CIRCUS OF POWER were New York's best rock'n'roll band in the eighties. Early hype had tapped the Throbs as the East Coast answer to Guns 'N' Roses, but CIRCUS OF POWER were the real deal. The streetwise, gutter-nasty, genuine voice of the Lower East Side biker punk underground. Everybody wanted to be a part of the scene, when CIRCUS OF POWER rolled in. New York hadn't had a real raunchy, badass rock band since the Deadboys and Dictators heyday, but Raging Slab, Manitoba's Wild Kingdom, early White Zombie, and Cycle Sluts From Hell were all happening on the coat-tails of Circus...Joey Ramone loved them, Andy Wood from Mother Love Bone refused to take their rising sun t-shirt off, for weeks at a time. The Dictators loved 'em, and so did Iggy Pop. One of their virtuoso blues-punk guitarists, Gary Sunshine, went on to play in the NY LOOSE, Flipside Magazine darlings, also featuring Danny from Stiv's Evil-Boys, and the Throbs, and even played on a Post-Izzy/Adler GUNS N ROSES song. CIRCUS OF POWER'S self-titled debut is considered an absolute classic by fans of sleazy rock'n'roll, the world over, and has recently been re-issued. Their second album, "Vices", was a little heavier, adding more Southern Rock to the pounding, nightmarish urban stench and decay, weird tales from the Alphabet City, after-hours, neon forest. Their third album, "Magic And Madness" took awhile to grow on me, in spite of a guest appearance from my other favorite singer, Ian Astbury. A decade later, it became a big favorite.
ALEX stayed busy in all these ensuing years, performing in a bunch of wild bands on the West Coast, like Uncle Max's Cosmic Band, Fat Nancy, and Plastic Gator Machine, exploring honky tonk, voodoo blues, and a blitzkrieg bum luck, beat 'em up bizarro blend of sludgey metal, primordial ooze, and Doorsy surrealism. I particularly enjoyed "Candy Cane", and "Children Of The Midnight Sun", from his Fat Nancy disc. "Lonely, Fuckedup And Blue" was one of my favorite songs of the past ten years. The Freak Society was universely ginned-up about the CIRCUS OF POWER reunion shows a cuppla years back, though many of the hardcore fan base were devastated when their producer, Daniel Rey, had to fill-in for a sadly absent, Gary Sunshine. Original bass-player, Zowie, has reportedly, re-surfaced among the living, after weeks of rumors of his death, much like Danzig drummer, Chuck Biscuits, a few months back. I think I heard something about their other guitar hero, Ricky Beck Mahler, playing for D-Generation's Jesse Malin, awhile back, and maybe running a seemingly lucrative, guitar-retail business.
Man, I don't understand why those guys don't wanna make more history with the Fans, and Ryan, and Showbiz Al, but I'm one of those die-hard fans. A CIRCUS OF POWER tribute CD was released last year, featuring some promising new sleaze-punk bands. ALEX MITCHELL has published two books. Now, his new band, CAPTAIN ZAPPED has risen suddenly like some kinda wild bucking hallucinogenic, musical stallion, providing the rock'n'roll people with some much needed poetry, inspiration, soul, and fresh, full-moon, bloodshot lunacy...Tom Waits plays the T. Rex "Futuristic Dragon" record on a washboard and harmonica, in George Jones' goldfish pond, accompanied by Doctor John the Night Tripper, and Neal X from Marc Almond/Sigue Sigue Sputnik...Welcome Back To Zap City, babies. I hope you brought your 3-D specs and paperback copy of Zodiac Mindwarp's "Fucked By Rock", in case you need any emergency operating instructions. CAPTAIN ZAPPED is the Big Chief Cure-All, for the boredom, and disappointment, that leaves us feeling so listless, empty, and defeated, nowadays.
If you're exhausted from the insufferable hardships of enduring all that mundane mediocrity, and formulaic corporate rock bullshit, that's hammering away at us, all day and night, on these relentlessly awful radio and cable stations, owned by the war-mongering elite monopolies, give CAPTAIN ZAPPED a listen. Few of Mitchell's former peers, from the major-label metal years, have the songwriting ability, integrity, courage, intellect, or imagination, to delve into entirely new dimensions like Mitchell, and Company, and it's a beautuful thing to behold, brothers and sisters. CAPTAIN ZAPPED is Twilight Zone, kids...Adventurous, otherworldly, joyful, brave and strange, all these multicolored hues and blacklight manifestations. Alex Mitchell's main collaborator, in recent times, Billy Tsounis, brings a whole new galaxy of shadowy psychedelic sounds to their music, it's really allowed Mitchell to expand his boundaries, as an artist. All the cowboy crooning and farout lyrics you'd expect from Showbiz Al, but with brand new musical ideas galore. Some of it's like Pink Floyd, some of it's like "Morrison Hotel", and there are other vibes that remind you of Captain Beefheart, or something. It's cool. These guys could easily, crank out dumb fuck cock rock for aging mullets, and syrupy power ballads, for tanning-booth broads in L.A. Guns halter tops, 'til doomsday, but that just ain't their calling. These guys are Explorers...Frontiersmen...Holy Barbarians...Space-Rangers...They still hear that Call Of The Wild....They're gonna HEAL YA!! I'm psyched for these two, cos it's evident that they are still having a ball. Just look at the publicity photos. Not many people I know still wanna have that much fun, or, they just can't share space with equals as they've gotten older, or remember how to let their hair down, anymore. Everybody's preoccupied with shit-hoarding, territory, competition, and selfishness. Not CAPTAIN ZAPPED. These guys are fucking fifty year old teenagers from outer space. These guys are diving straight in. Hallelujah! Right the fuck on!! "Calling Captain Zapped!" CAPTAIN ZAPPED is way, way riskier than anything Marilyn Manson, or Glen Danzig, or Mike Ness, or W.Axl, or any of those uptight guys, would ever try to conjure up, but still somehow, it's so firmly rooted in all the basic elements, of dirt, water, fire and sky, that mostly, it just makes you feel like doing peyote in the desert. Staring up at the crazy constellations, and bonfire singalongs with the lonely coyotes. A swig of moonshine, a foxy mama, some furry boots, big freaky hats...the simple pleasures. Good times. Wind in your hair. Mirrored shades. Frisbee dogs...Sunset seeping over the palm trees. Jump in the river. Let it rock. (-by Ban Tasers for PUNK GLOBE)