IF YOU GO
Who: Electric Frankenstein with Turbo Lovers and The Cheats
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Royal Oaks, 924 Oak St., Youngstown
Tickets: $5; call 330-750-0199
924 Oak St., Youngstown
By JOHN BENSON
It’s (still) alive.
After 20 years of playing its own special brand of punk-based rock music, Electric Frankenstein is still going strong. A band’s band with fans including influential rockers and neighborhood punks, the New Jersey act is taking a celebratory lap around the country to celebrate its two decades of music. The quartet returns to Youngstown for a show at The Royal Oaks on Saturday.
“We’re a real meat-and- potatoes rock ’n’ roll band that doesn’t waste people’s time,” said guitarist Sal Canzonieri, calling from Whippany, N.J. “We really love what we do, and we love the people who come to see our shows because they’re usually the same kind of people that like the same things as us. Our music is a lot more heartfelt. It connects with people, and we’re doing things that people really care about. I don’t want to be a bull-crap band that is here today, gone tomorrow and is doing it for the money. We wouldn’t have been around for 20 years.”
If you’re looking for credibility, Canzonieri said everyone from members of Metallica to Social Distortion’s Mike Ness repeatedly check out the Garden State band, which later this year plans on releasing “Legacy of Electricity.” The DVD will feature new and unreleased material, as well as videos and interviews from the band’s long career.
Canzonieri believes the group’s continued appeal stems from the fact its sound has evolved over the years.
“When we first started, we were just punk rock ’n’ roll, like 1977 to 1980 type of punk rock,” Canzonieri said. “Then as we evolved, they started calling our music high-energy rock ’n’ roll, and it kind of was like people were saying it was a blend of AC/DC meets The Dead Boys. So we kind of went with that more and brought in a more hard-rock element keeping the songs with leads and melodies but it’s not like power pop. There’s definitely a punk edge and a punk-rock urgency to the songs.”
Something else Electric Frankenstein is known for is an inventive business plan it employed for its last original studio effort, 2005’s “Burn Bright, Burn Fast!.” The group actually sold marketing/advertising space on its CD to the point where listeners would be directed to various business websites when they popped it into their computers. Canzonieri said he wasn’t worried about any sell-out claims due to the fact the band had researched what type of businesses its listeners were interested in. And in the end, the proceeds from “Burn Bright, Burn Fast!” paid for the group’s two-year touring run.
Though it’s been a few years since the band played Northeast Ohio, Canzonieri remembers a great Emissions from the Monolith Festival show at the old Nyabinghi in Youngstown.
He stresses an Electric Frankenstein concert — for the most part — is an all-inclusive affair.
“It’s high energy rock ’n’ roll; that’s what it’s called,” Canzonieri said. “That’s the style. It’s like if you like Kiss, AC/DC, The Damned, The Stooges, MC 5, The Sex Pistols and The Dead Boys, then we kind of bring that whole thing together. It’s like American rock ’n’ roll. And we’re not stoner rock, not jazz. It’s not that college puke you hear where every band sounds the same. It’s got style, substance, and people can drink to it and the bars are happy, and everybody has a good time.”
“He added, “It’s exciting and it inspires younger people to start their own bands. That’s what I care about.”