by Ban Tasers
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)
PUNK GLOBE: How has America changed since you were young? Who killed the Kennedys?
ALEX MITCHELL: Well, it's like a serpent that is swallowing it's tail. Greed is the worst problem, but America is a complicated beast. There are plenty of things to love about the culture and plenty of things to hate. It's really two countries fighting amongst themselves. Any innocence is definitely dead. The rest of the world is fascinated with us, we have so much crazy shit going on. We killed Native Americans and hung black people. There are plenty of Americans who think that is okay, and the rest of us are appalled. There are two Americas, at least. The only hope for the political thing is for a third party candidate who is a visionary and is also very charismatic and good looking. Self-loathers killed the Kennedies, the same people who kill anyone.
PUNK GLOBE: What youth culture stuff first sparked your imagination-did you read comic books, or magazines like "Mad", or "Heavy Metal"?
ALEX MITCHELL: No, Mad was too nerdy for me. The hippie culture was what got me going. My Uncle Tom who lived in our basement in Toronto was the guy who changed me and I was only a young kid. He was into Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Triumph motorcycles and women.
PUNK GLOBE: I vaguely recall reading somewhere that you were a gifted child who dropped out early, to pursue your creative instincts...How did you get into motorcycles, bikes, hot rod culture, were you one of those Rat Fink monster model kids, or did you know a mechanic growing up?
ALEX MITCHELL: Yes, I was student of the year in 8th grade and then kicked out of school the following semester. But I'm not bragging, I don't consider myself to be smart at all. I just hated the the status quo. I don't consider myself to be talented, either, but I love to fuck around in the arts. Talent is Siouxie Sioux, Frank Frazetta or Martin Scorsese. Mini bikes led to Harleys. Pintos led to Mopars. I like the feeling of riding a wild beast.
PUNK GLOBE: How were you affected by Burroughs, Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Kesey? The rock poets: Lou, Patti, Jim Carroll, Nick Cave?
ALEX MITCHELL: Don't like Burroughs writing, but heard some spoken word by him that I dug. Don't get into Nick Cave, Jim Carrol or Patti Smith. To me it's too poetry-ish. Love Carrol's People who Died, though. Lou Reed, however, I think is amazing.
PUNK GLOBE: All-time most memorable shows?
ALEX MITCHELL: Bob Marley, The Damned, Guns 'N' Roses, Thunders, Iggy, The Dead. I know, I'm all over the place.
PUNK GLOBE: Were you a Hunter S. Thompson fan?
ALEX MITCHELL: No, I find him annoying.
PUNK GLOBE: What do you think of sixties icons MC5 and Arthur Lee's Love?
ALEX MITCHELL: Not into the MC5 or Arthur Lee.
PUNK GLOBE: I love that CAPTAIN ZAPPED song, "New America", do you still vote? Can the people even make a difference, under the boot of the corporate police? It seems so hopeless with the Supreme Court appointments, eroded Bill Of Rights, Diebold Voting Machines, Media Monopolies, Two Faced War Party. Do you still carry forth any remnants of the counter culture idealism?
ALEX MITCHELL: I'm still Canadian, so no. But I shoot my mouth off everyday, i guess that counts for something. Yes, it seems hopeless, but having no hope is nowhere, it means you've given up the fight. It will take some kind of cataclysmic event, or maybe it will happen slowly, who knows. But water will run out, oil will run out, the climate will (is) changing, religion/hate is on the rise and people are sick of the governments, etc., so the stage is set for the shit to hit the fan.
PUNK GLOBE: What do you do for fun?
ALEX MITCHELL: Ha ha, I don't really think about that. I get a kick out of little things, like talking to a squirrel and telling her how beautiful her coat is. Doing this is fun. Life is fun, at least it can be.
PUNK GLOBE: Which of your albums are you proudest of?
ALEX MITCHELL: I like "Vices" alot, some of the first one, and Captain Zapped, definitely.
PUNK GLOBE: What are Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy like?
ALEX MITCHELL: I knew Ian years ago, and enjoyed his company. He is driven to be involved in life, in causes, in rock and roll, in love. Don't know Billy.
PUNK GLOBE: Ever like any Billy Idol?
ALEX MITCHELL: Yes, I love the Generation X stuff, and some of the early solo albums. Rock the cradle of love, bitch!
