The Creepshow is living “Life After Death”
After years in purgatory, The Creepshow is back from the dead. After the departure of the Blackwood sisters, Jen and Sarah, in 2009 and 2012 respectively, everyone thought the show was finished. They tried a variety of singers, and nothing was like it used to be. By the end of it, the band was just tired. Fans were disillusioned at the potential disbanding of such a virile yet sassy psychobilly rock band from Burlington, Ont. After five years running and a couple albums to their name, seemed like the Creepshow was but a memory. Then came Kenda Legaspi. A renowned musician and tattoo artist in the Greater Toronto Area, her raw vocals were a definite match to her rugged look, and like the high-voltage shock of a defibrillator, she brought the group back from the brink of death. With a second lease on life, a new attitude towards their music and a reborn sense of direction, The Creepshow put the pencil to the pad. Barely a year later we have “Life After Death.” A group collaboration lyrically, the new release out Oct. 21 is a concept album that summarizes their personal experience with the turmoil that ended the band, and the catalyst that revived it. Now for the group, it’s all about looking forward and forgetting the past. Martyr’s Devin Size caught up with original member Sean McNab to discuss the comeback album and new bodies in the group.
DS: After various member shuffles and struggles, and now the first album since Kenda’s arrival is now released, it must feel good?
Sean: Yeah, we’re pretty excited about it. We didn’t know how people would feel. We were worried about how the reviews and response would go, but so far, they’ve only been awesome. It’s really relaxing and a nice surprise.
DS: I could see how you might think that some of the following might stray towards the Blackwoods, but don’t you feel it’s more like fans got two bands for the price of one?
Sean: [Laughs] Yeah, I guess so. I guess I never looked at it that way. Even when Jen , our first singer, left, and her sister Sarah joined, we lost some people, and then gained a whole bunch more. So we’re hoping that it will be the same this time.
DS: Especially for you Sean, you’ve been with The Creepshow since the get-go. It must really hit home for you to be back on solid ground?
Sean: For me? Oh God, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with this band. As a whole, we’re finally just having fun and everyone is on the same level. Everyone’s got the same goals and everything… is just perfect.
DS: So needless to say Kenda is here to stay?
Sean: As soon as we decided to go on with a new singer, we were really picky about it. After a few people, that were great, but not for us, Kenda came along, and we knew right away. As it has been with most of our singers, who had never fronted bands before, It took Kenda a few shows to gain that confidence and persona on stage. But now, it’s like, I remember one of our recent shows, looking back at the whole band, and only thinking ‘we’re finally here, this is what I wanted.’
DS: So the new album Life After Death clearly touches on your rebirth as a band, how would you sum it up?
Sean: Near the end with Sarah, it wasn’t working, we weren’t getting along. The fun just wasn’t there anymore. The reason we did this in the first place was gone, and it started becoming like Groundhog Day. People could start to tell that we weren’t that happy. If you saw us then, and saw us now, you’d see a big difference. We’ve already had people approach us and say it. The album is just that, it’s about a whole new thing.
DS: The album is very anthem-esque, is it intentional to give it that tone?
Sean: We definitely like getting the crowd to sing along. It’s never a plan that we like to do group vocals in the studio. Some songs with one singer sound ok, but then when we add the group vocals, it goes from OK to amazing, and sounds like an anthem.
DS: Especially on a song like “Last Call.”
Sean: Yeah! That song was one of the first songs McGinty fully brought to the band. Right off the bat I was like ‘wow, this song is fucking awesome.’ So he laid down his vocals and it was good, but it was missing something. After we did the gang vocals on the track, it became my favourite song on the record. McGinty definitely knows how to drink, so we needed one of these on the record.
DS: It’s interesting, listening to the album front to back, it both opens, and ends on the sound of someone dying on life support, what’s the metaphor at play there?
Sean: That was purely the band expressing how we felt at the end of the rope before the rebirth of the band, it wasn’t fun. Now the fun and freshness is back. We’re alive again.
DS: The first song is “See You in Hell” and the last song is the title track, so it’s almost like you thought you were dead, now you’re the living dead.
Sean: Yeah that was ironic, I didn’t even realize that until we got the finished master. It wasn’t planned that way. It turned out pretty cool. You’re not the first person to point that out to me, I just play it off with them like we meant [laughs.] Kenda definitely brought the band back to life. And we brought in Daniel [Flamm] to play guitar for us, he’s from Germany, and we met him touring with his band Heartbreak Engines. He’s become a good friend and it’s nice to have something new in the mix to write with. He’s a wicked guitar player.
DS: Touching on his guitar playing, you really hear that stand out on “Take It Away.” Also what is Kenda speaking of with the lyrics in this song?
Sean: It’s funny that you mention that, that was the first song I wrote for this record. I just had basic chords set up for the main part, but then Daniel sat down with me, and I needed a cool riff, and then he put that down and it worked out awesome. That’s what I mean when I say we’re just working so well together. What Kenda is talking about, is how a band will always have haters when changing members or singers, and she’s saying that no one can take this away from us. This is what we’re going to do. It’s yet another thing against negativity.
DS: The overarching theme of the album seems to be ‘life sucks, but fuck it let’s have fun,’ is it fair comment to say you guys believe people focus too much on the negative?
Sean: Oh for sure. Shit happens and there’re shitty people out there, but don’t let it fuck up your good time. Anything negative, just push it to the side.