By Angelique Campbell / Dayton Daily News

Steven Gullett has been on the scene forever. A veteran local performer, formerly of bands freakstrobe, Love Lies Bleeding and, most recently, the Mystery Addicts, Gullett is best known as the makeup wearin,' glitter Creeper stompin' voice of area punk.

But that perception is slowly changing: Gullett has gone solo, and the only real mystery left is what took so long.

`I've been performing solo for a long time,' Gullett said, and although that is true, his notoriety was for his work as a band member. Now, with the release of Sad Like Marilyn, it seems Gullett is wholeheartedly making the leap to singer-songwriter.

Marilyn is a collection of anti-folk folk songs, a kind of low-light, high-intensity amalgam of resigned joy.
`I like it better than the first one (2002's Cheap Reflections),' Gullett said of Marilyn.

Then he paused and noted with a laugh, `But that should be the case about what you've done last. Otherwise you shouldn't have put it out.'

The man-and-his-guitar recording suits the pared-down songs of Marilyn; the energetic crunch of the Mystery Addicts is still there, but now it lingers in the songs, as opposed to being the driving force.

Songs such as Drunks, Junkies & Thieves and Pressure are definitely not the happy, dip pop hits you hear on the radio. Gullett gives off this completely unexplainable Sinatra vibe; that thing where a certain amount of sorrow tinges everything.

It's most apparent in My Old Friend, a song that is painfully aware of the sorrow of loss from the first: `What hurts the worst to say is you were not the first / There were a couple years where nothing seemed to work.' My Old Friend was written for and about late local music legend and all-around hero Gregg Spence. But even without that knowledge, there is no doubt what this song is saying.

But Gullett isn't a one-man moping machine: Behind that punk-rock pout and glitter bravado hides one of the funniest people I have ever met.

He can turn a phrase like nobody's business; what listeners may not know is that behind his thoughtful, quiet front is a man who admittedly knows too much about Motorhead and pierced his nose because of a very special episode of Blossom . And he breaks into song about every three sentences. (`I'm like a really poor Broadway show,' he said.)

Gullett plans to continue to play solo; he also is looking to form a `three-piece rock 'n' roll band' with another former Addict, drummer Brian Labonte.

His next local solo show is April 24 at Canal Street Tavern. Gullett will be playing with the Folk Punk Tour (Gaddis, Pascal and Wendy Bugatti). For more information on what else he is up to, check out