The band originated in 2005 from a song titled “The Kids” that Jorel Decker (J-Dog) and Aron Erlichman (Deuce) posted on the band’s MySpace profile to positive reviews, leading them to form the group Hollywood Undead with their friends “Shady” Jeff Philips, George Ragan (Johnny 3 Tears), Jordon Terrell (Charlie Scene), Dylan Alvarez (Funny Man), and Matthew St. Claire (Da Kurlzz). In an interview with Shave magazine, J-Dog explained that when forming the band “Whoever was in the room at the time and played an instrument was in the band.” Shady Jeff was later voted out of the band for reasons currently unknown to the public. He currently works as a mechanic and is working on converting diesel cars into vehicles that can run on vegetable oil.
Swan Songs, Desperate Measures, and Record Deal (2007–2009)
The band only took one year working on their debut album, Swan Songs. The other two years were spent looking for a company that wouldn’t try to censor the album. They first signed a record contract with MySpace Records in 2005 but they left the label after the label tried to censor their first album.They then signed a contract with A&M/Octone Records and their first album, Swan Songs was released on September 2, 2008 and reached No.22 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of release, selling 21,000 copies; which was later on released in the United Kingdom on May 18, 2009 with two bonus tracks.On June 23, 2009, Hollywood Undead released Swan Songs B-Sides EP through iTunes.
The band released a CD/DVD set entitled Desperate Measures on November 10, 2009. The set includes a CD of previously unreleased six new songs, three of which being cover songs, as well a previously unreleased remix of “Everywhere I Go”, and six live recordings of songs from Swan Songs, and a DVD of a full live performance by the band.
Departure of Deuce
In early 2010, the band announced that singer, Deuce, had left the band due to musical differences. Hints of Deuce’s departure were noticed when he did not take part in the Vatos Locos tour. After a couple weeks on tour, the band asked long-time friend, Daniel Murillo, to fill in for Deuce’s role. This was not too long after Murillo had just advanced past the auditions for season 9 of American Idol. Murillo decided to drop out of the competition and join the band. Daniel Murillo was also the lead singer of the band, Lorene Drive, which is currently on hiatus due to his involvement with Hollywood Undead. Deuce later released a song titled Story of a Snitch against the group, claiming he was kicked out. The band stated that they didn’t want to “stoop to his level” and chose to simply ignore the controversy. In mid-January, the band announced Daniel Murillo was an official member, going by the nickname of “Danny”.
Not much was known about the situation until the subject was brought up by interviewer Byan Stars on YouTube.Johnny 3 Tears and Da Kurlzz told the interviewer that the band had to constantly satisfy Deuce while touring. “It was so bad, that I don’t think there would’ve been another record if he was still with us”, Da Kurlzz told the interviewer. “We bent over backwards to accommodate Deuce”, he said. Johnny 3 Tears, growing weary about the subject, said, “It was just that he didn’t like being on the road, so we would have to do things to make him happy. He also claimed to be writing all the songs, and all this B.S.”. The band decided to drop the subject afterwards, saying that they have moved on from the situation and would prefer not putting in too much detail.
Martini Beerman of rock.com interviewed Charlie Scene and J-Dog, and the two decided to explain the final events that led up to the split. Charlie Scene told the interviewer, “He wanted to have his personal assistant come on the tour. None of us have personal assistants, we’re not egomaniacs. We don’t need that, and he wanted the band to pay for it and we did for like four months. After that we were like, ‘we’re not gonna pay $800 a week to have your buddy out on tour. We went to the airport to fly out for our next tour, and he didn’t show up. We were like, what the fuck do we do? We called him and he didn’t answer. So for the first 2 weeks of that tour, I sang all his parts.”
American Tragedy (2010–present)
The band soon began writing material for their second studio album; American Tragedy. On April 1, 2010, the band started its own iheartradio station, with horror and thriller tales. In recent interviews, the band has stated intentions to record their second album in summer 2010 and release it in the fall. James Diener, head of the band’s record label, confirmed the next album for a fall 2010 release and believes that it will launch the band into more mainstream success, making it a “big next step” for the group. The band has also confirmed that producer Don Gilmore, who also worked on their debut album, has returned to produce the new album. Recording concluded around mid-November and the band began mixing the album the day after Thanksgiving. No official release date has been announced.
The band began a marketing campaign for the second album. They co-headlined the Nightmare After Christmas Tour with Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour to support the album. On December 8, 2010, the band released the artwork for the album’s first single, titled “Hear Me Now”. The track was released on December 13, for radio and on the band’s YouTube page, and was made available online as a digital single on December 21. J-Dog commented that this is his favorite song that the band has done so far. The song’s lyrics tell the story of a person who is depressed and hopeless, taking a very somber tone to the track. Despite this, the instruments and melodies contrast to make a “great rock smash”, reports AOL Radio blog.Within its first couple days of release, the single made it to number 2 on the iTunes Rock Chart.
On January 11, 2011, the band announced the upcoming album will be titled American Tragedy. The next day, they released a preview of the album on their YouTube page. On January 21, they released a new song, “Comin’ in Hot” available for a free download. Also revealed in the “Comin’ in Hot” trailer that the new album will be released in March 2011. In a recent interview, the group announced that the official release date for the album would be March 8, 2011 but as of February 22, 2011, it was announced that the album has been pushed back to April 5, 2011.
On February 6, 2011, the band released another song titled “Been to Hell”, for a free download. Hollywood Undead member J-Dog said he will continue to release “sample” music for free download until the album has released, via Hollywood Undead email subscribers, Hollywood Undead website members, and Facebook fans.
American Tragedy turned out to be more successful than their first album Swan Songs, selling about 67,000 copies in its debut week, while Swan Songs sold 21,000 copies in its debut. American Tragedy has also peaked at No.4 on the Billboard 200, while Swan Song’s highest peak on the Billboard 200 was #22. It has also peaked at No.2 on many other charts, while also reaching No.1 on the Billboard’s Top Hard Rock Albums chart. The album was also very successful in other countries, making No.5 in Canada and No.43 in the United Kingdom.
To continue promoting the album, the band headlined the Revolt Tour, along with 10 Years, Drive A, and New Medicine. The very successful tour ran from April 6 to May 27. After the tour, the band played a few shows in Europe and Canada. They will then headline the Endless Summer Tour with All That Remains and Hyro da Hero, which will begin on July 18 and end on August 7