Cee-Lo Green and Danger Mouse will play Gnarls Barkley songs on Monday at Detroit’s State Theatre. But what they call themselves will be a mystery until showtime.
The duo — whose debut recording as Gnarls Barkley, “St. Elsewhere,” is a Top 5 smash on the Billboard charts — has taken to performing under different names at each of its shows, with costume concepts to match. They’ve played in chef’s outfits as the Sam Cookes, and in spandex as the faux heavy metal band Brushfi re.
“It’s just for kicks, man,” says Cee-Lo (real name Thomas Callaway), 32. “They’re all clones of Gnarls Barkley, different bands that cover the tunes of Gnarls Barkley.
“It adds a little mystique to the thing. People can say, ‘Well, we saw Brushfi re in New York.’ They’ll have their favorite shows and favorite costumes, and they’ll get excited when we come to town ’cause they know it will be something different.”
Cee-Lo, a member of the rap group Goodie Mobb, and Danger Mouse (Brian Burton), who produced Gorillaz’s hit sophomore album “Demon Days,” began working on the Gnarls Barkley project “casually” in 2003 and wrapped it up in late 2004, fi nally releasing “St. Elswhere” in early May. The album has also topped the charts in Great Britain, while the single “Crazy” has become the ubiquitous party anthem of the year and the most popular song for other bands to cover, including three at the past weekend's Lollapalooza festival in Chicago.
It’s a level of success that Cee-Lo says he and Danger Mouse didn’t expect — but are only too happy to experience.
“We thought it was cool,” the rapper notes, “and we don’t think that we’re the only coolly cool people out there. So we thought other cool people would get into it.
“Danger said that he knew that there would be highs and lows associated with the project — he just wasn’t certain how high the highs were gonna be. With that said I do believe it’s surpassed both of our expectations.”
Gnarls Barkley performs at 7:30 p.m. Monday (August 7th) at the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $30. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit
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