Amy Crosby and her band have played everywhere: for a handful at the Silver Fox, for some 40,000 Pride revelers in Iceland. But one would never guess that such an odd span of accomplishments belong to a band called Shitting Glitter.
With tight hair that runs between the boarder of fluorescent orange and pink, a shirt that says “Vote” across the chest and bright red lipstick a la Marilyn Monroe, bandleader and executive chef de musique Crosby doesn’t exude hubris more than she does punk. And even more, she is from Long Beach, a city that is as unpretentious as it comes.
“I love Long Beach and honestly, I’ve never been happier,” she said exuberantly, hands gesticulating so wildly that her iced coffee is swinging from side to side. “It’s this thriving community. Everywhere you go, it’s totally gay and then it’s totally not gay. It just is, y’know? There’s nothing slick about it–it’s just pure community.”
The iced coffee collapses onto its side.
“See? Spill and move on.”
Since 2001, Shitting Glitter has been through many phases and many members–fifteen within its first ten years alone, who have also been a part of Ask Alice, T.A.T.u. and Messengers from the Sexual Frontier–as it traversed the arenas of punk, electro-clash, new wave, pop and electronic rock. With songs that range from witty–”I’m not rude, I’m justified,” Crosby sings on “High and Tight”–to “R So,” dedicated to her friend who was framed by police for cruising a park and now has to register as a sex offender, Shitting Glitter’s main aim to take LGBTQ issues and make them fun.
Crosby, former keyboardist Devin Tait and then-girlfriend Yvonne Edwards (who now proudly sports the name “Von” and is part of the trans community) criss-crossed Los Angeles touting their queer notions of what music is and could be, falling in the vein of other queer acts at the time like Le Tigre while simultaneously echoing Siouxsie Sioux and Ani Difranco.
And though Tait was an essential cog in the making and overall creation of Shitting Glitter, he was ultimately pop to Crosby’s punk.
“I wanted more hardcore–more!”Crosby said loudly, laughing giddily as she chewed on her lip piercing. “I would consistently tell Devin, ‘Grind my bass more, dammit!’…
And I loved Devin, but as with all art, it can’t stay the same. We change, things change–and Shitting Glitter doesn’t stay static.”
As the group began to become more guitar-driven, slowly diving into the sounds of surf-rock that were invigorating Crosby’s (and many Southern Californian bands’) imagination, it was a natural time for the original duo to part ways: Tait to go towards his more pop-driven inclinations and Crosby able to hone her guitar-driven rock.
This eventually turned into a move to Long Beach.
“Shitting Glitter is officially a Long Beach band,” Crosby said, noting their monthly residence at Bull Bar. “I lived in WeHo for twenty years. I know”–she sets her drink down and holds her hands up dramatically–”I survived! But I always wanted to move to Long Beach and I just did.”
Moving to Rose Park and describing her neighborhood as a commune of great minds–”No, seriously: I live right by Jeff Anderson and Torey Carrick, who are awesome, and Suja Lowenthal, and we all just vibe with another”–Long Beach offered Crosby something she had never had before: professional musicians.
“There’s a freedom to having pros,” Crosby said. “Not that any of the musicians I worked for weren’t professionals– but they were emotionally invested. With pros, I can just be me and my shows can evolve the way I want them to. I can write a song and an hour later, they’re ready to play.”
However, professionals weren’t the only thing Crosby needed. After all, professionals are ones to play with but not write with. That emotional investment, with which previous members’ sentiments had ultimately drained her energy unhealthily, was something she needed to not only seek, but find in a manner that more balanced.
That has come in the form of Danny MacArthur of fellow Long Beach band Crush 333, whom Crosby described as “an absolute master of everything.”
MacArthur–largely influenced by the industrial, prog and electro-dance sounds of Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and Pet Shop Boys–soon became the perfect fit for Crosby and is part of the aforementioned “commune” in Rose Park. While he provides her the writing chops she needs to expand her glittery vision of rock, she provides him vocals for a musical he is writing for a Vietnam production team.
“There is nothing more important than identifying with my community. Because I don’t consider being gay to be a struggle–I think it’s awesome,” Crosby said. “I think being in Long Beach is awesome. And my music will always be a part of my community. And I will happily stand at the front line for it.”
And for those curious about the band’s awesomely gay name, it harkens back to Crosby’s club days getting ready for club night Make-Up. While her crew and herself sprayed themselves with glitter to prepare for the night’s excessiveness, a friend said, “If this continues, we’ll be shitting glitter for days.”
Thankfully they’ve been doing it for years–and will continue to do so as Long Beach’s most sparkly queer punk band.
Shitting Glitter currently consists of Amy Crosby as lead vocalist, Jen Trani and Abby Posner on guitars, Robert Garcia on bass, and Jessi Ramone does backup singing. They will be playing at Bull Bar on July 27; O.C. Pride August 10; and the Blacklight Lounge on September 7.
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