Shifty Shellshock back on the scene, a return to Crazy Town

Crazy Town

Shifty Shellshock and Crazy Town play Whiskey Dick’s Saloon in South Lake Tahoe on Friday.

“Be careful what you wish for.” Those words are from an artist who had a No. 1 hit song and two seasons on both “Celebrity Rehab” and “Sober House.”

Seth Binzer, who goes by Shifty Shellshock onstage and on the screen, is back in the news, this time again for his music with his band Crazy Town.

Crazy Town headlines a show at Whiskey Dick’s Saloon in South Lake Tahoe on Friday and will perform new songs from an upcoming album, which would be the first without Binzer’s longtime musical partner, Bret “Epic” Mazur.

“We’re doing a lot of cool, new stuff,” Binzer told Tahoe Onstage. “I’m bringing in a lot of elements. I’m excited about the new record.”

Shifty ShellshockCrazy Town’s first record, “The Gift of Game,” included the smash hit “Butterfly” and brought instant fame.

“It was No. 1 in 13 countries on rock, pop and Latin charts,” Binzer said. “It was surreal and everything I could have wished for. It was both a blessing and a curse, a double-edged sword.”

After “Butterfly,” people wanted more pop songs from what had been a hard-rocking hip-hop group.

Binzer learned some tough lessons about “the music business and having a lot of money and being a crazy kid. Thinking that that’s what you always wanted to do until you do it and at a certain point you realize that’s not what you want to do.”

Binzer became a drug addict, and instead of performing alongside Epic, he was on camera with Dr. Drew Pinsky on reality TV.

Years later, Binzer cleaned up and reunited with Mazur, and Shifty and Epic made another record, 2013’s “The Brimstone Sluggers.”

“We realized it would take a lot of touring to rebuild the brand to be in the place where we wanted to be … and we toured for a year.”

Mazur decided to settle down and focus on movie work. Binzer said his partner encouraged him to continue Crazy Town on his own.

“I took the band over and toured relentlessly in Europe,” Binzer said.

During the last six months he’s been working on an album and doing local shows and short runs. He says while onstage, he doesn’t often address his troubled past.

“I’m not going to be a preacher, but I’m sober and I’m happy and I think that that just comes off in my performance,” he said. “I’m not as belligerent as I used to be.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself. It’s been trial and error. I’ve had a very interesting and crazy life and I’m really grateful to be alive and to have walked through that. I feel a lot wiser and look at everything in a different way now.”

— Tim Parsons

  • Crazy Town
    Openers: Local Anthology, Melting Elk
    When: 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4
    Where: Whiskey Dick’s Saloon
    Tickets: $20 in advance or $25 on the day-of-show

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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