described as “mind-melting”. Honestly, the best way I can put this is that while listening to this, you feel like you’ve been transported to another world. Like you’re the one going on a robo-trip from downing a bottle of cough syrup. It’s a really surreal listening experience that is truly like no other.
And to top it all of, the music is just really fucking unsettling and borderline creepy too. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the entire compilation was recorded when the two boys were tripped out on DXM, along with the story that one of them committed suicide, but it feels like there’s a genuine insanity behind all of this. The “themes” of the music often discuss aliens, a fake mythology, shared hallucinations, and what can only be described as weird, cult-like incantations (“YELLOW FROG LEGS FOR MY EVILLLLL SPELLLLL!”). And the further you get through it all, the more unhinged everything seems to become. It starts out fucking weird from the get go, but by the end it genuinely just feels like something snapped and the two kids just went absolutely fucking mental. The fact that the final song they supposedly ever recorded before Hobbs committed suicide literally screams “YOU WILL REALISE ME!” over and over and over again is just… Next level shit to me in terms of creepiness.
Five Starcle Men terrify me, in a fun way. I fucking love it. And I regularly find myself listening to their work from start to finish.
If you’re at all interested in these two wackos, I highly recommend looking up Gomba Reject Ward Japan and giving it a listen. It’s a fairly short album to get through, with most of the songs clocking in at under a 1 minute in length, and it is very worth your time.
They’re a silly teenage drug experiment that went horribly wrong, but I can’t help but be fascinated by them, their music and the fictional mythology surrounding it. I just wish there was more information out there, and I hope that some day we can learn the full story behind the madness that was Five Starcle Men.
It seems possible. Lost Frog were apparently working on a documentary, although I can’t seem to find any confirmation that this is actually the case. And last year, some new Five Starcle Men media was released on YouTube in the form of a VHS tape titled “Live + Dead” which contains a live performance by the band, a wake service for Glenn Hobbs and various nonsensical bullshit that honestly just raises more questions than answers. I highly recommend checking this shit out if you’re interested. It’s… A fucking trip.
So perhaps there’s even more Five Starcle Men stuff out there that’s yet to see the light of day? Maybe some unreleased footage? Some lost music? The full recorded interview? More parts to the story? Or perhaps we’ll never know what really happened, and they’ll just remain a weird experiment of the past.
Regardless, they wrote some really fucking dope music though. And that’s pretty damn cool.