Steve Hughes

Last updated

Steve Hughes
Steve Hughes.jpg
Hughes in 2011
Sydney, Australia
OccupationComedian, heavy metal musician, actor
Comedy career
Years active1994–present
Genres Observational comedy, black comedy, surreal humour, satire
Subject(s)Politics, social commentary, conspiracy theories, spirituality
Musical career
Years active1985–1998
Associated acts

Steve Hughes is an Australian-born thrash metal drummer, comedian and actor. Hughes has embraced the title "Heavy Metal humorist", as it aligns with his approach to comedy, music and life; the press have referred to this title and similar variations. [1] [2] [3] [4]


Hughes was an active member of Australia's early thrash metal scene. He founded and played drums for Slaughter Lord, one of the first thrash metal bands in Australia—a band that had a brief yet notable impact on the country's extreme metal music history. [5] [6] He subsequently played drums for thrash metal band Mortal Sin and the black metal band Nazxul. [7] [8] [9]

Hughes started performing stand-up in the 1990s and relocated to England in 2002 to further pursue his career in comedy. [7] [8] [9] [10] He is based in Manchester, [11] [12] [13] and performs stand-up internationally, primarily across Europe, Australia and New Zealand. [10] [14]

Hughes also starred in the 2015 indie short film Brainless Killers , which won the awards for Best Film, Best Thriller and Best Special Effects in the short film category at the Sydney Indie Film Festival. [15] [16] [17]

Music career

Born in Sydney, [13] Hughes became interested in heavy metal in the early 80s. [3] In an interview with MusicRadar Hughes said he became obsessed with Iron Maiden in 1982 and "the pounding drumming of Mr Clive Burr" and was also heavily influenced by Black Sabbath and Dio drummer Vinnie Appice, particularly his work on Dio's first 2 albums, which he would repeatedly play while attempting to play along. [3]

In 1985 he founded a band that was originally named Onslaught, but the band was forced to change their name due to a UK-based band by the same name. [5] The band briefly changed their name to Devastator, before settling on Slaughter Lord. [5] Slaughter Lord released one demo tape titled Taste of Blood before disbanding in 1987.[ citation needed ] In spite of the band's short lifespan, Slaughter Lord had received attention overseas[ citation needed ] and has since been called "legendary" [5] and "pioneering" [6] in terms of Australia's extreme metal history.

In 1989[ citation needed ] Hughes joined Mortal Sin [7] [9] While he did not appear on any of the band's albums, he played drums for them during their European/American tour in 1990. [18] After his work with Mortal Sin, Hughes formed a rock band called Presto, releasing 2 CDs. [18] [19] In 1993 [20] he joined the black metal band Nazxul. [7] [8] [21] [ self-published source? ] [22] He also played live with the band Primordial while living in Ireland in 1999. [22] [23]

In 2010 Hughes released the album Sumaire independently under the band name Eternum. [24] Sumaire contained songs that he had written and arranged and mainly performed himself along with "some shredding solos performed by a variety of metal maniacs." [24] [25]

While Hughes has focused on his comedy career since the early 2000s, he said in a 2010 interview with Post Modern Ink magazine that music remained his first love. [11]

Comedy career

Hughes first tried comedy in 1994, shortly after having joined the band Nazxul, [8] [22] and started performing at The Comedy Store in Sydney. [9] [24]

Hughes quit Nazxul[ citation needed ] and left Australia for Ireland in 1999, [22] living for a time with members of the band Primordial, [26] then moved on to London, then on to Manchester where he stayed in a house with fellow Aussie comic Jim Jefferies [13] [23] [27] before finally settling in Manchester in 2002. [7] [9] [13]

Hughes' early comedy was influenced by Bill Cosby and the works of Woody Allen, particularly his books Side Effects and Without Feathers as well as a 1965 recording of one of Allen's stand-up shows that Hughes had owned on audio cassette. [8] [11] [28] Hughes has also cited having been influenced by the comedy of Richard Pryor, Dave Allen, George Carlin and Eddie Murphy. [8] [11] Hughes' comedic style has also been influenced by the political and subversive humor of Bill Hicks, as well as the spoken word performances of musicians Henry Rollins and Jello Biafra. [8] [27]

Hughes is known for maintaining his heavy metal look during his stand-up performances. Hughes has worn his hair long for much of his comedy career and also sports a goatee. [7] [29] [30] [31] He often wears all-black, including a leather jacket, concert t-shirt and jeans. [13] [30] [32] [33]

