RFTC play Calgary, don’t dress the same anymore

By Kevin Rothbauer

San Diego, California’s Rocket from the Crypt has never quite made it to the heights they seemed destined to reach when they put out their first major-label release, 1995’s Scream, Dracula, Scream. The music-buying public never caught on to the band’s horn-infused, punk-inflected rock and roll.

Despite never making it commercially, RFTC stayed together, retaining virtually the same lineup since their inception in the late ’80s.

Now consisting of Speedo (vocals, guitar), JC 2000 (trumpet, vocals), Ruby Mars (drums), Petey X (bass, vocals), Notorious N.D. (guitar, vocals) and Apollo 9 (sax, vocals), RFTC is in the midst of touring in support of their 2002 release, Live from Camp X-Ray, an album which was recorded neither live nor at Camp X-Ray.

On the phone from San Francisco, Apollo 9 admits that it’s still fun to be a member of Rocket from the Crypt.

“It’s the greatest rock and roll band in the world,” he laughs. “Of course, I’m a little biased. I wouldn’t want to ever be in another band, that’s for sure.”

A visit to the galleries on the band’s official website (rftc.com) reveals that they are more than just a passing fancy for many of their fans. Apollo 9 confesses that people who like Rocket from the Crypt really like Rocket from the Crypt. He doesn’t mind so much, as those people tend to be true music fans.

“People who get us really get us and really get into it,” he says. “People who don’t get us don’t understand it at all. Generally people who do get us get music, they have a little higher understanding of the rock genre. I think we’re very lucky in that regard.”

While RFTC may be a cult band, Apollo 9 disagrees with the notion that the band fills a certain niche.

“It’s rock and roll; everybody’s got a different opinion of what that is.”

Having horns in the band results in different expectations from new fans. During the swing revival of the late ’90s, some people expected RFTC to sound like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Other listeners anticipate a clone of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Rocket from the Crypt’s earlier shows were punctuated by their matching uniforms onstage. Lately, however, the band has moved on from that aspect. With dozens of other groups from Slipknot to Interpol to the Vines having adopted the same gimmick, RFTC are a little tired of it.

“We’ve kind of strayed away from the uniforms. We kinda dress the same way on stage, but we’ve just kind of grown out of it. It’s been done to death, and now so many other bands are doing it.”

Rocket from the Crypt’s first-ever Calgary show will take place in MacEwan Hall on April 16, 2003. Apollo 9 is sincerely looking forward to it.