Interview with Sean Kelly of Crash Kelly; November 2003

If you got the chance to chat with the vocalist of one of the catchiest, grooviest, sincerest bands out on the music scene, you'd jump at the chance... and I did... twice (this interview bein the second). If you get the opportunity to see the band, jump at it, but make sure you go chat with them afterwards, you will not be disappointed at how down-to-earth and pleasant they all are.

Q1. Could you give us a brief introduction as to who you are, what you do, your background etc?

A1. I'm Sean Kelly, I front CRASH KELLY, a Toronto based hard rock band directly influenced by the sounds of 70's FM Hard Rock Radio and the early 80's Sunset Strip. I make my living as a musician, teaching elementary school music as well as playing with a wide variety of artists (I'm a session guitarist).

As for what CRASH KELLY does, we make great rock n' roll records and put on a great rock n' roll show...it's that simple! :)

Q2. Who would you say your musical influence(s) is/are (past and present)?

A2. Thin Lizzy, T-Rex, Motley Crue, Hanoi Rocks, Cheap Trick, KISS, Alice Cooper, Hellacopters, The Darkness, Van Halen, Ratt, Sex Pistols, Sweet, Slade...many, many more!

Q3. A lot of people seem to liken you to Marc Bolan, both vocally and looks-wise. What's your outtake on this? Do you consider it to be a compliment or an insult?

A3. An absolute compliment. I'm a T-Rex fan, and I think that Marc Bolan was a great songwriter... as for the looks, I guess I can thank genetics... I'm not ashamed to say that I've "borrowed" a stage move or two from Mr. Bolan as well!

Q4. How did Crash Kelly 'the name' and 'the band' come into existence?

A4. CRASH KELLY was my uncle Orv's nickname...he was a great hockey player in the 1950's, and a great guy. He lived his life like a hurricane, but he always did his best to be a good person...he made mistakes, but always tried to be good...even in the face of his wild Irish ways! He passed on a few years ago, and the name of the band is a tribute to him.

The band came into existence after the recording of the album, which was just supposed to be a side project for Ky and I...the band line-up changes form gig to gig, and tour to tour. However, the heart of the band is myself, Ky Anto and Allister Thompson.

Q5. How far would you like to see Crash Kelly move forward within the music industry?

A5. I don't think in those terms. Obviously, I would like to make a living at this... however, I just want to get to the stage where Crash Kelly records are made available worldwide, as this would provide the impetus to tour the globe.

Q6. Would you worry about losing the loyal fan base who have supported you from the outset if say, Crash Kelly became a mainstream band such as 'The Darkness'?

A6. No, because I know that CRASH KELLY will always remain true to its musical agenda...kick ass rock n' roll influenced by the music that truly made my life better when I was growing up. I have been in this biz far too long to think that making compromises in the name of financial success will bring happiness.

Q7. You've now played to audiences in Canada, the UK and the U.S. How did the reception change from Country to Country and was it how you had expected?

A7. The UK has by far been the most receptive...you can tell that Rock N Roll is a vital part of the everyday existence of people there. Our core Canadian fans have been great, and we are winning more people over all the time. Still, in Canada the music industry and the fans sometimes seem to wait and take their cues from the US reaction to a band. We have only played one show in the US, New York during the CMJ festival, and the reaction was awesome! New York is a very vibrant Rock N roll city.

Q8. Why do you think a lot of Canadian artists/bands tend to travel and play the UK before the U.S?

A8. Well, there is a closer affinity between the English mindset and the Canadian way of thinking… socially and politically. Having said that, there are many great people in the US as well. The reception to us has been very warm in the UK, almost overwhelming, and this has made it very appealing for us to continue to develop our career there.

Q9. Crash Kelly seem to be receiving a lot of positive press at the moment; a complete turn-around from press coverage received by 69 Duster. Why do you think this is?

A9. Well, I loved 69 Duster,,, our first record, anyway. When you have a band of strong individuals as 69 Duster did, the democratic nature of things can sometimes make for a diluted product...one that suffers from lack of focus, CRASH KELLY is my pure vision, and therefore I believe it rings of authenticity, and the people who share my influences really seem to dig it. There will be another 69 Duster, and I am currently working on a solo record for Duster's very talented singer, Dale Marindale... he's Canada's greatest singer, in my opinion.

Q10. How did you get involved with British company 'TB Records'?

A10. Ky Anto, who co-produced the Penny Pills record and plays bass with CK, told me about them and the fact that they were putting out the Robin Black album. When I talked to them, I could tell that they were a great fit Crash Kelly. We're very happy to be part of the TB roster of artists.

Q11. Any plans to head back in to the studio to work on a follow-up to 'Penny Pills'?

A11. Absolutely...the plan is to tour in November with Enuff Z'Nuff, then begin demoing songs for our next release. I'm really excited about the new songs… it's gonna be a rip off your face rock record!

We will also be releasing a special CD single version of Thin Lizzy's "Waiting For An Alibi" through TB records on November 15th... it contains bonus tracks, and was recorded in Nottingham during our UK tour with The Quireboys. You can order it at http://www.tbrecordslimited.com or at http://www.changesone.co.uk

Q12. Who, in your opinion are today's most underrated bands/vocalists?

A12. Dale Martindale
Nick Walsh (formerly of Slik Toxik, leader of Revolver, with whom I'm playing guitar...awesome!)
Ky Anto (his solo album, Doodling on Jazz, is a masterpiece… http://www.kyanto.com
Allister Thompson
Neil Leyton

Q13. Finally, (this is your chance to sell Crash Kelly to our readers) any final words, insults, loving messages?

A13. I find it really lame when other bands start bantying around insults...it makes people look cheap. I prefer to keep things positive, because music should ultimately be about community and friendship.

As for selling CRASH KELLY, I figure good music makes it's own friends... check out http://www.crashkelly.ca, or come see us play when we hit your town. I can promise 100% of my sweat, blood and guts are put into every performance. My favourite part of a gig is chatting with people afterwards, so next time we play your town; come say hi... we'll be at the bar!

Interviewed by Spice D. Warlock

Visit the Crash Kelly Website