Music » Music Feature

Mad scientists on stage

How bassist Frankie Stein and guitarist/vocalist James Arr live and love like it’s Halloween every day.

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Numerous love stories can be heard in the music of the Old Pueblo. What happens when "Till death do us part" meets rock 'n' roll? This week, meet bassist Frankie Stein and guitarist/vocalist James "Arr" Roebuck, the husband and wife rockers leading The Mission Creeps.

How they met:

James "Arr" remembers the first time he saw Frankie Stein performing.

"She was playing on stage and (I remember) the way she held the bass and just sort of had her chin up in the air and was looking defiantly into the audience like a badass woman," Arr said. "She was just holding it down and I remember thinking, 'Man, I would love to have her in my band.'"

It was the first HOCO Fest that brought the pair together to work on a band map project. The plan was to create a social network diagram linking all 20 bands at the festival to their other projects.

At the time, this type of diagram was not widely available. Arr was a sociology graduate student then with a focus on social network analysis. So, Stein contacted him through a mutual friend to help with the project. The two struck up a friendship, bonding over similar obscure bands and going to each other's shows.

"It's interesting, because I thought you were extremely talented, but I thought you were just so kind of dorky," Stein said. "I had no idea. The geek was just on the surface but he's a full-blown mad scientist."

Their friendship developed naturally the more they spoke and they began to play music together. Stein remembers a sign, or "some freaky incident" after an early rehearsal of their band, The Mission Creeps.

"We went from practice to this magical show at the Wench where we got the magic parking spot right in front of the door and saw a fantastic band," she said. "On the way back to our rehearsal space, a white owl flew down and landed right in front of the car and stared at us for an inordinate amount of time. We just sat there staring at it in disbelief."

How they make it work:

Between their busy rehearsal schedule and tours, jobs and children, they still find the time to just enjoy each other's company in the backyard.

"We don't have much time to ourselves, so we don't go out a lot," Stein said. "Because we have the studio here, we just sneak in there and treasure our home time."

How they rock:

The Mission Creeps, the couple's band, is known for their surfy, goth/punk homage to horror movies. Stein brings the basslines and "reins in his madness," while Arr sings and plays guitar. Stein said they have a chemistry together when they play.

"We have an instinct that's unique and we also have a similar music value system," Arr said. "You have the similar place, the semi-quasi-physic connection, because you're connected all these other ways."

Arr's favorite part about working with his wife on music is the level of commitment that is carried over from their marriage.

"If you break up the marriage you break up the band...other bands, you can say, 'Later, man,'" Arr said. "You're committed at all these levels which hopefully is good, and in our situation it works."

How they roll:

The two enjoy cooking together and have a stuffing contest every Thanksgiving. They also make a popular haunted house in their midtown neighborhood every Halloween. When they aren't making music in their home studio, or working their full time jobs, they swim, ride scooters and like to watch movies at the Loft.

Stein said The Surly Wench is their Cheers and when they do go out to shows they enjoy 191 Toole.

Power of music:

"I've always dreamt of being in a relationship with someone I was in a band with and made music together whenever we wanted to," Arr said. "When I met Frankie that was cool because we like the same kind of music and play well together."

"This is my dream girl," he adds. "This is it."

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