Derailed by Drugs, Crazy Town Regains Momentum

ByGary Graff

November 29, 2000 -- Crazy Town is back on track again, headlining a tour with Shuvel and Slaves on Dope, after what was supposed to be a hot summer for the Los Angeles rap-rock band fizzled into a season of discontent.

The seven-member group was enjoying a strong start earlier this year for its debut album, The Gift of the Game, and had snared a much-valued slot on the "Ozzfest" tour when co-frontman Shifty Shellshock relapsed into drug-using habits that he'd previously kicked.

"He had a nervous breakdown and started smoking crack and whatever other drug he could find," says Brett "Epic" Mazur, who co-founded Crazy Town with Shellshock six years ago. "It's better it happened sooner rather than later. If it would have happened on our own tour, it would have been really catastrophic, commercially and otherwise. It happened to him, but it could've happened to anybody; it made everybody kind of wake up and smell the coffee and take care of what they had to take care of inside themselves and deal with issues and stuff."

Mazur reports that after a stint in rehab, Shellshock is "completely sober," and the group has adopted some rules to keep it that way — mostly limiting its tour outings to no more than two months at a time, in order to keep the band members focused and grounded. Meanwhile, Mazur acknowledges, there's the matter of making up for lost time and reestablishing the buzz for Crazy Town's brand of roiling, hip-hop inspired rock, which Mazur and Shellshock had done for years with other projects before launching the Brimstone Sluggers, which morphed into Crazy Town.

"I think within the industry and other bands and stuff, a lot of people know what we're capable of, and we want to prove it to everybody and to ourselves," Mazur says. "When it comes down to it, I believe we did some great songs; I don't think all of our songs are great songs, but we have some there. And it's real. I know everybody is doing the rap-rock thing now, but we've been doing this a long time. And I know it's real because we turned off everything when we were working on our record; we didn't listen to anybody who is similar to us. The only [music] we listen to is older stuff, anyway."

Mazur adds that Crazy Town has worked up about five songs for its next album, which the group hopes to record next summer. In the meantime, the band will continue touring through the end of the month, as its song "Butterfly" continues to make a splash, climbing to No. 21 on Billboard magazine's Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Crazy Town Tour Dates

NovemberNov. 29 — WBCN Radio Show, Boston, Mass.Nov. 30 — Webster Theatre, Hartford, Conn.

DecemberDec. 3 — Alrosa Villa, Columbus, OhioDec. 4 — WXDX radio show, Pittsburgh, Pa.Dec. 5 — Wetlands Preserve, New York, N.Y.Dec. 6 — Fletcher's, Baltimore, Md.Dec. 8 — Barrymore Theatre, Madison, Wis.Dec. 9 — Rave Complex, Milwaukee, Wis.Dec. 10 — Q101 radio show, Chicago, Ill.Dec. 13 — Pine Street Theatre, Portland, Ore.Dec. 14 — Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, Wash.Dec. 16 — Cactus Club, San Jose, Calif.Dec. 17 — Slim's, San Francisco, Calif.Dec. 19 — The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, Calif.Dec. 20 — Gotham, San Bernadino, Calif.Dec. 22 — Rainbow Ballroom, Fresno-Visalia, Calif.Dec. 23 — Palace Theater, Los Angeles, Calif.Dec. 31 — KEDJ radio show, Phoenix, Ariz.

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