Crash Mitchell
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Crash Mitchell

Tampa, Florida, United States | SELF

Tampa, Florida, United States | SELF
Band Americana Punk


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2005 - Crash Mitchell's Revolution Starter Kit
2002 - Crash Mitchell Quartet -- Come And Get It
1997 - Crash Mitchell -- Cantankerous


Feeling a bit camera shy


In 1993, equipped with a love for country, punk rock and comedy, an acoustic guitar and a driving need to stick it to the man, I, Crash Mitchell started frequenting an open mic at a now-defunct coffee house in Ybor City named Contradictions Coffee. After becoming one of the most anticipated regular performers at this once-a-week open mic, I eventually longed to 'break out' into larger venues. After a couple rock clubs told me that they wanted 'bands', I set out looking for a backing band. The first thing I needed was a rhythm section, which led me to recruit Tampa bass guitar pro Andy Irvine. At the time, he was in a band called Clang with USF electronic music professor, Dr. Paul Reller. Around that time, April 1,1995 to be exact, I was in an auto accident in which my neck was broken. I was screwed, tightened and torqued into a 'Halo Brace' to keep my neck straight. The screws in the Halo had to apply 36 foot-pounds of torque pressure against my skull and every Friday, doctors had to re-tighten the 4 screws to 36 foot-pounds. After a few weeks of this misery, I penned a song called 'Torque' which I would perform once a week, in the Halo Brace, at an open jam night hosted by the aforementioned Andy Irvine. 3 or 4 months later, after I was 'released' from the Halo Brace, Paul Reller, after some prodding from Irvine, asked me if I would like to make a record! After two long years of recording and earning the dough to press the finished product, 1997's debut album from Crash Mitchell, 'Cantankerous', was born! It recieved rave local reviews and landed my act in venues as large as Jannus Landing (capacity around 2000) and the USF Special Events Center.

In 1998, I was visiting my friend Marta Catala one day, when her brother, Paul Catala, stopped by and invited me to a jacuzzi party, as his parents were headed out of town for a week. Put 'Parents out of town' and 'Jacuzzi' in the same invitation and, well, I'm there.
The fiesta was going great as we decided to move the party from the Jacuzzi into the living room for some live music by yours truly. Sitting at the piano bench with nothing but a towel over my lap and an acoustic guitar over the towel, I started to rock the party. When I came to a solo break in one of my songs, Paul "Pre Man" Catala improvised the first honky tonk piano solo of his 'Crash Mitchell' career. I immediately asked him to join my band and he was more than happy to jump in and come along for the 'Crash Mitchell' ride. My rhythm section, at the time, consisted of whom ever could show up for each gig, which made things difficult. I had pro musicians in the band at the time who often were already booked with other acts because of their great skills. Ed Lowery, Paul Reller and Steve Hawes had shared the drum seat. T. J. Glowaki, Andy Irvine and John Fronza had shared bass
guitar duties. Eventually, I kinda grew tired of the 'revolving door rhythm section' and set out for a more dedicated one.
Dedication is exactly what I got when in 1999, I landed Donald Jerome Butler on the bass guitar. He was a bit short in the tooth when it came to playing out, but I knew it was like drafting a rookie that'll be there his whole career as opposed to bringing in a proven free agent who doesn't have much tread left on the tire. Sports metaphors aside, my '1st round draft pick' did sound like a rookie for a few gigs, but before I knew it, he was laying it down like a seasoned veteran! Now, the only seat left to fill was the drum stool. My friend Leonore Norton recommended her boyfriend-at-the-time, Sean "Lumpy" Travis, the founding member of legendary local 'Metal/Comedy' act "Mega Smegma." "Lumpy" was the original drummer for Mega Smegma, but he eventually switched to vocals/keyboards/sax (frontman) as the band evolved. I needed a dependable drummer, and with Mega Smegma now only playing out once or twice a year, I now had one. The Crash Mitchell Quartet was now complete. We then went into Hitmakers Studio in Sulphur Springs FL. to begin work on my second record, 'Come And Get It!' Many of the songs for 'Come And Get It!' were already written when or before the C.M.Q. was forming, but since I was in a new studio with different players, lots more rehearsal time and determination than was needed to record 'Cantankerous' was required.
As per usual, lack of fundage held up 'Come And Get It!'s release until May 2002. It was the local critics that raved about 'Cantankerous', but it was the FANS who raved about 'Come And Get It!' This album is still the fan-favorite and is thusly sold-out-of-print until I can afford to get it repressed.

Shortly after finishing up the recording of 'Come And Get It!', I was forced to relocate to Atlanta Georgia to take a job that paid better than anything I could land in Tampa. I sorely missed my bandmates during my stay in Atlanta, which led me to write a song called "Revolution Starter Kit". I also, during this time, penned a song about my daddy, Florida folk l