"You know when you're going to go to a really good party, or you're going to go meet your friends and like, eat mushrooms, and you're anxious for it?" says Sean Miller, vocalist and guitarist of the grunge rock four-piece Creepoid. "I feel like that about playing in Philadelphia."

Formed in West Philadelphia, Creepoid are a band that's loyal to their roots. In their beginning stages, the band played house shows across the DIY circuit, building a cult following in one of America's most dynamic, booming music scenes. Anna and Pat Troxell - who play bass and drums, respectively - met as teenagers going to hardcore shows around the city, where they fell in love and later married. Two full-length albums later, Creepoid joined forces with Collect Records and temporarily moved to Savannah, Georgia to write, record, and produce an album. The result was a Southern Gothic-influenced record Cemetery Highrise Slum. The gloomy, Nirvana-like LP was released in late June, just days before Creepoid's homecoming record release show at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"It's good to have a homecoming, but you're also more nervous," Anna Troxell says before the show. Her face is framed by a bleach blonde pixie cut, and a tattoo of an Aubrey Beardsley art piece covers the top of her right arm. "You know that half of the crowd loves you and is going to support you, but then you want to play well and not let them down." Creepoid's record release show for their self-titled album also took place at Johnny Brenda's last year.




After driving from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington D.C., and then back up to Philadelphia, it's nearly time for Creepoid to play to an audience of their friends, family, and long-time fans. In the green room - which smells exactly how you would expect the green room of a band with marijuana leaves on their merch to smell - the sound of the opening band Ecstatic Smile wails through the walls.

"Damn, they're just going for it," says Nick Kulp, who plays guitar for Creepoid. He's the newest member of the band, though he's a longtime friend who helped with Creepoid's layout design in the past. "It's like they were sitting in silence for twenty-four hours, just meditating, preparing," he adds, impressed by their tourmates' soundcheck. Kulp is dressed in head-to-toe black, which matches his dark hair, shaggy yet straight. When Pat Troxell tells a story about hearing Nick Cave trash-talk Jack White, Kulp replies, "Hey, that's my dad," joking about their similar, almost vampire-like appearance.

Despite their harsh, demanding tour schedule (Creepoid's website banner reads, "On Tour Forever RIP"), the four bandmates still manage to maintain great chemistry.

"We're together all the time," says Kulp. "We're a family... A pack. A wolf pack. I like that."




Kulp talks about his recent interest in seventies Italian punk bands ("They're not really punk bands - they're more like drum machines," he says), which he listens to while he drives. Anna Troxell isn't as enthusiastic, remembering a night on tour when she couldn't sleep because Kulp was blasting 'Black Silk Stockings' by Krisma, a long-forgotten Italian punk duo. But when Pat Troxell is in charge of driving the van - their "home" with "green stripes, rust spots, and Greyhound seats" - he brings the band into some bizarre situations.

"One time, we were driving through Death Valley - the scenic route - and we saw a giant desert wolf barking at this guy's van," he remembers.

Anna Troxell says that while driving, the band likes to imagine far-fetched scenarios for fun.

"We do voices of the people we stay with and their animals having conversations with each other about like, philosophy," says Pat Troxell.

"We imagine our deaths," Anna adds, laughing.

When Creepoid takes the stage for their record release show, Anna dominates the stage, dancing to her forceful bass lines. "I like to see a band that can put on a show," she says. Though she holds great command over both her audience and her music, Troxell didn't start playing bass until after she got out of graduate school. She studied photography, which included portraits of performance art, triggering her interest in the stage presence of a band.

During Creepoid's set, clouds of smoke seep through the crowd and up towards the balcony. Multi-colored lights flash through out the bar as they play a set comprised mostly of songs from Cemetery Highrise Slum.

"We have a new record, and we're going to play the whole fucking thing," shouts Pat Troxell from behind his drum kit. Tattoos cover both of his arms, including a tattoo of Creepoid's logo and a mug of beer that says "Johnny" under it, which he got at SXSW to honor his uncle's death.




Though Creepoid spent ten of the last twelve months touring, they plan to continue on the road at least through their performance at Philadelphia's Made in America festival in September. But the band's passion for music has not wavered. Whenever they have a day off, Creepoid will go to shows in the area - they've been regulars at Philly gigs for the past twenty years, and Pat Troxell even worked in booking with venues like the Electric Factory and the Kung Fu Necktie in the past.

"I hung out at 39th and Lancaster four nights a week for like eight years of my life," says Pat, referring to an area in West Philadelphia with plenty of DIY venues. "There are just so many good shows all over the city. That's just Philly." He excitedly mentions that he wants to see Destruction Unit in South Philadelphia on Sunday, since Creepoid doesn't have a show that day.

Though most band members have a background in other forms of art, between Anna Troxell's photography and Sean Miller's design, music seems to make them more impassioned than anything. After a long set with unwavering energy, Creepoid return for an encore, and their Philadelphian fans react with just as much emotion as they did when they saw their hometown heroes walk on stage for the first time that night.

Creepoid expressed nervousness about playing in the city where they've made a lifetime of musical memories, but they introduce fans to their new record with confidence and enthusiasm. After their show, the band walks off stage and reunites with their loved ones. Their weekend of rest at home is welcomed, but in just days, Creepoid will climb back into their rusted Dodge van to continue doing what they love in as many cities as they can.


Cemetery Highrise Slum by Creepoid is out now on Collect Records.