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INTERVIEW: SHIFTY SHELLSHOCK/SETH BINZER of Crazytown – March 2015

If you were near a radio or MTV in the early 90’s, you know who Shifty Shellshock is – you may not know the name or the face immediately, but when you hear the opening notes to “Butterfly” from Crazytown, you know the song.  Having released a couple albums and then fading from the spotlight, Bret Mazur [Epic] and Seth Binzer [Shift} are back at it with a new energy, a killer new tune “Megatron,” and an album ready to go… sort of.  We were able to grab a few minutes with him to talk all about the new project and what’s next for Crazytown…

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Toddstar: Hey, what’s up Shifty?

Shifty: How you doing, man?

Toddstar: Hey, man, thank you so much taking time out for us today. We really appreciate it.

Shifty: You got it. 100% Rock. Let’s do it.

Toddstar: Let’s talk about it. I mean Crazytown is back and back with the single “Megatron.” What can you tell us about the single, man?

[Hear the new single, Megatron HERE]

[Purchase the new single, Megatron HERE]

Shifty: “Megatron” is just … It’s about us finally being in a place where we can do what we love again and having a great time. I think we just captured the energy on that one. I think it’s, you know, I guess you could say it’s about new beginnings.

Toddstar: With the song, a lot of people are making comparisons sonically and sound-like back to The Gift of Game, but to me, this sounds a lot more mature. What’s your take on this versus the catalog from Crazytown.

Shifty: I think we definitely went back to our roots, but at the same time guitar tones and melodies. Everything is grown definitely. I mean, I like to think we’ve grown, it’s been a long time. You see that more when you hear the album. I think all the different influences we have are, they come across pretty cool in this record. I think it’s a good mixture of everything.

Toddstar: You talk about the new album, the forth coming album. The name is as of right now it’s the Brimstone Sluggers. Is the album ready to go?

Shifty: The album is ready to go, give or take one or two songs. Brett and I are trying to finish a couple more. I drive around, I’m like wait, ‘we got to put one more on there.’

Toddstar: This whole thing came about, you did a tour in Europe last year and it seemed to go well. How well did Europe welcome Crazytown back after your little time off?

Shifty: When we went out there, we were like, let’s just go and kind of get a vibe of what’s going on. It was great. Europe loved us. I didn’t know what people were going to think, it’s been so long. We were playing with The Used and Chevelle and a lot of bands I love. I was like, I don’t know what the audiences are going to think. When we came out on stage, it was 10 times more than we could have imagined. The feedback was ridiculous. All the bands we’re friends with like Chevelle, I mean, everyone was on stage watching us. It was so cool. It was like people were ready to see us again. It was a good feeling.

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Toddstar: That’s cool. Personally, I remember meeting you in a parking lot in Detroit, Michigan when you guys were out on Ozzfest. It was a cool because you were all about the fans. You were skateboarding by and I happened to notice who you were, called you over, you singed something for my son. To me, it was just a cool feeling that somebody who was where you guys were at that point, you were just a mellow guy out skateboarding willing to talk to the fans. Do you still get approached by fans who want that moment with you?

Shifty: Definitely. I mean, “Megatron” will hopefully add to that, but definitely travelling, there’s always people that are fans of Crazytown you know? We do that a lot on social media, too. Fans from different place will reach out to me. It can range from anything. A lot of people talk to me about addiction issues that they’re going through and ask me for insight. A lot of people ask me questions about starting their first band, stuff like that.

Toddstar: Going back to “Megatron” and the whole new album, with “Megatron” you guys did something cool in that you brought a brand new artist out, Boondock. What can you tell us about that whole experience? Because I think the connection was actually made you through on Instagram?

Shifty: Yeah, Boondock. I love Boondock. Boondock is … He’s a cool dude and he grew up with our music. He is just more rugged, drunk version of Caddyshack, almost he’s kind of got the Billy Murray Caddyshack vibe but with dubstep and punk lyrics. He’s hilarious. He’s hunting squirrels in his back yard or making beats. He’s just hilarious. I love Boondock. What happened is I heard… He had a project he was working on called Ghost Team and I heard a couple tracks. They just sparked my interest. I decide to contact him and I was like, yo, we should do a song together. Then finally, Boondock starts getting back to me and it took him like six months to get back to me. Finally he got back, and I was like let’s meet at our studio, and that was the first night that we met at the studio and we made that track.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. That’s a cool story. Let’s talk about you for a minute, Shifty. Going back through your life and your influences, who made you or who influenced you enough to make you want to sing and be a rock star for the rest of your life?

