Chris Dipinto, Rob Giglio and Dave Janny are the glam rock band, Creem Circus.
For all of its easy flash, pomp and circumstance, glam rock has never been simple. To go with its feathery decadence, there is a serious, perhaps savage way into its razor-sharp leads and glissando strains. Ask David Bowie’s 70s-era guitar hero Mick Ronson, a man coated in sequins and highly capable of glam’s dramatic slam and shudder. Guitarist Chris DiPinto (of Wastoid fame, to say nothing of his self-named Fishtown six-string shop), drummer Rob Giglio (Beretta76) and bassist Dave Janny – as Creem Circus – have forged the cool fire of glam/power pop across recordings such as Rock and, or Roll, The Glitterest, Sladest, Rockin’est, Laidest, Overtime-Paidest, Boogiest Band in Town and its “7 Minutes In Heaven/Rock & Roll Decree” single.
Now in June, the same month that Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars and Roxy Music’s eponymous-titled debut were released on the same day 50 years ago, Creem Circus relight its fire with a new single, “Those Shoes,” a Saturday morning, animated kids show video and a special Ortliebs live show on June 3 to prove it.
dosage MAGAZINE and I spoke with Chris DiPinto (still in the news for having trafficked in guitar selling with Netflix’s “Hustle” star Adam Sandler when he last was in town) about all things glam and Creem Circus.
A.D. Amorosi: What the two of you do as Creem Circus traffics in power pop with a glam rock edge. Of all the music that well trained instrumental veterans such as yourself could have hit upon, why that one?
Chris DiPinto: Pop rock has always been our love. My personal earliest memories are of my dad playing the Beatles Christmas fan club records on Christmas morning. Then by age five, my hero became Elton John and my parents took me to see him at the Spectrum in 1976. Cheap Trick, the Raspberries… Exciting music with catchy choruses is what I’ve always craved. Even my metal, indie rock, punk and glam, must all have this sensibility or I’m not interested.
A.D. Amorosi: Anything you wish to say about this city’s long held dedication to all that glitters, please be my guest, the 50th anniversary Ziggy and Rony Music albums included?
Chris DiPinto: Yes! In fact, when I first had the idea for a glitter band, the long tradition of people marching up Broad Street in feathers and rhinestones was a big motivator. I was never a Mummer myself but I always enjoyed the spectacle. The 90s really killed theatrical rock so I knew reviving it would be a heavy lift. And of course, Bowie recording “Young Americans” here was a big inspiration. Also, getting to meet Earl Slick (Bowie’s long time guitarist) after making him and David some of my DiPinto guitars. He recalled those sessions and it was a big thrill hearing about all the minutia… The songs and the gear of the era, all through Earl’s thick Brooklyn accent, priceless.
A.D. Amorosi: How do you make that sound, that glam sound, one so rooted in the bells and whistles of 70s kitsch so alarmingly original and fresh?
Chris DiPinto: We, in the band, are retro beings. We love anything that is old…Thrift stores, record stores, old films and docs. Around 2013, I, personally immersed myself into 70s British glam rock and junkshop (the bands that never made it) glam. I lived the music, the fashion, the interviews, the old footage… Top of the Pops and Old Grey Whistles Test, to name a few. But it was all over too soon in the 70s. Technically, the glam era only lasted for about four years, from when Bolan went on Top of the Pops with glitter on his cheeks in 1972 to about 1976. It’s very short and I always thought there was more to explore. Creating tunes and melodies and outfits, all just started coming to me around 2012 when I first conceived of the band. I am obsessed with it to this day, and I keep almost everything else that is new out of my mind. Maybe it has something to do with the original glam rock era being so out of fashion now. I feel the need to raise it back to its rightful glory.
A.D. Amorosi: How did you arrive at “Those Shoes” and its Saturday morning kids show video? I appreciate the lunge backward.
Chris DiPinto: The tune itself rose out of the Slade sound and the bov’ver rock style of big stomping platform shoes on the stage with a fun simple rock tune loaded with goofy teen lyrics. So when the recording, that was done at Creep Records, came out so good, with its many layered tracks of stomping feet, we thought: let’s do a video that brings back the old Top of The Pops look. We hired the amazing Dominic Episcopo to film it because we knew he’d nail it. Then Rockbottom Rob, our drum, met A. A. Glenn of thealstars who is a tremendous animator in the style of Scoopy Doo and the Archie’s. Rob directed the video and him and Glenn created an awesome cartoon sequence! And with Vincent Bruzzee’s editing, it’s just so classic, that you might think it is vintage footage. In fact, that is always our goal, in a performance art sort of way. Keep the audience guessing… “Is this old? Or is this a new band?” A trick played on the mind helps people get out of their safe zone a loosen up, I think.
A.D. Amorosi: The Ortliebs thing: how does it feel to back to a live music agenda after two years of not being so?
Chris DiPinto: It’s like being alive again. Or like coming out of a coma. Actually, we weren’t sure if we even had the chops anymore after being away for so long. But it was like riding a bike. And the live shows are exhilarating now! Maybe I was getting a little jaded from so many years of performing, but this break got me back to my old nervous/stage fright self.! And nervous energy is really the best when it comes to exciting rock and roll. We hope people watch and enjoy the video and laugh at us as much as we laugh at ourselves.