If you never met him, you might mistake Amigo the Devil for a monster. The 25-year-old murderfolk maudit's most popular song is called "Perfect Wife." With gallows humor to make Marshall Mathers wince, it details gruesome spousal abuse that escalates until the wife rifle-blasts her husband.
Two other beloved anthems are "Dahmer Does Hollywood" and "The Reluse," which was originally titled, "Ed Gein." The latter opens this month's self-released Diggers EP by loosely sketching the necrophiliac Wisconsin serial killer who once made a belt out of human nipples. Think Johnny Cash at his blackest, mixed with Father John Misty, if he exhumed graves at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
"Everyone has morbid thoughts, but there's a very large gap between having insanely sick thoughts and actually doing them," says the Miami-raised Devil, born Danny Kiranos. "But these people exist, and I'm fascinated by them. I'm sure as hell never gonna know what it feels like."
If you saw the Devil from a distance, his heavily tattooed appearance could confirm your most sinister expectations. He has beefy, butcher's forearms and a keg-shaped upper body. But if you look closer, many tattoos are jokes: There's God with an iPod, drinking a beer and thinking about breasts; bees on his knees; and sad dinosaurs crying with the bubble quote, "God doesn't believe in us." Several are devoted to horror movies. The rest are "just bullshit."
This morbid sensibility has run through all his creative endeavors. He first came to L.A. at 18 to make horror films at the Los Angeles Film School. But after an impromptu cocaine and whiskey binge on the morning of orientation, he quit by noon, and instead enrolled in a local culinary school.
After graduation, he moved to San Francisco to get a job at a brewery. Growing up in Florida, he'd dabbled in metal and hardcore bands, but nothing took off like the Devil.
"One day I was bored and drunk and picked up a banjo. 'Perfect Wife' came out immediately," he says.
He put that first song and several subsequent others on MySpace. Feedback was unanimously positive, but music stayed a hobby as the Devil pursued a master's degree in brewing, attending schools in Chicago and Berlin. He eventually moved to Orlando to open his Cassadaga Brewing, named after the Florida town deemed "The Psychic Capital of the World." Each beer was named after a famous murder victim.