Flamboyant Turbonegro Frontman Hank Von Hell Brings Solo Tour to Newport

The Norwegian rocker — touring behind his latest album, 'Egomania' — plays the Southgate House Revival this Friday

click to enlarge Hank Von Hell - PHOTO: TED LINDEN
Photo: Ted Linden
Hank Von Hell
Hans Husby first came to prominence as Hank Von Helvete, the flamboyant and full-bore frontman of Turbonegro, the Norwegian Hard Rock/Punk Metal group that became known for their outrageous send ups of gay culture set to a Glam/Hard Rock/Metal soundtrack, which they characterized as Death Punk. Turbonegro formed in Nesodden, Norway in the late ‘80s, recorded four well-received albums (including their masterpiece, 1996’s Ass Cobra, hailed by no less than Jello Biafra as the best Punk album of the ‘90s) and toured relentlessly before breaking up in 1998, citing Von Helvete’s debilitating heroin addiction as the cause. After Von Helvete’s rehab stint and a four-year hiatus, Turbonegro reassembled for a one-off appearance at Norway’s Quart Festival in 2002, which sparked a permanent reunion and their first new album in five years, 2003’s Scandinavian Leather.

After the 2010 tour for their third reunion album, 2007’s Retox, Von Helvete left Turbonegro and formed a new band, Doctor Midnight & the Mercy Cult, releasing their one and only album, I Declare: Treason, in 2011. By then, he had already had a hit Christmas single under his birth name with Norwegian Pop/Folk singer/songwriter Maria Solheim and starred in a film where he portrayed Dutch singer/songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk. Von Helvete’s biography, written by renowned poet Håvard Rem, was published in 2012 and offered a frank and honest depiction of his life and career.

After a relatively quiet six-year hiatus, Von Helvete rebranded himself as Hank Von Hell, and announced the release of his first solo album, last year’s frenetic Egomania, solid evidence that he hadn’t lost a step over the course of his nearly 30-year career. The album’s range is defined by the open-throttle Motörhead roar of “Too High” and the operatic soar of “Bum to Bum,” featuring Von Hell’s observation to his Jiminy Cricket spirit guide — who turns out to be Jackass’ Steve-O — to look within himself: “Is this some sort of Lion King shit?” The album’s cover art is a painting of Von Hell in white top hat and dinner jacket and black Alice Cooper eye makeup, flipping off the viewer.

Hank Von Hell performs Friday, Sept. 6 at Newport's Southgate House Revival. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 day of show.

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