PUNK GLOBE: Is CAPTAIN ZAPPED a fully functional, performing band, or just a studio project?
ALEX MITCHELL: Right now it's evolving from a studio project into a band. i really dig it and am inspired to make it good. I know it sounds egotistical, but I think it's the best shit out there.
PUNK GLOBE: Tell me 'bout raising wolves...
ALEX MITCHELL: All I can say about that is that these incredible animals along with the buffalo and the grizzly et al is that they should be protected. But people are fucked, at least the people who kill them are. Sarah Palin lick my ass. just thought I'd throw that in there.
PUNK GLOBE: How did the whole thing with you covering Iggy Pop's "Crazy" come about?
ALEX MITCHELL: Daniel was in touch w/Iggy and he threw it our way. Worst song on the album, all my fault. Thank you Jim, though.
PUNK GLOBE: Are you familiar with Mister Ratboy's various bands, PILLBOX, SOUR JAZZ, and MOTORCYCLE BOY?
ALEX MITCHELL: Heard of that stuff, don't know it. Heard Motorcycle Boy, didn't do it for me.
PUNK GLOBE: What are your favorite DOORS albums?
ALEX MITCHELL: Hmm. The first one is great,and "L.A. Woman" is a masterpiece. 'Like bits and pieces of all of them.
PUNK GLOBE: Your David Lee Roth story?
ALEX MITCHELL: Well, only time I met him, I was pissing into a garbage can on the roof of Danceteria. Rock and Roll moment.
PUNK GLOBE: Ever struggle with booze or drugs?
ALEX MITCHELL: Struggled with drugs and booze my whole life. Had incredible moments, like doing mushrooms, and real bad ones, like overdosing on cocaine.
PUNK GLOBE: Peak rockstar experience?
ALEX MITCHELL: I never felt like a rock star.
PUNK GLOBE: All-time low?
ALEX MITCHELL: Ha ha. I responded to an add looking for an Alex Mitchell type singer in a music mag. The guy told me he was looking for someone LIKE me, but not me. Ha ha! Love it.
PUNK GLOBE: Do you have a fovorite BOWIE album?
ALEX MITCHELL: 'Like the one where he does the covers. "Pinups". Like alot of his other stuff, too.
PUNK GLOBE: How did you meet Billy T.?
ALEX MITCHELL: Through an add in the Music Connection. Glad I met him, great human being. I met him, and five minutes later, we wrote 'Letters From The Inside".
PUNK GLOBE: Was there a "girl" issue between Gary and Ricky??? Can you devulge anything about the band dynamics, aside from "creative differences"?
ALEX MITCHELL: No, but I wouldn't say if there was. I don't want to be mean, so it's best not to talk about the band's problems, but some of us don't get along. It's cool, it is what it is. We had a damned good time.
PUNK GLOBE: Ever like the Deadboys? Lords Of The New Church? Gun Club? Tex and the Horse Heads?
ALEX MITCHELL: 'Love the Dead Boys, love the Gun Club, a very underrated band.
PUNK GLOBE: How were you affected by Guns N Roses?
ALEX MITCHELL: Shit, I just thought they were a kick ass rock band. 'Shame they died.
PUNK GLOBE: Are either of your folks still alive? Uncle Al?
ALEX MITCHELL: Parents are still alive, hanging in there. This is a heavy time in my life, the heaviest. Alot of my Aunts and uncles are dead, some are alive and pretty damned amazing.
PUNK GLOBE: What is your most marked characteristic?
ALEX MITCHELL: I am very child-like.
PUNK GLOBE: Idea of perfect happiness?
ALEX MITCHELL: Being in pure love, being a good man.
PUNK GLOBE: Who are your best friends?
ALEX MITCHELL: Mostly, the people that I have known since I was a kid.
PUNK GLOBE: Future plans?
ALEX MITCHELL: Just surviving is plenty.
PUNK GLOBE: Any regrets?
PUNK GLOBE: Favorite bands of the past twenty years?
ALEX MITCHELL: I dig Queens Of The Stone Age. Damn, that's a tough question, not much has happened. Oh yeah Turbo Negro, too.
PUNK GLOBE: What did I forget to ask you?
ALEX MITCHELL: Whatever you forget, you can ask me on the next one! ha ha...Thanks man