Seeing that it’s scheduled to be released on November 12 — the same day as the new Pearl Jam, Dru Hill, Fat Joe, Saliva and TLC albums — it seems kinda appropriate that Crazy Town’s new disc is called Darkhorse.
“We’ve always rooted for the underdog, and this time we’re the underdog,” said vocalist Seth “Shifty” Binzer, who used to go by the name Shifty Shellshock. “We’re the last thing the competition is worried about.”
Maybe so, but don’t write the band off as non-contenders. Sure, Crazy Town are remembered by many as the rap-rock group who had that lightweight radio hit “Butterfly,” but with their new disc, these Townies are playing to score.
“The dark horse is never viewed as a threat, but in the end it unexpectedly steps up and blows everyone away,” Binzer warned.
Darkhorse, which was produced by Howard Benson (P.O.D., Motorhead), is considerably beefier than Crazy Town’s 1999 record The Gift of Game, blending brooding atmospheres and crashing rhythms with melodic vocals and boasted raps for a sound reminiscent of Linkin Park’s (see “Crazy Town Ready To Record Second LP” ).
Before they headed into the studio to work on the record, Crazy Town refined their lineup for maximal impact. First they parted ways with their turntablist, DJ A.M., then replaced drummer James “JBJ” Bradley J with ex-Shuvel skin-basher Kyle Hollinger. The rest of the roster remains the same — Binzer, vocalist Bret “Epic” Mazur, guitarist Craig “Squirrel” Tyler, and bassist Doug “Faydoedeelay” Miller — but this time around there was a lot more teamwork at play.
“The first record was basically just Seth and I doing 90 percent of the work,” Mazur said. “This album was a true group effort. We spent three years on the road and learned how to be a band. So when it came time to record, everyone came to the table so it’s much more focused.”
The first single from Darkhorse will be “Drowning,” a track about being overwhelmed by the temptations of stardom. The cut includes the lines, “I hate that chaos surrounds me when all the answers that I see go around me/ Am I drowning/ Am I fading away or am I living up to all your dreams that made me this way.”
“We wrote ’Drowning’ in the bus during Ozzfest,” Mazur said. “It was a crazy time for us. There were a lot of things going on that were both good and bad, and we were trying to deal with it all. So we wrote the song about walking the fine line between enjoying your success and maintaining your sanity. You don’t want to drown in all the hype.”
Other tracks on Darkhorse include “Decorated in Flames,” “Waste of Time,” “Candy Coated Pain,” “Locked in the Bathroom,” “Skulls and Stars” and “Hurt You So Bad,” which features a tuneful guitar solo by Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo (see “Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo Records With Crazy Town” ).