|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2010)|
|Origin||Phoenix, Arizona, United States|
|Genres||Horror punk, punk rock, rock 'n' roll|
Calabrese is an American horror punk band that was based out of Phoenix, Arizona in 2003. The band includes brothers Bobby Calabrese on guitar and vocals, Jimmy Calabrese on bass and vocals, and Davey Calabrese on Drums. Calabrese is their actual surname. Self described as The Misfits meets Ramones meets The Damned, Calabrese combines Gothabilly looks and B movie drive-in lyrics with a deathrock sound. Calabrese has been described as "melodic, hook-laden, catchy, fun, horror-themed Rock with a Punk attitude." They have cited other bands such as Samhain, Danzig, White Zombie/Rob Zombie, Type O Negative, Black Flag, and Johnny Cash as influences.
Beginning and Midnight Spookshow
The three brothers were originally raised in the rural town of Antioch, Illinois in a large family of Italian American heritage. Jimmy Calabrese, the oldest of the trio, developed a fascination with horror and fictional monsters at an early age through a friend. Jimmy recalled in his blog of how after the violent suicide of a local boy, paranormal activity was witnessed and investigated by him and a group of friends via the use of a ouija board. Afterward, their house was supposedly haunted, plagued by a foul smell, and had a demonic figure appear in a door. The hauntings reportedly stopped after the family moved to Arizona. Through Jimmy, Bobby was introduced to horror and sci-fi themed music.
The two brothers both played bass and were separately active in a handful of local bands. In 2002, after completing film school at Columbia College, Jimmy decided the two should form their own band. Bobby switched to electric guitar and the two recruited the then sixteen year old Davey Calabrese, their youngest brother, to play drums—a frustrating task due to his inexperience the brothers would recall. Because of Davey's age, their father had to attend shows which would eventually lead him to operate the merchandise table.
In 2003 the band self-released the now out of print six song EP Midnight Spookshow to positive reviews from underground and indie publications from around the world. Midnight Spookshow, was entitled from a song of the same title that appears on the album. Michigan-area artist Tony O'Farell was hired to do the artwork because of his pulp-comics influence. Aaron Carey (pipelineaudio) recorded both the Midnight Spookshow and 13 Halloweens albums at Studio Z in Phoenix Arizona. Both albums were mastered by Andrew Davenport at Edgeworth Studios, New Zealand, making this a truly international affair from the start.
Of the songwriting Jimmy claimed, "Midnight Spookshow" was one of our first songs that we re-wrote the chorus at least 3 times. All the lyrics on that song are from 1950s spookshow taglines. These are all actual ballyhoo lines assorted in an entertaining fashion. The album blends traditional three chord punk rock music à la The Misfits with audio samplings from old B movies, a habit Calabrese has become known for. The lyrics for one song on the album, Blood in my Eyes were notably written by their sister who was inspired by the movie Carrie.
13 Halloweens, Traveling Vampire Show
Subsequently the band was approached by several indie labels, including an exclusive deal with Antidote Records. The band declined the offers and instead decided to again self-release their first full length album through their recently created record label, Spookshow Records. For the title, the band held a contest to name their next album. The winning title was 13 Halloweens, sent in by Tempe fan Kurt Havelock under the name Nil Failstorm, who would later become known for turning himself in on charges of a planned Super Bowl massacre. The album was released in 2005.
13 Halloweens, a thirteen tracked album, brought back rerecorded versions of most songs from their previous release, with some new songs and generally sped up tempos, with one exception being the slower paced Eyes Down, an intentionally sorrowful song with a slower arrangement. New subject matters included alienation, zombies, resurrections, shrunken heads, automobiles and poltergeists.
Though retaining their original punk rock sound, 13 Halloweens displayed a foray into a more professional quality for the band that includes catchy melodies, AFI-like wails, and heavier bass and drums. Canadian artist Andrew Barr was hired for the album's artwork. A music video for "Backseat of my Hearse" was directed by local filmmaker J.D. Smith.
One year later the band released their second full length album, The Traveling Vampire Show, named through another contest by fan Regina Gottlieb of Illinois. The album features the artwork of Tom Bagley (of Canadian horror rock band, The Forbidden Dimension) and Andrew Barr. The Traveling Vampire Show continued the sound of 13 Halloweens in many ways and explored in more detail the topics of ghosts, vampirism, and the occult.
