Calabrese's Jimmy Calabrese: "I Like Humor in My Horror"
Andy Hartmark Calabrese
For over a decade, Arizona's Calabrese has been doing the horror rock/punk thing with wit and wisdom to spare. Carrying on the horror movie meets Elvis tradition of the legendary Misfits, the three Calabrese brothers have released six fun-filled albums concerning zombies, vampires and other dark subject matter. Interestingly, the band's most recent effort, Born with a Scorpion's Touch, finds Calabrese exploring a roots rock vibe that could widen the band's audience.
Speaking on the road in West Virginia and in anticipation of Friday's performance at the Double Wide, bassist/vocalist Jimmy Calabrese talked to DC9 about playing with his brothers and how he hasn't exactly kept up with The Walking Dead.
What do you think about the entire Horror Rock/Punk genre?
The genre is pretty awesome because it includes all different types of bands. We have a foundation of a horror rock band because we sing a lot about horror movies and stuff like that. But we're trying to branch out because we have other stuff that we like and want to sing about. The new album [Born with a Scorpion's Touch] shows some of that. The genre itself is pretty cool. It can encompass a band like Dallas' own Ghoultown, who don't sound anything like us. That is pretty cool. It encompasses an entire dark music scene.
With the new album, are you moving away from the Horror Punk scene?
We're showing more of our rock roots. Fans are really digging it. At first, some people were really taken aback. Now, we're hearing it's people's favorite album. People are enjoying going on this ride with us.
Is there the danger that some people might take the genre as a joke?
Well, some people might think horror movies are a joke because they're not romantic comedies, that they're not real to life or a documentary. Some people might think it's goofy. For us, we've always taken the music seriously and had a good time. And we have found people that are like minded. The main element is that we all have a love of horror movies. It's a kind of horror culture. Horror movies, comic books and video games seem to unite many people. We don't see that side of people who take it as a joke.
Would the biggest influence on the band obviously be The Misfits?
Yes, definitely. When we started, since I was the oldest brother, I got to introduce them to the music that I liked. The Misfits and Danzig are huge influences. I like a lot of 80's punk.
What do you think about the Misfits without Danzig?
I believe the original line up was by far the best. I wish I would have been able to see them. I never got the opportunity.
What do you think about the direction Danzig has gone?
Danzig by himself is pretty awesome. By the time he got to Blackacidevil, it seems his production went down. It kind of seemed like he was losing some steam. It's still awesome to see him live. I saw him a couple of years ago and it was great to hear those old songs. He is a powerful performer. I hear that Doyle is trying to get the original Misfits back together. That would be incredible.
Are you guys always booked for Halloween?
Yes, October's always the best month for us. Everyone seems in the mood for some dark music. That's always our most effective month.
Do you ever get tired of playing with your brothers?
Yes, every once in a while. You see the same faces all of the time. But I've been in other bands before and being able to play with family is magical. There is a deep bond to start with and when you get to play music together, it's indescribable. Sharing the stage with your brothers is hard to describe. It's a great feeling. It's a payoff after spending so much time looking at each other's faces.
The band is from Phoenix. What's the current state of the music scene there?
For our style, we kind of saturated the market because we played so much. It was the curse of the local bands where fans think they can just see us next time or the next time. It seems that the scene has kind of died down a little bit. Hopefully, some new bands will pop up. We've been together ten years and a lot of bands we knew have broken up. It seems that the heyday was 2008.
What's your favorite horror movie?
My favorite would probably be The Army of Darkness trilogy. I'm a fan of the '80s splatter comedies. I like humor in my horror, movies like Tremors.
Who's your favorite Walking Dead character?
I don't really watch that show. I've only seen the first season. I like the comics. I guess I would say Darryl is my favorite character. You always think about those post-apocalyptic scenarios and someone who was raised learning how to hunt and live off the land would obviously be the choice to survive.