|Origin||Tallahassee, Florida, United States|
|Genres||Dance music, trance, pop, rock, synthpop, darkwave, gothic rock (early '90s)|
Jen "Pyromantic" Jawidzik
David Russell Wood
The Crüxshadows // is an American darkwave and dark synthpop band based in Jacksonville, Florida, United States (previously located in Tallahassee). Their sound is made up of a combination of male vocals, electric violin, guitar, synth, and E-drums. Centered on visionary vocalist and songwriter Rogue, The Crüxshadows blend 1980s inspired synthpop, modern rock, and electronica with intelligent, heart-felt, introspective lyrics.
For much of the band's career, they were available through Dancing Ferret Discs, an independent label based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2009, the band formed their own label imprint, Wishfire Records, for the release of future Crüxshadows recordings. In 2012 Wishfire Records gained control of their back catalog, and began re-issuing many of their older titles as well. Lyrically, much of The Crüxshadows' subject matter is drawn from mythology, religion, history, and dreams. Often referred to with the abbreviation CXS, their motto is "Live Love Be Believe".
The band was originally formed in 1992 by Rogue, Sean Flanagan and Tim Curry, in Tallahassee, Florida. The Crüxshadows' debut album, ...night crawls in, was self-released under the Black Widow Music label in 1993, followed by their first CD release, Telemetry of a Fallen Angel, in 1996. Telemetry earned them a fair amount of recognition and produced the band's first signature song, "Marilyn, My Bitterness". In 1997, they signed a short-lived record deal with Nesak International. Curry left the band a few months later. Near the end of 1997, The Crüxshadows interests were transferred to Dancing Ferret Discs, and Telemetry became the new label's first release. Rogue assembled a new musical lineup and recorded The Mystery of the Whisper, Paradox Addendum and Until the Voices Fade... (1998–2000).
In 2000, the band released the song "Deception" as part of the Vampire: The Masquerade soundtrack. During that year, they began to actively promote their music in Europe, particularly Germany, and recorded "Deception" in a German language version titled "Täuschung". They played their first tour of Europe and released a special limited edition CD available only at their European live shows called Intercontinental Drift. Demand grew for the CD and a revised version of the disc was officially released worldwide with the new title Echoes and Artifacts.
Although a U.S. band, they have enjoyed much of their success in Europe; after debuting at No. 5, the 2002 EP Tears stayed in the Deutsche Alternative Charts for 8 weeks and subsequent releases consistently placed in the top 10. That same year they released the album Wishfire which also placed at No. 2 on the DAC and secured the band's popularity both in the USA and in Europe. In Late 2003, The band released Ethernaut and produced one of its most recognizable and enduring songs to date, "Winterborn". In 2004, The Crüxshadows released a remix disc based on the material on the Ethernaut CD called Fortress In Flames. Both CDs featured cover art created by noted artist Chad Michael Ward.
In 2005, the band released a DVD called Shadowbox. The DVD featured a 2004 performance given to 15,000 fans at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig, Germany and demonstrated the kind of theatrical intensity the band's concerts are known for having. It also contained several music videos, a few documentaries about the band, many extras, and an additional audio CD. The song "Foreverlast" was released as part of the DVD/CD combo.
Their 2006 single, "Sophia", made its debut on the Billboard Charts in the issue dated September 23, 2006. "Sophia" debuted at No. 1 on the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart, replacing Beyoncé in the top spot. At the same time, it placed at No. 7 on the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. On both charts, "Sophia" was the highest-ranking debut entry that week. The release of "Sophia" coincided with the band's performance at 2006's Dragon*Con. In an interview on the Dragon Con website, Rogue credits much of the single's success to their appearance at the convention and performance there. "Sophia" remained in the charts for 19 weeks, including a re-entry almost a year later. In 2007, The Crüxshadows released the long anticipated Dreamcypher, followed by a second single, "Birthday". "Birthday" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Singles Sales Chart and was the No. 2 selling single of any genre in the entire country that week, second only to the single from High School Musical 2.
The band toured China in May 2007, and became the first goth band ever to perform at an open-air festival in that country. This performance took place during the MIDI Festival in Beijing and was covered by Chinese television and print media.
