Attila: King Of The Huns
Misogynistic, egotistical hardcore party prince, or the Kanye West that electro metal didn’t know it had or needed – BLUNT attempts to unravel the enigma, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in two bad sleeves that is Attila frontman Chris ‘Fronz’ Fronzak.
First things first, you can bet that ‘Attila frontman’ wouldn’t be the only thing adorning Fronzak’s CV – its use above is simply for ease of identification in this publication. Secondly, you can bet Fronzak’s got a CV – his Twitter bio succinctly describes him as CEO of Joinspur, singer of Attila and founder of Stay Sick to his more than 150,000 followers. It also provides an email address to which ‘business inquiries’ can be directed.
As the earlier text suggests, I will refer to Chris ‘Fronz’ Fronzak aka Fronzilla aka Lord Zilla The First as Fronzak throughout this article, both in protest to the ridiculous noms de plume he has bequeathed himself, and as a result of the worlds away these caricatures seemed from the polite man I spoke with on the phone.
From this conversation it would appear that Fronzak’s largest problem is the same befalling so many others of his generation – growing up he was told he could do anything; unlike many others he took this cheaply empowering sentiment from a new generation of parenting and ran with it. He has been, and continues to be, anything: reality TV star (the term used loosely to refer to his attempts to crack the world of male modelling during the 2006 season of MTV’s Made); clothing label owner; record label owner; metal frontman; rapper; app developer; entrepreneur; and vocal social media user.
Earlier today he had been on the phone with a handful of Attila fans (though one wonders what line separates ‘Attila fans’ and ‘Fronz fans’; earlier this week the band released an app allowing you to ‘Fronz yourself’ by adding stickered douchery to photos) who had entered the running to receive a personal call from Fronzak for pre-ordering the band’s sixth album, Guilty Pleasure. According to Fronzak the album, 18 months in the making, is the band’s heaviest yet, their most ‘nu metal’, and the most lyrically expansive: “Lyrically I tried to expand what I talk about. A lot of our previous albums have been 90 percent about partying and this one I wanted to touch on a lot of different subjects and give the fans something more to grasp on to.”
Within the first handful of songs on the album I lose count of the amount of times Fronzak requests that I, the listener, or the unnamed addressee of the song perform fellatio on him; tallying of the amount of bitches he references, or the recounts of acts of fellatio, both metaphorical and real, already performed on him is a similarly impossible act of mathematics. It is probably worth noting here that one of the more popular lines from his clothing company, Stay Sick, proudly brandishes the slogan ‘Suck My Fuck’.
Yet when the call comes through Fronzak is the picture of politeness. He asks about the weather, then asks follow-up questions about the weather when my response does not convince him. We talk about Guilty Pleasure, which he proclaims has some of his most sincere and personal lyrics to date. All this from a man that, in the same hour the day prior tweeted ‘I want a gay president’ and ‘roses are red, violets are blue, fuck her right in the pussy’. The track best explaining this shift, according to Fronzak, is “Break My Addiction”.
“There was a brief moment of time earlier this year where something I was doing started catching up to me, I don’t want to talk about it too much, but it was like you feel like you’re in control and then you realise that you’re not and it’s scary.”
When we talk about another of these ‘sincere’ tracks, “Rebel”, he ensures a gender-balanced response to my question without breaking stride.
“‘Rebel’ is about using your inner ambition and doing things for yourself versus doing things that other people want you to do. I think nowadays a lot of kids are steered into doing things they don’t want to do. Maybe a kid is really good at something like art, or there’s something that he or she are really talented at, but the parents want them to go to school or do this or do that. ‘Rebel’ is about embracing the things that you love, not what other people tell you to love.”
The other side of that coin (barely) are the staple Attila party tracks – the first single from Guilty Pleasure, “Proving Grounds”, has already received waves of backlash for its homophobic lyrical content. Throughout the three-and-a-half minutes Fronzak relies heavily on the refrain “So who’s the faggot now?” as though the presumably rhetorical question proves anything more than the potential for Fronzak’s own crisis of sexual identity. Perhaps tellingly, Fronzak is most excited when discussing a new photo-sharing app he will soon be launching, Spur, which uses a Tinder-like swipe system to generate a user-moderated feed of the world’s most popular images. He is more entrepreneur than musician.
If you had never heard his music you’d think Chris Fronzak was the most friendly, life-loving and experience-hungry young gentleman you’d ever had the pleasure of meeting. Perhaps the impenetrable epidermis of his ego allows him to peddle to the lowest common denominator, to distance the ends from the means. Still, the confusion caused by Fronzak’s diverse and contradictory, multifaceted personalities remains. It feels, ultimately, given the numerous approaches he takes in the pursuit of fame, the narcissistic attempts to disseminate his image and his unwavering dedication to existing fans – evidenced in the eloquent manner in which he conducts this call (I can only assume under the impression I am one such person), and, no doubt the ones that preceded it – to be, more than anything, about popularity.