Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
Most bands crash and burn after they scale the top of the charts, but the Los Angeles-based hip-hop/rock crew Crazy Town did things in reverse. Three years before their single "Butterfly" flew to the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 chart last month, the band's founding rappers, Bret "Epic" Mazur and Seth "Shifty Shellshock" Binzer, were in separate rehab centers trying to get their lives together. "We wrote letters to each other," says Mazur, "saying, 'When we get out, let's just do this and not stop until we get a record deal. Let's stop messing around.' "
Within a year Mazur, who had worked in L.A. for a decade as a hip-hop producer (MC Lyte, Bell Biv DeVoe), and his cohorts released their 1999 debut, The Gift of Game. Soon they were promoting it nonstop on the road. But the band spun out of control again after Binzer, while enduring emotional problems, suffered a relapse. Taking no chances, the band's management pulled Crazy Town from their gig on last summer's heavy-metal blowout Ozzfest, sending them back to L.A. to regroup. "We almost threw it all away," says Mazur, 31, who adopted his tag Epic after reading Homer. "We had to prove to our managers that they had a real band on their hands."
Now Mazur (whose dad, Irwin, is a music-publishing exec who once managed Billy Joel) and his tattooed partner Binzer, 27, have mounted another comeback on the wings of "Butterfly," a runaway hit on radio and MTV. "This is where the real work begins," says Mazur. "This is what we asked for."