Creepin' Charley And The Boneyard Orchestra
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Creepin' Charley And The Boneyard Orchestra

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"Intake/IMN - Top 10 Live"

May 2, 2007

Once one of Indy's most active bands, Creepin' Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra, has been reclusive of late. During the group's downtime the musicians morphed their sound to a hard-rock stomp that resembles Led Zeppelin at their most revved up. The Boneyard Orchestra has found a kindred band in Angry Johnny and the Killbillies. Both groups deliver songs of sin and woe. - INtake Weekly

"Macabre roots"

May 2, 2007
by Jeff Napier

If ever there was a bill that was meant to be, this is it. Massachusetts-based Angry Johnny, an artist whose work tends to the macabre, is bringing his roots-influenced band to Radio Radio Friday, headlining a show that includes Indy’s own rootsy Creepin’ Charley & the Boneyard Orchestra, whose frontman, Shelby Kelley, is also an artist whose work focuses on the macabre.

Hot off the recent release of their video for “Dirty Money,” Creepin’ Charley is in the midst of a creative whirlwind. Each gig that passes brings more new songs that find the band evolving into a top notch high-octane rock and roll outfit that this town has way too few of. Chad Pollock and Andy Fark are probably one of the tightest rhythm sections in the Ohio Valley, while the magic of herky-jerky frontman Kelley and his foil on the guitar, Emerald Eric Grimmitt, give this band a presence that few others can match. - Nuvo Newsweekly

"When A Character Becomes A Band"

June 22, 2006
by Jeff Napier

Creepin’ Charley & the Boneyard Orchestra released their first CD earlier this year, called "Bright Lights, Wicked City". It’s a bare-fisted ride through an almost pulp-noir cosmopolitan landscape of broken people and dark whispers. Named after an invasive type of ground cover found in the credits of a Tom Waits CD, which tells you more about the music then the name itself.

Chronicling the first batch of songs that Shelby Kelly had in his crutches when the band started two years ago, the LP features such barnstorming classics like “Up Jumped the Devil,” “Room 303” and “25cent Peepshow.” During the past couple years the band built up its rep with a killer stage show and Kelly’s guttural vocals. “Creepin’ Charley started out as a character that I’d created the band was original there to back up these songs that I’d had written for this character. But as we went along, it was apparent that the character of Creepin’ Charley was turning into a band called Creepin’ Charley", Kelly explains.

“'High Price in Hell' from Bright Lights is sorta like the beginning of what we’re doing now”, Shelby continues, “and these new songs are really the first songs that we’ve done as a Band, with everybody pitching in and giving their own two cents.”

Indeed, when the band lost original members, guitarist Jeff Kleindorfer and vocalist/percussionist Angie Walker, it was a sad day, especially given Walker’s undeniable presence upon the stage. But then Eric Grimmett came into the fold and curiously Cheepin’ Charley has stepped up a notch. Grimmett, whom you might remember from such local bands as The Beautiful Authentic Zoo Gods, Transportation, and Hypnotic Velvet propellers, was smarting from the train wreck of his last band, um, Trainwreck and came into the fold fired up and eager to participate in more of a democratic atmosphere.

With a batch of new songs what will be available as an EP at the 'Indy Rock Show', we will get to witness the precise moment when the character becomes a band, with magic musical buttholes. Listening to the preliminary tracks in Kelly’s eastside basement/studio/rehearsal space, it is quite clear that the band is heading miles beyond where they’ve been. “I’m Becoming American,” “Go-Go Baby” and “Dirty Money” are gritty, grooving garagey rave-ups that are without a doubt some of the best and most rocking songs to come out of Indy this summer. “Far Hill Road” is a gorgeous ballad wrapped in some of the best performances of each band member. Particuliarly Kelly who is showing off a set of pipes no one knew he had. The EP will likely contain a couple other tracks, including a spot-on reading of Devo’s “Girl U Want.”

Unlike "Bright Lights", this EP has more of an organic and loose feel to it. Recorded in Lead Propeller Jason Bambery’s home studio. It is the sound of friends coming together and being comfortable as a unit. Jason has also provided them with a means of recording quickly and cheaply. “Jason’s thirst for music is universal", Shelby exclaims. “He (Bambery) knows what we’re trying to achieve and really you couldn’t ask for a better engineer. I mean, he’s come to our shows, and he knows what we’re about, and he likes the music, so it just makes everything that much easier. I just can’t imagine going back to the way we recorded 'Bright Lights', it was just too much, man.”