Members Rachel McDonnell, George Bikos, and Sarah Poulos left the group at the end of the 2007 DreamCypher tour, and the band recruited new members in Valerie Gentile, JoHanna Moresco, David Russel Wood, and Sarah Stewart (originally listed as Sarah Kilgore) as replacements. This new lineup released the single "Immortal" on July 4 (Europe)/July 8 (USA), and began the 2008 Immortal Tour. "Immortal" became the band's third consecutive Billboard top ten single (by sales) in the United States. Valerie Gentile toured with the band for 2008, but early in 2009, left the band returning home to New York City. Cassandra Luger took her place but lasted only a single tour season before leaving to pursue education in the creative arts at Tallahassee Community College and Florida State University, and being replaced by guitarist Mike Perez in early 2010. Jenne Vermes was added as a singer/dancer at the same time.
Despite a large number of major setbacks in early 2010 including a crippling theft of money and equipment, legal issues, and the loss of several members, the band returned to Europe to play a full tour anchored by several European festivals including the Amphi Festival in Köln.
The band's sales remained strong on both sides of the Atlantic and many of their songs remain staples on club dance floors worldwide. In Germany, they appeared on several TV shows and on the covers of several magazines. In 2012 they were featured in interviews on the French-German Arte Channel. Their music was used in American television advertisements, reality shows, documentaries, and awards programs on VH1, MTV, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Logo, and ABC.
Throughout their history, the band toured extensively, often averaging between 100 and 120 live shows per year up until the current decade. Their tours have thus far taken them to more than thirty countries, sometimes playing for crowds of 25,000 or more. While they are no stranger to large festival shows, they have throughout their career made a point to play smaller cities in the US and Europe that do not often have the chance to host live shows by major touring acts.
The band founded its own label, Wishfire Records some time in 2009, and released a new single in the second half of that year. Their first title "Quicksilver" debuted at No. 32 on the Billboard U.S. Hot 100 Singles Sales chart and several months later, it returned to the charts, this time at No. 2. Additionally, "Quicksilver" debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Dance Singles Sales Chart and later peaked at the No. 1 position tying it with "Birthday" for The Crüxshadows highest charting song. The band's first album on its own label, As The Dark Against My Halo, was scheduled for release in August 2012, over five and a half years after the release of their previous album. "Dark Halo" or "ATDAMH" as it became known among fans of the band, was well received by many of its critics and became the first Cruxshadows disc to earn a number one position on the German Alternative Charts or (Deutsche Alternative Charts).
In 2013 Jessica Lackey, Cruxshadows dancer and wife of front-man Rogue, changed her role in the band by resurrecting her talents as a percussionist. The addition of a standing percussionist/drummer added a profoundly unique element to the bands live presence.
The Crüxshadows initially self-released two albums under the imprint name Black Widow Music between 1992 and 1996. Those titles were Night Crawls In... and Telemetry of A Fallen Angel. In 1997, they signed a deal with Nesak International/Kado Records to give Telemetry of A Fallen Angel a full commercial release, as well as an option for a future album. Nesak eventually sold their rights to Dancing Ferret Discs and Mere Mortal Records. Mere Mortal Records went out of business prior to releasing any albums by The Crüxshadows. Dancing Ferret Discs released a number of The Crüxshadows titles over the following ten years. In July 2008, Dancing Ferret Discs announced that it was becoming a catalog label and while existing titles would remain in print, the label would not be releasing new albums. Rather than sign a deal with another label, The Crüxshadows started their own label in mid-2009, in cooperation with several established labels and distributors in different markets worldwide. Their new label was named Wishfire Records and their first release was "Quicksilver", which hit the shelves in the USA on September 8, 2009. The song became their fourth consecutive single to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Charts, and their third to occupy the No. 1 position.
The band is known for extensive touring, appearing in club shows, theatre shows, and at festivals in Europe and North America annually. In 2007, they were invited to play at the Midi Festival in Beijing, China. In 2009 the band performed as headliner of The Gothic Cruise. The Crüxshadows appeared each year from 1998 to the present as a musical guest at Dragon Con held in Atlanta, Georgia holding discussion panels and a high profile concert.
Lyrics and concepts
Much of The Crüxshadows' music is based on Greek and Egyptian mythology. Their work includes symbolic references to a number of mythical figures, and many of their lyrics deal with the concept of God. According to the band's singer Rogue, the inspiration for much of The Crüxshadows' material came from a five tiered dream. The primary albums together form a series unofficially called the Angel Cycle. This cycle uses myth, legend, and spiritual elements to address more personal issues that are characterized by their universal significance. The lyrics operate as re-invented parables in many cases, and Rogue has openly stated that he intends Cruxshadows to impact people's lives individually through music.
