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, Vicious Voodoo (Humsting Records 2021), carries their music forward and for the first time, features a horn section on every track. The result is a funkier, more upbeat version of their downtown New York sound.
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. Beginning in 2016 Crazy Mary was named a top 30 live band in New York City by Aquarian Weekly three years in a row. The band has played several times a month in New York for many years . Crazy Mary had successful shows in Hollywood’s famous Whisky A Go Go, sharing the bill with Iron Butterfly, The Mau Mau in London, UK, headlining The Portobello Festival and Las Vegas’ Double Down Saloon, expanding their audience to an ever larger crowd.
The band is rounded out by vocalist Emma Z, who despite moving home to Australia to raise her son was able to collaborate on Vicious Voodoo via the magic of the internet. The Wizard of Fort Lee is our funky, nutty bass player and Walter Steding is on fiddle. 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.
The newest members of the band are Robert Aaron on tenor sax and keys and Mac Gollehon on the trumpet. Both started appearing on stage with Crazy Mary in 2015 and are now featured on Vicious Voodoo. Aaron was Wycliff Jean’s musical director for many years and plays the iconic tenor sax solo on Bowie’s Modern Love. He’s also recorded with Mick Jagger, Blondie, Amy Winehouse, Tom Jones, James Chance, Chic and others. Gollehon, nicknamed “Chops” by Mies Davis, has been on numerous hit records, most notably Let’s Dance by Bowie and numerous Duran Duran albums. He’s also recorded with Chic, Blondie, Sister Sledge, James Chance and many more.
After a year of biweekly rehearsals recording of Vicious Voodoo began in late October, 2019. The process ground to a halt in March, 2020 when the pandemic shut down everything. As restrictions eased, recording proceeded in late June of that year and it was finished in November. Set for release in 2021, Vicious Voodoo moves the band in a funkier direction with the addition of the horns. One final track written during and inspired by the lockdown by contrast is a stripped down blues featuring only slide guitar, snare, bass drum and tambourine. All in all we hope you find a fun, balance between funky rockers, some slower songs and some signature experimental, psychedelia.