The Cryptkeeper Five

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The Cryptkeeper Five
OriginTrenton, New Jersey, United States
GenresRock and roll, punk rock, horror punk[1][2]
Years active1997–Present
Bony Orbit Records
The Black Sneer
Pure White Music
No Balls Records
Say-10 Records
Associated actsBlitzkid
Argyle Goolsby and The Roving Midnight
Mister Monster
The Ramparts Rebel
MembersJohnny Ott
Jimmy Ray
Mikey Groch
Brian Mazzarini
Sean Glonek
Past membersD.T Graves
Nicky Arabatzis
Ceilidh Madigan
Amy Matlack
Scotty Engel
Jack Arnone
J. West
Tristan Bowan
Joey Waladkewics
Frankie Danger
Ed Pratico
Steven Furyk
Mike Herbert
Petey Vul
Matt Noonan
Rob Hunsicker
Andrew Chupik

The Cryptkeeper Five (sometimes referred to as CK5) are an American punk rock/rock and roll[3] band formed in 1997 in Trenton, New Jersey.


Vocalist Johnny Ott, guitarist Jimmy Ray, and drummer D.T. Graves (on and off) have been in CK5 since its 1997 origin, with many different supporting players over the years. The trio played music together in a band called Navalistic Death prior to the Cryptkeeper Five as well.[4] Johnny's first CK5-leaning lyrics were for a song called "Black Death A Go-Go."[5] At the outset, the group were a "straight ahead punk rock band", according to D.T. Their first album, Dear Dr. X... I Wanna be the Creature (1997) not only reflects this musical direction, but also was characterized lyrically by a preoccupation with "B-movies."[4] Although they have evolved since, they have retained a "raw" and unpremeditated approach to music, letting the music flow organically. This attitude is not, again according to D.T., to be confused with being content with "sounding like shit".[6]

The band's name would appear to be a blended reference to the fictional "crypt-kicker five" from the Monster Mash, and the host of EC Comics's Tales From the Crypt. However, vocalist Johnny Ott has stated that this was only a subconscious influence, and that the name was instead a horror rock update of the pop/rock "Fives", such as Dave Clark Five and Jackson Five.[7] Unlike those groups, CK5's name does not refer to the number of band members, which has fluctuated from between 3 and 7 musicians.[8]

CK5 have toured extensively along the US east coast and midwest since their formation,[9] they toured Europe and the UK in 2016, and continue to play frequent dates, internationally, to this day.[10] The current lineup includes Johnny Ott (vocals/ guitar), Jimmy Ray (guitar/ vocals), D.T. Graves (drums/ vocals), Mikey G (bass guitar/ vocals)', and Brian Mazzarini (drums).[11]

The band's music was used in the 2007 movie Welcome to Dreadville II: Red in Dreadville written by Jason Patfield, directed by Michael Schmid and John Bienasz.[12]

On December 13, 2014, CK5 played a benefit at the Brighton Bar for that legendary club's long time booker Jacko Monahan, who was battling necrotizing fasctitis.[13]

Influences and musical style[edit]

In addition to The Ramones and The Misfits, the band counts Bruce Springsteen, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty among its influences.[14]

While other punk rock and horror punk bands have produced a blend of 1950s rock and Ramones/Misfits inspired punk, CK5 are unique for introducing a sax-including Jersey rock element[15] to that mix. Regarding this mix of influences, a writer for Punk Globe Magazine, in reviewing Rise of the Palace Depression/Darker Days, suggested that a comparison to the E Street Band is valid, and that CK5's Doo wop usage is in a more similar vein to Frank Zappa than to Frankie Valli.[16] In a 2002 interview, drummer D. T. Graves said of the music which inspires them: "All the great genres of rock- 50's rock, the girl groups of the 60's, the 70's punk, Jersey shore rock... all tend to rely on the same qualities. They tap into something that makes your heart skip a beat or two, the magical quality." [17]

