Kool Kats of the Week: Wrestling with the Rock-Horror Connection with Ryan Howard, Derek Obscura and Jamie Robertson of the Casket Creatures

Posted on: Jul 3rd, 2013 By:

Derek Obscura of the Casket Creatures.

The Fireworks may be over but Monstrosity Championship Wrestling is back at The Famous Pub culminating in a Great American Monster Mash battle royal to determine the number one contender to Phantom’s MCW Championship. The festivities also include a live performance by the Casket Creatures, celebrating the release of their new CD, SEX, BLOOD AND ROCK N ROLL.

Being that there’s a long history of rock songs with horror themes back to Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash,” ATLRetro couldn’t resist inviting vocalist Ryan Howard and guitarists Derek Obscura and Jamie Robertson of the Gainesville, GA.-based punk/horror band, to be our first triple-threat Kool Kats of the Week.

ATLRetro: What was your entree (musician and song) into horror-themed rock and how old were you?

Ryan: I grew up fascinated by haunted houses, Halloween, horror movies and anything spooky. My dad is a big part of this; he raised me around rock n’ roll and horror movies, and I am a better person because of it. My first experience to the horror genre in music would be my dad listening to Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath around me as a kid.  I guess the rest is horror history!

Jamie: I myself was really into Danzig since I was around 13,  and from Danzig I heard about the Misfits. I think the first Misfits track I heard was “Die Die My Darling,” and since then I have been hooked.

Derek: I was a bit of a late bloomer into the world of horror-rock/punk, but better late than never, they say! I was 15 and highly obsessed with the band Slipknot. Then I hear about Joey Jordison having this side band called the Murderdolls. I went out and picked up their debut, and instantly it was like a spark was set off in my brain. I played that CD nonstop for at least two or three weeks. And then from there, I found Wednesday 13’s solo CD [and] came across the Misfits, Blitzkid, etc. And here we are!

Why do you think rock and horror go together so well?

Ryan: Because the horror kids and the rock and roll kids usually are the same! We wear black shirts, listen to evil music and enjoy the darker side of life!

Derek: I think they mesh so well because both are pretty obscure subjects. Well, they CAN be. If you say “I like THE RING and Five Finger Death Punch,” that’s not obscure, that’s just lame! But throughout the years, you know, it wasn’t the “cool” thing to like horror movies, or the “cool” thing to like Rock N’ Roll,” or even wrestling! But the benefits of it are that the people are into it and REALLY dig it and get it, those people are awesome ,and it makes for a great community of like-minded people!

Ryan Howard, vocalist, The Casket Creatures.

The band was originally formed in 2006 as Brain Buffet and then reformed in 2010 as “The Casket Creatures.” When and how did the Casket Creatures get started? And why did you change the name?

Jamie: Myself and Ryan are the only two members from Brain Buffet that are also Casket Creatures. Also we didn’t want to do the exact same style with the Creatures; we wanted to be darker but more upbeat. Also instead of being straight-up punk, we wanted to add elements of other musical styles like rock ‘n’ roll and a metal flare to certain parts. The name change was just something that needed to happen. In June 2010, Ryan and myself started seriously talking about starting a new horror project which we actually got up and running in August 2010. I thought of the name one night watching old school universal horror movies. I threw the name out to the other members. They all dug it and the rest is history.

Ryan: Me and Jamie were in Brain Buffet, but the project was mainly a Halloween kind of band. A lot of cover songs, campy songs about eating brains, etc. After the band kind of dissolved we decided to form a new band that would be all about horror year-round! We wanted to have a different sound, more original songs and a nonstop show schedule. That along with the member change [is why] we decided to go with “The Casket Creatures.”  Ever since we changed the name, we have had way more opportunities, so it’s been really good for us.

Jamie Robertson, guitarist, The Casket Creatures.

Who are some of your influences? In other words, for the uninitiated, are the Casket Creatures more Cramps, more Bauhaus, more Alice, more Misfits or a witches’ brew of them all?

Ryan: We have had people call us rock, metal and punk, but at the end of the day  I think we have a really different sound for this genre. I think you can hear many different influences in each song, but we really work it to create the Casket Creature sound.

Derek: I would say we are a witches’ brew of a bit of everything and even more! All of us bring in a variety of different influences that are all over the place, and I think it shows in our songs.

