Saturday August 25 was a hot, sweaty night at Stella Blue in Asheville. Automanic from Knoxville, TN opened up, and I think drummer Donnie Thunder bears a strangely enchanting resemblance to the one and only Glenn Danzig. Bitch in heat fantasies aside, Automanic is loud and in your face, sound reminiscent of a more refined version of The Stooges or a sexed up Motley Crue with a sprinkle of the over the top showmanship of Kiss. Don’t miss them next time they roll into town. And hands off Donnie Thunder, I’m calling dibs, if only in my dreams.
The headliner at Stella that night was Asheville’s sleaziest rock n roll band, my friends Crank County Daredevils. If you’ve been living under a rock somewhere and the Daredevils haven’t bulldozed into a stage near you, they are rock n roll sex demon gypsies spat fresh from the mouth of Hell itself. Blistering guitars, pounding drums, eyeliner: the Daredevils have been the reigning kings of sleaze for years now, but with the addition of Rory Kelly from Hickory’s Intethod, there’s a whole new brand of magic going on.
STP had a special sound and Guns n Roses had their own special sound, but the sound that the members of STP and GnR generated under the guise of Velvet Revolver takes it up to whole new level of amazing. Crank County has been bringing the eargasms for years now with Adam Fever and then Johnny Sikk on lead guitar, but the addition of Rory Kelly pushes CCD into that Velvet Revolver realm of voodoo.
With Rory onstage with Scotty P, Mark Hammer and Billy Velvet, the interaction between the band has improved a hundredfold. The spark brought by these four musicians pushes the sound beyond an auditory fondle in backseat to a full blown rock n roll porno. The Daredevils have “it,” that nameless something that dances between charisma and selling your soul to the devil, and they know they’ve got it. The audience was undeniably drawn into the performance, pushing hard to the front of the stage despite the unwavering heat.
Crank County has never been a band to do cover songs, but on this evening, they brought out a cover of GnR’s It’s So Easy. The cover was so electric, it was like the song had really been written for CCD all along. The audience lapped it up, and I’m glad the Daredevils went for the cover. Covering one familiar song well is enough to draw new people in a band’s audience into the spider web of sleaze; bite them and they will come back for more.
I’ve long fantasized about partying down with the Daredevils, living out the sex and rock n roll image til the light of dawn breaks the spell… When I imagined waking up sore from a sweaty night with CCD, what I got in reality wasn’t anywhere near what I’d imagined.
Somewhere in the last song of the night, the incomparable Billy Velvet took a tumble off the stage, bass in hand. I saw him coming and tried to step aside, but just managed to put my head in the way of his bass. I took a blow to the head that made everything go black for a few seconds. Billy landed like the smooth cat he is and kept on playing, while I swayed my way to the bar for ice.
My right eye wouldn’t stop watering. I drove home with ice on my head, right eye running like a river, head thumping and aching like I’d been kicked in the brain.
I woke up the next morning with a purple eyebrow and two knots, one of them right in the middle of my forehead. Sexy. Not what I imagined in my rock n roll fantasy, but I guess I’ll take what I can get. When the Daredevils are on the cover of Rolling Stone, I can tell this story…or better still, I can sell this story to the tabloids. Rawk on…