Music Monday is almost over but before you tuck the kids in bed and call it night, allow Your Spokesman to instill an 80's flashback. For all you Psychedelics out there tonight's blog feature is your Cup of Tea.
Crazy Mary carries the flame for a time when downtown Manhattan was at its post-punk apex – gritty, smart, artful, edgy and sexy, before its soul was taken over by corporations. But true to the ideals of the era from which they emerged, the band remains fully engaged with the modern, eschewing sentimentality and nostalgia. Their new album, Dreaming In Brilliant Color (Humsting Records 2012), carries their music forward and keeps their mélange of psychedelia, tribal music and Velvet Underground inspired no wave very much alive and well.
Crazy Mary began in 1998, founded by guitarist and songwriter Charles Kibel, a veteran of the Lower East Side rock scene, and drummer Nick Raisz. With seven studio albums to their credit (and two remix albums), the band has enjoyed extensive college radio play, favorable reviews in the New Yorker, the Boston Globe, the Village Voice, and by NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams. In addition, they’ve played several festivals, including CMJ, the Howl Festival, the Nemo, Midpoint and others.
With their third album as full time members under their belt, Em Z on lead vocals, and especially Walter Steding on fiddle, Bring their unique impact on Crazy Mary’s sound. The Australian native Em Z’s intense and driving vocals have brought a new dimension to the band. And Steding, who has been contributing to the band since 2002, has now become a full time member, bringing the full depth of his talent, experience and pedigree to the band.
Introduced to the band by Blondie founder Chris Stein, Steding was a pioneer of the No-Wave movement in the late 70’s, the leader of the TV Party Orchestra, Glenn O’Brien’s TV-show house band, in addition to recording with luminaries such as Robert Fripp and Jim Carroll. A solo artist in his own right, Steding was managed by Andy Warhol, for whom he worked as a painting assistant from 1980 up until Warhol’s death in 1987. Warhol produced Steding’s solo album, thereby earning Steding the distinction of being one of the two artists Warhol ever produced – the other one being the Velvet Underground.
Steding brings an incredibly emotional style to the band, and his term for the way his style of playing is “hand diatonic glissando,” a way of sliding into the notes on his fretless violin. As he explains, “I use every note in the scale and I hit every vibration – so I can cover the spectrum of both western and world music. I try to play something that you’re familiar with but is also beyond the familiar.” where Steding’s fiddle runs run the gamut from the melodic to the atonal, reminiscent of John Cale’s viola work in the Velvet Underground.
Produced by Kibel, keyboardist Parker Reilly and longtime engineer Michael Caiati, Dreaming In Brilliant Color spans the gamut from full out rock to contemplative. With the luxury of having played together with the same lineup for five years Crazy Mary has tightened and honed their current sound as begun on Nuclear Lipstick. Legendary photographer Marcia Resnick captured the band for the cover photo.
The Genesis of Dreaming In Brilliant Color began in April of 2011 when Kibel purchased a 1963 Gretch 6120 and in a fit of inspiration, composed seven of the songs featured on the album in a day and a half, and the sweet tone of that guitar, the same one that John Lennon plays on Rain, is captured in the body of the songs. The band is eager for people to hear the new directions their music has gone. As Charles Kibel declares, “We want to get the new album to as many people as we can. We’re eager to perform it live. On Dreaming In Brilliant Color, Crazy Mary has found the right people to play the right songs at the right time, taking the band to a new level, with a spirit reminiscent of the times when art and music create something seminal
Members/Instruments: Charles Kibel - Guitar; Em Z - Vocals; Walter Steding - Fiddle; Nick Raisz - Drums; Armand "The Wizard" Milletari - Bass; Parker Reilly Keyboards
Nuclear Lipstick from Crazy Mary on Vimeo.