"We're a big, scary band, but we also get people to laugh," says the gruff-voiced Savage, who looks remarkably like a muscle-bound Billy Bob Thornton. "Sometimes they laugh out of fear when they see us, but afterwards when they meet us they realize that we're OK."
Savage is Pigmy Love Circus' ringleader and has fronted the band since its inception in 1987. His massive tattoo-covered arms and grizzled profile give him the appearance of a just-out-of-the-slammer ex-con who's seen a lot in his life. This image may, in fact, be more intimidating than the man himself, but his down-and-dirty lyrics are based on real-life experiences.
"Oh yeah, a lot of them are," he says. "I like the characters in life. They're what makes life interesting. Strange, alien people; dangerous folks; weird, nutty people -- I've run with a heavy crowd off and on through my life. It's not a badge I wear going, 'Yeah, I'm bad,' but I've known a lot of really hard-core people."
Seedy tracks like "Livin' Like Shit," "Bone Orchard," "Headless Horseman" and "12 Gauge Kiss" may focus on society's seamy underbelly, but, at least in Carey's mind, they are one of many aspects that he believes sets Pigmy Love Circus apart from the "corporate ca-ca."
"The sincerity of delivery is what always strikes me when I hear a good band," he explains. "It's artist-expression driven, as opposed to being record-producer driven. There's a huge difference. One's motivation is impure, while the other is the highest form of expression, so that's what you aim for.
"We're not doing this for money, we're doing it because we love it. There's no way that a little boy band or some of the other bullshit pop music out there can make a claim like that."