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Ponyboy's relentless shock-and-awe campaign

Pussy Killer is Ponyboy's shocking concept album about Luka Magnotta.

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Luka Magnotta is a small-time porn actor who is being held on charges that he killed and dismembered Lin Jun, his lover, then mailed Jun's body parts to government offices and elementary schools in Canada. He was captured in Berlin after an international manhunt. Magnotta has also been accused of torturing and killing kittens, then posting video evidence online.

Pussy Killer, a new EP from Lawrence's Ponyboy, is a six-song concept album about Magnotta. It is about as dark and grotesque as you might imagine.

"I became fairly obsessed with the case while Magnotta was on the run in Europe," Ponyboy frontman Charles McVey tells The Pitch. "I don't identify with, or approve of, the kinds of things Magnotta is accused of, but I found myself intrigued by the idea that this crime occurred because Magnotta wanted to be famous. I tried to research as much about him and his past as I could, as well as other known serial killers, when working on the songs." (In a mission statement that McVey published with the album, he adds, "It is my attempt at creating a dialogue about the sensationalization of violence and a man's desire for fame at any cost.")

McVey has a history of gravitating toward sexually confrontational subject matter. His 2007 solo album, Modern Living (which I reviewed in these pages), was, essentially, melancholic piano rock set to lyrics about prison sex and dungeon floors. A man in a dog collar graces the album's cover; the phrase daddy's whore sticks out in recollection. A humorous undercurrent runs through it, and if there's any genius to McVey's work — and there might be — it's rooted in the mystery of how seriously he wants to be taken.

With Ponyboy, McVey is communicating similar ideas as half of a noisy, grunge-rock duo, along with David Zey, who plays drums. McVey studied at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, Arizona, and Pussy Killer reveals some of those studio chops: It's layered, tight and surprisingly professional-sounding. It does not, of course, possess much commercial appeal. McVey shrieks terrifying lyrics over stabbing bass lines, industrial synths and distorted guitars.

"Writing Pussy Killer wasn't cathartic in any way, and I don't think that the message will reach a large enough audience to be considered important or leave any social impact," McVey says. "I think we made an interesting project on a limited budget, and I'm OK with that."

Arguably the most disturbing aspect of Magnotta's story is "1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick," an 11-minute video that he released to a shock site called Best Gore before he was apprehended. In it, a naked man, tied to a bed frame in a dimly lit room, is stabbed several times with both an ice pick and a kitchen knife. The original video also reportedly contains acts of necrophilia. McVey and Zey recorded a song called "1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick" for Pussy Killer in which McVey, in effect, scores the scene. "I downloaded it and watched it while I recorded all the guitar and vocal parts," he says. "So what you are hearing is my interpretation and reaction to what is happening onscreen. ... It was an exhausting process mentally, and I was haunted by images for days after."

Naturally, McVey and Zey also shot a video remake of "1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick" to accompany Pussy Killer.

"The video is intended to be a response or a fan letter of sorts to Magnotta from a 'Luka fan,' and we shot it in my living room with just a couple of friends helping us," McVey says. "It ended up being kind of a crash course in homemade gore and special effects, but it was fun in a creepy way. We have gotten more feedback from the video than any other part of the project."

So is McVey a monster himself? Are these the types of dark thoughts swimming around in his brain all day? "I'm actually really sensitive to things like this — I can't stand shock videos or really gory images," McVey explains. "I could never do anything like that, and it makes me wonder how a person can become that detached from their own humanity. Strangely, I found myself sort of hypersensitive after completing the project. ... As far as Pussy Killer is concerned, it's really just art for art' sake."


Buck Wild

Buck Angel is a female-to male transsexual whose résumé includes porn star, filmmaker, and transgender advocate. The score of his recent adult film, Sexing the Transman, was written and performed by Ponyboy. "I sent Buck some demos we were working on last spring, and he asked if he could use some of the music in the film he was working on," McVey says. "Since most of the songs at that time were rather short, I suggested that we write some longer instrumental pieces for his film. I've known Buck for a couple of years. I think [he's] a great guy, and his work is groundbreaking not just for trans porn but porn in general."

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