Jan. 26, 2005 - Issue #484: The Hidden Cameras
Reviving Las Vegas
Hard-rocking LVCK frontman Paul Ellingham may be a dad, but he isn't ready
for the Crypt just yet
Even when your arms are a living canvas of tattoos, your nose is pierced, your sideburns are lengthy and your fashion sense makes you resemble a member of Mötley Crüe, only more decayed, there comes a time when every hard rocker has to grow up. For Paul Ellingham, lead singer of Edmonton’s own Las Vegas Crypt Keepers, that time came in June of 2003 when his ragtag gang of high-energy musical misfits called it quits after he became a single father to two young girls. But after a short respite from the wearying life of a working band, the Crypt Keepers got back together in May of last year, and although he might not be the carefree partier he once was, Ellingham says his newfound maturity suits him just fine.
This week, LVCK will be taking part in a local benefit concert to help the Red Cross raise money for the victims of the recent tsunami disaster. Ellingham says he knew he wanted to be a part of the concert right from the beginning, due in no small part to the current state of his own personal life. “I have two little kids, I’m a single dad and on the 26th I was watching TV seeing dead kids,” he says. “As harsh as that sounds, when I saw these kids looking for their parents, I put myself there. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my kids in a tragedy like that, so I knew I had to do something.”
Of course, being a dad has influenced more parts of Ellingham’s life than just his decision to appear at a one-off rock show. It was also the reason the group took a break from playing, even though before their retirement they were the buzz band at music festivals and some sort of breakout deal seemed imminent. “On a personal level,” Ellingham says, “I could have just bailed and said, ‘I’m going to Vancouver, forget this, I’m done’ or I could be a responsible father, get out of a few things that take up a lot of time in my life and get some focus. So I did what I had to do. I don’t party any more and I don’t hang out at the bar—I just do music and hang out with these two girls who look up at me and say ‘dad.’”
But just because he’s spending more time watching Barney than hanging out at the bar doesn’t mean Ellingham has slowed down when it comes to penning gritty, aggressive rock songs. If anything, he says having kids has made him write better songs and want to do music more than ever. “We’re writing more about heavier subjects—things aren’t just about sideburns,” he laughs. “It’s got a lot more thickness to the music as well, which I really like.”
The people involved in the Crypt Keepers have also evolved since their heyday. Erick Lavigne, who had played with Ellingham back when the band was known as Hippie Child, came back after a 10-year break, and of course the other members had flitted around in various other projects in the meantime. In fact, Ellingham says the reunion was amazingly easy, and if anything the break only made them stronger. “This band, as it stands, are 14-year friends playing,” he explains. “We just naturally do music, and a lot of the internal things with the band and the craziness were just forgotten. We went on vacation for a while, and then came back and everything was smoothed over.
“Before we know it,” he continues, “we jammed five times and had an EP ready to go, so I thought, ‘Okay, maybe I’m not ready to have a walker and a cane quite yet.’”
Ellingham points to the band’s recent show opening up for Mötley Crüe as one of their best to date, and says they’re looking forward to shopping themselves around again once their new EP hits streets. He admits he’ll probably be wearing the same black toque and jeans to their gig this week as he will when he drops his daughter off at school that morning, but even if the Crypt Keepers have given up a lot of the rock posturing of old, it’s surly been replaced with a newfound passion for the music. “I was playing my acoustic last night at 1 a.m. and that’s what I’m in this for,” Ellingham says. V
Las Vegas Crypt Keepers
With Social Code, Deep Fine Grind, Marble Engine, the B-Movies and ChySuga • Red’s • Fri, Jan 28
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