X-PIRACY GEAR UP FOR CD RELEASE
November 23, 2009
Please welcome to the Suncity Records (www.suncityrecords.com) family, Oregon, Portland’s very own – X-Piracy.
X-Piracy are a very hard band to describe but have all the trademarks that Suncity Records loves! Frontman, Shane Thornon tells the X-Piracy story – Once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky you meet someone of similar style and taste, whom you become fast friends with. You develop a kind of friendship lasting from there on. Extraordinary good fortune would have it that you meet several somebody’s of this sort and that you each find you’re inseparable. Better still, you each love to make the kind of Rock & Roll music that feels good and generates a great deal of attention. In the summer of 1985, just such an occurrence took place in Eugene, Oregon, population 100,000. Singer Shane Thornton, guitarist Robb Dee Crabaugh, guitarist Tony Antone, Bassist Danny Jack and stepbrother, drummer Kevin Stacey had found their ways to one another via the popular record store, Record Garden. Thornton, Crabaugh and Antone had attended high school (most of the time) together in nearby Elmira, while Jack and Stacey attended Churchill High. In no time at all, the young men formed a tight bond of music and friendship a Brotherhood, if you will which would blossom into something very special for a long time to come.
By 1988, X-Piracy had arrived as a respected musical force with infinite potential on the Oregon music scene. Three years of countless rehearsals, carefully chosen gigs, photo session locations and grass-roots group promotions (incorporating everything from gig posters to half-naked girlfriends) had culminated into Eugene’s very first ultra-popular rock band. Whether you were a fan or not, you’d probably heard or seen the name X-Piracy. Maybe it was the Register Guard’s coverage of the gig at Oregon State Penitentiary, or maybe it was one of the neon flyers on hundreds of telephone poles around town. Perhaps it was the all-night, out-of-hand parties at 11th and Polk St. (The circa 1940 two-story house affectionately known as “Dodge City”, for which the song was created in 1987), which kept attracting police attention. Or maybe it was simply that everywhere you went, people were talking about X-Piracy. Repeated venue sell-outs up and down the I-5 corridor performing with the likes of Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Head East, Molly Hatchet, Pat Travers and in L.A., Night Ranger – garnered the attention of out-of-towners as well. Big shots such as legendary producer, Tom Werman (Cheap Trick, Motley Crue, Ted Nugent, Poison, etc.) and Virgin Records, took more than a passing interest in what the young pirates were doing. Werman flew to Eugene to introduce himself and coach the band during recording sessions at Gung-Ho Studio. Meanwhile, Virgin had offered a lucrative publishing contract to the band, which in turn, invested entirely in all-new road gear. News of these developing relationships only added to the hype taking a foothold around the five young, head-strong, driven rock and rollers.
In 1989, due to strong audience turnouts at a popular Portland club known as Starry Night (The Roseland, today), the band was invited to take part in the Northwest Battle of the Bands. The competition was solid, with a full evening of worthy talent taking the stage. Around midnight, as the event was winding down, X-Piracy was heralded as the evening’s winner and there wasn’t a soul in the house who felt inclined to protest.
Feeling confident and strong, the group returned home victorious and scheduled what would be the third sell-out in the Soreng Theater at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. It would also be perhaps the most talked about X-Piracy performance in the band’s history, due in part to the mysterious showering of smelt upon the audience and stage at the end of the set. The group was well known for unauthorised stunts and surprises, but this would prove to be all the Hult Center would tolerate. X-Piracy was banned indefinitely from ever again performing at the prestigious hall. The Pirates, however, had bigger fish to fry. . .
Soon thereafter, the band members began to feel the first throws of stagnation. The band had set it’s sights high from the beginning, but with no challenges or hurdles remaining in Oregon and a newly burned bridge at a large venue, the time had come for substantial change. Change with sacrifice and risk. X-Piracy deliberated on a major change of location, one which would lend itself to the band’s potential and growing popularity. The decision to move north to Seattle or South to Los Angeles was not an easy one, but the latter had a far more noted track record. Despite early warnings from some that the recording industry was turning it’s attention north, away from California, the band prepared for a win all/lose all move to L.A., which took place between August and October of 1990. Despite many moments of exuberance and triumph there, the ensuing year would prove to be a tumultuous one for X-Piracy.
With all band members, gear, female companions and crew accounted for, the Pirates settled into Los Angeles/North Hollywood and secured a place to rehearse (Dee’s garage in Van Nuys). Gigs were booked at iconic venues such as The Whiskey-A-Go-Go, The Troubadour, The Roxy, Florentine Gardens and other popular hot spots. The band and crew were not above hitting the streets, shaking hands and handing out promotional material, which they did many a late night.
As 1991 began, X-Piracy continued to write and record new material, music coming forth amid a backdrop of big city turmoil and increasing hardships. The resulting songs struck a new level of maturity and depth, even pain. The track, “Ever-Lovin’ River”, set a new precedent within the band’s growing repertoire and was as strong a song as any in the industry. Shane one a national poetry contest, which led to meeting comedian Sam Kinison. This new friendship, in turn, led to an invitation for X-Piracy to be the sole music entertainment at Kinison’s Halloween Bash. Kinison, who had recently starred in a popular Motley Crue video, vowed to help promote the pirates. Sadly, however, he was killed when he was struck by a 17-year old drunk driver.
The stress of survival in an unfamiliar land while gigging and promoting the group – was intense. For five years, the Brotherhood had been tight, and disagreements were seldom heard. But in-fighting was on the rise, and eventually, an internal affair led to drummer Stacey’s departure in early summer, 1991. Drummer Jerry Johnson was recruited to replace Stacey, who had returned to Oregon to begin life as a new father. Though stunned, the band was relieved to have found a drummer of similar style and appearance. Heartened, the new pirate line-up trudged on for almost a year, recording such shining gems as, “A Cool Walk In The Sand” and “On A Good Night”. These songs and several other favorites were performed live at KNAC’s summer concert production in Long Beach, CA. This was X-Piracy’s largest audience to date. Ironically, it would also be the final show.
The Brotherhood had been broken. Stacey’s departure and circumstances leading to it had dealt a painful blow to the pirate camp and the ship was losing momentum. By late summer of 1992, to the great dismay of many faithful fans, X-Piracy disbanded.
Featured above is the title track off the album and a band anthem from back in the day. Turn the stereo up to 11 and let rip with “Dodge City Limits” at this location.