The Power of Rob Tyner by Cretin 66 from Burnin Rubber Outta Hells Garage (Woundup Records):
When Cretin 66 finally calls it a day, the fabled Kansas City band's tombstone might read: Not bad for a bunch of hair farmers.
That was one audience member's comment following a hell-raising, late-'90s double bill with Tenderloin. At the time, singer and guitarist Screamin' Mikey C. and bassist Chico Thunder were carrying out a pact to let their hair grow. It worked to great effect in a rifle-toting promo photo that made the rounds in Europe shortly before Cretin 66 embarked on a post-9/11 tour.
Now sporting a mop-top, Mikey C. blames ex-drummer Sardü for making him look like a Meat Puppet all those years.
"He wouldn't let us cut it," he explains. "Luckily, he's not in the band anymore."
Actually, Mikey C. says, Sardü ran off with a merch girl and got hitched at a Las Vegas drive-through chapel. He now manages a porn-distribution warehouse somewhere in New Mexico.
"The true stories are actually better than the ones we make up," he adds.
Fact and fiction blur when Mikey reminisces alongside Thunder and guitarist Wicked Gordy. If you want the straight story, it's best to get it from someone else.
"They were pure chaos rock and roll," says Robbie Hadley, the new owner of the Riot Room (formerly the Hurricane). "They brought it every night. Their energy was insane."
Hadley booked Cretin 66 to headline the Riot Room's grand-opening party Saturday. The show will be the band's first since 2003, when it covered the Ramones for a cancer benefit.
Mikey says the recent passing of Evel Knievel set the stage for at least one more Cretin 66 show. The group's song "Knievelkore" is an ode to a stunt helmet found in a dumpster and subsequently brought onstage.
"There's only one song in the genre," Mikey says. "Any other song claiming to be Knievelkore is poseur Knievelkore."
In its heyday, Cretin 66 practically carried venues such as Davey's Uptown and the Hurricane on its back. The band's scuzzy, no-frills garage rock — documented on Burnin' Rubber Outta Hell's Garage (1999) and Demolition Safari (2001) — was as catchy as it was hilarious. (One song, titled "Go Kids Go," offers a manual for how to blow up a car.) Whereas other bands played to shoegazers and head-nodders, Cretin 66 inspired rowdy sing-alongs and drunken debauchery.
"We were not part of the trend in heavy rock — that generic-ass-time-signature stuff everybody was so impressed with themselves for playing," Mikey says.
They've already been fielding requests from the "ground-floor Cretin militia" for the upcoming show.
"We had a good army of fans that never missed a show," Chico says. "It's for them as much as us."
Don't miss it — what's hair today is gone tomorrow.