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The aforementioned Kramer didn't seem to mind such comparisons. After hearing the four's demo tapes, he agreed to join them in the studio for the recording of their first EP, Heart Full of Napalm, on Los Angeles's Alive Records, as well as their followup, 1997's Overdrive. The Cheetahs' relationship with the rock icon has since flourished: Kramer has contributed guitar parts to various discs, produced numerous recordings and taken the group on the road with him as both his opening act and back-up band. So solid has this bond grown that Everett feels comfortable fessing up about the method they used to hook up with Kramer in the first place. "We kind of stalked him," he says. "It was right around the time he was making The Hard Stuff for Epitaph--his re-emergence period, I guess--and he had just moved to L.A. So we basically plotted everything out, thinking, 'Okay, I think he's in between records right now, and we're going into the studio. I wonder if we could get him?' We called Epitaph and left this message." The bassist feigns his best snooty, English-guy accent: "'Please call regarding session work.' And he actually fucking called us back! We couldn't believe it. I still have the message."
The Cheetahs have since collaborated on similar projects with Cherrie Currie of the Runaways ("We basically stalked her, too," Meyer admits) and Deniz Tek of Radio Birdman. And if all goes according to plan, the band also hopes to unite with David Lee Roth in the near future. "He's a totally nice guy," Meyer says, "but he travels a lot. We've talked to him about doing a single together, where maybe we could back him up on a song or something. But at this point, I don't know if it will actually happen. Who knows--maybe if we say it in enough interviews..."
Meyer and company aren't just sitting around waiting for Roth to call; as much as they relish their brushes with idols, they are also eager to keep their sound in the here-and-now. They're currently working on projects with Electric Frankenstein and Norway's Gluecifer and are putting the finishing touches on tracks that will appear on a rash of tribute albums spotlighting Cheap Trick, the Flaming Groovies and Mstley CrYe. As Meyer puts it, "We want to have plenty of our stuff out there circulating around. I don't want people to think we're some oldies band. We want to be able to go on the Warped tour or Ozzfest and bring what we do to the table. We like to pay homage to the people we admire, but we're a young, rockin' band."
Everett seems quite content with the band's accomplishments thus far. "For a band that just started out as an excuse to drink some beer, it's really working out the way it's supposed to. You play music, and it's supposed to be fun. And so far, everything this band has done has been a fucking blast. If we're not playing and having a good time, we're in the studio recording something with one of our heroes or they're joining us on stage.
"I mean, for a lot of people, the names 'the Stooges' and 'the MC5' don't mean shit," he goes on. "They aren't as recognized as someone like the Stones or the Beatles or whoever. But I think that's mainly because a lot of kids don't know they are out there. I think if they heard one of their records, they would totally dig it. People are missing out. That's all I've got to say."
The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, with the GEDS. 9 p.m. Saturday, June 5, 15th Street Tavern, 623 15th Street, $7, 303-572-0822.