Saturday, August 4, 2012

Xan Marcelles of Crooked Fang talks, Are You Afraid?

It's a summer evening in Pinecliffe; and the sun is just setting, leaving the sky alive with vibrant orange and green hues. I'm sitting inside the Pale Rider tavern. Since it's Tuesday they're closed and the bar is filled with silence. I am waiting to interview Xan Marcelles, bassist for Crooked Fang and main character of the book by the same name. Xan has not made an appearance yet, however I am confident he knows I'm here. It's a well-known fact that he detests the Q&A game, so I sit patiently... waiting.

He appears in the doorway—a giant of a guy. DAMN he's tall! I'd forgotten how big he is, but his gait is relaxed and confident. As he crosses the room, he sees me sitting at a table in the corner, and smiles, showing just a hint of fang. A reminder of his vampire nature perhaps, or just recognition of an old friend. Still, I’m not taking any chances.
He sets a bottle of whiskey on the table and folds himself into a chair.

S- (Points at bottle) you gonna share that?

Xan – I suppose I can. Since you so kindly decided to come on down to my neck of the woods. What’s up?

S- For new blog readers, can you give me a Xan Marcelles recap...revamp? Lol

Xan – A recap? Like what, about me? Eh, I’m just a dude. I play bass for a cover band here at Pale Rider called Crooked Fang. There’s rumors that I might be a vampire. Nothing confirmed. Yet.

S- Why an RS? Why not a Chevelle or some other muscle car?

Xan – Well, it just kind of ended up being a lucky buy. Dad bought it off some guy who’d taken it away from his kid because he’d ragged the shit out of it. When we brought it home, we knew we had our work cut out for us. I worked a couple of jobs and rode an old dirt bike while I saved money and we fixed it up together. Why do I still have it? That’s in the book.

S – And why Pinecliffe, Colorado? Where would you live if you had the choice?

Xan – I ended up here because of the band job that gave room and board. Plus, Charlie and I clicked well. Charlie’s the owner of Pale Rider. I’m not really wanting to move just yet, but chances are, I’d head back down to New Mexico or even Arizona.

S – How does Charlie feel about you? Do you think he’s as attached to you as you are to him?

Xan – Hey now. I never said…okay fine. I’ll go with probably. Charlie did a piece in an old newsletter as a winning poll result. Here’s what he said:

Charlie speaks: from 7.3.2011 newsletter

I remember when I bought what I now call Pale Rider, and everybody
looked at me funny. But I ain’t ever been what folks call “normal.” I enjoy
the people comin’ ’round to partake of the drinks and the music. I love
music--most folks do, I’d think. ’Specially the guitar. Man, I couldn’t get
enough of that guitar. I still play her sometimes when I’m feeling blue, but
you ain’t here for that.

Business was slow at first. Got me a couple of locals and not much else.
Things were lookin’ bad for my place ’til I got this big idea of hiring me a
house band. I didn’t have a whole lotta money, ’cause I’d just sunk it into
the bar business, but what I did have was space. Place used to be a vacation
lodge and it had some rooms upstairs. I put me an ad in a couple of big
papers tryin’ to bring in some folks that knew how to jam.

I get a phone call one night from a fella interested in playing for me. He
like the idea of being able to stay there if he like. I tell him come on
down, where you from? He says “out west”. I’m thinkin’ I’m gonna have some
California square up in there. Man, was I wrong.

In come Xan Marcelles. Dark looking dude, all action, not much talk. Long
hair, tattoos and a scowl. He says he can run the band, hire up some
suitable band mates. I say okay. He looked all right, made me feel a little
nervous because he was a big dude, and I mean tall and looking like he is
ready for a rumble any day of the week. That’s how I brought in that boy. I
still call him boy, ’cause even though he’s big in looks, he’s still young
enough to do some stupid shit. You know kids, they know everything. Xan was
no different.

So he say he’s gonna call the band Crooked Fang or some shit. And I was like
“all right man, I’ll give you that. Bring me in some customers now. Make it
happen.” And you know what? He did.

His first pick was some kid named Serv. Never did ask if that was his full
name. By that time I knew Xan was all right ’cause he help some around the
place, movin’ heavy loads and cleanin’ up a storm. This kid Serv come in and
scream his damn fool head off. I say all right then.

Next two come in a pair. Two twenty-somethings, maybe twenty even--Joshua
and Jason. They best friends. Local kids. They come in and Joshua play them
drums like nobody’s business and Jason wailin’ on that Strat. You know, they
all right. We advertise. And business come in left ’n right. Right on.