Here’s to hoping that this fruitful meeting of the minds produces many and frequent releases of the type that will be available June 22. All indications point to this being a Creepin’ Charley summer, go to the Vogue and be converted. Also on the bill are Indy up & comers Thrive and South Normal, from Detroit. - Nuvo Newsweekly

""Bright Lights, Wicked City" (album review)"

by David Lindquist
Fri. April 14, 2006

"Bright Lights, Wicked City" is a rousing catalog of pulp-fiction characters and locales. On various tracks, listeners can visit a seedy hotel room, avoid a pistol-packing bad guy, sell their souls at "Starland" and get their kicks at a peepshow.

Creepin' Charley vocalist Shelby Kelley uses a gravelly growl to set these scenes, while guitarist Eric Grimmitt, drummer Andy Fark and bass player Chad Pollock play with too much power to be termed ragged or low-rent.

So it's a great-sounding album filled with vivid tales. Unfortunately, too many stories share a structure and cadence. More experiments such as "Mexican Moon" (which boasts acoustic guitar and trumpet) would add dimension to this "City's" landscape.

Creepin' Charley is scheduled to perform May 20 at the Melody Inn, 3826 N. Illinois St. For more information, visit

- Indianapolis Star

"Spiritual Sendoff To Patio"

by Steve Hayes

Wed. Nov 23 @ The Patio

The pre-Thanksgiving night show at the Patio brought in a full house. Maybe it was the fact that people had the day off on Thursday and took advantage of a free night out. Maybe it was the glut of college-aged folks in town, home for the holiday. Maybe it was the fact it was the penultimate original show at the Patio. Or perhaps it was the powerhouse lineup of Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band and Creepin' Charley & the Boneyard Orchestra. Whatever the reason people had for coming out, they couldn't walk out disappointed with the entertainment that night.

The club was already getting filled by the time Creepin' Charley took the stage. In a little over a year and a half since the band made their debut at the 2004 Midwest Music Summit, Creepin' Charley has evolved into one of the tightest, most entertaining, and best rock & roll bands in the city.

I found the Creepin' Charley of 2004 was a bit too close to the sound of Tom Waits for comfort. The current version will always get those comparisons mostly due to front man Shelby Kelly's gravelbed voice. But musically they've stretched away from Waits and more toward a powerful electric blues-rock sound. Eric Grimmitt's guitar provides a proper counterpoint to Kelly's voice while the rhythm section of Andy Fark on drums and Chad Pollock on bass pulsates the band at a perfect pace.

On this night, as I've seen them do at other shows, Creepin' Charley took the time to decorate the stage to their liking before starting. Red Christmas lights and black and white TVs set on static built the visual mood while an oversized set list hung from the Patio's curtain for all to see. Taking the stage in his mirrored Viking helmet with bullhorn in hand, Kelly led the group through "Up Jumped the Devil" and brought a little sinfulness to the Patio. By the time they hit my personal favorite, "Downtown", I turned to a friend and commented, "This is their single." His reply: "Yeah, it's their stripper song." Indeed. It's too bad more bands in Indy can't write tunes that strippers can properly grind to.
- Indianapolis

"Creepin' Compositions"

by Jessica Halverson
October 13, 2005

Invented as much by accident as a wish to create something new, Creepin' Charley emerged from the wings of multiple local bands last year to play the Midwest Music Summit 2004 amid guttural sounds that earned the band multiple comparisons to Tom Waits.

Originally conceived as the cartoon band project of local artist and musician Shelby Kelley, the addition of Andy Fark, drums; Eric Grimmitt, guitar; and Chad Pollock, bass, gave the band its teeth.

Since, the group has been playing shows, self-recording and releasing EPs, and is currently recording an album. Here Kelley talks about the band.

How do you write the music for the songs?

A lot of times it's based on what's around. If Andy has his drum set over there, I'll kind of approach it from the drum set. If it's not, then I'll approach it from whatever kind of percussive instruments I have.

