HORSE the band is a band from Lake Forest, California that formed in 1999. They are known for their 8-bit Nintendo influenced sound combined with metalcore, which frontman Nathan Winneke once jokingly referred to as Nintendocore. They are currently signed to Vagrant Records.
HORSE the band's lyrics are chaotic and colorful metaphors for vocalist Nathan Winneke's life, often with humorous or abstract pop culture reference titles and bases. Winneke has referred to his style on multiple occasions as "lynchian" in reference to his favorite film director David Lynch and his obtuse narrative style.
The band had jokingly labeled themselves "Nintendocore" very early on in their career in reference to the synth sound they had adopted. Some Nintendo characters that are metaphorically referred to include Cut Man from Mega Man, although the song is spelled "Cutsman" because the song was about a childhood friend Winneke grew up with and that was how they had said the character's name in youth; "Birdo", one of the bosses from the NES game Super Mario Bros. 2, in the song "Birdo" which was actually about Winneke's distaste for eggs and traumatic experiences with his stepfather early in his life ; and the rabbit-like nemesis from The Legend of Zelda in the song "Pol's Voice" which is about Winneke's early loathing of the sound of his own voice. Similarly, the song "A Million Exploding Suns" refers to the Marvel Comics character Sentry, a schizophrenic and agoraphobic hero with this abundance of power, pertaining to Winneke's double life as a musician and as a video rental clerk.
2007's A Natural Death featured significant lyrical and musical evolution into the concepts of nature and mortality while moving slightly away from the Nintendo metaphors. The song "Murder" is inspired by the Western novel Lonesome Dove, in which a Native American named Blue Duck stalks and kills white settlers on the plains. "Hyperborea" as a reference to Robert E. Howard's original "Conan" pulp fantasy stories from the 30s, and "The Red Tornado," a DC comics character from the company of which Winneke is such an open enthusiast.
The band's line-up has continuously fluctuated in its 10 year history. In February it was announced that Chris Prophet had been fired and Jon Karel from The Number Twelve Looks Like You would be filling in on drums during Earth Tour. In July, 2008 the band stated that long-time band friend Daniel Pouliot of Bleeding Kansas had joined as the band's full time drummer. On Wednesday, December 3 2008, the band announced that Dash Arkenstone would be leaving the band soon, though he remains on good terms with the other members and has attended local shows.
The band booked its own tours starting the summer of 2002, including a 3-month tour spanning seven countries. With a carefully maintained web presence including their MP3.com and MySpace accounts, they had gained themselves a niche audience. In the summer of 2004, the HORSE the World Tour 2004 included 85 shows in 90 days, spanning 7 countries throughout North America and Europe.
Their latest album, titled Desperate Living, was released on October 6, 2009.
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