Buddy Holly Horror Show: Musica hosts annual ‘Slasher Sock Hop’ Saturday


Survivor Girl

Mark Oprea

If Norman Bates of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho formed a rock band, what kind of rock band would he form?

Probably one like Survivor Girl.

An amalgam of 1950s-style gymnasium rock ‘n’ roll and “horror” music, Akron-based Survivor Girl aims to give a musical voice to the serial killers of classic thrillers that wouldn’t have one otherwise. It’s not the typical aspiring Buddy Holly homage, said frontman Scott Roger.

“We’re unlike the guys who were writing love songs for girls who listen to their 45s on their record players and cry,” Roger said. “That’s kind of the joke.”

Roger’s Survivor Girl, along with Monkees tribute trio The Frodis Capers, is headlining Slasher Sockhop ‘14 at Musica in Akron on Saturday, Oct. 25. Besides throwback rock ‘n’ roll, the party will feature comedy troupe the Five Top Fives, a themed raffle and a photographer for a mock-prom photo shoot. Rogers is even lugging in his own homemade, edible fake blood for a “blood booth,” something one might find coming out of the kitchen of American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman

After a seven-year stint with metal music, Roger came upon the idea of Survivor Girl in 2013, around the time of last year’s Halloween. Earlier this year he began experimenting with songwriting, first imagining how Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” would sound from the point of view of a crooning Norman Bates. Finding his muse readily, Roger turned to other famous psychotic slashers, morphing them into 1950s singers. Roger looked to Halloween for his first EP’s “Just the Two of Us,” having the mask-wearing psycho Michael Myers propose romance to Laurie Moore rather than death.

“All I did was imagine what it would sound like if Michael Myers was writing a song in the 1950s and he was the next Buddy Holly,” Roger said.

Other than golden-age horror films, Roger grew up listening to the music of his parents’ generation: Johnny Cash, Del Shannon, Chuck Berry and the Four Tops — all of which explains the niche of his latest project. The nostalgic time of sock hops and suburbia, for Roger, just fit together well with horror, so he ran with the concept. Once he put together a complete band with bassist Joey Soach and drummer Brandon “Boomer” Siegenthaler, Survivor Girl became a seriously killer rock outfit.

In a speedy three months, Roger wrote and produced the band’s first EP, “Gets Out Alive,” which they’ll be performing Saturday, along with other 1950s staples. Opting out of being a seasonal “horror” band, Roger aims for recording at least one album per year. Halloween gigs, he said, are not the groups only reason for being — it’s for the sake of rock ‘n’ roll.

As the guitarist for The Frodis Capers, Royce McCadular wears dark-brown mutton chops and oval-framed glasses. He and his two bandmates, singer/bassist Corey Rotic and drummer Eric Dalter are often seen on stage in firetruck-red buttoned shirts that McCadular’s wife made. It must be known that the Capers is a Monkees tribute band.

Set to open for Survivor Girl at Saturday’s Slasher Sockhop ‘14 show, Cleveland-native The Frodis Capers is planning on bringing its Gretsch guitars and garage-rock sound to the Musica’s stage. Although McCadular said the homage is not a spitting image of the 1960s TV-stars-turned-pop-group, the Capers aim to encourage a similar reaction fans would have decades ago. McCadular is sure the music hasn’t faded.

“I like to say that the Monkees are like pizza,” he said. “Everybody just kind of likes them.”

Formed in 2012 after the death of Davy Jones, the most popular Monkee, the members of The Frodis Capers felt that they owed it to their idols, and started their band. With high-tech, versatile distortion effect pedals instead of beat up tube amps, McCadular said that while the “raw” sound of the original 1960s recordings aren’t replicable, the energy behind them still is. 

After playing Monkees conventions and meeting group members like Micky Dolenz, McCadular believes the Capers have a big thumbs up from the surviving members.

“I think that they would approve of us,” he said.

Along with Survivor Girl, The Frodis Capers are to make for a solid slasher-themed sock hop without referencing stalker-killers like Roger. The 30-year-old frontman states that although he expects laughs from songs like “Just the Two of Us,” he said that his love for the sounds of the 1950s digs more than skin deep.

“We take the music seriously,” Roger said. “But the whole point is just to make people smile.”

Contact Mark at [email protected].