Before there was Korn and Deftones, there was a band that really started it all and they were called Human Waste Project. The band formed in 1992 when Jeff Schartoff and Scott Ellis decided to start a band. Aimee Echo was picked as the vocalist/singer after finding out she could “scream.” After going through different guitarists for a bit they finally found Mike Tempesta and off they went. The next thing they were playing with large bands like Helmet, Korn, Deftones and Sublime. Eventually the band signed with Hollywood Records. Human Waste Project also wound up in the UK and Europe with bands like Tura Satana and Coal Chamber and also part of Ozzfest 98 in the UK. Human Waste Project was enjoying a bit of success especially in the UK but back in the states, things weren’t the same. Their debut album, E-Lux, which is an absolute fantastic album and debut, was considered a commercial failure and that led to the band being pegged as a nu-metal band and it left Aimee feeling uncomfortable and being typecast as such. So on July 8, 1998 at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, Human Waste Project performed their last show as a band. From there, Aimee Echo and Scott Ellis went on to form The Start alongside former Snot drummer, Jaime Miller. Scott Ellis would also later go on to be the drummer for She Wants Revenge. Jeff Schartoff would go on to form Professional Murder Music and be a part of Peter Murphy of Bauhaus’s solo live band. And Mike Tempesta would go on to join Powerman 5000.
Their album E-Lux was produced by Ross Robinson and it’s not your typical nu-metal album. While there were definitely some ties to the incoming music movement, Human Waste Project had more in common with the likes of Jane’s Addiction in that they were always a step ahead of the curve. They had more to their music and lyrics than their peers and it shows very much on E-Lux. There was also a versatility to HWP that other didn’t have. Aimee had a range to her voice that could go from sweet and innocent all the way to rip your face off. Musically, there was more than just dropped tuned guitars, as they explored different styles and gravitated more towards 90’s alternative rock than metal.
Over the years, there have been a few reunions of Human Waste Project. I happen to have been at a couple of them and it was quite awesome. At a show for The Start in 2008, the remaining three HWP members came on stage and played “Dog” and “Shine” with Aimee to end the night. I have to say that was one hell of a surprise. I do remember seeing Mike Tempesta at the show and wondering if perhaps he’d jump up on stage for something and low and behold he did. Later in 2008, Human Waste Project reformed for one night (minus Scott Ellis) to be a part of Snot’s return (the one they did with Tommy Vext, we don’t need to go into that) at the Key Club in Los Angeles. I was at this show too and HWP was absolutely awesome. If anything they actually stole the night for me. Aimee stated that this would be the only full scale reunion show and the band would not be getting back together to tour. And finally at a couple other shows for The Start in 2009, Mike Tempesta joined them on stage to perform “Dog” and “One Night In Spain.”
Human Waste Project was a band that never got their due and should’ve been one of the biggest bands of that era. For whatever reasons why they didn’t, it’s a shame. They were one of the best bands of the time and their debut album is still one of my favorites of that time. In fact, the other day while on a drive up to Santa Barbara we had it on the stereo on the way up and it was glorious. So much so that I felt compelled to write this piece today. Human Waste Project was such a talented and wonderful band. If you never got to see them live, you truly missed out. I for one would love for one more show to happen. There is such a need for this band, it’s not even funny. They were true pioneers of the time and their style would show all these young bands who are trying to cop that style how to do it and do it right. Plus, how awesome would it be to just have them back again! So let’s put it out in the world that we need another go round with Human Waste Project!
Human Waste Project- E-Lux:
Human Waste Project w/ Jonathan Davis of Korn- This Town: