Cameron Boggs loves tripping balls. "I could probably say I've tripped on acid at least over 300 times," they tell Revolver. The 29-year-old, who uses they/them pronouns, is the guitarist and creator of Ohio death-metal freaks Sanguisugabogg. The band make the type of gory, guttural racket that only an experienced acid-head could handle hearing while blitzed, but don't worry: These folks are professionals.
During a recent stint in New York City to shoot a couple music videos, Boggs and their bandmates — vocalist Devin Swank, bassist Ced Davis and drummer Cody Davidson — spent their free time munching on a shocking amount of psychs and wreaking havoc from dusk till dawn. "We got dropped off in Times Square at seven in the morning and were running around like idiots, mooning Good Morning America and pissing on the side of buildings," Boggs says with a proud smirk.
These lunatics might sound like your local stoner miscreants — and they are — but they're also the masterminds behind one of the most hyped bands in modern death metal. The group were scooped up by the venerable Century Media Records on the strength of their 2019 demo, and now they've released their gurgling debut album, Tortured Whole. The entire thing was written while in a chemically expanded state of mind, and it contains songs like "Dick Filet" and "Urinary Ichor" that are about inflicting unspeakable acts of sadism against villainous male antagonists. As you might expect, their lyrics, videos and artwork leave very little to the imagination, and the whole project conjures the feeling of watching gruesome slasher flicks in a room filled with bong smoke and black-light posters.
Unsurprisingly, Boggs came from an unusual family. Their dad and brother are competitive powerlifters ("They're both huge dudes"), and the former is a big metalhead. However, their parents attempted to instill religious values by sending them to a Christian school and trying to steer them toward holy headbangers like Norma Jean and Underoath.
"My parents were trying to pose as Christians," Boggs says. "They didn't go to church, but they wanted me to be a straight-laced kid, a straight-A student, all this shit. And I just wasn't any of that shit."
Sadly, Boggs says that they had zero friends in high school and were violently bullied for being the gay kid in class. School was miserable, but they enjoyed listening to everything from Suicide Silence to the Blood Brothers, and eventually followed that rabbit hole down to hardcore bands like Trapped Under Ice and Cold World. Boggs had been playing guitar since fourth grade, but once high school ended they found an accepting community in hardcore and subsequently played in a number of bands from all over the heavy spectrum: youth crew hardcore, screamo, tech-death and black metal.
That latter genre helped them hone their guitar playing technique, and the bedroom black-metal project they started eventually morphed into the death-metal band that is Sanguisugabogg. It was initially going to be just a two-piece between Boggs and Davidson, but after realizing that they'd need a separate vocalist, Boggs met Swank on Facebook and asked him to come record demos one week later. They hit it off immediately, and while listening to the mixes on the ride home from their first session, every time a song would end, they'd look at each other and go, "Hehehe, that's sick," Boggs mimics with a Beavis and Butt-Head giggle.
As for the moniker: Boggs' stage name in their short-lived black metal band was Sanguisuga (Latin for "bloodsucker"), and after learning that "bog" is British slang for "toilet," they decided to combine the two for this project. "I was like, 'Sweet, so it's like a bloodsucking toilet.'"
The band's shared appreciation of absurdist humor and zany narcotic experiences is as essential to the project as the music itself. Tortured Whole is an undeniable shredder of a death-metal record and they take their careers seriously, but Boggs and Co. have no interest in putting on a mean-mugging facade in order to gel with their genre's aesthetic conventions.
"I worship the bands that do the serious stuff, but there's just so much of it," Boggs says. "It's not really my personality at all. Me, Devin, Cody and Ced are all just fuckin' goofballs. Smokin' weed, doing acid, chilling, cracking jokes. If I was putting out dark images all the time I'd feel like a joke."
They'd rather make jokes than be one. The band began their March 2020 set at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York with a call-and-response chant of the phrase, "I eat my own cum," and then they slapped those words on a shirt that sold like hotcakes. Their music videos are even more over the top. The one for Tortured Whole's lead single, "Menstrual Envy," was filmed by the infamous horror-camp studio Troma Entertainment (of Toxic Avenger fame), and it sees the band get 15-inch "dongs" that eventually become sentient alien beasts with a taste for blood. It's nauseatingly gory, utterly ridiculous and, naturally, the product of a helluva lot of psychedelics.
"Our friend Phil showed up with four hits of acid for each of us, and we took it at the beginning of filming and we were fucked," Boggs says with a grin. "Almost everything I've ever written for this band I've written on acid or mushrooms, or while really fucking high. I don't think we'd be anything like we are if it weren't for those things."
However, the band also had a mission for Tortured Whole that went beyond monstrous riffs and joyfully idiotic video concepts. Although their demo, Pornographic Seizures, earned them a great deal of buzz in death-metal circles, it also attracted a hefty amount of backlash from listeners who were bothered by its lyrics that centered graphic violence against women. Boggs' explanation is that they couldn't think of lyrical themes so they just watched horror movies like Baskin and translated what they saw on screen into words. They're embarrassed by the lack of foresight and feel that the criticisms are valid, so for Tortured Whole they made a conscious effort to avoid the same mistakes and "go the fuck after men."
"I feel really weird about the whole violence toward women lyrics because it wasn't supposed to be like that," Boggs explains. "I can say that forever, but the only thing I can really do to move on from that is learn from it and make it better. So this album is all about killing the fuck out of men and pedophiles."
"Dick Filet" is the grisliest tune. It's about "luring in pedophiles, hacking off their dicks, feeding it to them and watching them die slowly," according to Boggs, who can't pass up on the opportunity to read aloud an excerpt of Swank's vivid prose. "Take the torch now to his balls/Fry his sack from off the seat/He screams, helpless, it's just begun/Small incision on the dick, laughing at the sight of it," they recite to us.
All of this blood, drugs and filth might be enough to send the average person spiraling into insanity, but Boggs underscores that Sanguisugabogg has been the best thing that's ever happened to them.
"Nothing in my life has ever gone right," they say. "But somehow everything with this band — knock on wood — has fallen into place the way it should. The aesthetic, touring, how we found our people, our management, our sound, the way our album came out."
"I used to be depressed, anxious, just horribly weird and sad all the time," Boggs concludes. "And I feel like I picked myself out of a hole with this band and I don't even feel like that same person at all anymore. It rules."