Their sound has inspired some colorful descriptions. Music journalist-author Gary Wien, who wrote that CK5's music is "most likely like nothing you would expect", described said music thusly: "Roy Orbison singing lead for the Ramones covering John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band".[18] Other commenters have come up with "Elvis does the Monster Mash",[15] and "Jerry Lee Lewis (singing) for the Misfits";[19] a reviewer for punk fanzine Razorcake chose a somewhat more contemporary reference, writing "imagine Danzig fronting Rocket from the Crypt".[20]

The Cryptkeeper Five in Published Books[edit]

Gary Wien, a New Jersey music journalist who specializes in writing about the music of his home state, included the Cryptkeeper Five's 2006 full length The Rise of the Palace Depression ("a tremendously interesting release with a sound completely its own") as one of the top 100 disks of the decade 2001-2010, alongside offerings by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, My Chemical Romance, Fountains of Wayne, and Bouncing Souls, in his book Are You Listening?[21] The CK5 song "Sweet Baby Jane" was likewise listed as the 72nd [22] greatest Garden State offering of the same decade. The book was the product of 6 months of research for Wien, during which time he listened to over 2,200 releases by New Jersey artists.[23]

CK5 were reviewed in the 2009 book Music to Die For by former Melody Maker journalist Mick Mercer, published by Cherry Red Books, as part of that book's sub-titular international "Last Great Underground Scene."[24]

Fitting for a band that has been so inspired by some of its famous alumni, CK5 is one of many bands whose logo can be found represented among the collection of graffiti and stickers on the walls of CBGB in the coffee table book CBGB: Decades of Graffiti by Christopher D. Salyers.[25] The band played the legendary club regularly during the time that both entities were extant.

Press Coverage[edit]

Steppin' Out Magazine/ Jersey Style columnist Josh Davidson has written that CK5 "plays a new brand of rock, drawing from some of its rawest composers like Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran and Joey Ramone.[17] "

Ray Lujan of influential punk rock periodical Maximum Rock n' Roll included CK5's Unbeatable Cry CD as one of his top 10 recent recordings in the March 28, 2012 issue.[26]

Dan Armonaitis of Spartanburg Herald compared the band to The Dictators and Iggy and the Stooges.[8]

A writer for the Trentonian referred to CK5 as "punk-a-billy giants".[27]

Scott Cronick from The Press of Atlantic City opined that "when it comes down to it, there's nothing really ordinary about The Cryptkeeper Five".[28]

Jose Diaz of Ink 19 magazine noted that Johnny Ott has a "Elvis-by-way-of-the Misfits" bearing, and described the band's music as having a "muscular, loud, and fast garage punk sound with rockabilly influences."[29]



Year Title Label Format
1998 Dear Dr. X... I Wanna Be The Creature Deathrock Records CD
1999 Pomade & Switchblades CD
2000 And Their God-Damn Rock N' Roll CD
2002 Trenton Makes the Cryptkeeper Five [30][31] Peephole CD
2005 Pomade, Switchblades, & Their God-Damn Rock N' Roll CD
2006 The Rise of the Palace Depression[20] Bony Orbit CD
2006 Darker Days [32] Bony Orbit CD
2012 The Unbeatable Cry [1][30] Pure White CD
2017 The Stronghold [1][30] Pure White/ Say-10 Records CD Vinyl


Split EPs[edit]

Year Title Label Format Other information
2007 Blitzkid/Cryptkeeper Five, The[33] No Balls Records CD Split with Blitzkid
2013 Split Personalities [33] The Black Sneer 10" LP Split with Blitzkid

Compilation Appearances[edit]

Year Title Label Format Other information
2000 Gothabilly II: Rockin' Necropolis Skully Records CD With the Ghastly Ones and Ghoultown
2003 Kiss This: A Main Man Tribute to Kiss Main Man Records CD with the Donnas
2004 Serving the Best in Rock N' Roll Peephole Records CD With the Groovie Ghoulies and the Queers
2004 This is Horrorpunk, Volume 1 Fiendforce Records CD With Nekromantix and Mad Sin
2006 Where the Rockets Explode Vol 6.6.6 Bony Orbit Records CD With the Dwarves and Leftöver Crack
2010 Most People are Dead I Hate People Records CD With the Chuck Norris Experiment


