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Tyrants in Therapy

The Tyrants formed after a chance meeting by Michael J and Abbe Kanter in a Hollywood improv acting class.

They cut their teeth in local dives like Madame Wong's, Club 88, and Al's Bar with songs like “3 People Nude Below the Waist” and “In the Shadow of Hitler.”

In 1986, their hi NRG dance track “Too Tuff To Cry” on tiny JDC Records blew up into a club smash from East L.A. to Mexico City. Riding this wave, TIT released a steady stream of 12-inch records on various local independent dance labels.

But they kept their punky edge playing discos one night and rock clubs the next. In the 90s the Tyrants got national pop and urban radio airplay with tracks like "Big Pink House" and "Boy."

But it still wasn't enough. “We had evolved beyond Dance Music,” says AbbeAbbe, the female Tyrant. “After shows, fans were asking where they could buy the new stuff, so it seemed natural to start our own label.”

This new body of work morphed into something they dubbed Punk Cabaret, and the first Emotional Coathanger album “Meet The Tyrants In Therapy” (2000) was a sonic safari packed with crafty samples and rhythms from the 1940s to the present. A gleeful blend of rock, dance, punk, blues, and cabaret, it addressed subjects as diverse as civil rights, suicide, lesbianism, pedophilia, and cake.

After taking a hiatus to create and produce a 26-episode TV series, TIT came roaring back in 2009 with “High Class Trash,” an ambitious 21-cut CD influenced by every kind of music they enjoyed growing up.

It’s The Tyrants’ "Sgt. Pepper," mixing influences like The Kinks, Flying Lizards, Dolly Parton, ABBA, house music, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Giorgio Moroder, the Rolling Stones, Beethoven and klezmer on a single CD.

With the rise of social media, new Dance Music fans around the world discovered the Tyrants' disco catalogue, and clamored for a new club record. So in 2012, they resurrected “Perfect Love,” a romantic song they'd written back in the late 80s.

As the torrent of music continued to flow, TIT returned to the studio in 2015, and began shaping the 14 cut opus that became “Spoken Weird.” Released in the summer of 2019, "It's a jukebox musical on psychedelics," says Tyrant Michael, "It's Pink bringing the pizza and Sonny Bono bringing 'shrooms to Brad Paisley's house."

Drenched in sophistication, tumble dried in absurdity, the Tyrants' live show is a kaleidoscope of social commentary, rock and dance beats, country, New Wave, and a decadent dash of Cabaret. It’s a 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?