It's been a while since we checked in with the guys from Crooked X, the teenage metal band from Coweta that graced UTW's cover back in June of 2007. Back then, the boys had just signed management deals with Donnie Frizzell and McGee Proffer Management to help develop and guide the band with an eye on a possible reality series and record deal.
Eventually, a contract was signed to record for Capital/EMI; and the band entered the studio in 2008 to record a CD which was released just this week. It came as no great surprise then, when I received a call from Bill Simpson (father of drummer, "Boomer" Simpson) to catch me up on life in the Crooked X camp.
Although the past year has been busier than outsiders may realize, the past two months have been a whirlwind of activity as the band, management and the label have ramped everything up to raise the band's profile for the January 27 CD release.
Recorded during the summer over a series of sessions in Nashville and Tulsa, the band completed its self-titled debut with production duties handled by Michael Wagener, manager Spencer Proffer and Scott Cooper. (Wagener's pedigree is prime for the band's sound and style as he worked extensively in the 80's and 90's engineering, mixing and producing bands such as Dokken, White Lion, Skid Row and Extreme, among others).
Lead single "Rock and Roll Dream" has already been serviced to radio and has received airplay by all four of Oklahoma's main rock stations, KMOD and KMYZ (The Edge) in Tulsa and KATT and KHBZ (The Buzz) in Oklahoma City. The band isn't just getting airplay in its home state, however. A hard push to active rock radio saw the single land at #39 on national rock radio charts the week prior to the CD's release.
Of course, a great deal of that could be contributed to the band's hectic schedule, which really took off over the holiday season. December saw the band head out on a three week radio tour, hitting stations from Oklahoma through Missouri and all the way out to the Northeast for stops in Pennsylvania and New York before finally landing on MTV and being broadcast on the jumbotron in Times Square.
According to Simpson, the group was in Times Square for the MTV appearance on Wednesday evening when his phone rang and Proffer asked if the band could be in Dallas that Saturday morning. Proffer had Jerry Jones' daughter, Charlotte, on the other line offering the band an opportunity to perform at the Cowboy's final game of the season at Texas Stadium.
"We already had a commitment in San Antonio on Friday, so we drove straight home, slept in our beds one night, then played San Antonio Friday and were in Dallas on Saturday," Simpson explained.
The pace hasn't slowed down in the New Year, either- the boys were in Los Angeles two weeks ago for a show at the Viper Room on Wednesday night, followed by a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday and an appearance at the NAMM conference on Friday, January 16.
With a little last minute notice to the public, the band held a video shoot at Flytrap Music Hall, 514 E. 2nd St., last Thursday evening, January 22, to prepare for the release of the next single, "Gone." If radio grabs onto this release as well, it will mark the fourth song on the disc to gain exposure. "Nightmare" was used in the initial Rock Band videogame and "Adrenaline" has been used by the Extreme Sports Tour, NASCAR, PBR (Professional Bull Riding tour) and NHRA. In fact, the band's ties to NASCAR provided an opportunity to perform at Charlotte Motor Speedway before the fall race in October.
The NASCAR crowd at Lowes Motor Speedway may well have been the largest potential audience the band was exposed to, but it was merely another gig after a summer that saw the band share the stage with artists ranging from Ted Nugent and Black Stone Cherry to Black Tide, Plain White T's and Sick Puppies and others. According to Simpson, the highlight of the summer, however, was opening for Kiss in Stockholm, Sweden.
If all of this is a precursor to the band's album release, the potential is even greater if they can captivate the demographic that Doc McGee and Spencer Proffer hope to tap. An MTV special on the band debuted on the 27th, just as the disc was being released and will air many times over the next few weeks on MTV, MTV2 and MTVU. Meanwhile, more concert dates with Black Stone Cherry have been planned and three other potential tour packages are being eyed for 2009.
And what about that reality series? According to Simpson, the series isn't dead in the water just yet. Management is still working on a budget for a pilot episode to the series, so it still may get off the ground.
Right now, however, the band is excited about the release of Crooked X, which hit retailers and digital outlets on Tuesday. With that in mind, the band will be holding its CD release party this Saturday night, January 31, at Flytrap Music Hall. Doors open at 6pm and music starts at 7pm with Band Camp and Travis Kidd opening the show. Cover is only $5 at the door; and the band's music videos and MTV special will be replayed on video screens during the evening as well, offering a chance to catch up on everything that is happening for the young band.
Well, it's official: hibernation season is over. We slid through the post-holiday doldrums and the live music scene is up and running at full steam again. If you don't think so, just take a peek at the concert schedule for the coming week. Things may seem slow for some of our local bands, but we've got a group of national acts coming through as touring season hits. Take a look around and get out for at least one or two of this week's highlights.
Thursday evenings always kick things off for the weekend here in T-Town, and this week is no exception. If you prefer to take it easy, you can fall back on reliable gigs like Cairde na Gael at Arnie's or the developing "Artist Sessions" at Ida Red (this week with George Bonner and Spencer Sharpe). The more adventurous, however, will want to roll over to McNellie's side bar for Harptallica at 7pm.
Million Dollar Elm Casino sees Jewel headline the Osage Event Center on Thursday, January 29 at 7pm for what should be a great performance. This one's an acoustic gig with a portion of the proceeds from the $30 tickets going to the Clean Water Charity.
If you're looking for a party and feeling shameless, however, you need to stop in at Rehab on January 29 for a night of 80s covers with Dr. Squealsgood. Go ahead and cut loose -- everyone deserves a guilty pleasure every now and then.
Friday night's highlights include a visit by progressive bluegrass banjo-master Danny Barnes at Bob's with Rockin' Acoustic Circus and Klondike 5 String Band opening the show for $17 at the door. If you don't get your fill in one sitting, you can wander down the sidewalk after the show for the after-party at Soundpony for an additional set by Klondike 5.
If you're looking for a different vibe, Dustin Pittsley will be laying down some wicked blues at Arnie's and RadioRadio and The Nightlife offer up modern rock at The Blank Slate on January 30.
Saturday evening is a mixed bag with a little of everything floating around downtown. Besides the aforementioned Crooked X CD release party at Flytrap Music Hall for commercial and hard rock fans, Recorder has the indie crowd covered with a gig at Blank Slate, Benjamin Lyman plays a solo acoustic gig at Ida Red, and The Marquee is hosting the "Boombox Benefit Party" with DJ P, DJ Love, Ed Crunk, DJ Chron and DJ Moody. Over at The Monolith it's a totally different game with rapper RSun, Goody Good Bars and Popular Culture.
Finally, the mid-week wakes up with a string of big shows and touring bands coming through town as February arrives. Monday night's big show is Celine Dion at BOK Center followed by Marc Broussard, Jessie Baylin and Josh Hoge at Cain's Ballroom and bluegrass/jam act Cornmeal at The Marquee on February 3. Chris Tomlin's "Hello Love" tour hits SpiritBank Event Center on February 4 while State Radio plays Bob's and Disco Biscuits wrap things up with a headline gig in the Ballroom next Thursday, February 5. That's a full week of shows and the touring season has barely gotten started.
There are more concerts on the way, so plan ahead and budget wisely -- we've got plenty to choose from in the coming weeks.
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