Jamie: For me, it’s The Misfits, Alice Cooper and Danzig. More recent bands also include Slipkot and Blitzkid.

You’ve opened for such bands as Wednesday 13, Static X and Michale Graves. What’s your favorite gig so far and why?

Derek: Out of the three listed, I would have to say the Static X show for the reason that we have friends in that group as well as Davey Suicide who was on the tour also. S o it was really cool to get to see friends and hang out and them being able to see our band play. We also had some extra props for that show thanks to our pal Sam, so it made it more theatrical.

Ryan: We have had many gigs that could qualify as my favorite. Rock N’ Roll Monster Bash, Six Flags Fright Fest and the L5P Halloween Parade come to mind first for me. But out of those three, I would say Wednesday 13. We played great that night, we had an amazing crowd, and we made some DIEHARD fans that night.

Jamie: Little 5 Points Halloween Parade 2012. The crowd was insane, and we played really well.

Your new album is called SEX, BLOOD AND ROCK N ROLL. What’s it about and where can we get a CD or download a copy?

Ryan: SEX, BLOOD AND ROCK N ROLL is the album I have always wanted to make. It really shows what the band can do, and it really sets the bar high for the next release! Which by the way we are already talking about. The new album can be picked up on CDBABY, ITunes, Spotify and just about anywhere you can download music. I would just buy a copy at the MCW show Friday personally!

Do you have any special plans for Friday night?

Ryan: Just a killer set that showcases a lot of new material that has barely been played out live!  Oh, and [it’s] the first show that our CD will be available at!

What else makes Monstrosity Championship Wrestling special, and why should folks come out to the show, whether or not they are wrestling fans?

Derek: Where else can you see someone get beat up by The Invisible Man?! It is a great time all the time. I think it’s just very entertaining, and for people who aren’t into wrestling, they can still enjoy it because it’s just a night of excitement. There is the wrestling, you have live bands playing, they give out prizes, and you never know what’s going to happen!

Jamie: MCW is something that can be appreciated by anyone not just wrestling fans. From music to horror and even comedy, MCW is a full entertainment package.

What’s next for the Casket Creatures?

Jamie: Getting back into the full swing of playing live shows now that the album is out. I would also like to work on an EP or split with the new line-up. There are also some side projects in this band I would like to get out for everyone to hear. Another [thing] I would also like to put out with the Creatures in the future is some kind of concept album.

Ryan: Hopefully more out of state shows! We consider ourselves an Atlanta band at this point because that’s where we feel at home. And honestly Atlanta has the best horror scene around in my opinion, but we have a lot of fans asking us to make it out to them and we hope to soon make that happen!

The Casket Creatures performing at a Nov. 16, 2012 MCW match. Photo Credit: Target Audience Magazine. Photo courtesy of the Casket Creatures.

What do you do when you’re not performing with the Casket Creatures?

Ryan: Work on new material, book shows and work to pay the bills! Pretty much all my free time from working goes into the band! Oh, and beer drinking, lots of that!

 

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Kool Kat of the Week: Eddie Ray on the Tricks and Treats of Growing Up a Halloween Kid in ATLRetro, His A-T of Why Atlanta is Horror-Town, USA, and His Top Seven Picks for a Super-Supernatural Time This Year

Posted on: Oct 19th, 2012 By:

No one can exorcise the Afro Demon outta Atlanta's Man of 1000 Halloween Faces Eddie Ray.

By Eddie Ray
Contributing Writer

As I sit here and write this, I am listening to the score to HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, editing an “I love Halloween” video for YouTube, working on my Zombie Walk costume, working on my Halloween night costume, and patching up my costume for Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse. So to say I work for Halloween is an understatement. I do love Halloween, but the truth is I believe in Halloween. There is a huge difference. Real Halloween kids start decorating and celebrating Halloween on September 1, and the party lasts until November 1.

I was taught this when I was very young, and I began saying that I love and work for Halloween when I was probably about 6 or 7 years old. I grew up in a Halloween house with ghost stories, horror movies and even a Halloween friend who helped show me that I needed to help keep the season of Halloween exciting and moving forward. It was my duty in some ways. When I was little I was so excited to see the leaves change color and for the month of September to begin so that I could grab all of our Halloween decorations and hang them on doors, in windows and plug up orange lights outside.

