I reach Ryan Kattner, better known as Man Man’s lead howler Honus Honus, at his home in L.A. Kattner is working out some new songs for the experimental rock band’s upcoming tour, a process he’s none too thrilled about.
“I hate writing,” he tells EW. “More days than not it’s me spending eight hours playing the same loop and still not finding a way into the song,” adding, “and then there’s moments like the other day when my girlfriend, in the middle of a conversation, just said ‘An alligator ate a little boy.’ And I’m like, ‘Where the fuck did that come from?’”
Kattner has spent the morning turning that throwaway line into the skeleton of a song (working lyric: “An alligator ate your neighbor/ Like he was a Now or Later.”) Even with the progress, it’s clear Kattner is eager to get the hell out of the house and back in his comfort zone onstage. The three-week “manic blitz” he’s awaiting will take Man Man cross-country over 6,000 miles before reaching WOW Hall, where the band hasn’t played since a 2006 co-headlining set with Grizzly Bear.
Regardless of whether the alligator song works its way into the show, its concept and inspiration work well enough in describing Man Man’s left-of-center appeal — the kitchen-sink approach to instrumentation, the madcap, on-the-verge-of-chaos live sets, all capped by Kattner’s own Tom Waits-on-speed vocals.
Despite his writing woes, Kattner sounds nothing less than stoked to get the new material out to the Man Man faithful.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to have fucking awesome fans,” he says. “When we started, there’s this real punk-rock feeling. The sound has definitely evolved, but live, you just wanna get batshit.”
The lovely, moody Shilpa Ray, touring for 2015 album Last Year’s Savage, joins Man Man 8 pm Tuesday, Sept. 15, at WOW Hall; $15 adv., $18 door.