Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
Scaryville is a place, not just a road sign shaped like an arrow with its sharp pointy parts dulled off by the elements, carved out of a few chunks of wood. It is a travelling road sign that gets packed into the back of a trailer, side-by-side with costumes, guitar amps, keyboards and a drum kit among other paraphernalia. It is also a place of slightly misleading proportions, negligent of its implications and guilty of indulgences in all manner of harmony and cue-taking from the likes of the Jackson 5 and Jackson Browne, not to mention The Beatles and all of the individual members' solo excursions.
Were we to take a direct flight to Scaryville, we would find groves of gum trees, bushes growing lollipops and jawbreakers, water fountains that shoot cotton candy and soft serve ice cream out in impossibly believable streams for all passerby to suck down, octopus gardens, yellow submarines and portals through looking glasses into other more meandering and demented universes. It's not a place that's crazy to believe in, but it's not frightening. It's a theme park that's more reflective of the Halloween episodes of Rosanne than any Tales from the Crypt or Hitchcock fare - it's John Goodman going as all three Stooges, only there's a helluva lot more music going on.
This Scaryville - an original movement developed and written by New York musician Bryan Scary (think of a cross between the physicality of Har Mar Superstar and Bobby Bare and the musicality of Apples in Stereo's Robert Schneider) and his merry band of brothers all decked out in customized zombie garb that jibes with miscellaneous personality traits a la Peter Criss' whiskery cat makeup - is super-sized with gargantuan ideas of sonic extravagancies that believe in the pure pop notions of the 60s and 70s, when it was a newly developed formula. It's also a world that garnishes these identifiable building blocks with oddities that are not retroactive, nor are they harbingers for future moves. These special additives are weird and wild and marked by pure energies that you can't stare directly into without doing permanent damage to your retinas. They are not ruled by lines or directions, but seem to feed off of the bouncing ball that turns on like a spiking bullet ricocheting around in a solid metal room when a happy mood strikes. It's a ballet of mountains, seas and carnivals, if that makes any sense. It's as unexplainable as a tapping foot when you hadn't thought about it. There's an abnormal amount of bloodshed or the hint of it spilling, but it's the variety of bloodshed that you can dance with, throw it some spins and twirls and welcome it back to your chest like a falconer.
The songs on The Shredding Tears rejoice in no particular discipline and just go for the rainbow cake mix, combining it into a tasty swirl with a big wooden spoon and a bigger smile.
The Daytrotter interview:
*What was your most memorable moment when you played Existo, Florida?*
Bryan Scary: I remember a cloud of ooze over the heads of the crowd. With every successive wrong note, the cloud would grow in size and hideousness. I knew that eventually one of our stray notes would cause it to burst. Who could guess the harm it was capable of? Luckily, we finished in time to watch the cloud slink away over the horizon. As far as I know, it's still out there, stalking the bars of Existo, preying on ill-formed harmonies and splattered solos.
*What was your most memorable moment when you played Paleface, Colorado and how odd it must have been to play Lake Wilbur, Tilde and Reclining Plains, Montana on one tour.*
BS: I don't remember much about Paleface, Colorado, to be honest. I have a vague image of a German Shepherd in a nightie, asking me if I need a place to stay for the night. Though that image may actually have nothing to do with Paleface, Colorado, or rock and roll music at all for that matter. It was certainly strange to play those other places on one tour, but not nearly as weird as the time we played In, Idaho, A, Minnesota, and Row, Indiana, all in a row.
*I've only known you for a few hours, but you didn't seem all that scary. Prove me wrong with some examples would ya?*
BS: Now this question gets my goose. Would you ask Doug Gardner to mow your lawn? My father is Scary, his father was Scary, his father was Scary -- well actually, his father was Scarilonsky - but I hope I've made myself clear.
*How did you recruit your band? You've got some characters.*
BS: The band was actually delivered to my apartment via a giant cock-eyed stork. There's a company called "Band Together" that provides a database of "characters," and you can pick and choose their various attributes. Everything from skill level to hair color. You can also choose the method of delivery, and the band's expiration date. I'm not sure what happens to them when they expire, but it probably has something to do with the "Discard Here" satchel included with my delivery. I had also ordered a Minister who plays Glockenspiel, but he fell out of the box on the way over.
*How many cakes of white face paint do you typically take with you on tour ?*
BS: We actually take about twelve cakes of rosy-peach face-paint with us on tour.
*Where did you get your weird looks? It's a funny concept, sounding Beatles-esque and dressing like vampires and the half-dead...*
BS: The Beatles are also half-dead -- why is it so funny?
*Are horror films your cup of tea?*
BS: Oh my goodness, no! They're so gruesome and unsettling! I prefer the comfort of a romantic comedy, or even a drama. Though, sometimes I could use a good documentary. I've actually been known to enjoy classic films, but then some nights I prefer special interest. Lately, though, I've been into Staff Picks.
*Do you think Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, or Alice Cooper would have any common ground should you ever meet?*
BS: Absolutely. I'm a golf nut with my own reality show, and I always think to myself, "What's Ace Frehley doing here?"
*How much rehearsal went into your customized Daytrotter tag? It was really appreciated.*
BS: It was great fun! We rehearsed an earlier version for months and months, threw that version out fearing it to be too "over-the-top," and finally came up with a new one that we hoped sounded more authentic. Then we got the last minute jitters, feeling the authentic one to be too "self-important," tossed it, and improvised another one on the spot. Then the spot said, "Get off me," so we went back to the authentic version.