Halloween is a magical time – notice I said “is” and not “was” – for me and all the Halloween Kids who love the season as much I do. I grew up on the south side of Atlanta in Suburbia, which meant trick-or-treating was a big deal for all the kids. I even loved that there was a possibility that your candy could be the last shit you ate because it could be poisoned. Will it be a trick or will it be a treat? My family would have big Halloween parties every year, which I eventually took over and began decorating for, DJ-ing for and making my own elaborate costumes for. I even designed haunted houses in the yard to go through, and since I loved horror so much, I began making horror films when I was about 10 years old. I didn’t say that shit was good; I was 10!

A young Eddie Ray goes gangster.

I think a lot of Halloween Kids grew up this way in Atlanta, and I would eventually met some of them in the future. I believe that we were all meant to find each other. I met Luke Godfrey during the filming of a low-budget zombie movie. He had just started the first Zombie Walk in Atlanta (watch a video filmed by Eddie at this year’s walk on Sun. Oct. 14 here), and we became friends right off. He would later open up the haunted attraction Chambers of Horror with Nick Morgan. This was the first haunted attraction/house I ever acted in. I met Jonny Rej (co-owner of The Plaza) and Shane Morton through the Plaza Theatre, and now I help them train actors, direct scenes and act in their haunted attraction, the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse [If you missed our ATLRetro feature on AZA, click here]. I have always loved haunted houses/attractions growing up and go to all the ones that Georgia has to offer. I met special effects artist Blake Myers through a friend of mine, and we rambled on about John Carpenter for a while and have been friends ever since. Now he is doing effects for horror films like V/H/S, and he helps run the Buried Alive Film Festival (Nov. 9-10, 2012 at the Plaza).

Eddie Ray gives a Red Scare to the GA Capitol during Atlanta Zombie Walk.

These are just a few of the friends that I help with different Halloween events throughout the month of October. The point is we all grew up the same way, and we loved horror and Halloween. Now we keep the Halloween dream alive every year with events, horror attractions, parades and films that are made here. Atlanta really is a horror and Halloween town, because we help make it that way. It’s fun for all ages, races, sexes and sexualities. Halloween is for all who love it. I am proud to live in a Halloween town like Atlanta. Now get out there and support all the Halloween fun Atlanta has to offer you!

Here are some reasons why Atlanta is a horror/Halloween town!

A. Hello, the CDC is here.

B. There is a shitload of foreclosed and abandoned creepy-ass buildings here.

C. A shit-ton of ghost stories from Atlanta’s rocky-ass past. Savannah is always listed as one of the most haunted places in America. I grew up near a DEVIL’S CHURCH ROAD! It was Spooky Dookie!

D. Zombie Walks,  Zombie Prom, WALKING DEAD (TV Show), DANCE OF THE DEAD (Movie), Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN 2 (Movie), DEAR GOD! NO! (Movie) and V/H/S  (Movie)  all happen or were filmed here.

E. All the amazing horror make-up effects people who live here.

F. The Buried Alive Film Festival, at which I was winner of the Audience Choice Award for SATANIC PANIC; BAND OUT OF HELL last year. Yay, me!

G. Ponce Hookers. I was chased by one once.

H. People come down to Atlanta from other cities to celebrate Halloween here.

I. Little 5 Points Halloween Parade.

J. Silver Scream Spookshow

K. All the amazing haunted attractions here [Ed. note: including Netherworld, the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse, Chambers of Horror, Dark Harvest and more].

L. Honey Boo Boo. I’m kidding, I love her!

M. All the Halloween parties at bars and clubs like Mary’s, The Goat Farm and Sauced.

N. Splatter Cinema.

O. The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

P. Corn Mazes.

Eddie Ray as MC Eat Yo Brains Out!

Q. Me, bitch!

R. Most of my close friends love Halloween and really get into it with me, and we begin planning for Halloween in June. They make me proud with their costumes.

S. Halloween kids are all ages!

T. We all love Halloween here!

Okay here are some things to do this Halloween in Atlanta.

1. Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse: I work in this one now, and I play a cop who helps you fight off zombies in an EVIL DEAD style horror movie, with clues, the occult and pretty ladies!!!! You are literally running for your life, and it’s exciting and scary as hell. Turns out I am really good at this shit. I have done it for two years in a row and this is my third year. Yes, we are the Zombie Capital of the world now. It’s a Zombie Hell in Atlanta, G.A. Baby!

