We caught up with Drew Kreitz, the goofy, lighthearted, super genius and slightly crazy drummer of The Chemical Lizards. And yes, that’s how he wanted us to refer to him. We got it in writing.
How would you describe your music?
Our music rests comfortably on a sturdy bed of eucalyptus leaves, alongside two baby koalas and a mama bear feeding them sweet mango slices, while a hungry tiger patiently sips his beer by a campfire beneath their perch.
How’d the band get started?
Colin (Spooner) exploited his position in the local music community to hijack a cushy bass player gig.
Can you agree to a favorite venue?
Hands down, without a doubt, Paddy’s Irish Pub in Fayetteville. It’s the most honest, all cards on the table kind of place I’ve experienced, and if you’re lucky, the owner of the place will drink a few with you and sing you some tunes. The crowd is the best, they’ll heckle you and jeer you and sing every word along with you, even if you’re both too drunk to remember the next verse.
What kind of environment is most conducive to having fun on stage?
A chemical lizard is conducive to any environment. We will happily play three hours of covers at your nephew’s wedding and you won’t even know we’re the same band that sang Better Off Dead last Saturday.
Do you have a goal each time you get on stage and play?
Don’t drop a stick. Don’t lose any gear. Don’t have a panic attack. Don’t punch walls. Don’t break your hand. Don’t [edited for our publisher] die.
What’s something you take for granted about your role as a musician that others might envy?
Unless you know the band, you wouldn’t know how lucky I am. Crow (Kozak) and Colin are the best, and the bond and family I feel with my bandmates might not be part of the show or our persona, but it’s real. Colin is wise beyond his years, and has been a valuable spirit guide for me in times of weakness. Crow and I have greeted a many a sunrise with a bottle of whiskey between us and the world’s problems at our feet.
Who are your musical influences, both personally and as a band?
I’m a metalhead at heart — Slayer, Pantera, Exodus — but I really started to appreciate groovy stuff as I got older. Run the Jewels is my favorite musical outfit at the moment. But that has very little to do with what we do as the Chemical Lizards.
I like playing with these guys because we’re influenced by everything that I’m not. Crow made me jam along to old 80’s pop songs like “Dancing With Myself” on a cajon enough times that I’ve tried to find ways to mess with it and throw it back at him. I like to think that’s part of what makes us a fun band — our disparate musical influences.
Do those influences transfer into your music?
I get to play a Taylor Swift song with a double bass pedal. There are a lot of metal drummers that can run circles around me on a double bass pedal, but I don’t see them playing Taylor Swift. Do I smell a challenge?
What is it that you enjoy most about playing for an audience?
Actually having one. Seriously. We’ve played enough empty rooms to appreciate an engaged table. No matter the crowd, we will give it our all and try and get on your level, but if you’ve got the courage, help us out, because it’s a long night without you. Sing along, dance, haggle with us about T-shirt prices, buy Colin too many shots. Do something and enjoy the moment, enjoy yourself, because that”s what we’re here for, and that’s the energy we feed off.
What are your goals for the future of your music?
I want to reach a critical mass of people that know the words to at least one of our original songs. I wanna be playing in, like Myanmar, and see a bunch of folks who may or may not even know our language singing our song back to us. Imagine that. Did I mention we’re playing the Whiskey A Go Go in May?
What’s the most surprising thing that has happened to your band to date?
Did I mention we’re playing the Whiskey A Go Go in May?