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Nature Boy Explorer will join the Crypts on Friday.
Just try to keep up with the unique gyrations of The Crypts frontman Craig Graziano.
BY RYAN BROSMER
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
The librarian. The tattoo artist. The gymnast. The professor. The former substitute teacher. This isn't the list of heroes for the next 'Avengers' movie. These are the everyday alter-egos of the members of Fredericksburg's The Crypts--a band of mad professors, aliens and monsters.
Craig Graziano--along with husband-and-wife duo Kristen and Mike Tscirn--started playing together as The Crypts after Graziano's other band, Humungo Ginormous, ended its run.
Since they were already friends, Mike Tscirn said the decision to recruit Craig was easy.
"Humungo Ginormous had broken up," Tscirn said, "And we said, hey, it'd be fun to play in a band with Craig."
This would certainly make sense to anyone who has seen Graziano perform live. Music can barely keep up with his energetic, spastic performances. Often decked out in a thrift store suit, bow tie, and sunglasses, Graziano squirms, shoots, and swaggers, daring the audience not to dance along with him.
The Crypts have been around since 2008, and between a baby, college, another baby, and the demands of the members' professional lives, they have managed to release two full-length albums. Their latest, "Discover Science," is currently available free online and will be available on CD beginning with the release show at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at 909 Saloon.
The nine tracks on "Discover Science" cover subjects from ghosts to physicists to pizza. Musically, the band draws from a range of influences, but strives for a frantic punk rock 'n' roll sound without boundaries, save for a couple simple rules.
"It had to be fun," Mike Tscirn said, "and I had to be able to play it really well when I'm drunk."
"That doesn't mean we don't have obstacles when writing songs," Graziano explained. "Sometimes it's uphill, uphill, uphill, and if a song isn't fun we scrap it."
They wrote some of their best songs in fifteen minutes, recorded the album in a matter of hours, and aren't ashamed by a bit of sloppiness.
"I think the sloppiness is a tribute to a lot of the bands that we love and we aspire to sound like, in a way," Graziano said, referring to bands like The Sonics, The Cramps and The Gories.
Since their formation, the band has added keyboards and harmonica to augment the original lineup of Graziano's voice, Mike Tscirn's drums and Kristen Tscirn's guitars. It's a unique sound that mixes well with the bands' out-of-this-world lyrical content and frantic energy.
In a live show, the band feeds off of the audience response, and that's all the payment the band needs. All of their music is available free online. Graziano said that his day job as a youth services librarian is how he pays the bills.
"I make my money doing one thing that I love, " he said, "and it makes it so I can do this other thing I love, not expecting a reward. It's just fun to play with some of your best friends."
As for the future, the band would like to play outside of Fredericksburg more, in Richmond and D.C.
"We need to keep moving or die, like a shark," Graziano said.
But with the responsibilities of jobs and children, they have no desire for a full-blown tour.
"We have to do shows one at a time," keyboardist Larry "The Professor" Gilliam said. "We can't just pick up and go."
Mike Tscirn has experience in the realm of touring. He spent time playing bass in The Points and Poseur Bill, two successful bands on the Fredericksburg scene nearly a decade ago.
"I was asking Mike when he got back from a tour with Poseur Bill, 'So, did you makes some money?'" Graziano said. "And it was like, 'Hell no, we lost money!'"
"We do a good job in this band of losing as little money as possible," Mike Tscirn said.
Ryan Brosmer plays music like a shark.