The last song I wrote had a bottle full of rocks that was highly influenced by Jason Webley. I saw a show and he's shaking this plastic bottle with these rocks, and I thought, "Man, that's the sound that I've been looking for." That was the first time that I really set out to find the percussive approach.

Other times it's just what I have around. I can stand on my stairs and stomp and do that and just record it and loop it, and wherever that kind of takes me to I go. Try to mold the bass into that, then whatever guitar color I add to it.

(With) the vocals or lyrics I just try to go with however the song makes me feel.

When you were playing songs by yourself before, did you use the same vocal style as now?

My voice before was the acoustic balladeer voice. (I) try to convey the emotion in the song, but with this I had these cartoon characters.

And the singer, in my mind . . . I saw it as this kind of gravel-voiced character -- not necessarily like a zombie or anything like that, but kind of some guy who's just rough around the edges.

It wasn't really too contrived; I didn't sit around and gargle and then sing. It's still me, and it still came out that way.

As stupid as it sounds, a room is a room whether it's got lights on or whether it's got lights off, and I see it like that. It's still the same room, it's still the same place, but I just kind of reached a little deeper, more honestly inside of me to get that.

Could you tell me about the new album you're recording right now?

We're recording it ourselves, which is kind of scary. Each of us has been in good bands and each of us has had recording experience, so we're kind of bringing that all together.

Of course, we've got equipment limitations and stuff like that so we're just trying to do the best with what we can.
- InTake Magazine

"Creepin' Towards Greatness"

by Laura Brady
Feb. 16, 2005

The Dials, Bang! Bang!, Creepin' Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra The Melody Inn Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005. The Melody Inn isn't shy about booking out of town acts. This can sometimes end in low attendance, especially if the show is poorly advertised. Happily, a large crowd turned out for Thursday night's offering of Chicago bands The Dials, Bang! Bang!, and local favorite Creepin' Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra.

Ending the night was Indianapolis band Creepin' Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra. When they took the stage, it was clear who the crowd was there to see. This band, headed by vocalist Shelby Kelley, is a must-see for any fan of local music. Kelley's vocals have the growl and rasp of Tom Waits, something many vocalists try to duplicate, but in Kelley it's never forced or contrived. Creepin' Charley's sound is rock 'n roll that refuses to live in one of rock's many subcategories. The band's performance was strong and dynamic, although back-up vocalist Angie Walker's voice, which provides a lovely, smooth contrast to Kelley, was sometimes lost. The audience, however, was never disappointed. They demanded an encore. It wasn't hard to see why.
- Nuvo Newsweekly

"Creepin' Charley On The Move"

by Steve Hammer
Jan. 12-19, 2005

The fact that singer-songwriter Shelby Kelley is in any band, let alone one of the hottest local groups of the moment, is a surprise to him. Last year, he recorded a 7-inch single by himself, playing virtually all the instruments, and released it under the name Creepin' Charley. That was supposed to have been it: a catharsis and an outlet for his songwriting. But once the record came out, it inspired his musician buddies to join him in live performances.

"I wanted to prove to myself that I could make a recording," Kelley said. "But a few of my friends helped bring me out more, because otherwise I would have just stopped with the 7-inch. They inspired me to rock more and to play shows and write more songs."

Those friends included some of the most accomplished players in the area: Jeff Kleindorfer on guitar, Chad Pollock of the Hypnotic Velvet Propellers on bass, Andy Fark of The Jabs on drums and former Transportation member Angie Walker on backup vocals and percussion.

"The band just kind of happened," Kelley said. "We had a bass player, a guitarist and a drummer, so why not do something together?"

Although Kelley has a background in music, having played in groups in high school, he's better known as a self-taught freelance illustrator (and frequent NUVO contributor). His friends urged him to pursue the music.

"His material was too good for him to not do anything with it," Pollock said. "I told him I'd play bass, Jeff would play guitar, and we instantly had a band." "It was just something that was fun for me," Kelley said. "I didn't expect all this to happen, but now I've been inspired to write more songs so this band can play them."

When the band made its live debut last summer as part of the Midwest Music Summit, the audience was so receptive that the group started to book other live shows.

