The Ballad of The Tyrants in Therapy
Michael J and Abbe Kanter met in an improv acting class in Hollywood. They fell in love, got married, but even this wasn’t enough, so they became The Tyrants in Therapy (www.tyrantsintherapy.com).
Early in the ordinary year that 1984 turned out to be, TIT started gigging in L.A. rock clubs that no longer exist.
The early Tyrants were financed by indulgent music publishers, and recorded songs that were preoccupied with subjects like cowboys, communists, and fascism.
But the world did not embrace their ironic candor, and the Tyrants’ first record, the now classic Detroit electro track 3 People Nude Below the Waist stiffed (despite the B side presence of the now-classic In The Shadow of Hitler).
On a dare, TIT did a dance single. But it too met with wide-ranging indifference.
Then in 1986, the Tyrants hit pay dirt by delivering Too Tuff To Cry to JDC Records, a tiny San Pedro label. The Too Tuff 12-inch caught on big time with the L.A. Latino New Romantic underground and shot TIT into the thick of the national dance music scene, selling upwards of 50,000 units in Southern California and Mexico.
Throughout the 80s, TIT continued to release a steady stream of 12-inch singles on various LA indies and kept up a schizophrenic schedule, playing discos one night and rock clubs the next.
The early 90s brought the Tyrants to another plateau of success, as the slinky grooves of Big Pink House (written with Terry Shaddick of Physical fame) and their cheeky put-down rap Boy received significant airplay on urban pop radio.
The acclaim of the dance world was good, and national radio play was even better, but the Tyrants were still not satisfied, and formed their own label, Emotional Coathanger Records.
Their new songs morphed away from disco into something they dubbed "Punk Cabaret," a freewheeling style that gives full rein to the Tyrants’ multiple personalities
Their first full length CD “Meet The Tyrants In Therapy,” was a sonic safari that uses evocative samples and rhythms dating from the 1940s to the present, seamlessly blending rock, dance, punk, blues and cabaret, and addressing topics like human rights, suicide, lesbianism, pedophilia, and cake.
Great reviews from around the world and international digital penetration were just fine…but it still wasn’t enough for the Tyrants in Therapy.
Since the summer of 2001, they have infiltrated the TV airwaves with their deliciously subversive take on modern society. In a series of shows made for cable television, TIT has funneled their feverish imaginations into a series of high-concept, low-tech confessionals.
In 2006, TIT began posting on video websites including YouTube, Veoh, Ifilm, and Daily Motion. To date they have nearly 1.7 million cumulative views for their sketches and short films on the web. For examples, http://youtube.com/watch?v=o3zzfKEiDNQ, http://www.veoh.com/videos/e123468FTFb3QPC, http://3waywithclotheson.blip.tv/file/382432/#share, http://blip.tv/file/320525
And in 2007, the Tyrants took home the 2007 West Hollywood Public Access Users Choice Award for best Bicycled Series for their show “Meet The Tyrants in Therapy.”
Currently they are at work on a new 18 cut cd, along with writing, producing, and starring in 5 new episodes of “Meet The Tyrants in Therapy.”
For the record, The Tyrant Michael was born in Detroit, grew up in California, and attended university there. He wrote journalism and advertising before surrendering to music as a career.
AbbeAbbe is a native of LA, studied drama at Antioch College and A.C.T., and then acted for stage, movies and TV. She taught her own acting workshop before becoming a Tyrant.
They still gig around in local clubs, where their live show is a kaleidoscope of social commentary, dance beats, a lick or two of kick ass country, a dollop of NewWave, and a decadent dose of cabaret.
All carried off with attitude to burn in a one-of a-kind performance so mind-bending you’ll forget how to get home even if you’re sitting in your own living room.
But what else would you expect from a couple who call themselves the Tyrants in Therapy?