References in popular culture
Having become one of the better-known gothic/darkwave bands in recent years, the Crüxshadows' many supporters also include a number of authors who have made references to the band or the band's music in their works of fiction. These writers include fantasy/horror writer Caitlín R. Kiernan, fantasy writer Sherrilyn Kenyon, and military science fiction writer John Ringo. Ringo is fond of including references to The Crüxshadows and their lyrics in his works. In Ghost, former Navy SEAL Petty Officer Mike Harmon makes references to the song "Winterborn". Likewise, "Winterborn" is referenced in his follow-on novel "Unto The Breach." The most recent novel in the Legacy of the Aldenata series, Eye of the Storm, takes its title from the Crüxshadows song of the same name, and the first verse's lyrics are printed on an introductory page. in his Black Tide Rising series, he includes lyrics from several of their songs, and mentions them in the text.
- Rogue – lead vocals, violin, programming, songwriting
- Mike Perez – guitar
- Jen "Pyromantic" Jawidzik – live synths, backing vocals
- JoHanna Moresco – violin, backing vocals
- David Russell Wood – violin, backing vocals
- Jessica Lackey - percussion (e-drums), backing vocals
- Former or non-active members
- Jenne Vermes - dancer, backing vocals
- Jessica Lackey – lead dancer, backing vocals
- Cassandra Luger – guitar
- Valerie Gentile – guitar, backing vocals
- Rachel McDonnell – keyboard, violin
- Stacey Campbell – guitar, vocals
- George Bikos – guitar
- Tim Curry – guitar
- Kevin Page – guitar
- Chris Brantley – keyboard, vocals
- Trevor Brown – keyboard
- Sean Flanagan – keyboard
- Beth Allen – dancer
- Holly McCall – dancer, backing vocals
- Rachel Ulrich – dancer
- Sarah Poulos – dancer, backing vocals
- Sarah Stewart – dancer, backing vocals
- Holly Hasty – dancer, backing vocals
- Nichole Tadlock – dancer, backing vocals
- Stephanie Griffith - dancer, backing vocals.
- Stacia Marian – dancer, backing vocals
- Ally Knight – dancer, backing vocals
Projects by former Crüxshadows band members
With such a large supporting cast, and a long, active career, many of the musicians involved in Cruxshadows at various points have pursued their own musical identities following their time with the band. Although almost all efforts by former members are channeled into projects in the darkwave and synthpop genres, most bear limited similarity to The Cruxshadows, focusing instead on a very different artistic direction.
Unique musical projects undertaken by past members of the band include Spider Lilies, fronted by Cruxshadows' former guitar player Stacey Campbell, The Labyrinth fronted by former Cruxshadows dancer Sarah Stewart, and Sapphire Rebellion, fronted by Cruxshadows' former guitarist Tim Curry.
A few other former guitarists have joined existing or established bands after leaving The Cruxshadows. Guitarist Valerie Gentile and guitarist George Bikos both became members of the electro-industrial band Angelspit following their tenure with Cruxshadows. Gentile also played guitar for darkwave notable Black Tape For A Blue Girl post-Crushadows.
|1993||...Night Crawls In|
|1995||Telemetry of a Fallen Angel (original release)|
|1999||The Mystery of the Whisper|
|2001||Echoes and Artifacts/Intercontinental Drift|
|2004||Telemetry of a Fallen Angel (anniversary edition)|
|2005||...Night Crawls In (reissue)|
|2006||The Mystery of the Whisper & Until the Voices Fade (reissue)|
|2012||As the Dark Against My Halo|
EPs and singles
|1999||Until the Voices Fade...||EP|
|2004||Fortress In Flames||EP|
Chart peak positions
- No. 1 "Sophia" – (U.S. Hot Dance Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2006-09-23
- No. 7 "Sophia" – (U.S. Hot 100 Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2006-09-23
- No. 1 "Birthday" – (U.S. Hot Dance Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2007-09-22
- No. 2 "Birthday" – (U.S. Hot 100 Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2007-09-22
- No. 23 "Sophia" – (U.S. Hot 100 Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2007-09-22
- No. 2 "Immortal" – (U.S. Hot Dance Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2008-09-11
- No. 6 "Immortal" – (U.S. Hot 100 Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2008-09-11
- No. 7 "Quicksilver" – (U.S. Hot Dance Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2009-09-26
- No. 32 "Quicksilver" – (U.S. Hot 100 Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2009-09-26
- No. 1 "Quicksilver" – (U.S. Hot Dance Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2009-11-21
- No. 2 "Quicksilver" – (U.S. Hot 100 Singles Sales) – Issue Date: 2009-11-21
- No. 1 "As the Dark Against My Halo" – (Germany (DAC)Deutsche Alternative Charts) – Week 48, 2012, Album Charts
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