2. Chambers of Horror: This was the first haunted attraction I worked in, and it’s adult-themed, scary, FUCKED UP, and amazing. Check this Rated X haunt out for a good time and maybe a turn on. (Read ATLRetro’s article on last year’s Chambers here)

3. Marys Hallo-Weenie Party – (Friday Oct. 26) For a good time on Halloween, call Mary’s; it’s a cool place to go. They make Halloween a big deal and have the most outlandish costumes at any club or bar I have ever seen. I always take my ass by there in October.

Atlanta's Scariest Halloween Kid Duet: John Wayne Gacy, aka Eddie Ray, takes a mugshot with Professor Morte of the Silver Scream Spookshow, aka Shane Morton.

4. Little 5 Points Halloween Parade – (Sat. Oct. 20, 4 p.m.) – I have been in the Halloween parade for about four years now, and it’s so much fun to dress up and walk down the streets of Little 5 Points in a creepy costume. Not to be missed, and if you can be in it then get in it! Watch here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPnIaOSYERA

5. Halloween Party at The Goat Farm II  (Sat. Oct. 27, 8 p.m.) – It’s back from the dead, and more blood-curdling than ever. Join them for an evening of debauchery, spectacles and spooky surprises at every corner. It’ll be a night that’ll haunt your memories. You’ve been warned. For more info, check out Scout Mob here.

Eddie Ray goes old school as The Green Ghost from SCOOBY DOO.

6. Plaza Theatre/Spookshow: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925; starring Lon Chaney, Man of 1000 Faces)- Oct. 19, 20, 21; and full stage show by Professor Morte and his ghoulish gang for BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN  (1935; starring Boris Karloff and Elsa Lancaster) – Oct. 27 at 1 p.m. and 10 p.m.

7. Twin Peaks Prom Night (Sun. Oct. 28, 8 p.m. ) – People will be encouraged to come dressed as characters from TWIN PEAKS or other David Lynch movies, as well as prom attire. Come out to enjoy a swanky dinner, snacks and cocktails from the always stellar menu at Sauced, plus DJs will be spinning classic haunting music from the ‘50s & ‘60s to transport you to a different era.

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ATLRetro Holiday Gift Guide #3: A Holiday Inn-dependent Spotlight on Avondale Estates

Posted on: Dec 19th, 2011 By:

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Writer

The holidays are almost upon us.  Frost is finally on the ground.  Some of us are still scurrying to find gifts.  Don’t fret, pets!  The shops of Avondale Estates can help.  I recently spent the day there with three talented ladies from Blast Off Burlesque: Astrid, Barb and Sadie, their righthand-man Coleman, and my good friend Lori from Third Half Studios.

We met at Avondale Pizza Cafe to strategize our day, have a HUGE slice, and enjoy a Wild Heaven Craft Beer.  The Georgia-based craft beer company plans to have its own brewery in Avondale by 2013, but you can currently find them at the Beer Growler, along with many others.  A whiskey gal myself, I don’t really drink beer, but this place may convert me. I’m a sucker for good marketing and these craft beers have my number.  Southern Tier Brewery (my old stomping grounds in Western New York) has a Krampus Lager and a Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout.  Each with their own distinct personality and perfect for a couple characters on my list.  Prices start around $16.99 a growler.  Grab a Beer Growler Koozie while you’re at it.  The koozie has a strap for easy portability.  Great idea and design, $16.99.

 

What do you need to go with all this malty goodness?  Artisan meats, of course!  Pine Street Market is where you’ll find it. We were treated to samples of their drool-inducing Coppa, a dry cured pork shoulder spiced with black pepper and chiles. Alongside their more traditional meats you’ll find specials like Spiced Pear Sausage (Applejack Brandy, nutmeg, ginger, and pear; fall and winter only), Roasted Poblano Sausage (roasted poblano peppers, ancho chiles, garlic, and cumin; spring and summer only) and the Applewood Bacon Burger (applewood smoked bacon ground with fresh pork for the ultimate rich, smoky burger).  Can’t decide what to get the meat lover in your life?  Buy them the Meat of the Month Club, $40.00 per month.  Each month includes a pound of Applewood Smoked Bacon and a featured salami or sausage.  They also carry condiments and specialty items.  A special someone in my life enjoys Bloody Marys, so I picked up a couple jars of pickled okra and green beans from Phickles, an Athens-based gourmet pickle company.

