Crom is a band obsessed with barbarians and funnymen. Named for the grumbling deity of Robert E. Howard's Conan books, the five-piece Los Angeles metal act is a grinding, slashing, thrashing tribute to mindless swordplay and Rodney Dangerfield, blasting through crazed tunes on necrophilia and hot Cimmerian nights at clubs and house parties across the land.

What better way to celebrate the holidays? Crom's 17th annual metal war on Christmas unfolds Dec. 19 at the Echo, doubling as a Toys for Tots charity event. “Don't quote me, but I believe the theme for this year is 'The Disappointment of Christmas,' ” says singer Will Crom (band members never reveal their real last names), who will not be bringing his 15-month-old son. “It should be on fire and emotional, to say the least. We'll have a little soiree.”

What is the mission of Crom?

Jesus, I don't know. When we started this band, there was definitely something we thought was lacking in music that we wanted to contribute. We wanted to have the brutality of Mayhem and the gnarlyness of Man Is the Bastard but have a little Rodney Dangerfield in there.

Why Rodney?

He hit on my mom once. That was kind of rad. We are fans of comedy, from Rip Taylor to fuckin' Rodney Dangerfield. The more absurd the better.

Is Crom trying to make it big?

Aspirations? None. We've never promoted ourselves as much as a normal band would. We've never made the effort other than to make each other laugh. But make it big? Sure, I don't want to work. That would be great. I could home-school my son on a tour bus and make him have a Gucci Mohawk.

Are your fans well-behaved?

No, and that's a good thing. We all need somewhere to behave badly. Everyone needs that space to be an animal, and we try to provide that.

Who are your fans?

In the beginning, it was teens, early 20s, crusties and grindcore heads. In the last couple of years, it's kind of changed because music's really evolved and changed a lot. The last show we played at Spaceland, I was like, “Dude, there's girls here! What the fuck?” Not that we would tailor our routines to that set of the species, but I will throw in a Prince song if I have to.

How loud?

You want full-tilt boogie, as loud as possible. I'm frequently late to practice, and as I pull up I can easily hear them half a block away. It's kinda rad. But you can't bring your kid to practice.

Some of your songs are pretty short.

Some things take longer to say. If it's, “I'm going to humiliate your corpse,” I'm going to do it in these six ways, and that's the end of the song. If it's about something more elaborate, like diarrhea, it could take longer. The length of the song is subject-appropriate. We don't digress.

Do you sing to your son?

Yes, I do, quite a variety of children's tunes I bust out. I've got a lot of stuff I've made up myself. You've got to do that shit, dude. I'll start out, “If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands,” and then it will digress into, “If you're horny and you know it, smack your ass. …”

Crom are obsessed with Conan the Barbarian. Are you disappointed that Arnold Schwarzenegger is not going to be the governor anymore?

In a whimsical, farcical way, yeah, because it made California seem that much more dreamlike and ridiculous. At the same time, I guess we're hitting rewind and going back to fuckin' Moonbeam. Whatever. I read Conan comic books to my son. Conan is rad. It's brutal. There's lots of tits and swords, but there's some kind of message, I'm pretty sure.

Crom will play the early show (before the Ari Up tribute) at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19, at the Echo. For more info, see

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