Published on August 15th, 2013 | by Jessica Mickey0
Bam and ‘BHNFUX’ shine the light on Charleston’s Metal Scene
With Americana acts, noodly jam bands, and indie musicians representing the majority of Charleston’s mainstream musical landscape, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole underground scene that is too loud to be ignored. Local heavy metal and hardcore acts like Hooded Eagle, Godwin Falcon, Wolf Lord, In For the Kill, Coffin Syrup, Centura, Detriments, and Red Skies Ahead have been making a growly stir for a few years now, drawing droves of dedicated fans that prefer a more guttural, thrashy edge to their music.
If you’re new to the Lowcountry’s hardcore scene, a good place to start is by checking out Jonas Mount Radio’s weekly live and local Internet metal show BHNFUX, cohosted by Brian “Bam” Kirkman (pictured above) and Brandon “D-Tank” Duncan.
Chances are, even if you haven’t listened to the show, you already know Bam. “I started working at [now defunct] 96Wave in March 2000,” he recalls. “I was an intern for a while, doing all of the typical intern shit, and actually started voicetracking overnights in December that year. On May 5, 2001, I did my first live shift during one of our WaveFests. I was so damn nervous, I could hear my voice shaking during my breaks.”
Bam would also occasionally fill-in as host on The Heavy Show with Danny V, who christened him “Bam” because of his similar physicality and tattoos to wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow. “That’s kind of where I got my ‘metal start,’” Bam says.
He developed his own metal show after Danny V’s departure, Bam Nation Unleashed, but was soon cut from the station after an unfortunate change in management. He believes it was a blessing in disguise. “I started at 98X [now 98Rock] within a month of being let go, and the real fun began.” Eventually, Bam and Ron House, host of Harder, Faster X, joined forces and merged their two shows, creating the two-headed Sunday night monster of BHNFUX (Bam Nation Unleashed [BNU] + Harder, Faster X [HFX] = BHNFUX, which you may not want to try to pronounce out loud in mixed company).
“98X is really where I came into my own in the radio world,” Bam says, “[Roc Doc] Mike Allen was the greatest program director ever and let Ron and myself get away with a lot of shit.” No, really — they had a contest entitled “Megadump for Megadeth,” and it’s exactly what you think.
House’s health spurred him to leave the show in November 2010, and Bam followed in December 2010, in preparation for the birth of his son. “I was actually pretty sad to leave it because it was a part of my life for a decade,” he admits.
Last year, Bam was approached to start broadcasting again by Jonas Mount, a friend from the radio world and former cohost of the afternoon sports show The Jonas and Big Ben Show with Dante Camaro’s Ben Criscitello at Apex Broadcasting. After leaving terrestrial radio for a few years, Mount decided it was time to get back into the game but, this time, on his own terms. He established Jonas Mount Radio, a local Internet radio outfit based in Summerville.
In summer 2012, Bam joined one of the station’s show The Athletic Supporters, a sports-based talk show. He was definitely back in his element, but Mount knew Bam had to return to his first radio love — his metal show. They relaunched BHNFUX on March 24, 2013, with Bam’s new cohost, musician and, according to Bam, “heterosexual life partner” Brandon Duncan. The show may have gotten away with a lot on 98X, but on JMR, as the station’s mission statement says, “Nothing is out of Bounds.”
“What we are really trying to get across is that JMR provides an avenue for you to express yourself to the fullest,” Mount explains, “Talking about the things you love without fear of corporate repercussions or the FCC.”
Regarding Bam, he says, “He has a lot of passion for what he does. That’s what you have to have if you step through our doors. He’s the bull in the China shop.”
BHNFUX recently celebrated another 50 fans on Facebook by inviting listeners (as well as Metronome Charleston) to come into the studio during a live broadcast. Local musicians from Hooded Eagle and Antlions, loyal local listeners, and comedian (and possible future JMR on-air personality) Isaac “Big Ike” Smalls joined in on the fun, sampling ribs and wings, drinking cheap beer, cracking each other up, and banging their heads to Dillinger Escape Plan. The displayed camaraderie in that hot little room provided a glimpse of Charleston’s tightly knit metal community.
The show, which, alongside on-air banter, features tracks from local metal musicians within the usual rotation of national and international bands, only premiered a few months ago, but the word is getting out and the numbers keep growing. “We’ve actually had listeners in Switzerland and Mexico so far,” Bam says, “Honestly, we just want to share our love of metal music with our listeners and be another outlet for bands to expose their talents. And also expose the local metal that we play to people who may never hear them outside of our show.”
As far as the local metal scene goes, Bam feels confident that it’s in a good place for now. “There are many great metal bands here locally. They all do an amazing job with their craft and help make the scene what it is. P.J. Taylor from Charleston Shows books a ton of great bands at the Skatepark of Charleston, and Kally Knight has some really good things in the works.”
BHNFUX recently joined forces with Knight and put together a show at the Oasis that brought together local bands In For the Kill and Detriments, Branchville, S.C.-based Homicyde, and North Carolina-based As Oceans and The Death in Me. The team definitely plans on bringing more metal shows to Charleston.
BHNFUX broadcasts live Sunday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. on jonasmountradio.com, and then it is available for download as a podcast.
Though Bam loves the show, he believes that small doses will keep listeners coming back for more. “I don’t really want to do the show more than one night a week,” he admits, “To me, the show is special because it’s only once a week. A lot of times, you get bored with shows and other things, for that matter, if they happen too often. To me, that one night is something to look forward to because it’s special. It limits the amount of bands we play, but that’s why we strive to constantly look for new bands every show. We try to not repeat much, so we can expose as many bands as possible.”
“Really, we just love playing loud, obnoxious fucking music,” he laughs.
For more information, visit on jonasmountradio.com and BHNFUX’s Facebook page.
Photos by Jessica Mickey.
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