Reviews: Live Performances

MPMF Day 3 Report by Mackenzie McAninch

“…New York boasts a dandy in Crazy Mary. I walk in upstairs at Neon’s just as violinist Walter Steding joins the group. Apparently, back in the day, he was Andy Warhol’s art assistant. He helps out on their re-worked cover of The Animals’ “It’s My Life.” Their sound bounces all over the place from rock to folk and even some tidbits of punk, then circling back into a psychedelic mess. Their structuring brings to mind “Strawberry Fields” and I absolutely love it! The musicianship is also top notch. I’ve found yet another great bass player, and the wah-wah favoring guitarist never touches a pick once. Plus, any band that gives me a free CD and drink huggie is cool with me! “

Too Insane for Rock ‘n’ Roll by Rikki Lana
Cover Volume 12, #6

Richard Morbid took the stage and stood in front of the center mike stand. In the spotlight, with his guitar around his neck and straw fedora perched on his head, the singer/guitarist resembled Jakob Dylan in the Wallflowers’One Headlight video. But there’s where the resemblance ended. Crazy Mary had nothing to do with a family of famous troubadours. The band kicked in and noise that could be described as ‘melodic garage-rock’ poured out of the P.A. Only minutes earlier, the band had been sequestered the dressing room, pre-show jitters not totally apparent. “Aren’t you going to ask who my influences are?” baited Morbid, whose sarcasm wasn’t confined to lyrics. The ‘influence’ question is touted to be cliche, dragged out when someone didn’t do their band homework, and so safe that even MTV shows clips asking famous musicians who their influences are. It was drummer Nick Raisz’s birthday, which was announced later on, during the band’s set. At sound check, Raisz hit the kit hard, and spent most the time figuring out microphone placement and individual drum/cymbal sounds. On-stage, Raisz kicked like a mule.

The legend that is Crazy Mary is more than four guys who needed a name for their band. “Santa Claus exists in all of us,” explained Raisz. “Crazy Mary is like our spiritual guide. There’s a Crazy Mary in all of us — there’s a real Crazy Mary. She’s never been to one of our shows before but we hope she’ll show up and dance for us tonight. It’s not the most ostentatious name. Everybody seems to have somebody in their hometown called Crazy Mary — someone who was driven from much riches, who lived in poverty, usually drinking, and eating pot pies in front of a kitchen.”

Morbid picked up the ball and elaborated on one of his pet theories — that the seven-legged octopus is a society of misfits and deformed freaks. “Instead of stating a BIO that was boring, dead, and stupid, we wanted to be obnoxious, weird, and true to the loco Mary cause.” The band was eager to discuss their freshman outing,Passion Pit (Humsting Records). Johnny Thunders, legendary guitarist of the New York Dolls/Heartbreakers, is the topic of one song. “I saw Johnny Thunders in a theater on Miami Boulevard. His niece is supposed to be coming tonight. He was probably one of the most important people on the rock scene, but he’s really underrated. It was an incredible show. David Johansen sucks compared to him — although you gotta like a little ‘Buster Poindexter.’ I saw Thunders with Jerry Nolan, in an old theater that can hold 300 — thirty people were there. It seems that his celebrity status grew after he died — like a painter.”

Bassist George Kerezman is classically trained and attended one of those ‘fame schools.’ He picked up the Crazy Mary story. “I roomed with a dreadlocked M. Doughtery, of Soul Coughing, at the east end of Spring Street. I met guitarist Charles (Kibel) around that time. Doughtery and I used to jam. Every time one of his albums comes out, I compare the jams. We did one show together at Nightingales.” It’s Kibel that colors CD standoutsTake a Wager and Faded with his slide guitar. “I like old blues and old spiritualists like Blind Willie Johnson, Bukka White, and Robert Johnson. People like Mick Taylor are just carrying the torch.”