"It was not really a comfortable situation," said Brooks Strause. "It was okay. It worked well, and it was worth it artistically."
Such dull words suggest a mundane departure for a musician - an experimental song, the dipping of a toe into a new stylistic stream. But Strause - the prolific 34-year-old singer/songwriter from Muscatine now based in Iowa City - is not nearly so timid.
He was, in fact, talking about having a bucket of actual lamb's blood dumped on him for a photo shoot for his second album. Differences in animal aside, Strause volunteered to be Carrie White - and it was his idea.
In that photo, Strause is foregrounded and exhaling smoke, with a couple clutching each other in the background. The concept, he said, "represented love in a way I haven't seen it represented that much," which made it a good match for the Strause-ian love songs that made up his album Dead Animals (whose first release was housed, it should be said, in actual animal fur).
In case you're curious, Strause said "there wasn't really time" for second thoughts at the shoot: "This photograph has to get done. Let's do it." And "it was kind of surprising - the texture. I definitely got some in my mouth very quickly. It wasn't really as gross as I thought it was going to be."
So he's human after all - although that's not necessarily apparent from the flood of work he's been producing. His seventh album, the richly rewarding The Chymical Wedding of Brooks Strause, was released this month, and he'll be performing October 23 at Rozz-Tox. Dead Animals was reissued earlier this year by the Maximum Ames label, and 2014 saw two new full-lengths, Acid Casual and Renaissance Beast.
Oh, but there's more. He has a rock/folk opera, an album of electronic music, and a solo-acoustic record in various stages of completion, and he's written all the songs for his next rock-and-roll outing with his band The Gory Details - with whom he'll share the stage at Rozz-Tox.