A mainstay of the Colorado Springs music scene for more than a decade, Röxy Suicide frontman Dave Mansfield started out performing with his brother Doug in The Mansfields.
The brothers released three albums on their own before signing to Gearhead Records, home to such garage-rock luminaries as The Hives and The Lords of Altamont. Soon they were making waves with Cramp Your Style, a breakthrough album that made no secret of their affinity for Lux Interior and Poison Ivy’s manic psychobilly extravagance. Mansfields songs were soon getting airplay on “Rodney on the ROQ” and Little Steven’s “Underground Garage Radio Network.”
Meanwhile, the band continued to tour coast-to-coast, opening for The Dropkick Murphys, Billy Idol, The Offspring, L7, AFI, The Queers, and numerous other acts.
“We’d play night after night, driving and driving, and sleeping upright,” says Dave, who remembers more than a few nights trying to sleep behind the steering wheel. “We didn’t want to get rooms. We were like, ‘Oh, no, we don’t. Let’s save our money.’”
But after three European tours, life on the road began to take its toll, and The Mansfields decided to call it a day. While his brother Doug got into painting, Dave recorded his own single for Gearhead. “I Wanna Be on Sire,” released under the name Dave Mansfield and the L.A.M.F’s, was a tongue-in-cheek ode to Sire Records founder Seymour Stein, who was responsible for launching the careers of The Ramones, Talking Heads and The Pretenders.
Apropos to its subject matter, the single found Mansfield appropriating Joey Ramone’s sardonic deadpan while laying down a droney synthesizer part reminiscent of NYC electroclash pioneers Suicide.
The L.A.M.F.’s subsequently morphed into The Röxy Suicide, who have just released their debut album Glam-Damaged on Gearhead.
In the tradition of their punk-rock heroes, Mansfield and bandmates Roxy Roller (synthesizer), Olieshox (guitar) and Ziggy Starbux (drums) manage to pack 11 songs into an economical 28 minutes. Among them is a reprise of “I Wanna Be on Sire,” a cover of David Bowie’s “Hang on to Yourself,” and an obscure punk song called “Silly Things” that was written by Sex Pistols co-founders Steve Jones and Paul Cook, who released it as The Ex-Pistols.
The other nine tracks are all Röxy Suicide originals, including “Alice Bowie,” which Mansfield wrote after forgetting that Cheech & Chong once had a joke glam band with the same name.
“Yeah, everyone’s reminded me of that since,” he laughs. “I actually wrote it after reading somewhere that Nikki Sixx, when he was in high school in Seattle, used to get picked on when he’d dress up and go to high school. They would call him Alice Bowie. And I just kind of related to that.”
So it’s no surprise that many of Mansfield’s favorite artists — including Roxy Music, Mötley Crüe, David Bowie, The Cramps, and upstarts like Starcrawler frontwoman Arrow de Wilde — each have a strong, identifiable sense of style.
“To me, those are the connecting dots,” says Mansfield. “I mean, if you look at Brian Setzer in 1981, with his pink pants and his huge, new-wavey pompadour, that’s not too far off from Starcrawler today.”
But what most draws Mansfield to music is, and always has been, the hooks.
“When I was a little kid — I mean, really little — I would listen to my parents’ albums and 8-tracks,” he recalls. “There was the Rolling Stones, there was The Beatles, there was Elvis, and I loved hearing the repetition of those hooks, the phrasing, and the melodies. Like Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm” and “I Walk the Line” — I haven’t heard those songs in years and years and years — but I still remember all of them. That’s what I hear in all those bands, which is why Abba is still one of my all-time favorite groups, both now and forever. It’s just hard to beat a melody.”