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80-Proof Throwdown was a heavy metal band based in Cape Coral, Florida. Established in 2005 by singer/guitarist "Beerkeg" Brandon Casterline and guitarist/bassist/programmer Fuckin' Mike, 80-Proof Throwdown broke new musical ground with its signature fusion of thrash metal, death metal, industrial and Southern rock. The band released one album, Trailer Park Rhapsody and one EP, Friday The 13th, before disbanding in 2007. Although the band members had planned to re-form the project in 2011, nothing ever came of the reunion.
"Beerkeg" Brandon Casterline and Fuckin' Mike met at the end of 2003 when they both began working at a local Wal-Mart. Mike was then working on an ill-fated industrial-rock project at the time, however Casterline had never been in a band before. The men began hanging out and jamming together at Casterline's house and became fast friends. Before long, they began recording metal songs together in a project called All Hope Lost with Casterline on guitars and bass, and Mike on vocals and drum programming, as they couldn't find a suitable drummer for the project.
All Hope Lost recorded a self-titled EP consisting of five songs, however they never released the EP because neither member was happy with Mike's vocals. Mike has stated that, in retrospect, the probably should have had Casterline doing the vocals because he had a better singing voice than Mike. As a result, the EP was scrapped and the project discontinued.
The duo recorded a few industrial-metal songs during 2004, however after the death of Pantera and Damageplan guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbot on December 8, 2004, Casterline and Mike shifted their sound to a more metal-oriented one and began using synthesizers less and less over a period of time. Mike made a conscious effort to get better at playing guitar as a tribute to his two favorite guitarists Dimebag Darrell and Johnny Ramone, who both died in 2004, and this helped shape the overall sound of the new music. Without a permanent band name, Casterline and Mike began recording a new LP in January 2005, beginning with a new song called "Virgin No More".
Later in the year, the duo adopted the name 80-Proof Throwdown, referring to an inside joke about the weekly parties that took place at Mike's house where large quantities of alcohol were consumed, and all the drunken antics that took place at these parties. The band's membership was open-ended, with Mike and Casterline being the only permanent members of the band. Other "guest" members included Mike's longtime friend Dan Savage on vocals and Brandi Typhoid (credited as "Brandi Famous" in 80-Proof Throwdown's liner notes), Sailor Barry, and Casterline's cousin Friggin' J.
Recording of the album progressed slowly, mostly due to the fact that the band members were usually drunk during recording, added to the fact that the band didn't have its own recording equipment early on and had to borrow equipment from friends. The process sped up slightly when Mike was given an old computer from a co-worker at the trailer park he lived in. Originally, Savage was named the band's singer, however Savage ended up contributing to only four of the album's songs and later on was not listed as a permanent member due mostly to creative differences. The tracks that Savage's vocals can be heard on include "B.I.H." and "Raising Hell", which he did all the main vocals on, and "Virgin No More" and "Cattle" which feature him on backing vocals. Friggin' J and and Sailor Barry can be heard on "The Beer Song", with J on main vocals. Brandi Typhoid sang on the chorus of "Father".
CD Releases and DeclineEdit
2006 was a tough year for the band; Mike tended to move from place to place all year long, which further slowed the recording process. That summer, with recording for the disc on hiatus for several months, Mike began recording new electronic-rock songs by himself and called the new project Khaos Faktory. Shortly before completion of 80-Proof Throwdown's album, which had by then been dubbed Trailer Park Rhapsody, Mike had completed five songs under the name Khaos Faktory and self-released an EP titled Open for Business to a local record store in North Fort Myers, Florida called A.B.CD's.
Just after the Khaos Faktory demo was finished, Casterline and Mike were quick to finish Trailer Park Rhapsody because Casterline had signed up to join the United States Marine Corps, and had only a few weeks left before he shipped off for boot camp. The final guitar work for the album was recorded literally the day before Casterline departed.
Mike took a month to do the final mixing on the album before self-releasing the Friday The 13th EP, which featured three tracks from Trailer Park Rhapsody and a hidden "stupid shit" track, which was a one-minute snippet of Figgin' J and Casterline goofing around in a drunken stupor. Friday The 13th was appropriately released on Friday, October 13, 2006 and followed by Trailer Park Rhapsody on Halloween the same year. Friday the 13th had a limited-release run of only 50 copies, which were given away for free, and the album was sold for only $5 a copy.
Beerkeg Brandon Casterline's departure marked the end of 80-Proof Throwdown as it had been. Mike continued on with the project for several months after Trailer Park Rhapsody's release and auditioned several potential lead guitarists, but was unable to find a suitable replacement for Casterline. Mike recorded demos of five new songs that he planned on using for a future 80-Proof Throwdown album or EP that he called Renegades Of Heaven, however only one track survived beyond first-draft recording status, which was later released as a demo version of "Obsidian" by Khaos Faktory in 2009 and again as ScarForge after the band changed its name in 2010. During 2007, for a short time Mike was joined by Neither bassist Steve Angelero, but he left the project before recording anything due to the fact that his own band was in the process of finishing up their long-awaited album Onubtainium. With that, 80-Proof Throwdown was placed on indefinite hiatus.
Near the end of 2007 Mike resuscitated Khaos Faktory and put together a full band. A new version of 80-Proof Throwdown's song "Cattle", which had been track #2 on Trailer Park Rhapsody was recorded and released on Khaos Faktory's debut LP Sinthetic Alchemy as well as the remastered version, titled Sinthetic Alchemy 2.0.
Mike has also stated on 80-Proof Throwdown's Myspace page that he eventually wants to bring the band back from the dead if the opportunity presents itself: "If and when I can get some people together to reform 80-Proof and restore its glory, then we will be back full-force. Until then, the future is cloudy at best. I am sorry to everyone that has gotten into the music of this band over the last few years, and who played our shit for their friends and got them into it."
Band Members Edit
"Beerkeg" Brandon Casterline: vocals, lead & rhythm guitar
Fuckin' Mike: vocals, guitars, programming
Dan Savage: lungs
"Guest" Members Edit
"Sailor" Barry Pittman
Justin "Friggin' J" Gilbar
Casterline said he drew inspiration from guitarists Zakk Wylde, Jimi Hendrix, Dimebag Darrell, Kerry King, and Tony Iommi. Mike said he was influenced by a myriad of bands and genres including Fear Factory, Nevermore, the Ramones, Hypocrisy, Celldweller, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, and Amon Amarth.
Friday The 13th (EP, 2006, self-released)
Trailer Park Rhapsody (LP, 2006, self-released)
Official 80-Proof Throwdown Myspace http://www.myspace.com/80proofthrowdown
Khaos Faktory website http://www.reverbnation.com/khaosfaktory1
Neither website http://www.neithermetal.com