WANT TO GO?
Crazy Jane with Mother Nang
A Live on the Levee concert
WHERE: Haddad Riverfront Park
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday
INFO: 304-348-8014 x 105 or www.liveontheleveecharleston.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- At Friday night's Live on the Levee, Crazy Jane returns with its first show in more than a decade.
It's hard to believe that it's been 12 years since Crazy Jane was around. In a way, the Charleston rock band never really left. Its core members, including guitarist Andy Park, percussionist Mark Davis and singer Karen Allen Richardson, have been local music scene regulars for years.
Gathered around a table at Taylor Books, looking not too much worse for the wear after a dozen years, Park said, "I guess it doesn't really seem that odd for us to be together again."
Still, the trio had to admit it was kind of cool that they were finally doing it.
Not everyone will remember, but in the early 1990s, Charleston's music scene was in the middle of a boom. "Mountain Stage" was on the rise after R.E.M.'s performance on the show, and locally, several promising bands had emerged, including Mother Nang, Strawfyssh and Crazy Jane.
In 1992, then-"Mountain Stage" music director John Kessler, who will perform with the band, produced a record showcasing these bands and Parkersburg singer/songwriter Todd Burge. It was called "New Music Feast: Volume One."
"These were some of the first bands I ever produced," he said, speaking via Skype. "Each one of them had a unique sound. And they were so young; Mark, he must have been like 18 or 19. I remember rehearsals in his parents' basement."
The recording was well received, but within a year, Mother Nang and Strawfyssh disbanded. Crazy Jane managed to keep going for another seven years.
"We were together for 10 years," Richardson said. "We'd been on the road, played lots of shows. I'd married the bass player [Chris Allen]." Richardson laughed, then added, "I was looking for something in my life. That wasn't it. It was just time to move on."
Still, before calling it quits in 2000, the band had a pretty good run. It recorded two records, toured extensively and made two appearances on "Mountain Stage."
After it was over, everyone went their separate ways -- sort of. Charleston isn't a big music scene.
Davis and Park formed the Voodoo Katz, a popular, percussion-driven world beat group that's a local mainstay. Davis is also a solo artist, a member of vocal trio Bare Bones and performs with the Bark-o-Loungers.
Park, meanwhile, plays solo gigs, recorded a CD of original material two years ago and formed The Country Katz. He's also served as president of Local 136 of the musician union and is now playing with a fiddle band called Fiddler's Galore.
"I love playing the fiddle right now," Park said.
Richardson took a little time off, then got back to music. Among other things, she wrote songs and joined the band Whistlepunk, which developed a modest local following before dissolving.
After that, she and guitarist Sean Richardson (formerly of Strawfyssh) formed the indie rock duo Tofujitsu.