  1. ^ a b c ‹See Tfd›(in German) Reviews : Cryptkeeper Five / The Unbeatable Cry. Retrieved on 2015-04-23.
  2. ^ Google Translate. Retrieved on 2015-04-23.
  3. ^ Greaser, Graveyard. (2012-02-29) Graveyard Greaser Gang: The Cryptkeeper Five - The Unbeatable Cry. Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ Greaser, Graveyard. (2012-02-18) Graveyard Greaser Gang: Interview with The Cryptkeeper Five 31.07.2009. Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  6. ^ Cryptkeeper Five | Trenton Makes ... The World Takes | Interview. (2010-06-21). Retrieved on 2015-04-23.
  7. ^ Tales from the Shadows of your soul: Rising from the ashes with Cryptkeeper Five. (2007-01-01). Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  8. ^ a b Cryptkeeper Five keeps evolving. Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  9. ^ The Cryptkeeper Five w/ Honah Lee | The Mill | Music. Charleston City Paper. Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  10. ^ The Cryptkeeper Five Tour Dates 2015 - Upcoming The Cryptkeeper Five Concert Dates and Tickets. Bandsintown. Retrieved on 2015-04-23.
  11. ^ The Cryptkeeper Five | New Music And Songs. MTV (2006-10-23). Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  12. ^ Welcome to Dreadville II: Red in Dreadville (Video 2007) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb
  13. ^ The Saint marks a milestone with Jacko Monahan benefit. (2014-11-20). Retrieved on 2015-04-23.
  14. ^ 13 Questions: Johnny of The Cryptkeeper Five. The Death Rattle (2012-09-21). Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  15. ^ a b Welcome to the Elvis Information Network. (2004-09-20). Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b Cryptkeeper Five | Trenton Makes ... The World Takes | Interview. (2010-06-21). Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  18. ^ Wien, Gary (June 10, 2011). Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. Gary Wien. p. 205. ISBN 0983685711.
  19. ^ Cryptkeeper Five | Zac Clark, Rocker Tycoon. Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  20. ^ a b Punk Music Reviews | Cryptkeeper Five, The | The Rise of Palace Depression/ Darker Days. Razorcake (2014-10-19). Retrieved on 2015-04-23.
  21. ^ Wien, Gary (June 10, 2011). Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. Gary Wien. p. 205. ISBN 0983685711.
  22. ^ Wien, Gary (June 10, 2011). Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. Gary Wien. p. 212. ISBN 0983685711.
  23. ^ Jersey Shore Author Says Forget Snooki, New Jersey Is About The Music ::Gary Wien News. (2011-05-29). Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  24. ^ Mercer, Mick (February 1, 2009). Music to Die For: The International Guide to Today's Extreme Music Scene. Cherry Red Books. p. 116. ISBN 190144726X.
  25. ^ Salyers, Christopher (September 28, 2006). CBGB: Decades of Graffiti. Mark Batty Publisher. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0977282759.
  26. ^ MRR (2012-03-28). "Top Tens From MRR #347". Maximum Rock N'Roll. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  27. ^ On the Beat. (2015-03-19). Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  28. ^ Cronick, Scott (2002-09-20). "Music defines tales of the cryptkeeper five". The Press of Atlantic City. page 27.
  29. ^ Diaz, Julio. (2000-08-10) The Independents. Ink 19. Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  30. ^ a b c The Cryptkeeper Five | Discography. AllMusic (2004-05-11). Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  31. ^ Album Profile: The Cryptkeeper Five - the unbeatable cry. Retrieved on 2015-03-23.
  32. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in German) Reviews : Cryptkeeper Five / The Rise Of Palace Depression/Darker Days 2CD. Retrieved on 2015-04-23.
  33. ^ a b Cryptkeeper Five, The Discography at Discogs. Retrieved on 2015-03-23.