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Monsters of rock

Grooving with Sacramento’s Ghoulies



The Misfits may have exposed fans to the murkier side of B-movie chiller bands, but the Groovy Ghoulies, a pop-rockabilly trio based in Sacramento, are happier delivering their ghastliness with a gleeful grin. As their name suggests, the band delves into the macabre, but they’re just as quick to show the bright side of the dark side: one song makes the case that having a five-handed beast for a girlfriend is lucky, at least when your car’s stuck in a ditch.

Such lighthearted humor exudes from Kepi, the Groovie Ghoulies’ lead singer, who describes tour escapades and live shows with the exuberance of a vampire at a blood bank. Kepi, guitarist (and wife) Roach, and drummer Scampi have managed seven U.S. tours, two Canadian and three European since 1997 (with bands like the Queers and the Epoxies), and according to Kepi, the novelty hasn’t waned.

“I think our basic rule is that we put on a show that we’d want to see,” he says. “We change it around every night so we don’t get bored or jaded—and we take requests. That keeps it fresh, I think.”

And the band never seems to lack for adventure, either. In April they played their song “She’s My Vampire Girl” on the Discovery Channel’s “Monster Garage” for an episode where host Fredini converts an RV into a funhouse. On their current tour, they sidetracked to a car show featuring George Barris (inventor of the Batmobile) and met Eddie Munster (Butch Patrick). The Ghoulies were star-struck.

The music is adventurous, too. The Ghoulies’ upcoming release, Berry’d Alive, is a tribute to idol Chuck Berry, and the band recently made a short video for their single “Runnin’ With Bigfoot.”

Kepi says that whenever they play the Yeti song a “mysterious werewolfy-looking Bigfoot” usually appears. “So maybe we’ll play that in Missoula,” he says, with what sounds like ghoulish delight.

The Groovie Ghoulies play The Other Side Sunday, July 31, at 10 PM. Teenage Bottle Rocket and Teen Harlets open. $6.

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