In rock music, there's something quite captivating and magical about a power trio. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Nirvana, Cream, ZZ Top, Living Colour ... oh wait, that last one is a four piece. And that's just what the folks behind the robotic rock group Compressorhead are now aiming for. The Berlin-based "heavy metal" bot band has turned to Kickstarter in its search for a new lead singer.
The band has been rocking as a two-piece since 2012, with Stickboy (drums) and Fingers (guitar) providing the White Stripes-like visual and musical feast – though technically the hi-hat-holding Junior bot made it three – until Bones (bass) joined the band in January 2013. Now Compressorhead has a shot at recording its first album and needs a singer and second guitarist to help bring life to 14 original songs penned specifically for the band by Canadian musician Mr. Wright of NoMeansNo, The Hanson Brothers and D.O.A. fame.
The first bot musician created by the three-string build team was Stickboy in 2007. The appropriately-named percussion master has four stick-wielding arms and is controlled over MIDI. Next up was Fingers in 2009, which features 78 "fingers," two slides and seven dampers and plays a Gibson Flying V guitar that packs a Min-E-Tune system (robot tuning, too). The V outputs via a TC Electronics G-Major effects unit through to a Marshall JVM 410H amp and twin cabs.
There's a bit of a Johnny Five vibe about Bones, which packs eight fingers controlled through Ableton Live software. Those hands chug out some bottom end on a Fender Precision bass via a TC Electronic Blacksmith into one or more Ampeg 8 x 10 "Fridge" amps.
The team of artist/builders says that the new front robot lead vocalist has "got to rock out like no other machine, it's got to have the moves,the looks and it's got to keep the show together." The aim is to have the new band member interact with an audience. It will roll around the stage on tracks and something called a "Mindlink Web App" is on the to-do list, which will allow fans to communicate with band members.
Naturally, Kickstarter backers are not being offered instrument-playing robots as campaign perks. But in order to raise the €290,000 (about US$310,000) needed to design and construct a new high performance machine, the build team is offering pledge rewards such as t-shirts, downloads of the new album or, for those who prefer physical media, vinyl records and CDs, mounted presentation drumsticks and a chance to jam with the band for an hour.
The fixed funding campaign, which means that the project creators won't receive any money unless the target goal is reached, runs until Dec 5. If all goes well, some early perks are estimated for delivery next month. Those pledging for a copy of the album will have to wait until the middle of next year though.
You can see Compressorhead in action in the video below, and learn more about the crowdfunding effort.