 

At this point we’d had about all the food and drink we could handle (or so we thought), and we headed to Second Life. This organization is wonderful and one of my new favorites. Second Life is a nonprofit, thrift store that donates proceeds to animal rescues.  Barb found a brand new BCBG dress for just $14.00.  Vintage ornaments starting at $1.00.  If I had the space, I would have a collection of creepy dolls (much to my boyfriend’s chagrin) and this is a great spot to find them!  They also hold in-store adoptions once a month featuring other nonprofits like Royal Potcake Rescue USA, Inc.  Their goal is to save homeless pets from Atlanta, Georgia and Abaco, Bahamas.  We lucked out and met a few of their sweet pups on our visit. I am in no way advocating buying someone a pet for the holidays, but if you’re searching for a furry friend of your own, check them out.

 

 

 

Our last stop was Sweet-n-Sinful Bakery.  Layne Lee is the sweet and sassy brainchild behind this boutique bakery. Sweet-n-Sinful boasts 24 cake flavors from Vanilla to Green Tea, 30 cake fillings like Fresh Strawberries, Black Forest and Lemon Curd, and 14 different frosting options, including 11 different types of Butter Cream.  Her brownies are so good that Whole Foods has picked them up for two of their Georgia stores and hope to take them nationwide.  Layne’s cupcakes are available in yummy seasonal flavors like Chocolate Peppermint,  Pumpkin and French Toast.  Need something for Christmas morning?  Take along some fresh bread or over-sized muffin tops.  Shipping & delivery is also available.  Whatever you choose is sure to please!

I’m off to wrap this haul of goodies!  Hopefully our trying day of shopping, eating, and drinking will help you complete your holiday shopping while helping our independently-owned businesses.  Shop local.  Happy Holidays!

Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo,  Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival.  In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX and playing Queen of Your Distraction.

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ATLRetro Holiday Gift Guide #2: A Noel Neighborhood Spotlight on Little 5 Points

Posted on: Dec 17th, 2011 By:

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Writer

Shopping can be a wonderful experience, but for many, it’s the REAL nightmare before Christmas.  The traffic, humdrum selection of gifts, mobs of people shoving each other about. The mall.  Yikes!  It hurts my head just thinking about it.  There is another way.  We can have fun shopping, help out our independently owned shops, and give some really kick ass gifts without depleting our bank accounts or losing our minds!

Little 5 Points is often thought of for Halloween and… uh, people-watching.  It should be one of the first places you think of for your holiday list.  Wax N Facts, Coyote Trading, Stratosphere Skateboards, Stefan’s Vintage, Rene Rene, Cherry Bomb… there are so many reasons to shop here year-round.

Junkman’s Daughter is known far and wide as the Alternative Super Store.  Shoes, clothes, and accessories from Lip Service, Bettie Page Clothing, Too Fast and many others.  My friend, Kool Kat Barb Hays of Blast-Off Burlesque, gave me the highlights of the season.

Keep your head and face warm with this fun Beard Hat from Beardhead.  Available in several colors, $29.00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who wouldn’t want Frankenstein, Tiki or Shrunken Head Plush Dice by Sourpuss? Just $10.00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quirky Soap Spitters like Florapus and the chubby Sock Monkey by Allen Designs instantly perk up any sink.  Each dispenser is $24.99.

 

 

 

What’s on Barb’s Wishlist?  Yummy Tofu Soft Tacos from El Myr.

Next, Barb and I headed over to Criminal Records.  Criminal is home to more records, CDs, comics, toys, tees and art than you can imagine.  Right now they are host to the Indie Craft Experience’s Pop Up Shop through December 24.  Inside the Pop Up Shop you’ll find truly one of a kind gifts for everyone on your list.

Messenger Bags featuring Crypto Zoo, Zombie Woodland Creatures, Killer Unicorns, and Sugar Skulls by Third Half Studios.  They also make double-sided necklaces (I especially love Gamera) and Sugar Skull Aprons. Prices start at $25.00

 

 

 

 

 

Earrings and Hair Adornments by Hustle-N-Bustle.  These creations add a touch of vintage glamour and romance to any outfit.  I’m fond of the ranunculus flowers, $14.00-$44.00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crocheted toys like Cthulhu, Grim Reaper, Giant Squid, and Vikings by NeedleNoodles, $19.00.