Shifty: I grew up around music.  I really got into The Rolling Stones and a bunch of just blues artists, and Marshall Chess was one of my dad’s really good friends. He was from Chess Records. I was just always around music when I was little and my dad was this art director, kind of hippie, just always playing loud music. I discovered my own music off of that, which was more like hip-hop which was more like hip hop – Herbie Hancock and Run-DMC. I used to go into Brooklyn to see my dad’s brother, and I saw the whole hip-hop culture, in full effect everyone was going down, people were wearing their Adidas and there was break dance circles there. When I found that, I was just all about it and I started bringing that back to Boston. I was from L.A. but we were living in Boston, my dad was working there for like three years. I started like, every time I’d go to New York, I’d go get something for the boom box. Go down in Brooklyn and get some more hip-hop cassette tapes. I just started gravitating towards the culture and I mean, Boston, here’s the contract. In Boston, I was hanging out with skateboard shop with all the punk kids. I had the Boston punk stuff going on, followed by hip-hop stuff going on. That’s kind of how I guess the contrast, because then by the time I moved. I was moving to L.A., I remember I heard the Beastie Boys. This kid had a Beastie Boys tape and I was on my way to L.A. and I stole it because Beastie Boys was just that perfect mixture and angst, and it was like punk, hip-hop. It was punk and it was hip-hop. When I got to L.A., I just ran with that. Not only did I run with it, I felt like I was the missing Beastie Boy.

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Toddstar: You’ve got this project, you’ve got the single out, it’s been out about a month now. It’s getting great reviews. You have the album getting ready to drop. Any tour plans?

Shifty: Tour plans, we’re playing with Yelawolf next month. Actually, we just got a great booking agent and we’re just letting them do their thing. We’ve got about five gigs on the horizon, and we’ve got a Mexico City hip-hop festival in Mexico City with Public Enemy and Exzibit and a bunch of cool people. Then we’re talking about doing some shows with hedPE. There’s just different stuff coming up. There’s stuff all over the place. I love Yelawolf. I’m down to do some shows with Yellow Wolf. I think we’re also playing Vegas with them. Yeah, it’s just a lot of getting back out there and having a good time. I’m sure we’ll find our niche.

Toddstar: Yeah, we’d love to see you back here in Detroit.

Shifty: Yeah, I’d love to be in Detroit. I love Detroit. It’s always fun.

Toddstar: I know you’re a busy man so I’ve got one more for you before I cut you loose if you don’t mind. With everything you’ve done musically, looking back, if you could think of one or two things from your career that you want to be remembered for, what would that be?

Shifty: Oh, god. That’s a good question. I would like to be remembered for being… that’s  a good question bro. I guess ultimately, it would just be for someone who always fought for what they wanted and had a great time, and loved life.

Toddstar: Awesome. Well following up on that, for you, Shifty, or as Seth, just digging down into who you are really, you mentioned digging life. For you at this point with the resurrection of Crazytown and “Megatron” and just the great music that’s coming out from you guys now, for you, what’s the meaning of life now?

Shifty: Right now, the meaning of life is I don’t know… I used to just think how big can we make this thing, and now I’m more like humbled and feel what a gift it is to be able to do what you love and to make music and to travel the world, and to play with amazing bands and other bands that I look up to. I just want to take care of my family and do what I love.

Toddstar: Awesome. Well, Shifty, welcome back, man. We’re so excited, we’re pumped, we cannot wait to hear the new album, and I cannot wait to see you hit a Detroit stage sometime in the near future.

Shifty: Let’s make that happen – Rock City.

Toddstar: All right, brother, we’ll talk to you soon.

Shifty: All right, brother.

CRAZYTOWN LINKS:

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Comments (6)

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  1. jr obreln says:

    I hope you didn’t get paid to write this. They were big about 1999-2000, not the early 90s. And this interview was about as exciting as an enema. Of course you didn’t have a lot to work with unless you mentioned “Dr” Drew, because Shifty is really more famous for being Drew’s crack addicted costar more than he is for his music.

  2. JR – While we appreciate your input and comments, we have a difference of opinion. To see Crazytown on the comeback is exciting for fans of the band and sound, and to see Shifty make a personal comeback is a great story for anyone. We opted to be better journalists on this piece and focus on the music and not on the trials and tribulations Binzer faced over the last decade +. We hope you get a chance to read other interviews and hope you find something that you do enjoy more than an enema… although, I am not sure what that may be, as I apparently do not have the same points of reference as you. Thanks for reading…. Toddstar

  3. L Graham says:

    Jr Obrien, don’t be an ass hole. Shifty has beaten the odds with addiction, and has picked himself up by the boot straps, and is getting on productively in life. Do you know anyone with addiction? You cant be that clueless, on hard it is to over come. To beat someone down for a disease, (and that’s what addiction is), is to be a true ass hole. Im sorry! Karma is one big bitch.

  4. l graham says:

    whomever is “moderating” these comments.. I don’t appreciate you not printing mine..defending the honor of shifty. I don’t know what the purpose of that would be.

  5. Shane says:

    Hi L Graham – thanks for commenting, and thanks for sticking up for Shifty. Your comment has been moderated and approved – but try to bear in mind next time that we don’t sit here 24/7 in order to approve every comment that comes in within 3.5 seconds… 🙂 Rock on! Shane

  6. Crazy town are back with a nice album, I am happy that they are back, their 2nd and at that moment, Darkhorse, was really underrated and it is a great album, they were an underrated band in general, but step by step more people are appreciating what they did and what they have done on their last album on 2015.

    Thank you for this interview, shows that they are still “alive” and motivated, they improved musically and they are more appreciated now, more in Europe though, I hope they don’t stop making music.

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