Obituaries

Crazy Town Frontman And “Butterfly” Singer Shifty Shellshock Dies At 49

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  • Seth Binzer, known professionally as Shifty Shellshock, died on June 24 at the age of 49.
  • He was a co-founder of the rap rock group Crazy Town, famous for their song “Butterfly.”
  • Binzer struggled with drug addiction for much of his career.

 

On June 24, Seth Brooks Binzer, who performed under the name Shifty Shellshock, died. He was only 49 years old when he passed away at his home on Monday. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner shared information on his passing but has not shared an official cause of death by time of writing.

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Binzer was a musician known as the co-founder of the rap rock group Crazy Town, who were, in turn, most famous for their 2000 chart-topper “Butterfly.” Throughout much of his career, which formally kicked off in ’92, Binzer struggled with drug addiction, and appeared in multiple iterations of Celebrity Rehab and and Sober House.

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Shifty Shellshock was part of revolutionizing multiple genres of music

The Gift of Game by Crazy Town / Amazon

Seth and Crazy Town co-founder Bret Mazur met in ’92. Together, they started performing, albeit under the name Brimstone Sluggers. They formally adopted the name Crazy Town in 1999 and added Doug Miller, Adam Goldstein, Antonio Lorenzo Valli, James Bradley Jr., and Rust Epique to their lineup.

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By November 1999, Crazy Town introduced the world to their debut album, The Gift of Game. Not long after, the band was supporting the Red Hot Chili Peppers on tour. The following year, Crazy Town cemented their early success with the release of “Butterfly,” The Gift of Game‘s third single.

The track mixed Shifty Shellshock’s signature relaxed rapping with samples from the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Pretty Little Ditty,” an entirely instrumental blend of funk and alternative rock. Thus, the three genres were married in triumphant, chart-topping matrimony.

Rise, fall, and rise again

“Butterfly” flew to new heights around the globe, reaching number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in a row. It received a similarly warm welcome abroad in seven countries, including Austria, Denmark, and Norway. In even more countries, it reached the top 10 on the local music charts, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

Back home, things were not so clean-cut for Shifty Shellshock, who by 2001 was detailing his ongoing struggles with drug addiction. It was a personal battle Binzer was always transparent about, recounting to Rolling Stone his addiction battle, as well as his time in the California Institution for Men following an attempted burglary, using and selling recreational drugs. As recently as 2022, he was arrested for DUI.

Seth Binzer, known as Shifty Shellshock, was a founding member of Crazy Town / ImageCollect

Binzer was one of the nine celebrities featured in VH1’s Celebrity Rehab; he was sober upon entering, but had also brought along some beers that were promptly confiscated. In 2007, he and the other cast members graduated from treatment but he would ultimately relapse and be brought into Celebrity Rehab 2. Before beginning treatment, he attempted to use deception to score one final hit.

In a 2009 episode of Loveline, Dr. Drew delivered a eulogy to his friend and Binzer’s former bandmate Adam Goldstein, along the way mentioning that Shellshock continued struggling addiction after Sober House 1, leading him to pursue participation in Sober House 2. Binzer sent a “distress call” to Dr. Drew, begging for extra help, which Dr. Drew reluctantly agreed to, warning that this would be the final strike. Binzer thanked Dr. Drew for his “tough love.”

Rest in peace, Seth “Shifty Shellshock” Binzer.

Binzer struggled with drug addiction for much of his career

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