Happy Feet

B-Sides compares Tony Danza's tap-dancing and acting, gets cozy with Quintron and Miss Pussycat, and doesn't balk at a new scene trading card

Jul 19, 2006 at 4:00 am
Tony Danza was a professional boxer before stepping into the acting ring, so it should be no surprise that the music of Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza hits with the force of a thousand Emmy statuettes — just like the one Danza was nominated for in 1998 for a guest spot on The Practice! And the similarities only grow from there....

Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza
Birthplace: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Alter Egos: Jessie Freeland (vocals), Layne Meylain (guitar), Brad Thomson (guitars), Mike Butler (bass), Mason Crooks (drums)
Best Known For: Cultivating an almost-overnight fan base with frequent, intense live shows
Musical Output: Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza (Corrosive Records, 2005)
Sounds Like: Mathcore/tech-metal
Key Tracks: "My Bowling Ball's Frozen in a Footlocker in Chicago," "God Ain't Got No Use For No 180lb. Bag of Sugar," "Big Pun's Not Dead Because I Just Saw Him at Krispy Kreme"
Little-Known Fact: Before joining the band, one unnamed member had to submit a fifteen-page essay on The Dukes of Hazzard
Current Whereabouts: On tour with Lye by Mistake and My Bitter End; writing material for a new album
Eternal Question: Tony Danza What?

Tony Danza, Top Actor Extraordinaire
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Alter Ego: Tony Micelli, Ay-Oh!
Best Known For: With apologies to the Who's the Boss? theme song, awaking to a "brand new life, a brand new life around the bend."
Musical Output: The House I Live In (Sin-Drome Records, 2002)
Sounds Like: Harry Connick Jr. with a paisano streak
Key Tracks: "L-O-V-E," "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," "God Bless America"
Little-Known Fact: Ordained minister of the Universal Life Church
Current Whereabouts: Hosting repeats of The Tony Danza Show, 10-11 a.m. weekdays on the WB (Channel 11); prepping for a national tour of high-end theatres and casinos.
Eternal Question: Duh, who's the boss?

— Julie Seabaugh

7 p.m. Sunday, July 23. Creepy Crawl, 3524 Washington Boulevard. $10 to $12. 314-531-3888.

What's New, Pussycat
For the past ten years, the organist, singer and inventor known as Quintron has kept it close to his light-blue polyester vest, giving few interviews and leaving much of his biography open to speculation. He's preferred to make profoundly weird, noisy and increasingly danceable records from his home in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where he and his wife (the puppeteer and backup singer, Miss Pussycat) ran the Spellcaster Lodge out of their ground-level basement.

Their neighborhood was one of many that was decimated in the floods that followed Hurricane Katrina — and like many New Orleans musicians, they were left with little more than their instruments. Since the flood, Quintron has broken his silence and turned his tours into mini-crusades to spread swamp-boogie grooves, while at the same time reminding listeners of the situation in New Orleans.

B-Sides: You're normally reticent to give interviews. What made you change your mind for this tour?

Quintron: Well, it was more since the hurricane. There were all these questions about what happened. To maintain the whole "no interviews" thing would be an asshole thing to do. So that broke the ice for all the questions.

What doesn't the average American know about what's happening in New Orleans?

That it's not fixed yet. They either think that it's gonna become Disney World — and that's not gonna happen — or that everything's fine. And it's not: The murder rate is on the rise, the National Guard has been called in to keep the peace and in parts of the city there's no bus service, there's no electricity. It will be fine, it's just gonna take some time. This fear that it's gonna become overly gentrified is a kind of outsider fear. [New Orleans culture] is thick and it's deep. It extends from the rich Lakeview homes and Italian restaurants to the black brass bands.

Many of your songs are tied to the city of New Orleans. How do you plan to address the events of the past year in your music?

Our next record will be the most happiest-sounding record on earth. I'm not gonna wallow in the aftermath of Armageddon. It's not what anyone needs to hear right now. More than anything, it's what I really feel like doing. The melodies are coming a lot easier to me now. It will be a lot of major chords, lots of white keys.

You spent some formative years in the St. Louis area. Any fond memories?

I went to Parkway North and lived in Florissant. I lived in St. Louis from the time I was eight until I finished high school. Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Westport Plaza, hanging out on Delmar. I idolized Steve Pick and John the Mailman (editor and publisher of Jet Lag magazine, respectively; Pick also spent many years as a freelance writer for the RFT). I bought T-shirts so I could look like Steve Pick.

(At this point, Quintron hands the phone to Miss Pussycat.)

B-Sides: Have you created any new puppets for this tour?

Miss Pussycat: This tour has an all-new puppet show — all new puppets and a new puppet theatre. It's about Ms. Twinklebear and the Happy Tree and her band the Popsicles. I have three new dresses and new maraca covers too.

We'll look forward to seeing that.

The St. Louis show is my birthday, so if people want to bring me birthday presents, that would be great.

Can you tell us how old you'll be?

No! [laughs] There'll be no candles, only presents. — Christian Schaeffer
7 p.m. Wednesday, July 26. Creepy Crawl, 3524 Washington Boulevard. $10 to $12. 314-531-3888.

St. Louis Scene Trading Cards
Name: Mike Judy
Age: 21
High School: Civic Memorial High School, Bethalto, Illinois
Can Be Found: Booking and promoting both national and local concerts at clubs throughout St. Louis; playing bass in the band Downstate.
Career Highlight: First time booking an all-local show at Pop's.
Fun Fact: While on stage Mike has a trademark move that he calls "The Matrix." It involves leaning as far backward as he can, hovering for a minute while playing and then coming back up. He has yet to fall over.