Rozie Beth remembers the first time she saw Kurt Cobain on television.
She was 5, and her dad, who was into rock music, was watching music videos on MTV.
“The 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' video from Nirvana came on and I remember looking at the TV, fascinated,” Beth recalls.
She says that at first, she had a crush on Cobain. Then, in her early teens, she changed her mind: “I’d rather be him.”
Today, Beth is the vocalist and a guitarist for Crack Rabbit, a young local punk band with a show this Thursday, July 22, at Yucca Tap Room. She's joined on stage by Riley Macluskie (drums), Michael Andriano (lead guitar), and Chris Carpenter (bass).
Crack Rabbit is a band with a range of musical influences; you can hear the ingredients of grunge, pop, metal, and punk in their songs. Beth’s low voice sails on a loud, rough wave of distorted guitar and hard-hitting drums; her tone teeters on boredom in “Jailbait” and aches in songs like “Rise Above.” Andriano’s guitar can crunch in songs like “Keep in Mind,” arguably their most punk song, and hold a fuzz-distorted riff like in “Jailbait.” But Macluskie’s drums are the heart of every song, tight and passionate.
Though the current roster of Crack Rabbit is solid, it took a while for the band to come together
Beth spent five years searching for Crack Rabbit’s current lineup, and her resolve never wavered though there were many failed attempts to form a band: She says she had to get past “creepy guys that only wanted to hit on her” and bandmates who only wanted to “goof off and party.”
A particularly disastrous show in 2019 proved fortuitous. An earlier iteration of the band played at Tempe's Palo Verde Lounge, and at the end of the show, Beth told the drummer and the guitarist to take a hike.
Current drummer Riley Macluskie, who's known Beth since the two were kids, was in the audience that night. At that time, Macluskie drummed for the band Love Child Melancholy.
“I remember thinking she has some really good songs,” Macluskie says. “But their drummer was horrible — one of the worst I’ve ever seen. I wanted to say, 'You know, I’m not trying to shove myself into your band, but you need better.'”
When that Palo Verde show ended, Beth walked up to Macluskie. Before he could say anything, she asked if he wanted to come by and drum at band practice. And just before that practice — another fortunate occurrence — Macluskie happened to find a guitarist on a dating app who was looking to join a band.
“I’m going to go meet this band for the first time,” Macluskie said in a message to Michael Andriano. “Maybe you wanna check it out too?” Andriano showed up to band practice with his guitar case.
To Beth, it felt right. Then Andriano found bassist Chris Carpenter, and they were crack rock solid. Crack Rabbit had finally materialized from a dream that Beth had when she was 10-years-old, to a fully-fledged band in October 2020.
“After the band was formed, we started seeking out gigs ourselves,” Beth says, “and before we knew it, people started reaching out to us.”
Crack Rabbit spent most of 2020 writing new material, though they did release an EP, Cherry Pie, and played a Halloween show in California. Currently, they're working on an LP with AR Studios set to be released later this year.
“I know I still have a long way to go,” says Beth. “But even just this, venues contacting us, it’s so satisfying.”
Crack Rabbit. With The Nexxt, The Jena System, and Headstrum. 8 p.m. Thursday, July 22. Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe. Free admission.