Who among us is not a fan of Dodger rookie phenom Yasiel Puig? His acolytes certainly include the members of new grindcore band Puig Destroyer. You can hear their delirious track, “One Man, Five Tools” below. We'd imagine it's the first metal ode to the talented Cuban defector.
The group formed during the taping of an episode of Productive Outs, a baseball-themed podcast hosted by Thrice drummer Riley Breckenridge and Kowloon Walled City bassist Ian Miller.
“I joked that someone should start a grindcore band called Puig Destroyer,” Breckenridge says from Seattle, where he is on tour as Jimmy Eat World's drum tech. “After we finished recording the podcast, Ian texted me saying, 'We should start it.' That night I sent him the drum tracks for the first song, and it moved forward from there. Me and Ian have wanted to make music together for years, and this seemed like a really cool way to marry baseball and music.”
The name is a tribute to both the star outfielder and influential grindcore outfit Pig Destroyer. Grindcore is one of the most abrasive forms of heavy music today, known for pure unadulterated short blasts of abrasive vocals and fast-paced blastbeat drumming. So what was it about Puig that made him want to put together a grindcore project?
“He's a freakish prospect that terrorizes opposing pitchers,” Breckenridge says. “He's insanely raw and incredibly talented. He's got all of the tools but he doesn't know how to use all of the tools yet. He plays with a level of energy that is kind of reckless. It fits the style of music that we wanted to play.”
So far only “One Man, Five Tools” has been released on the group's Bandcamp page, but Breckenridge expects to release a six-song EP next week. Except more songs with baseball themes.
“We'll have a track called 'Stop Fucking Bunting,'” Breckenridge says. “It's inspired by the title of our podcast. It's a jab at the concept of productive outs in baseball, which we think are stupid. An out is an out…if you give them away, you are drastically lessening your chances of winning a game. The sacrifice bunt is the most glaring example of that.” (Amen!)
As for the rest of the EP, “It's short, heavy, seriously fast, and energetic,” says Breckenridge. “It's very short bursts of baseball-themed grindcore. There's lots of shredding and screaming, and it's meant to be played very loud.”
While Puig is having an amazing rookie season so far, the history of Major League Baseball is littered with rookie phenoms that fade away quickly. Does Breckenridge worry that could happen to Puig?
“He's incredibly balanced, but it seems that pitchers that are facing him for a second and third time are realizing that there are some flaws in his swing and some pitches he can't deal with,” Breckenridge says. “He's going to need to make some adjustments. If he doesn't make those adjustments, he's going to struggle. It's far more likely than him continuing to hit .390 or .400.”
Either way, however, it won't slow the march of Puig Destroyer.
“We're going to keep having fun making music,” he says. “We're going to do it until people get sick of it or don't care anymore. Even then, we still might keep doing it because it's still fun.”