It’s odd to think the mild-mannered, blonde-haired kid across the table has a dark side, but sure enough it’s there.
Now, during an interview, he’s Kenneth Lasso, a George Mason High School and Christopher Newport U graduate and a current student at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy. On stage, however, he’s Lazzo, the guitarist, keyboardist programmer and sequencer for the high-tech fledgling industrial band Rites of Ash.
“When we started we had a rougher, industrial/Goth image,” says Lasso/Lazzo, who sports an all-black ensemble in the band’s publicity shots. “But that’s not really what we wanted. Now we’re a little more approachable.”
The “more approachable image” still includes stage names, including vocalist 80-two (AKA Alex Like of Annandale) and drummer Fester (Eric Gardner of McLean) and also a dizzying electronic visual display during their shows.
“When people pay to see us, we want to give them a great show,” Lasso says of the band’s setup that includes LCD screens mounted on the drum kit, as well as on the heads of two department store mannequins.
It’s the band’s sound though, which has won it praise. Like’s Jonathan Davis-meets-Vincent Price vocals over Lasso’s wall-of-sound concoctions, have grabbed the attention of MTV, who purchased the rites to Rites for the soundtrack of “The Real World: Key West” among other shows.
As the band continues to rise, tour dates are limited, but you can check the band out free at Strangeland Records in Annandale on Oct. 27. Ultimately Lazzo, 80-two and Fester have grander ambitions, if only slightly.
“We just want to make enough to cover our bills and pay off our debts,” Lasso jokes.