C.G. Roxanne & the Nightmares' first tour outside of California is bringing them to Phoenix.
This band of longtime friends got together about two years ago on accident one night in Hollywood on Normandie Boulevard. Marlon Rabenreither, Carlos Laszlo, and Sam Thornton were asked to play as a band in a performance art piece, so they wrote some songs. Turns out they were pretty good.
“We thought it was going to be a one-off show. It was really fun. This kid had a gallery space and he built a stage with all these crazy lights and had us play,” Rabenreither says.
“We just put what we’ve always wanted to do together, and that’s how C.G. Roxanne & the Nightmares started,” Laszlo says.
A year of not playing together passed, and they were invited to play the birthday party of their late manager Wild Bruce.
“Wild Bruce, may he rest in peace, called us and said, ‘Hey, are you guys still playing that crazy stuff? Come play it at my birthday party,’” Laszlo says.
The band didn’t have the heart to tell him it was just a one-off thing, so they put it back together for the party. This event reunited the trio as a band, and they had so much fun they decided not to stop.
At the birthday show, Travis Pavur of Golden Beat Studio invited them to come record, and it all just fell into place. Since 2015 the band has released two EPs, with the third upcoming as another tape release on Lolipop Records. A 7” vinyl with two new songs was just released, and their first full-length record, cheekily coined Greatest Hits, arrives soon too. The album will be a compilation of new and old material freshly recorded.
“When we went in to do these EPs we would knock them out in one night, which was super badass, but sometimes you want to take your time with something. So that’s what we did with Greatest Hits,” Laszlo says.
Their first two EPs were released back-to-back.
“We were writing a lot at the time. We would sit down and write an entire batch of songs, and then bug the hell out of Travis, who is an awesome producer," Laszlo says. The band even went to their producer’s spot on Christmas Day to record.
"We had no intention of making a fucking record either, so it’s interesting how it kinda clicked,” Rabenreither says.
All three members have varying musical influences, but draw a lot from rock and punk. Bands like Killed by Death and The Stranglers are inspirations.
In terms of first influences, “Usually someone gives you a record when you’re a kid, and you don’t really know what’s good for ya, and then you give it a chance and it blows your mind. At least that’s what happened to me,” Rabenreither says.
“I remember having a pretty profound experience with [The Clash's] London Calling, and [The Beatles'] Abbey Road. I got Abbey Road for Christmas once when I was a kid," Laszlo says.
As far as C.G. Roxanne goes, “We’re a rock n roll band in the simplest sense. That’s what we try to do in a live show. It’s just the three of us. What makes us unique is that we are just old, old friends. I think that kind of comes through. It’s rarer and rarer these days,” Rabenreither says.
C.G. Roxanne & the Nightmares have certainly had some unique gig moments. Another to add to the list is a show they played at a place called the Rib Joint right on the Pacific Coast Highway. Also on the bill were fellow California band, The Pesos. Laszlo says the family-owned restaurant had no idea what they were getting into with the show.
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“The whole place almost fell apart. People were fighting, and we just played right in the middle of the chaos. It was great,” Laszlo says.
The band has also played quite a few DIY venues around LA. These venues are pretty important to the scene.
“These spaces are the most positive type of venue to see music at. It’s important for people who aren’t in the circumstance to play at venues like the Echo, and for kids who have nothing to do to have somewhere to go to see music at night and get turned on to it,” Laszlo says.
C.G. Roxanne & the Nightmares have been getting into strange rock 'n’ roll situations since their inception.
“The world is a cruel, dark place. Why do anything else except for the thing that makes you happy?” Laszlo says.