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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Creeps and geeks inquire within

    Perhaps you’ve seen them prowling Fourth Avenue or the alleyways of downtown Tucson. Perhaps you heard them rally armies of the undead with chunky surf rock beats after the Tucson Zombie Walk. Perhaps you’ve never seen them — in which case your chance has finally come, because The Mission Creeps will be creeping through Club Crawl this Saturday, ready to rock your toe-tags off.

    Singer and guitarist James Arrr, the band’s iconic leather-clad, glasses-wearing frontman, met bassist Miss Frankie Stein when the two were playing in separate groups that eventually dissolved. Drummer Jeff “”Die Day”” DiDay joined the duo later to round out their thundering surf sound.

    “”The reason (James and I) really connected was because we were both fans of this obscure band called The Ghastly Ones,”” Stein said over coffee at Epic Café. “”They’re a horror/surf band from Los Angeles and no one’s really heard of them … to each find out we had the same obscure like and interest was really neat.””

    From that mutual interest evolved The Mission Creeps, a surf goth horror rock trio with a one-of-a-kind style founded on a love for the bare-bones garage punk compositions of The Cramps, as well as the psychologically spooky imagery of David Lynch. Behind simple, heavy blues riffs threaded through narratives about cannibal love, graveyard fraternization and the merits of creepiness, the influences are easy to see. “”To use a movie metaphor, (The Mission Creeps is) a psychological thriller, not some campy slasher,”” Stein said.

    In addition to their varied artistic influences, though, living in Tucson has had a huge impact on The Mission Creeps, both musically and socially.

    “”It seems that the desert does have some influence in allowing space into the music,”” Stein said. “”We definitely feel like space sometimes speaks more volumes than filling it all in with more notes and more words, and more stuff … it’s kind of like a desert highway.””

    The city has also afforded the band collaborations with performance art groups like Flam Chen, for whom they have scored multiple choreographed performances. The Mission Creeps have also played the All Souls fundraiser multiple years running, as well as local events like the Tucson Zombie Walk. This fun-loving culture of the dead is a Tucson phenomenon, Stein said. “”Where else are you going to get that?””

    But below the mascara and sunglasses of their gothic rock exterior, The Mission Creeps are surprisingly down to earth. Though Arrr’s signature shades may scream “”rock star persona,”” they are fitted with prescription lenses that prevent him from being “”blind as a bat,”” as Stein put it.

    “”He’s always been self-conscious about wearing them … but finally he kind of found his look,”” she added. “”People think he’s trying to look cool with his glasses on stage, but the fact is he can’t see anything without them.””

    Stein added that Arrr has a Ph.D. in sociology, and has personally assembled several theremins, including the one he uses in live performances. “”He’s definitely not a rock star type, he’s more of a brainiac,”” she said.

    “”Geeky”” is another word that  was applied both to the band itself and its multifaceted fans. Despite their spooky style, The Mission Creeps’ high-energy live performances and songs about love among wretched graveyard denizens hold a message of inclusion.

    “”It’s sort of geeky in a way, and maybe that’s what the theremin is about too, but … whatever your thing is, don’t fret. This is for everybody — especially if you’re self-conscious.””

    Whether you’re a zombie, witch, monster or just a plain old creep, come engage in some equal opportunity rocking with The Mission Creeps at 10 p.m. on the KRQ Stage. If your hips aren’t swaying by the first song, it’s probably because you’re actually dead.

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