Doctor Who fans, or Whovians to those who know them, are easily some of the most dedicated fans in the nerd universe. So when news hit that a group of 5 talented musicians decided to create an entire musical genre dedicated to the sci-fi classic, it wasn’t really surprising.
Based a long way from Gallifrey in Chicago, Illinois, Time Crash came to be when lead singer/rhythm guitarist Ronen had become so captivated and inspired by the Doctor, his companions, and particularly River Song, that it seemed there was no better way to express it than through song.
“In a very narrow sense, it was the character River Song,” explained lead singer, Ronen Kohn. “I was out with my journal, getting some songwriting done, and I started writing lines about River. It was just for fun, but at the same time I realized that I was so into the show that any song I wrote at the time would somehow allude to a character or a theme out of Who, because there’s so much, so many profound and ridiculous and wonderful things that can be mined out of it. At the time, I was already aware of bands like Chameleon Circuit and Harry and the Potters, who write songs that are openly about their favored fandoms, and I thought: why can’t I do that, too?”
After Ronen became transfixed on the idea of a Doctor Who tribute band, it was time to reach out to friends and fellow musicians. So when a post on Facebook was made to gauge interest, steel guitarist Christopher Rice jumped at the opportunity, “I couldn’t pass up the chance to play in a band with a Time Lord. Yes, Ronen is a Time Lord.” Soon after, the world’s first TRock band had fully formed: Dave Kitsberg — lead guitar, Michael Fye — bass, and Andy Rice — drums. “We travel time and space telling tales of the Doctor, his Companions, and their adventures,” animatedly described Ronen.
Although Chris may have become a fan only in the last few years, he’s become quite versed with all 50-years worth of Doctors, “Honestly, I like whichever Doctor I’m watching at the time, with the exception of Six. Extra love for my first three Doctors, 9/10/11.” Ronen nodded in agreement, “Eleven is my Doctor. I’d seen a couple of episodes before his run started, but The Eleventh Hour is where I fell head-over-heels. As far as Classic Who goes, I recommend the ‘96 movie featuring Eight because it’s absolutely ludicrous. It’s delightful ‘90s kitsch and I love Grace as a Companion.”
After a little less than year of shows and a two-song EP, Time Crash was ready for the next-level: a full-length, studio album. And what could be a more natural fit for an indie, TRock band than KickStarter? Half-way through Time Crash’s KickStarter funding period, Whovians around the world gave their support, turning a Facebook whim into a successful and sustainable reality.
To truly cement the band’s unique stage presence, the band’s own Chris Rice hand-crafted a guiTARDIS specially for Dave Kitsberg. However, in a brainstorming session over KickStarter pledge items, Chris made the one-of-a-kind guiTARDIS a two-of-a-kind. Honestly, this may be the coolest nerd guitar ever made. Hand-made out of a recycled table by Rice Custom Guitars, ”which is me and my dad Rich, with the windows and light painted by Christina Rice,” Chris Rice proudly explained. “Dave has been trying to talk us into building a Dalekulele.”
“The guiTARDIS is the best sounding, best playing guitar I’ve ever owned,” Dave beamed, smiling ear-to-ear. “Chris and Rich at Rice Custom Guitars built this guitar for me and know all of the things I like about guitars and we went over all of the details to make it more than just a flashy block of wood, cut to look like a TARDIS. It’s really something special that I enjoy playing every second I get the chance. I use it exclusively for Time Crash shows, practices, and recordings. In other words, I love it!”
Dave, a seasoned fandom-based band member previously of Arc Impulse [formerly The Spoony Bards], has the exclusive privilege of handling the guiTARDIS. ”I’ve been playing guitar for about 11 years and it’s always been a very important hobby of mine,” Dave humbly explained. “I discovered over the years that there were so many amazing guitars each that boasted unique qualities that I just needed to experience.”
As Time Crash plays their monthly live shows, and most recent Battle of the Bands venture, they’ve introduced a new song with each performance. When asked what their favorite Time Crash song was to play, each member cheerfully perked up, “Metacrisis Man,” answered Ronen. “[It's] a power ballad about the end of Series Four. It’s so cheesy and always fun to perform.” Andy, the band’s drummer, chimed in, “Heart of the Tardis,” one of the band’s most rousing ballads. “It is a dynamically challenging song and always commands a great crowd response.” Dave smiled and replied, “Good Morning.” To which Chris agreed, “I love the vocals, the concept, the harmonic structure, everything.” Dave nodded, “Absolutely a blast to play, and I love how much the whole group makes it unique each time we perform it.”
With the most recent season 7 having come to a close, surely there must be new inspiration for the band’s main lyricist. “The Name of the Doctor, definitely,” Ronen cheerfully responded. “Trenzalore gave us a lot to draw from. What’s so cool about bowties? They’re harder to tie than straight ties, so anyone who can tie one deserves respect. They make a person look smart, and smart is cool. Bill Nye wears one. What more do you need?”
Now that their KickStarter has successfully come to a close, the question on everyone’s mind is: when can we hear the album? “We’ve set an approximate release date of December this year,” responded Ronen. “Of course it would be great if we could finish it earlier!”
In the meantime, you can download Time Crash’s existing 2-song Little Amelia EP off their BandCamp artist page for a whopping $2. Otherwise, if you’re in the Chicagoland area, “There’s a lot coming up in July! We’ll be playing the Semi-Finals of I AM FEST’s Battle of the Bands at the Elbo Room on July 6th, and at the Hard Rock Cafe on July 11th. We’ll also be playing at On the Grind Fest in Northbrook on the 14th.”