Two music videos for Voices of the Dead and Vampires Don't Exist were directed by comic book writer and film director Brian Pulido. Voices of the Dead was shot at Collins College Studio in Tempe, AZ and premiered on March 1, 2007 at Chandler Cinemas after a live performance by the band. The video for Vampires Don't Exist was used to promote Pulido's latest movie, The Graves.
After performing at their first European premiere at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival in Leipzig, Germany with Shadow Reichenstein and Blitzkid, Calabrese returned home to record new tracks for their long planned album.
In keeping true to tradition, the band held another contest to title their upcoming album which was won by fan Bianca Vargas. October 31, 2009, Halloween night, the band announced their new album would be titled Calabrese III: They Call Us Death. In an interview, Jimmy claims that the new album's material is mostly written by Bobby. In the same interview, Bobby claims that Calabrese III will contain more experimental guitar sounds, largely abandoning three chord progressions. Furthermore the album will contain darker lyrics and more daring imagery. The album was released on March 20, 2010 through iTunes and cdbaby.com.
In March 2010, two days before departing on their east coast tour in support of the 'They Call Us Death' lp, Jimmy's left hand was broken in an accident and Kelly Carcinogen was asked to fill in on bass. There were ten dates total, including the Horror Hound Weekend in Indianapolis, IN. Jimmy was still able to play bass with his hand in a cast during encores. His hand healed completely shortly after the tour ended.
Spookshow Records has begun publishing Calabrese comic books, written by Eric M. Esquivel and illustrated by various artists.
The band is currently plans to begin shooting a new music video in May or June 2010, according to band member's Facebook posts.
A new album called Dayglo Necros was released July 1, 2012.
They supported Wednesday 13 on the US leg of their 2013 tour.
A new album called Born With A Scorpion's Touch was released October 1, 2013.
- Blasko of The Death Riders (and bassist for Rob Zombie and Ozzy Osbourne) stated, "I think Calabrese is one of the top Horror Rock bands I have heard."
- Fangoria has given good remarks about them, stating, "In reality, their unique ability to take burning hard edged rock guitar with crisp clean drums and snares along with darker crooning voodoo vocals sets them apart from any current punk act."
- Rue Morgue, has said, "simply too good for fans of B-horror rock 'n' roll to pass up."
- Brent E. Kick (Author of The Ultimate Musician's Reference Handbook) writes, "The band successfully rides big choruses, chanted backing vocals and thundering percussion seemingly without effort. This formula is never more evident than on the EP's closer, "Blood In My Eyes". While the band doesn't bring anything dramatically new to the table, few do. There is something instantly familiar and reassuring about the album that will certainly delight fans of the Misfits, Ramones and Ghoulies."
- Prick Magazine says, "The foremost point about Calabrese and their Horror Rock, which seems a catch-all description of anything Punka-Gotha-Rockabilly these days, is that they nip at you ferociously and incessantly, having the finest American punk traditions etched into their very bowels."
- Midnight Spookshow EP (2003)
- 13 Halloweens (2005)
- The Traveling Vampire Show (2007)
- Calabrese III: They Call Us Death (2010)
- Dayglo Necros (2012)
- Born with a Scorpion's Touch (2013)
- Hellnight-O-Rama 2
- HorrorPunk Compilation Volume 2: The Resurrection
- P.A.I.N. Soundtrack Vol. 1
- Too Much Horror Business 1977-1983: A Tribute to the Misfits 1977-1983 - "Night of the Living Dead"
- AZPunk.Comp V2 (2003)
- AZPunk.Comp V3 (2004)
- Horror of it All Vol. 1 (2005)
- This Is HorrorPunk Vol. 2 (2005)
- Ghouls Gone Wild (2006)
- Horror of it All Vol. 2 (2006)
- The Morgue The Merrier (2006)
- Rebels Of Rock N Roll No. 1 (2008)
- Horror High Presents Prom Queen Massacre (2006)
- Horror Film: The Movie
- Zombie Punks from Beyond the Grave
- Prison-A-Go-Go! (2003)
- Chainsaw Sally (2004)
- Hoodoo for Voodoo (2006)
- No. My Other Possessed-Zombie Girlfriend. (2006)
- Blood on the Highway (2008)
- Cabras (2009-Unreleased)
- The Graves (As Seen on the SyFy Channel)(2010)
- No. My Other Possessed-Zombie Girlfriend
- Hack Job
- The Ultimate Musician's Reference Handbook