Space Rock Time Bomb

Crash Street Kids head back to the '70s, with just the beer lights to guide them

When Ryan McKay was in his early teens, he took his girlfriend to check out some regional band that had achieved a certain local-hero status back in his home state of Illinois, and afterward, they all went back to party in the band's hotel room.

Which was great until the singer thought it might be fun to share a hit of acid with the object of McKay's affections.

"I remember him reaching into his little fanny pack and pulling out an eyedropper," says McKay, now 28 and living in Phoenix. "And she was like a little baby bird in front of him. She wound up flipping out and taking off. And we were all trying to find her."

That was pretty much the end of that relationship. But, years later, McKay, who fronts his own band, the local glam-rock act Crash Street Kids, used that painful experience — losing a girl to a guy with a fanny pack? — to set the stage for Crash Street Kids' second consecutive concept album, Chemical Dogs.

Okay, so chances are you never heard Crash Street Kids' first album, Let´s Rock and Roll Tonite. But you should, particularly if you're a fan of glam acts such as the New York Dolls, Slade, and Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie. And while there's no guarantee that CSK's second album will make them stars — maybe these guys will never be stars; this isn't a story about a band on the verge of a major breakthrough — you should pick up a copy of Chemical Dogs, too, because it contains some of the best glitter-rock songs around today.

Crash Street Kids are in their own little microcosm. Glam rock hasn't been a platinum-selling music genre since the '70s (and, no, hair metal doesn't count). But if you thought glitter rock was totally dead, you're wrong. It's alive and well and living in a makeshift recording studio named Shabby Road in Phoenix, Arizona.

And it doesn't matter to the band members that none of them is old enough to have witnessed glam rock's heyday firsthand. In October of last year, the band played a gig at Alice Cooper'stown, the restaurant/rock venue in downtown Phoenix owned by Alice Cooper (whom CSK's manager, Dan Uhlik, says he's been acquainted with since they both attended Cortez High School in the '60s). At that Cooper'stown show, CSK performed a song titled "'77 Mercedes" from its first album. When McKay passionately sang "1977 was a pretty damn good year," he certainly wasn't lacking any conviction, despite the fact that McKay was born in 1978.

But even though CSK sings the praises of a decade none of them really remembers, they do pull plenty of song material from the band members' actual experiences.

In the title track of Chemical Dogs, a rock star comes to town and steals some poor kid's girlfriend. It's sung from the boyfriend's perspective. And if lines such as "We were only kids but I was starting to love her/Tonight we ran with the Superstar band and my hero stole her" carry the sting of reality, well, as McKay says, "It actually happened."

A lot of what happens on Chemical Dogs is based on things that either happened to McKay or could have happened to McKay. But it's also a rock 'n' roll fantasy that picks up where the Crash Street Kids' debut, Let´s Rock and Roll Tonite, left off. And like Tim Burton's Batman, the sequel is not only darker, but better.

"The general concept," drummer A.D. Adams explains, "is the rise and fall of a rock star."

Like the rise and fall of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust character, for example?

Well, there's no escaping that.

But while it wouldn't take a musicologist, much less a David Bowie fan, to point out all of the surface similarities between the rise and fall of The Kid, as the star of these Crash Street Kids records is known, and Bowie's glam-rock archetype, there is a bit more to the picture than that.

"It's not just David Bowie," McKay says. "It's T. Rex. Mott the Hoople. KISS and Alice Cooper. Slade. There's definitely some Ziggy Stardust in there. We'll proudly acknowledge that. But that's not all there is."

A lot of bands have worn those inspirations on their shirtsleeves, from The London Suede to Scissor Sisters, but it's been a while since someone's done it with the style, much less the substance, of Chemical Dogs, a big, dramatic glam-rock opera packed with humor, hooks, and some genuine heart. And, yes, as Crash Street Kids drummer A.D. Adams likes to say, "It's grand and it's fun and it's bright and it's shiny."

But it took some work to get there.


To do the whole "glam rock" thing, you've really got to know what you're doing, and you can't just do it halfway. The guys in Crash Street Kids clearly know their glam — and not just the obvious matinee idols of that brief but influential moment in the early '70s, when acts like Bowie, T. Rex, Alice Cooper, and the New York Dolls were tarting up and throwing down, pushing a campier variation on that old-school rock 'n' roll androgyny. For example, Crash Street Kids may be the only band in town — if not the Western Hemisphere — in which every single member of the group can refer to the bassist for Slade by his full name (which is Jimmy Lea, by the way).

