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On the Road with the Stellar Corpses – The Preview

Just for Thee Taste Photography

Live Fast, Die Young and Leave a Stellar Corpse
by Mat Weir

Like every good American kid, the first time I heard the crunching bite of rock & roll, I was hooked. But even at that young age, I knew it wasn’t just about the music. Sure, I would sit in my room for hours geeking over the bands; wondering why they chose certain lyrics over others and then trying to decipher what they actually meant, learning the histories, etc. But it was the idea of rock&roll that really captured me. To think, a kid from the ghetto of Detroit could become Iggy Pop, or that a gang of petty-criminal misfits could pick up instruments and become the Ramones. Everything enthralled me: the lights, the noise, the rebellion and the touring. Each city bringing its own batch of weird problems and situations that most people wouldn’t even begin to fathom, much less want to tackle. Sleepless nights spent driving all-night, trying to find the next venue, only to drain yourself on stage for the deranged hordes of fans, drunks and all that one creepy couple that seems to be in the corner of every bar across this great land. And once they’ve given their all, it’s back on the road just to sacrifice themselves in the next grimey spot.

With ideas of grandeur and screaming women floating in my head, why the hell did I become a writer? Well, sometimes in life the path chooses you, afterall, you can’t outrun destiny. But that idea of the open road and all of the mysteries it contained when mixed with the passion of rock&roll remained to be like that person you always wanted to ask out in high school but never did.

So, when Santa Cruz’s favorite psychobilly sons, the Stellar Corpses. asked me to roadie for them on tour, well, “no” just wasn’t an option. Since 2005 the Corpses have been serving the scene with their adrenalin-fueled, nightmarish sound. Originally established by singer Dusty Grave and stand-up bassist Dan Lamothe, they soon grabbed old-time friend, Emilio Menze, on guitar. Drummer Kyle Moore, with his spider-like playing joined in 2009.

By blending punk and psychobilly with their personal influences of rock, goth and various pop, they have created a danceable sound that literally spans the age gaps. Their first two albums, Respect the Dead and Welcome to the Nightmare contain everything from tongue-in-cheek numbers (like “Hail Bop,” a 1950’s style sock-hop song about the Hail Bop cult) to songs about b-movie themes, the dark side of psychology, and even a love ballad or two complete with a horrific twist.

For 2 ½ weeks we will be driving in their 16 passenger van, (modified to an 8 seater with a DIY bunk bed in the back). With a massive equipment trailer in tow and a “I’m Proud of My Eagle Scout” sticker on the back, we will be delivering the ghoulish sounds of rock&roll to the good people of Colorado, Texas, Utah, Arizona and of course, California. Even though they have toured countless times before, nobody really knows what we have in store for us (last year, for instance, none of the guys knew they would have to weld their previous trailer in five different states—but they did).

But no matter what the road decides to throw at us, you dear reader, get all the benefit without the hassle and old beer smell (remember what I said about destiny?). For the entire tour I’ll be writing constant updates about anything the tour throws at us, from the good and the bad to the odd and depraved. So keep checking back with this weird journalism to find out the trials and tribulations of a DIY band as they work for their next meal on the desert streets of America. Actually, keep checking back to make sure that none of us need bail money — “always be prepared,” right?

This article originally appeared on the Santa Cruz Weekly blog

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