July 16, 2009

Mod-A-Day: The Cute Lepers

Formed in 2007 out of the ashes of The Briefs (who I hope rise again like a phoenix), The Cute Lepers are a punk band that would have been right at home at CBGBs in 1979. The Lepers' sound --and style-- is most evocative of that late seventies hey day of power pop infused punk from the likes of The Ramones, Blondie, Romantics and so on. Of all the bands revisiting the 70s sound, The Cute Lepers are one of the best. The songs are motly short, sharp and spikey, with infectious choruses that you can easily find yourself humming for hours on end after listening.

Sadly, in March of this year, guitarist Travis Criscola died in his sleep from an accidental overdose of pills and alcohol. The band is soldiering on and I hope that this doesn't keep them from reaching their full potential.

Lead singer Steve E Nix released this statement on the band's myspace page:
Early the morning of March 28, in Cincinnati our friend and band-mate Travis Criscola passed away in his sleep. He was 24. Travis was guitarist in the Cute Lepers for the last six months and was the perfect addition to the band as it's developed. He was our friend. His company was always a pleasure. I don't think I ever heard him say a negative word about any one. He was smart, polite and considerate, always interested in learning more about music and playing guitar... he really loved music. He was passionate about music in a way that only other like minded musicians recognize and relate with. When Travis joined the band he would not think twice about jumping on the bus from Olympia and making the two hour ride to Seattle for a spur of the moment rehearsal, and then riding the bus two more hours to get back home. In fact Travis was doing this three times a week up until we left for europe to start our tour. His character and his commitment made him the very best we could hope for in a band-mate and a friend. We're gonna really miss him. We feel that it's appropriate and absolutely not in bad taste to disclose the cause of death of our friend. Travis combined alcohol and pills, then went to sleep and never woke up. It was an accident. Travis was not any kind of a habitual drug user. I'm a man who has left drugs and alcohol alone for over a decade and I just wont work with people who are mixed up with narcotics. It is rare to find a rock n' roll musician in his early twenties who doesn't get caught up in hitting the bars and going to parties on tour, and Trav was just one of those ones who made a really bad decision. He naively took some type of pills on top of the beer he was drinking and that's it. I believe that it would be a disservice for us to leave out this information. People would wind up hearing distorted versions of the truth anyways. Also our hope is that other young musicians, or anyone it may apply to who reads this will learn from our tragedy and perhaps wise up a bit. We're currently traveling across the country back home to Seattle with heavy hearts. Trav's family and his beautiful longtime girlfriend are in our prayers. --Steve

The Cute Lepers -- It's Summertime Baby