Creepoid: Like a Dysfunctional Family.
Text and image by Brandee Nichols.
There isn’t a cloud in the sky on this sunny afternoon on quiet DuPont Street in Manayunk. Anna Troxell, the bassist and singer for Creepoid, sits on the front steps of her row home. Her husband, Pat Troxell – Creepoid’s drummer – steps outside after placing a My Bloody Valentine vinyl on his record player. He sits down and puts one leg over the other.
“Your shoe still says $7.99 on the bottom,” Anna states.
Pat just laughs in response.
The remainder of the band – guitarist Peter Joseph Urban IV and guitarist, singer Sean Miller – stand nearby in their casual, thrift-store clothing, attempting to harass the Troxell’s pit bull, Genny (short for Genesis) by making fun of her nipples.
“I have nipples, Greg. Can you milk me?” Urban asks, quoting Robert DeNiro from Meet The Fockers.
The four-piece, indie, psychedelic, folk rock sensation that is Creepoid has received plenty of love from the local music press. Their four song EP, Yellow Life Giver, and full-length album, Horse Heaven, released in January, have garnered them attention across the country, as well.
While nearly impossible to pinpoint a distinct comparison, Creepoid’s music has a way of catching your attention and slowly drawing you in – much like a car crash, but in a good way.
Pat, Urban and Miller have known each other since they all attended Upper Moreland High School.
Pat met Anna, who grew up in Northeast Philly, at shows. They spoke for the first time at the Audience of One show at the Killtime, the legendary but now defunct DIY venue in West Philly. They became friends. It wasn’t until years later that they realized that they should be together.
“It’s funny because Pat would have never thought that we would be married,” says Anna.
Urban convinces everyone to relocate from the steps to the living room because he’s cold, resorting to his faux lamb wool zip up.
The Troxell’s living room is cluttered with records (now listening to “The Rose HE Lied By” by Love Life). The Who and Septa posters adorn the walls and a large black skull and crossbones flag lies draped above the television set (with Nintendo cords strewn on the floor).
Trouble, their large black cat, wanders into the room and strolls past Genny.
“They’re in cahoots,” Pat says. “They fuck shit up together. They cuddle and shit.”
Anna adds, “They steal treats together.”
The Troxells moved into their home nearly two years ago. There was a brutal snowstorm their first winter there. Creepoid was conceived during that storm.
“Sean came down to party and he got snowed in and was stuck here all weekend,” says Pat. “Sean and I recorded the original songs that he had already written. We recorded them together on a reel-to-reel tape machine. After we played it back we went upstairs and were like ‘Anna, come downstairs. We want you to sing on this.’”
That E.P. sparked a series of live performances.
“I didn’t think we were going to be playing shows,” Anna says. “Then it quickly became more than just a project.”
Pat jumps in while his wife’s words still linger in the air.
“It lets us do the chaotic thing that we have to live with,” he says. “We can do that shit, and explode, and just like lose our fucking minds.”
Creepoid went into the process of creating their full-length album with every intention of completing it themselves. They had no deadline, and they were determined to get it done, eventually.
After recording seven or eight drum tracks, producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson reached out to them. After realizing that he was serious – and not just another person wanting their money in return for production – they began work on Horse Heaven, an 11-track album that dropped on January 11, 2011 (get it – 1/11/11?).
“We would work our day jobs, get done at five or six, and go there every day and be there as late as we could, until we’re all sleeping on the floor and shit,” Pat says.
It paid off. The band sold out their album launch show at Kung Fu Necktie. The album received raves from critics across the country.
Anna decides that it’s time to join the guys outside, who are working on the fire in the backyard pit – to make sure they’re not burning anything that they shouldn’t.
Miller begins climbing a giant, unsteady looking tree in the Troxell’s backyard.
Urban rummages through the scraps of wood next to the fire, which is raging by now. He settles on an old window frame, holding it just right – behind the fire framing his face – but only for a brief moment before the heat becomes too hot to handle the splintered wood.
The Troxells make the short trek from their house to where Miller and Urban are fooling around, in front of the growing flame. The close-knit group of eclectic friends stands together with the bright heat in front of them.
Like a dysfunctional family.