Crazy Town will release their second album, Darkhorse, on November 12th. The album is the band's first since the slow-yet-multiplatinum success of 1999's The Gift of Game.
The album features a slightly retooled band, with singers Seth "Shifty" Binzer and Brett "Epic" Mazur, guitarists Craig "Squirrel" Tyler and Antonio "Trouble" Valli and bassist Doug "Faydoedeelay" Miller joined by former Shuvel drummer Kyle Hollinger (who replaces James Bradley J). Also departed is turntablist DJ A.M.
"Crazy Town has become a real band now," Tyler says. "It's really become a solid entity."
The group began writing songs while on the road last year, prior to touring with Ozzfest. By the end of that tour, Crazy Town had more than thirty songs to take into the studio with producer Howard Benson (P.O.D., Motorhead). According to Tyler, the first order in writing and recording was to move past the group's breakout hit single, "Butterfly." "Over here in the States, it became all about 'Butterfly,'" he says. "It became bigger than anybody could ever imagine. We joked that we were gonna call this record 'The Curse of the Butterfly.'"
"But on the other hand," he continues, "that record gave us the opportunity to try some new things. It's a totally live record. In the end it sounds like the type records that we grew up listening to that made us wanna be in bands. We weren't trying to just write a couple of dope singles. We wanted to make an album that you could listen to from beginning to end. In ten years, I wanna be able to listen to this record and be proud of it. And I think we pulled that off."
The album's first single, "Drowning," is due next week, and finds the group moving in a more rock-for-rock's sake direction, than on Game. "So many records that come out today, you don't really get a sense of a band sitting there playing," Tyler says. "We've been trying to blur the lines forever; anybody in a band will tell you they hate genres. But, I just got so tired of hearing records on the radio with the same verse and the same chorus. You get no sense of a band. We just came off the road for two-and-a-half years and we play really well together. And I wanted to capture that."
After striking up a friendship with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo at a shared bill gig in Fresno, California, Tyler and Crazy Town enlisted him to add a guitar solo on the Darkhorse track "Hurt You So Bad." "Rivers was sitting there backstage, and I walked up and said, 'You probably hate my band, but I just want to say I'm a huge fan of your band.' And he said, 'I don't hate your band.' So we hung out, and two days later I was at a show and Rivers was across the room and he goes, 'Craig!' "'Hurt You So Bad' originally sounded almost like a Beatles song, and we heavied it up a little bit and were almost done with it, and I was thinking it could really use a guitar solo. So we asked, he said yes and came to the studio, and I can't explain how nice and gracious he was. He said, 'Do you mind if I take a picture with you guys for the Web site?' The thing is, if he'd fedback on the track for two minutes, I would've used it, but he played this amazing guitar solo. It's fantastic."
The band is now gearing up to push the record. In a week, Crazy Town will leave for Europe for two weeks of promotion. Tyler says the group will do some Christmas radio shows, and they are considering playing the Big Day Out Festival in Australia in January, before plotting a full U.S. tour. "We're just trying to impress each other," Tyler says. "There are people who doubt us, that's why the record is called Darkhorse. It's because there's people who think we're the last band in the world that was going to make this record. We just went away and said, 'OK, everybody who's doubting us, we're just gonna go away and show you all that this is legit and we're going to be around for awhile,'"