 

 

 

 

I ended this trip at my very own little shop of curios, Libertine – a small, but fully stocked shop known for corsets, wigs, and makeup.  But, wait!  There’s more.  Indie designers like:  Wanderlust, SweetHeartSinner, Pop Art by Zteven, as well as brands like Special Effects, Tokyo Milk and Living Dead Souls.  My partner in crime, Tim Scott, showed me a few of his favorite things.

Happiness Head To Toe. A 10-piece kit including: clementine-scented shampoo, conditioner, shower creme and body lotion, sugar scrub, lip scrub and lip butter. A facial scrub, facial cleanser and facial moisturizer by Love & Toast, $24.00.

 

 

 

 

 

Wristlets, wallets, totes, messenger bags and backpacks featuring critters like deer, whales, hummingbirds, foxes and the oh-so-popular, Youtube favorite, otters holding hands.  All by Bungalow 360, $12.00-$48.00.

 

 

 

Ornate Flasks by Diamond*Star*Halo.  Great gifts for guys or gals with designs like Conjoined Twins, Dead Elvis, Unicorns, Owls, Anchors, and much more!  $28.00- $34.00.

 

 

 

 

What’s little Timmy asking Santa for this year?  The Dusty Springfield box set, Goin’ Back, from Wax N Facts.

 

 

 

 

Me?  I’m headed down to the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club for a cup of Boozy Hot Cocoa.  I managed to whittle my shopping list down quite a bit, but there’s more shopping to do.  Next week I’ll hit the shops in Avondale with Astrid Lyons and a few of other friends.  I hear talk of beer growlers and sausage.  Gotta love the holidays!!!

Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo,  Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival.  In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX.

 

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Kool Kat of the Week: Jayne County Brings a Little Max’s Kansas City Down to the Little Five Points Halloween Festival

Posted on: Oct 20th, 2011 By:

The Little Five Points Halloween Parade and Festival may be chock full of the craziest costumes you’ll see in Atlanta during the spooky season, but zombies, vampires and Elvis impersonators don’t hold a candle to us compared to real ’70s rock star Jayne County who will be playing the Main Stage behind the Star Bar with her new band, the Electrick Queers, at 10 p.m. Every real American punk rocker knows that musical revolution didn’t start across the Pond with the Sex Pistols, but at a couple of smoky clubs in lower Manhattan called CBGB and Max’s Kansas City – and Jayne, formerly Wayne, County was at the audacious heart of that then-burgeoning scene along with the New York Dolls, Iggy & the Stooges, Patti Smith, the Ramones, Blondie, Television, Pere Ubu, Cherry Vanilla, the list goes on. As Andy Warhol said, “Max’s Kansas City was the exact place where pop art and pop life come together.”

Recently Jayne County, though, returned to her Georgia roots, and ATLRetro couldn’t resist making her this week’s Kool Kat especially since we caught up with her while she was making homemade chicken soup for her own ever-growing family of cats. Of course, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to find out what outrageous plans she has for Saturday night’s gig, her take on the scene in Atlanta in the ’60s and now, and what else she’s up to now, from her artwork to her passion for protecting homeless felines.

Back in New York in the late ‘60s/early‘70s, did you feel like you were at the start of something new – first hanging with Warhol and then glam and the punk rock? Or was it just the way things were?

We knew it was something new.  A lot of people didn’t think anything of it. I knew Glam was gonna loosen things up with fashion and all. Now you have metrosexuals… all the things that we were doing then were outrageous, but now they seem normal.  I knew what we were doing would eventually change things.

You’re born and raised in Dallas, Ga, and it’s easy to imagine why you’d leave and head to New York. Why did you decide to come back to Georgia?

I came back to Georgia because of tragedies in my family. My parents had been sick, my sister’s suicide and my brother’s murder made my mind up to come home and help the family as much as possible. Plus, I was sick to death of paying a fortune to live in a tiny, grimy shoe box in NYC. (laughs)

What do you think of the music and creative scene here in Atlanta and how does it compare to being here in the 1960s?

Well, the scene is a lot bigger, and then there’s more happening. It doesn’t compare to the ‘60s because it was totally radical. We were changing things. When I came back to Atlanta, I was pleasantly surprised at how much was going on and I wanted to be a part of it. I have Dick Richards to thank for that. He brought me back here in the ‘80s and ‘90s to places like Club Rio and Velvet.

Do you have a favorite memory of Atlanta back then? Maybe one that would surprise us?

