Crystal Stilts’ JB Townsend (left), Frankie Rose, Andy Adler and Brad Hargett love their reverb.
CRYSTAL STILTS with LOVE IS ALL and TROPICS at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), tonight (Thursday, December 11). $11.50-$13. 416-598-4753.
Until recently, drummer Frankie Rose, the heartbeat of Brooklyn's reverb-enriched garage crew Crystal Stilts, was better known as the founder of their sister group, the Vivian Girls. Yet despite coming up with the Vivian Girls' Henry Darger-inspired handle and the whole "Shangri-Las meet the Shop Assistants in the Shaggs' basement" sound concept, Rose found the offer to join Crystal Stilts as their full-time percussionist too enticing to pass up.
"About seven months after starting the Vivian Girls, I began working at the Greenpoint Coffee House with JB Townsend of the Crystal Stilts, and I really loved their group," she says.
"I thought they were the best band in Brooklyn, and their sound gave me the idea of using heavy reverb with the Vivian Girls. So when the Stilts needed a drummer and asked me, I jumped at the chance. The idea of abandoning the band I founded might seem strange, but I was going crazy trying to play in both simultaneously."
Since Rose has become the time-keeper for the Crystal Stilts, the tempos have increased from the shoegazey creep of their critically lauded Alight Of Night (Slumberland) disc, although everything they do will continue to have a dark tone as long as lead brooder Brad "Mr. Melancholy" Hargett continues singing and writing lyrics.
"When it comes to the music, I totally trust JB's aesthetic. I didn't have to make any compromises regarding my drumming, because I agree entirely with all of JB's choices. It was his idea not to use cymbals, and I don't like cymbals that much anyway. It might be nice to have one at shows to help bring the energy level up now and then, but most drummers tend to use them way too much. It's crash, crash-crash, crash all the time.
"Personally, I love Moe Tucker's drumming with the Velvet Underground and all the drumming on Phil Spector's girl group recordings. There's very little cymbal work on that stuff. Cymbals are highly overrated."
In addition to working on a new Crystal Stilts recording, Rose is also planning a solo release. She apparently has no shortage of material or willing collaborators, so what's the hold-up?
"I've got to come up with the right name. I don't want to call it the Frankie Rose Experience."
How about the Glandolinians?
"What? You mean the evil army at war with the Vivian Girls in Henry Darger's fantasy world? That's hilarious! Are you trying to get me involved in a beef or something?"