Hughes comedy sets often contain social commentary [34] [35] including criticisms of political correctness, [29] [36] [37] religion, [38] [39] war, [31] [40] drug laws, [29] [37] health and safety policies, [29] [36] colonialism, [35] [37] corporate capitalism, [35] [39] and technology. [1] Hughes' humor also touches upon topics of a spiritual and philosophical nature. [41] [42] [43] He is also known for discussing ideas in the conspiracy theory realm, [41] although he refers to himself as a "conspiracy realist" [38] [41] [44] and adopted this title for one of his comedy tours in 2011. [32] [45] [46]

Hughes's stand-up has been featured at such festivals as the Edinburgh Comedy Festival [9] [47] in Scotland, the Just for Laughs [47] in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival [23] [42] and Adelaide Fringe Festival [23] [42] in Australia and the Hull Comedy Festival [28] held in Kingston upon Hull, England.

Hughes' stand-up has been featured on television shows such as the BBC series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow in 2009 [23] [24] [42] [48] and Live at the Apollo in 2011. [24] [48] He also appeared on The Comedy Channel's Cracker Night in 2010 [48] and in 2011 he appeared on the Channel 4 series Stand Up for the Week . [23] [42] [48]

Hughes supported comedian Reginald D. Hunter on his 2010/2011 British tour [49] [50] and appeared on an episode of UKTV's Dave's One Night Stand featuring Hunter that originally aired on 1 December 2011. [48] [51] Hughes also supported Belgian comedian Alex Agnew on his 2011 "Larger than Life" best-of tour. [26] [52] [53]

After touring non-stop for four years and averaging more than 150 shows a year, Hughes took a break for health reasons. [14] During this hiatus he quit both drugs and alcohol cold turkey and cut his long hair short. [14] [33] He returned to the comedy stage in 2014. [14]

Television and film

In the 1990s Hughes was a hard rock VJ for MTV Australia [9] [24] [54] By Hughes' own account, he got the job at MTV through the help of a friend who was a cameraman, but the job lasted only about 6 weeks after it was determined that there was not enough of a demand in Australia at the time for heavy metal-based programming. [54]

Hughes was interviewed for the 2014 documentary film Metal Down Under: A History Of Australian Heavy Metal. [55] [56]

In 2009 he appeared as a guest panellist on the Australian game show Good News Week . [48] Hughes also played drums during the episode while host Paul McDermott sang the song "Hanging on the Telephone". [57] He also appeared on the Australian music-themed quiz show Spicks and Specks in 2010. [48] [58]

In 2015 he starred in the Australian short film Brainless Killers as the mayor of Zombridge, a fictional town inhabited by zombies. [15] [16] [48] The role required extensive make-up, provided by the same make-up team that worked on Mad Max: Fury Road . [16] The film was nominated for 6 awards in the short film category and went on to win the awards for Best Film, Best Special Effects and Best Thriller. [15] [59]


Slaughter Lord discography

Taste of Blood(Demo)

  • Released: 1986

Thrash 'til Death 86—87(A retrospective of the band's work from 1986 to 1987, including the Taste of Blood demo tracks as well as other previously unreleased studio and rehearsal tracks.)

  • Released: 1998 (re-released in 2000)
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Invictus Productions

Presto discography

The Remedy(EP)

Sum of its parts(LP)

  • Format: CD
  • Label: Mushroom Records

Nazxul discography

Totem (LP)

  • Released: 1995
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Vampire Records

Eternum discography

Sumaire(Released independently on-line)

  • Released: 2010
  • Format: CD

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  2. Sæverås, Nils Olav (30 August 2013). "Heavy metal-humorist". Bergensavisen (in Norwegian). Norway. Retrieved 11 February 2016. I call myself a heavy metal humorist because my sense of humor, like metal, are not tailored for everyone to like it.
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  6. 1 2 Scott-Maxwell, Aline; Whiteoak, John, eds. (2003). Currency companion to music and dance in Australia. Currency House Inc. p. 316. ISBN   9780868192604. Its lightning speed and hammering beat were delivered by Sydney's pioneering Slaughter Lord.
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  21. Giffin, Brian (2009). Encyclopedia of Australian Heavy Metal. p. 2197. ISBN   9781409263982 . Retrieved 11 February 2016. (Nazxul) played their first ever gigs in 1998...Hughes left the band after these show and in early 1999 was replaced by Front End Loader drummer Pete Kostic.
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  59. Sydney Indie Film Festival 2015 – Short Films Nominations