Back in medieval times, barbers doubled as surgeons.
Long before salons touted mile-long menus meant to primp, pamper, and placate, they offered relaxing specialties such as bloodletting, cupping therapy, pulling teeth, and more. The Cutthroat Brothers may not literally induce bloodletting, but they certainly do figuratively on their independent self-titled full-length debut. The duo of real-life barbers—Jason Cutthroat [vocals, guitar] and Donny Paycheck [drums]—carve up a bloody, ballsy, and brash brand of rock ‘n’ roll that—not unlike their medieval counterparts—takes no prisoners. Donning blood-spattered white smocks, they’re as handy with a straight razor as they are with a groove.
“The classic imagery of what a barber is correlates so well to the music,” adds Donny. “We keep it straightforward and as clean as possible.”
As the story goes, Jason and Donny initially got acquainted during the early nineties in the fertile Pacific Northwest rock scene as both played in local bands. Most notably, Donny made his bones behind the kit for the iconic Zeke!
Fast forward almost two decades, they properly met during 2012 long after Jason traded Washington for The Big Island in Hawaii. At the urging of a friend, Donny implemented Jason’s Hearts & Stars shampoo at his Tacoma salon. Initially, they bonded over a love for The Big Island as Donny visited on vacation regularly.
In February 2018, Jason sent Donny a life-changing text…
“After all these years, we’d never really talked about music, but on a whim, I just said, ‘I’m thinking of writing some songs. Do you want to play drums on them? I’ve got an idea for this sound I want to do’,” he recalls. “He wrote back, ‘Yes. Do you want to record with Jack Endino?’ Of course, I said, ‘Yes.’ It was like a total dream come true.”
Jason headed to Washington, and the pair hit the studio with the legendary Endino [Nirvana, Soundgarden]. Within three days, they wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered their full-length debut, The Cutthroat Brothers.
“When I told Jack we’d never ever played together, I thought he was going to strangle the both of us,” laughs Donny. “I was like, ‘It’s going to be fine! Don’t worry about it.’”
It worked out.
The Cutthroat Brothers ignited a grunge-y garage punk assault steeped in a timeless horror homage. The album opener “Kill 4 U” breaks down the door with reckless riffing and a hard-hitting hook that proves equally incisive and infectious.
“It’s the idea that you’re so fucking in love with somebody, you lose control,” explains Jason. “It’s a super great, but horrible roller coaster feeling. Some guys might get flowers. It’s saying, ‘Id kill for you.’