Musically, Creepin' Charley is all about Kelley's sandpaper-rough vocals and the punchy, hard-nosed rhythm section of Pollock and Fark. Walker's ethereal voice gives the group a slightly softer edge, while Kleindorfer's guitar leads cut through the mix and give the band a hard-rock feel.

In songs such as "Barfly" and "Rapture Song," Kelley assumes the personas of a hardcore alcoholic and fundamentalist Christian, respectively. His storytelling style, combined with his rough-edged vocals, has led to comparisons - both positive and negative - with Tom Waits.

"I'm not going to deny that influence," Kelley said. "I obviously like Tom Waits. But I'm not trying to do an impression of him or imitate him. But I'd rather have that comparison than 'N Sync or some crap like that. I'm honored if people see that."

The band's name, in fact, is derived from a cryptic message in the liner notes of a Waits album. "I think the comparisons come from our vocal styles," Kelley said. "But I don't think we sound like Tom Waits. We have other influences."

"I think somebody made the comparison once and it stuck," Kleindorfer said.

So where does his lyrical inspiration come from? Kelley seemed puzzled at the question. "It's all spontaneous. I really don't sit down and try and write the lyrics first or the music first. It comes however it comes. I'll start rambling some words, and whatever halfway makes sense, I stick with. Later I'll realize what a song is about, but when I'm writing it, I have no clue."

Walker said, "His songs paint characters. The 'Rapture Song' totally reminds me of a rattlesnake-toting Southern Baptist minister. He makes characters."

"In my [solo] songwriting stuff, it was more about my views on things," Kelley said. "But Creepin' Charley is a blurry, distorted view of how I see things. Most of the times it's not even how I see things; it's these characters popping up spontaneously."

Another aspect that sets Creepin' Charley apart from other local bands is the harmonic interplay between Kelley's and Walker's vocals.

"Ever since I heard her, I've been in love with her voice," Kelley said. "Once we got together, I could tell that our voices would mesh really well together. Her voice deserves to be spotlighted, which I think it will be in our new material."

"Every band that I've been in, for the most part, the members have been super-talented," Walker said. "I've been lucky that way. And this group is the least rambunctious group I've been involved with. I enjoy being in this band and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

The punky drumming of Fark, a former co-worker of Kelley's, gives the group a garage-punk sound that puts it miles beyond Waits' musical experiments. "He really gives us a certain element that adheres everyone together," Kelley said. "Plus, he's an expert at networking and promotion. I don't know what we would do without him."

After several memorable shows, "We're slowly becoming the band that we want to become," Kelley said. "I write the songs, but when I take it to the band, it becomes something totally diff - Nuvo Newsweekly

"IMN / 92.3 FM / NUVO "Artist of the Week""

by Ryan Williams
Oct. 13, 2004

Creepin' Charley and The Boneyard Orchestra is a strange but pleasing mix of blues, punk, and Vaudevillian show music. It's only appropriate that their next appearance is at a charity burlesque show on Saturday, October 16 th at the Melody Inn. Fans of Tom Waits won't feel guilty about paying as much attention to the music as the performers.

"Upon my uteral ejection into the world, me mum says that I didn't cry, but instead wailed the most beautiful melody. I would say that's when it all started."

It is clear that Creepin' Charley and the Boneyard Orchestra are not your usual Broad Ripple musical fare. The alter ego of artist Shelby Kelley submitted a humorously twisted cartoon for this article's band photo, and he described his music by saying "It kind of looks like me Aunt Gerty, really. Kind of heavy set and brooding . with a hairy mole." Aunt Gerty must play a strange mix of blues, punk, and Vaudevillian show music, which makes perfect sense in Creepin' Charley's world. I really can't do this band justice without providing a transcript of the E-mail exchange I had with the elusive Charley and his drummer, F.U.D. Therefore, here it is, in all its twisted glory.

IMN: What challenges and opportunities does playing music in Indiana present to you?

Charley: Indiana ? Is that where I am? Hell, I thought I was in Kalamazoo.

IMN: What's been your proudest musical achievement?

Charley: When I used the phrase "I'm in a band" to get laid and it worked.

F.U.D.: Learning to play beans.

IMN: What projects are you currently working on?

Charley: The next song..

F.U.D.: Van De Camps, Campbell's, Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans and THE JABS.

