Urban Hillbilly Y’alt-Punk

The Evangenitals,
Introducing A New Americana

by Reviewer Rob
“… a unique presence in the neo-folk/freak-folk movement…”

The Evangenitals are an LA alternative-country rock band (or y’alt-punk rock) that resists firm description. Upon first appraisal they appear to draw inspiration from country, hillbilly music, Southern spirituals/gospel and early 19th-century ship song as well as traditional Klezmer music disciplines. Lyrically one might also say they are to some extent infused with the great literary heritage of Herman Melville.

This strong 7-piece band is led by the astonishingly robust vocals of Reverand Juli Crockett, a PhD student, LA film and theater director and a retired prize boxer who is said to have been a real-life model for the role Hilary Swank played in MILLION DOLLAR BABY (see link below). Recently released from touring with the hugely popular Johnny Cash tribute band Cash’d Out where she sang as June Carter, Juli Crocket is now free to pursue her more personal artistic goals.

This band and it’s lead singer should be closely watched as they come roaring through the Southern California new music scene.

On a mild February night last week, I met Juli and she provided a tour of The Stockroom on Sunset Boulevard in Silverlake, a sex-toy store/fetish-gear manufacturing plant where she works her current day job in marketing as an informal ambassador of kink. The famous retail outlet is actually where the idea for the name of the band was conceived. “We were making websites here one day,” Crockett said while we were upstairs in the administration offices, “and came up with The Evangenitals.” It’s appropriateness is unique to the band, given the alt-punk music scene milieu, the nature of the adult entertainment niche Crockett finds herself in by day and the spiritual/gospel bible-thumper roots of the Americana genre music they play. The name may hold them back from being announced any time soon on a popular late night TV talk show, but if they know that they don’t seem to care.

We shot some video interview footage and then I witnessed, as unobtrusively as I could, an Evengenitals rehearsal in their rented space nearby in downtown Los Angeles just across the LA river, and did more video and photos. You can see the photos in flash HERE.

The Evangenital’s new self-titled CD has a painting on its cover wherein a sperm whale is prominently featured, pointing to Crockett’s interest in MOBY DICK as a source of theatrical and musical inspiration.

In the world of theater, Crockett wrote and directed a Los Angeles spoken word opera adaptation of MOBY DICK which she titled or, the whale. It was presented at the 2001 Moby Dick Conference at Hofstra University and performed by the TENT group in Portland, Maine.

Or, The Whale, as you may know dear reader, is the secondary title to MOBY DICK, a book still called by many the greatest American novel ever written. Juli names this book as a recurring theme in her music and theatrical art and describes it as a story about “man’s quest for wholeness.”

From their Wikipedia listing on 2/27/10:

” The Evangenitals, formed in 2003 with friends Lisa Dee and Brett Lyda, have received considerable media attention in the LA Weekly, Music Connection Magazine, and other publications & radio stations for their singular brand of “hillbilly truckstop lullabies.” They are considered a unique presence in the neo-folk/freak-folk movement. As stated on the Orphan Records website, “Though not entirely unclassifiable, the Evangenitals are versatile and multi-layered, and will likely carry a ‘slash’ in their genre classification for as long as they exist as a band of Southern Californian country bumpkins.”

The band’s first album – “We Are The Evangenitals” – received rave reviews from fans, selling out of its first printing and receiving a 5 star rating on iTunes. The Evangenitals’ second album “Everlovin” was recorded in South Pasadena at Del Boca Vista studios in January 2007 and released in October of 2007.

In the fall of 2007 The Evangenitals went on the “Road to Oprah” tour with a documentary film crew from The 1 Second Film. The Evangenitals are composing songs for the The 1 Second Film’s “making of” documentary that will accompany its lengthy credits. The Evangenitals will also be appearing in the documentary. So as to appear more media friendly during this time, The Evangenitals went under the moniker, The Love Punks.

Writer Colum McCann spoke in an interview of Juli Crockett and the music of the Evangenitals saying, “For pure craziness, there are lots of other bands, including one that I can’t write to but I’ve become a big fan; they’re called the Evangenitals. They’re from Los Angeles. One of the front singers is a former boxer-slash-philosopher. She’s a fantastic singer. Her name is Juli Crockett.” (Powells.com/Colum McCann).

In addition to fronting The Evangenitals, Crockett also perform[ed] with Cash’d Out, the world’s premier Johnny Cash tribute band, singing the June Carter parts in their stage show.

Crockett and Lisa Dee also perform outside of the band under the name Evangina. ”

The Evangenitals play Winstons in Ocean Beach, San Diego, April 22. Check their website at evangenitals.com or myspace to confirm the date and for music downloads.

US News article: Million Dollar Maybe, A real-life version of Maggie Fitzgerald
Juli Crockett Producer Profile for The 1 Second Film
WBAN Boxing Record for Crockett
Evangenitals Official Site
Evangina Official Site

At left: click the pic or HERE for a members’ section performance-video and and interview with the band.

Photos below: at top, Juli Crockett belting out her Americana; middle photo: four of The Evangenitals in their rehearsal studio space; mask photos, Juli at The Stockroom, a fetish gear retail clothing store and factory in Silverlake, where she works in marketing and as Ambassador of Kink. I had asked her to pose with and without one of the elite Venetian masquerade party-crowd festival masks from in the display case… At bottom is a video file of the interview.

Photos © Reviewer Magazine, by Reviewer Rob 😀

Click HERE to explore the full Flash gallery of pics.

Quicktime video HERE