Defining experimental music


Don't ask him for his real name. That person is gone. Now, his real name is The Enigma, and it has been ever since he tattooed the outline for a puzzle over every inch of his body and then proceeded to tattoo his body blue -- piece by piece. His name has been The Enigma ever since he had Teflon horns implanted into his skull. Ever since he transformed himself, slowly and purposefully, into an old-fashion sideshow attraction.

The Enigma was made famous by his appearance in the Jim Rose Circus Side Show at Lollapalooza in 1992.

But if you think you saw him then, you really haven't seen him, he said. A lot has changed in 13 years.

These days, The Enigma is paired with ex-wife Katzen (whose entire body is tattooed to make her look like a cat) to form a rock 'n' roll show that will please any Marilyn Manson fan. Add that to a mix of magic tricks and sideshow circus stunts, and you have something unlike anything you've seen on the stage of Sabre's Underground.

They call themselves The Human Marvels, and their sideshow act harks back to vintage sideshows that kept people entertained from the 1840s to the 1940s. But the electric guitar has been invented since then.

Their actual music is straight up rock 'n' roll, but after that, there isn't much familiarity for your average bar-band audience.

The Enigma learned his first magic trick when he was 15 years old, and from there, he stumbled into the history of the sideshow.

Katzen plays the bass in The Human Marvels, but is a tattoo artist by trade. She drew the lines in The Enigma's puzzle and left the coloring to the hands of more than 200 artists they met on their travels to stages around the world. She did much of the work on her own body, but she also has been worked on by more than 200 artists.

The design for her body art came to her when she was a child, she said. She got her start in sideshow performing as a contortionist and fire juggler when she was a teenager.

Katzen has an axe bolted to her bass guitar, and during the show, she takes it to a grinder and lights a cigarette off the flying sparks.

"It's rock 'n' roll," The Enigma said. "We go all the way for our fans. We're the anti-karaoke. We train ourselves all day and all night to entertain.

"We do not disappoint."


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