That Xan though, he’s a troubled sort. Always drunk as a skunk and sulking
at his table with the light bulb pulled out. I say leave well enough alone
’cause he do a good job. He stay out of trouble, for the most part, and the
ladies love him.

Pale Rider is a happy place. A place where people come to have a good time,
listen to that loud music and share a few drinks. I see some first dates
sometime and I smile. I got me a woman now too, her name is Linda. Spanish
girl that sells some houses for a living. She’s a beautiful girl. I
couldn’t be a luckier brother. And that’s about it. You all take care.

S- Wow that's really special. I knew I liked Charlie for a reason. He's made the Pale Rider a great place!
Let’s talk about your bass Sasha for a minute. How long have you had her? How'd she get her name?
And why bass?

Xan – I’ve only had Sasha for a couple of years, about as long as I’ve played for Crooked Fang. I named her Sasha because that’s what she told me her name was, just is what it is, you know? Why bass? Couple of reasons. I like the instrument, I love the chords, and it’s easy work. I’m all about easy.

S- You have some rather “interesting relationships” in the book, what do you look for in a woman?

Xan – Depends on what I’m looking to look for. I don’t do relationships, never have done well with that since, you know…but I guess I really don’t have a type because the girls I’ve messed around with have all looked different. I’m a sucker for strong women, you know, the ones others might call bitches, but I am so turned off by snarky, catty, or bullying types. It’s a fine line. She has to smell good. I like long hair, but again, I’ve ran around with women with short hair so yeah…I don’t really have a definite answer for you there, Syn.

S – Tell us something about Xan, you, that we wouldn’t learn from the book.

Xan – Well, there a lot about me you’re not going learn about in the first book. But there’s a simple stuff that won’t matter.
  1. I’m left-handed but do just about everything right handed except write.
  2. I was in a band with Scott Barrows called RECALL back when we were in school. We were not a good band but liked to pretend we were.
  3. I died the day I had gotten up the courage to ask my girlfriend Jessica to marry me. Her ring was in my pocket.

S- Tell me a little about Carrie Clevenger your writer. What's she like to work with? You guys get along well?

Xan – Carrie…is one-of-a-kind. The kind of person you don’t know whether to choke or hug and she’s got a big heart, only it’s surrounded by electric barbed-wire fence and guarded by a pack of rabid, shaved wolverines with acid indigestion. But she gets me and she hears me.

In the very first version of my story, she fucking killed me! I still give her shit for that.

S- OK lets go for a music lighting round...
Fav song of the moment?
Xan-This second? Soen – Delenda

Fav female fronted band?
Xan-Concrete Blonde I love Johnette’s vox.

Fav male fronted band
Xan-Too many to list, but I’ll throw some names: Danzig, Iron Maiden, Opeth, Type O Negative. Billions.

Fav song you like to sing live?
Xan-I’m not much for singing lead, but I do some background stuff.

Fav video of the moment?
Xan-Oh man. There’s a vid that Slash did with Fergie called “Beautiful” that is hot:

Boxers or briefs?( had to sneak that in there)
Xan- [grins] No comment.

S- So what’s next for Xan?

Xan – Probably more trouble, from the looks of things. Considering who’s stuck with me now and the shit they already got me into, yeah. Trouble with a capital T.
I’m coming back with a new story probably next year if I can get enough non-trouble time to get it down. We’ll see how that pans out but I’ll tell you for sure that I’m not done yet.

I can tell he is becoming bored with the interview process. He pushes the whiskey bottle towards me and lights a cigarette. The interview is officially over, he's made his point. He stands and walks towards the entrance, looking over his shoulder to make sure I follow. We decide to walk out to the lake to talk about something we both love... music. The journalist in me shuts down.

A few hours later after much talk, whiskey and a bit of jamming, I make my way back to my rental car
and turn to wave goodbye to Xan. He stands like a statue on the stairs, only the glowing ember of his cigarette betrays his presence. Xan Marcelles is a vampire yes, but that is only scratching the surface of his enigmatic personality. Read the book. You won't be disappointed.

Crooked Fang is an urban fantasy, first in the Crooked Fang Series, published by Katarr Kanticles (print) and contracted by Lyrical Press (ebook). For more on Xan and Crooked Fang, visit


  1. OH my! Xan is the kind of guy mothers warn their daughters about. You don't want to meet him in a dark alley, but you would be willing to give it a try....:-)Oh, yeah!Awesome post.

  2. Great interview. And yes: Read the Book. Good stuff there. Looking forward to the next one for sure.

    Hey S, didja wonder if Xan took a little drink that you don't remember?