That could go either way. Good memory or bad. One of my best memories was when they started having BE-INS and art shows in Piedmont Park. Seeing Atlanta’s own Diamond Lil perform for the first time at Miss Pea’s. Worst memory: there was a law that if you were male and your hair touched your ears you could be arrested for female impersonation. They used that to harass people and give them “free haircuts.” That memory sticks with me.

Coming back to the present, what did you enjoy most about playing the L5P Halloween Festival last year?

What I enjoyed most was having an opportunity to perform here, on my home ground, in Atlanta. All these years I concentrated on California, New York City and Europe, never concentrated on the South at all. I totally enjoyed letting people experience my own brand of musical mayhem and madness. Also, some people are still surprised to find out that Jayne County is actually from the state of Georgia and not New York City.

What’s the story behind your current band, the Electrick Queers, and who’s playing with you?

This goes back to doing things on my home ground. I’ve never had what you call a local band. I’ve always wanted to have an opportunity to work and record with a band from the South. I worked all over the world, but not here. I was asked to perform at the DebuTAUNT Ball, a benefit for PAWS Atlanta, and needed a band. I met my guitar player Jet [Terror] through close friends. He put together a lineup of homegrown musicians: Jet Prickett, Gary Yoxen and Rob Kirkland.

Will you be playing old favorites or are you throwing in some new material? Any other special plans for this year’s gig?

I will be performing mostly old favorites like: “Are You a Boy Or Are You a Girl,” “Max’s Kansas City,” “Man Enough To Be a Woman,” “Nighttime” and, of course, “Cream In My Jeans.” People tend to want to hear the songs that I’m most famous for performing. Every once in awhile we do throw in a few new ones. All of these songs are available on Youtube. People become excited at the chance of hearing and seeing them performed live.

You’re known for pushing the limits at being outrageous and audacious on stage. Is it challenging to keep up that reputation after all these years?

It is especially because simply being transgendered is no longer as outrageous as it was. I’m famous for using “street language” as well which is now commonly used in a lot of our pop culture. I just happen to be the best at doing all of these things.  I also consider myself a natural comedian. I enjoy making people laugh and giving them a good time.

If you had to describe your music to someone who’s never heard you play, what would you say?

I always considered my music to be my own special brand of Rock and Roll, really. You can try to classify it as Glam Rock, Punk Rock or Alternative, but to me it’s just basic raw Rock and Roll. I always thought that was what rock and roll music was. Rock and Roll is Rock and Roll and when I do it, it ROCKS. Although, I think my music transcends being categorized, a lot of people consider me a transgendered Punk Rock pioneer and I can live with that.

Do I recall correctly that your last album was AT THE TRUCKS in 2006? Any plans for recording with the new band?

My record company released my first three complete albums in CD form this year. In the past my music has been released as compilations. This is the first time the full albums are available as they were recorded: THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS, STORM THE GATES OF HEAVEN and THINGS YOUR MOTHER NEVER TOLD YOU. I’m really looking forward to recording with the Electrick Queers. It’s exciting for me to be creative in the same in the place I was born and raised.

Where can people find Jayne County merchandise online?

All my material can be found on iTunes, eMusic and loads of my material is available on Cherry Red Records.

You also are an artist. When did you start painting, what mediums do you work in and what inspired you to take up the brush?

I’ve been an artist since I was a little kid. I had stacks of coloring books. I’d usually color outside the lines. I’ve always been artistic. Since I’m basically retired from constant touring, I’ve been painting again. A lot of my art is starting to become known and people really like it. This makes me extremely happy. I very often can express more emotion and feeling in my art than in my music. It’s a lot easier on my body these days to paint than frantically jumping up and down, rolling around on stage!

What else are you up to?

I care for 20 cats. If anyone would like to adopt one, please call me asap! (*she giggles*) No, I’m enjoying my new house and being able to take care for abandoned animals. Helping animals is very important to me. My touring schedule never allowed for pets, so I’m really enjoying this time and the ability to help abused animals.

Please get your cats fixed!!  It makes me sick how people treat animals. It makes me so mad. I couldn’t bear the thought of these cats being euthanized, so I took them all in and had them fixed. People should not have animals they can’t take care of! It makes me so mad.

What question does no one ever ask you but you wish they did?

I always wondered why no one ever asked me, “Do you know the way to San Jose?”

Special thanks to Jennifer Belgard for her help with this article.

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