IMN: What's been your favorite place to play?

Charley: In the crapper, actually. Perfect acoustics.I do all me writing in there. Some of me best shows have been in there.

IMN: Name five recordings you can't live without.

Charley: If I can't live without them then I'm surely not telling. I gotta lot of enemies.

IMN: Do you prefer the bars or all-ages crowds?

Charley: Crowds are kinda scary. I like the bars where no one's paying attention.

F.U.D.: Bars. There's better ventilation.

IMN: When and where does your band do most of your writing?

Charley: See above.

IMN: A 10-year-old child comes up to you and tells you he/she wants to play music. How do you respond?

Charley: "If you can snatch the pebble from my hand, grasshopper." If you can live without money, food, sleep, and not get a dime for the work you put in, climb aboard.

F.U.D.: Eat your beans, son.

IMN: What's the weirdest gig you've ever had?

Charley: All of them are weird.

IMN: What's the last record you bought?

Charley: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass from Goodwill. A little scratched but still playable on the ol' turntable.

IMN: Feel free to add anything else you'd like.

Charley: 786 + 456 = 1242

Creepin' Charley and The Boneyard Orchestra next take the stage as part of a charity burlesque show at the Melody Inn Saturday, October 16 th . The off-color skits and bizarre atmosphere will no doubt fit this Tom Waits-ish act to a T. And no matter what, you're guaranteed an interesting conversation.
- Indianapolis

"Steve Hayes' MMS Diary"

by Steve Hayes
Aug. 16, 2004

...After getting the privilege of drawing the last beer out of the final keg, I made my way over to the Alley Cat for Creepin' Charley & His Boneyard Orchestra. Anyone who's been bumping around the Indy music scene for the past few years will quickly recognize some familiar faces in the band. I expected a Tom Waits sound for some reason, but instead got good, gut bucket rock. They're definitely a band worth seeing again...
- Indianapolis


Off The Side Of The Road (EP)
2006 (CD)

Bright Lights, Wicked City
2006 (CD)

My Miserable Suite E.P.
2005 (CD)

Rattlin' Bones & Other Junk
2004 (CD featuring "Rattlin' Bones Vol. 1" + 5 bonus tracks)

Rattlin' Bones Vol. 1
2002 (7" vinyl E.P.)



Shelby Kelley (vocals) started writing songs a couple of years ago with little or no objective other than to document the observations he had made and maybe blow off a little steam in the process, releasing the 7" record, "Rattlin' Bones Vol. 1" as the result.
It was around this time that bassist Chad Pollock approached Kelley about putting together a band that would serve as a vehicle for the songs. With the addition of Andy Fark on drums (and eventually Eric Grimmitt on guitar), the Boneyard Orchestra became a working model that would soon hit the streets. The interim has been spent writing, shaping, arranging, mending, and bending; trying to get to the heart of the song, both in front in of audience and while the red light is on.
We've got bleeding heads, broken hearts, aliens, barflies, peepshows, Downtown Debbies, cash cows, devils, hookers, pistols, pimps and hookers. It ain't easy out here on the back roads, but that's where the animals come alive. That's where you find the monuments that work their magic. It's in the beat of the traps, the rope of the bass, the coils of the guitar, and the words that roll right off the tongue. Creepin' Charley comes from that place.

"Listening to the (new E.P.) it is quite clear that the band is heading miles beyond where they've been. 'Im Becoming American,' 'Go-Go Baby' and 'Dirty Money' are gritty, grooving garagey rave-ups that are without a doubt some of the best and most rocking songs to come out of Indy this summer."
- Jeff Napier, Nuvo Newsweekly, June 22, 2006

"Since the band made their debut at the 2004 Midwest Music Summit, Creepin' Charley has evolved into one of the tightest, most entertaining, and best rock & roll bands in the city."
- Steve Hayes,, Jan. 2006

"Musically, Creepin' Charley is all about Kelley's sandpaper-rough vocals and the punchy, hard-nosed rhythm section of Pollock and the group a garage-punk sound that puts it miles beyond the early Tom Waits' musical experiments."
- Steve Hammer, Nuvo Newsweekly, Jan. 2005

"This is raw, 'gut-bucket' rock."
- Sharon Ramsey, Shae's Place Zine