Peppermint Creeps - Creepshow

Do you remember Heart Throb Mob from a few years back? They were a great example of a godawful band with some pretty good songs. The brilliant bubblegum melodies were obscured by the guitarist's obsession with Nuno Bettencourt and horrible production. Many of the tunes were instant classics until the guitar solo came around after the second chorus (of course!!). Traci Michaels, the drummer, went on to form Candy Apple Queenz. They quickly disappeared without making any recordings. Traci doesn't give up. Although countless musicians in his countless bands moved out of Hollywood to get away from the rock n roll lifestyle, Traci still keeps going. His last project was Peppermint Creeps, probably his best attempt yet. They recorded this 5-song EP produced by Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne, Gilby Clarke) and I'm told it will be released soon. I apologize for reviewing a tape you will not be able to find. I was given a complimentary dubbed copy that came along with an offer to replace Billy, the band's guitar player who departed to sing for Deadgirl. Then, the band's singer/guitarist, Macy, was thrown in jail. The police soon discovered that Macy was a Canadian resident living illegally in Hollywood. Macy has either returned to Canada or he's hiding out somewhere. Who knows if this band will regroup or just become another Hollywood glam rock casualty?

Peppermint Creeps are another bunch of 80s glam metal guys attempting to update themselves by becoming "retro 70s-influenced." (See Spiders & Snakes). The Creeps have done a great job of incorporating ideas such as faux Mott the Hoople intros and Johnny Thunders guitar leads. Sure, this band has much in common with Pretty Boy Floyd but weren't PBF just the Bay City Rollers with hair extensions and mascara anyway? The first track on this tape is "I'll Be There For You." You'll forgive the Creeps for their Bon Jovi-style lyrics when the song begins and you'll swear it's sounds like the band was getting ready to launch into "The Golden Age of Rock n Roll" by the aforementioned Mott the Hoople. It even has a piano track and pseudo-Phil Spector production. The song is really great if you play it on a mono cassette player, to recreate the classic AM bubblegum sound. Can't complain about that, can you? The next track, "Famous" suggests that they've been listening to the Trash Brats lately as the guitar lines sound just like "Downtown Nowhere." Again, you'll have to overlook the lyrics such as "I just can't wait to be famous, I just can't wait to be a big rock star." The vocal melody is so good they could be singing about eating potato chips and I'd still like it. The last three songs remind me of Green Day or NOFX for some reason, with maybe a little more rock n roll in the guitar sound. It's similar to the pop/punk stuff that became huge in 1994. None of those bands could sell copies of their second albums. Nevertheless, some of those groups crafted some tasty tunes until the formula was exhausted. It's still pretty good, I guess.

Okay, so this recording doesn't satisfy every one of your rock n roll desires. This is definitely just a demo left behind by a disjointed band. In fact, the Creeps' lineup was never completed. When they played shows, they resorted to using mercenaries and moonlighters to fill the vacant slots. It's missing the gang mentality that every great rock n roll band has. I feel like I'm still doing the proverbial "rooting for the underdog." Traci has tried and tried and he just can't get that perfect band that he's looking for. I can relate to his frustration and applaud his efforts. I'm sorry I keep mentioning Mott the Hoople so many times but I can't help but compare him to Ian Hunter. After years of hard work, he keeps missing the bus to rock stardom and people take his ideas and get all the credit. Life's a bitch but I really hope his next band is a smash. I really

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Reviewed by Jay Smith