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PSYCHO GYPSY
PSYCHO GYPSY

SINCE OUR REFORMATION, PSYCHO GYPSY HAS PLAYED IN COLORADO, TEMPE ARIZONA AND HOLLYWOOD CALIFORNIA. AT EACH SHOW THE WELCOME WE GOT WAS BEYOND EXPECTATIONS. WE THANK EVERYONE SINCERELY FOR ALL THE SUPPORT. IN ORDER TO MOVE FORWARD HOWEVER FOR 2008, WE HAVE TO RAISE THE BAR SO TO SPEAK. FOR THE REUNION LAST YEAR WE DECIDED TO GIVE SEVERAL FORMER GYPSY MEMBERS TIME ON THE GYPSY STAGE ONCE AGAIN. FOR EDDIE AND TIMM, SHARING TIME WITH OUR OLD FRIENDS BOTH ON AND OFF THE STAGE WAS TIME WE ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF. ESPECIALLY TO ERIK AND JOEY WE THANK YOU. THE DRAWBACK HOWEVER WAS THAT EACH SHOW WE PLAYED LAST YEAR HAD A DIFFERENT LINEUP WHICH MADE THE VIBE DIFFERENT AT EACH SHOW. THE COLORADO SHOW FEATURED EDDIE ELECTRA, TIMM TANTRUM, JASON DOCKTER AND A GREAT FRIEND OF TANTRUM'S JOSH DRAVEN WHO CURRENTLY DOES ARTWORK FOR GYPSY. THE PHOENIX ARIZONA LINEUP CONSISTED OF AGAIN EDDIE, TIMM AND JASON AND ORIGINAL GYPSY LEAD GUITARIST AND ARIZONA'S GUITAR GOD/VIRTUOSO JOEY CARTER (NOW OF ARIZONA FAVORITES RIZON) AT THE END OF THE SHOW ERIK "BD" ST. ERICKSON JOINED GYPSY FOR A FEW SONGS. PSYCHO GYPSY THEN MADE THEIR WAY TO HOLLYWOOD. ERIK WAS CHOSEN TO PERFORM AT THE HOLLYWOOD SHOW HOWEVER JASON GOT KNOCKED OUT OF THE LINEUP FOR THAT NIGHT DUE TO AN EXTREME INFECTION IN HIS ARM MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO PLAY THE DRUMS. IT WAS DECIDED THAT TANTRUM WOULD STEP BEHIND THE DRUM KIT FOR THAT ONE NIGHT. NOW THAT GYPSY HAS CELEBRATED IT'S PAST WE NEED TO LOOK INTO THE FUTURE WHICH REQUIRES THAT WE NOW HIRE A PERMANENT LINEUP. BACK IN 2000 ERIK WAS UNABLE TO PERFORM 2 BACK TO BACK SHOWS IN ARIZONA DUE TO ILLNESS. THE GUITAR PLAYER FROM THE OPENING BAND WAS BROUGHT IN AND PLAYED BOTH SHOWS NOT ONLY WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS BUT WITHOUT ANY REHEARSAL EITHER. THAT GUITAR PLAYER WAS JERRY VAYNE OF FOXY ROXX.NOT ONLY DOES THIS MEAN JERRY WILL NOW PLAY WITH GYPSY. BUT IT ALSO MEANS THE SOUNDS OF TWO GREAT BANDS WILL BE BROUGHT TOGETHER TO MAKE ONE INCREDIBLE SOUND. JERRY AND TIMM HAVE ALREADY COLLABORATED ON TWO GREAT SONGS FOR LAST HALLOWEEN AND CHRISTMAS WHICH WERE PLAYED IN ROTATION ON ROTTING FLESH RADIO REALDISNEY.COM METAL EXPRESS RADIO BRAINGEL RADIO AND SEVERAL OTHERS. THE SUCCESS OF THESE SONGS MADE HIRING JERRY A NO BRAINER. SO HERE IS THE LINE UP FOLKS.

JERRY VAYNE

TIMM TANTRUM

AND EDDIE ELECTRA

WE ARE ALSO ANNOUNCING THE RE-RELEASE OF OUR DEBUT ALBUM FEATURING NEW PACKAGING, NEW ARTWORK BY JOSH DRAVEN, LYRICS AND A TRIBUTE PAGE IN THE BOOKLET FOR OUR LATE DRUMMER MYKEL.(RIP) THE ALBUM WILL SOON ALSO BE AVAILABLE ON SEVERAL MAJOR MUSIC SITES FOR MP3 DOWNLOAD AS WELL AS AVAILABLE FROM THE MYSPACE PAGES. OUR NEW ALBUM (WHICH WAS PUT ON HOLD IN ORDER TO PLAY THE LIVE SHOWS WILL BE DONE THIS SUMMER FEATURING GUITAR WORK FROM JERRY VAYNE) MORE DATES FOR LIVE APPEARANCES WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON. SHOW &035;1 WILL BE IN COLORADO SPRINGS COLORADO. THE DATE FOR THAT SHOW WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON. ANOTHER PROJECT THAT MAY BE AVAILABLE TO GYPSY FANS, IS A METAL SOLO PROJECT FEATURING TIMM TANTRUM AND ERIK "BD" ST. ERICKSON. EDDIE ELECTRA HAS ALSO BEEN WORKING ON SOLO WORK FOR FUTURE RELEASE SO STAY TUNED FOR THAT. AS YOU CAN TELL WE HAVE NOT BEEN SITTING ON OUR ASSES AS OF LATE. THIS WILL INDEED BE THE YEAR OF THE GYPSY!!!!!!!!!!KEEP IT LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
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