Fearless, talented performers who truly don’t give a f*** about what they “should” be doing is probably the best way to describe The Creepy Creeps, a San Diego staple in the band scene. The rockers, who have a cult following around town, have been shaking and rumbling around venues in SD for close to 20 years. Their sound is a heavy mix of garage and punk, with an infusion of ‘60s rock revival. This band is influential, ever-changing and never afraid to step into the unknown with their music or with their wild live performances.
PACIFIC recently sat down with the band, including “Creepture” and “Dia de los Creep,” to chat about their long-term success as a band, their project called Creepxotica and what is on the horizon for the Creeps.
PACIFIC: How did The Creepy Creeps get started as a band?
CREEPTURE: The drummer and I have known each other since we were 15 years old. We have played music on and off since then. We all met through a common friend in San Diego and through that common friend, we decided we could create this super cool band together.
DIA DE LOS CREEP: It was ’99 where it all started, when we decided we were going to play. Our first show ever was on Friday, Oct. 13, 2000. So, we are in our 17th year of playing together.
What do you guys think of the San Diego scene that you have long been a part of?
DIA DE LOS CREEP: I think that San Diego is one of the best scenes out there that I can truly get behind. People say what they want about it - I mean, it’s alive. People who show up to our shows, they really show up and are true fans. We are so stoked if everyone comes out, because without that we are playing for nobody. We have really loyal fans.
Your 2016 album, “Last to Leave,” was really well-received. Are you touring that or working on something new?
DIA DE LOS CREEP: We do have a side project, or other band, called Creepxotica. We actually recorded two records for this that will be out in March.
CREEPTURE: What had happened was we got great response from new fans, seeing our shows. We were doing really great, we even got signed to a record label. Then, we got a lame response from people who are maybe more traditionalists of what our show is or was. It was kind of like, “They’re not this and they’re not that now.” So, we decided to be like, “You know what, f*** all these people.” We were going to create a band with all the same members and same stuff and do whatever we want. So, we made a new band that’s like a jazz band and now no one can f*** with us. We have become the most f***ed up jazz band that could exist. That’s Creepxotica.
DIA DE LOS CREEP: Creepy Creeps can be very fast, and not for everyone, but Creepxotica is much more groovy and slow. We are probably busier doing Creepxotica stuff as of now, actually. We have done weddings, anniversaries, you name it. It’s appealing more to the masses.
CREEPTURE: We dress in our full costumes, so it’s kind of the same - it’s still us. If you see us at a wedding, we will be dancing with your grandma in ape costumes, basically.
About the brew
We met up with The Creepy Creeps for beers at Beerfish, a craft beer and seafood spot in North Park. The spot opened its doors in 2016 and has been an awesome addition to its surrounding beer-loving area, offering casual dining and an impressive, rotating tap list.
2933 Adams Ave., North Park. beerfish.com
What was the recording process like for the Creepxotica records?
DIA DE LOS CREEP: We have recorded every single record with the same engineer: His name is Jim Monroe and he is out of Santa Ana. The recording studio is called the Racket Room. We found him through bands that we really liked and saw that he had done a lot of their recordings. He came and saw us play and he said, “OK, I have a good idea of what you guys want.” Recording with him is effortless. He already knows what we are looking for, and he is almost like a part of the family because of that.
CREEPTURE: He is who records us, period. We don’t sit there and mix with him, we leave it with him and bam! He sends it to us, and it doesn’t need a lot at all. He understands what we want every time.
As far as Creepxotica, is this project going to have its own tour to follow the albums?
CREEPTURE: So, we just put out the 10-inch record and Rachel DeShon, the woman we recorded it with, is a touring opera singer. El Vez put that project together. Between the two of them, they do want to see it be a touring project. We are totally open to all of that, but we just don’t have any plans. We don’t plan.
The performance aspect is a huge factor in your guys’ live shows in both bands. Where does that inspiration come from?
DIA DE LOS CREEP: A lot of people that want to come out to see our show want to mainly because it’s different every single time. It makes them want to see what is going to happen this time. From Day One, we wore, like, skeleton makeup. The concept of The Creepy Creeps has always been like we are going to be masked and a costume-style band. It’s like a tribute to the ‘60s bands. All the bands who would dress up like something else. It’s something that has always been around and it’s just evolved over the years for us personally. You gotta do something more if you want people to come out and be excited. They don’t want to see the same show every single time you play.
CREEPTURE: The shows really get wild. What’s really cool about the costumes is the girls (their dancers) make their own costumes. Everything is hand-made. Dia De Los Creep handles our costumes. Everything is made specific for each creep.
How have you guys managed to stay in a band, with all the original members, for 16 years?
CREEPTURE: We don’t argue, we don’t f*** with each other, we don’t push the limits on each other and that’s the way you stay in a f***ing band. If someone can’t do something, we don’t get pissed because it’s not going to help or change what someone can’t do. So, we just say “Ah, he’s an a**hole” and talk about him behind his back
DIA DE LOS CREEP: It’s an all-or-nothing band. Everyone has to be on the same page. There’s times where we go out of town and all that, but all of us have day jobs. You’re not going to make money being in a local band. It’s not enough to support you. We have eight people in our band, so when playing a show, there isn’t going to be money for anyone to get rich. You know, you do it because you love it, and that’s what continues to keep good bands together. If you worry about the money, or being famous or this or that - that’s why so many bands come and go.
What bands do you think are making waves right now in the San Diego scene?
CREEPTURE: The Schizophonics. They’re an amazing band. I also think Alvino & the Dwells, who are an underated band, if people see them they may never get it but that’s their own f**ing fault, you know.
DIA DE LOS CREEP: The Widows, they are a San Diego institution. They’re one of my favorite San Diego bands.
What keeps you guys fueled to continue making new music together?
CREEPTURE: Tequila! No, just kidding. I’m kidding.
DIA DE LOS CREEP: It’s because we are friends. If you’re a musician, you love to make music. If you find the right group of people to make music with, it feels effortless and it’s not a chore or a job. It’s just fun. I think it’s because we all get along very well. There’s very few bands that can say they have been together 17 years and it’s all the original members. There’s always a bass player, or drummer who leaves. For us, it’s all the same guys.
CREEPTURE: Honestly, as a band, we have all witnessed the worst of times together. We have witnessed deaths, extreme sh** that doesn’t happen to people before they are old. We have come together and played through all of it, too. That’s what keeps us together. We always make the joke that we will be doing this when we are f**ing, super old, but the reality is that we may. Our songs only get better, we have become even better friends and that’s really what matters to us.
Jan. 28: Chicano Art Gallery in Barrio Logan - Art show by Dan Waldrop and live performance by Creepxotica (free, all ages)
March 21: San Diego Music Awards at House of Blues San Diego
Dia de los Creep - bass
Dr. Creepenstein - keyboards
Creepture - guitar
Creepula - drums
Creepanze - saxophone