THE HISTORY OF CRUST
It all began back in 1987 under the shoe dept. of Sears & Robuck Co. in Hancock Shopping Center. I was drumming for a band called Miracle Room when I met John. I had found this old Ampex 1 track tape machine in a college trash can and I rebuilt it upside down so I could do tape loops. The erase head was intentionally disconnected so that the loops would get grainy and dense. John really liked this machine. Jerry and I had been in a band together in 1983 in Waco called the Bontempi Brothers. He showed up, and the 3 of us started making noise. I was running loops and plucking on a spring reverb. Jerry was playing feedback through the Grundig, a 1950's tube tape machine. John was playing feedback with an autoharp pickup and a digital delay. I don't remember who turned on the drum machine, but it had this disco beat playing. The sound was getting intense so we turned on the 4 track recorder. John had this mental attack and asked us to leave while he tracked some vocals. When we returned a hour later, Black Tuesday had been born. I knew 16 beats into what I was hearing that my days with Miracle Room were numbered.
Our first show was at a park in Austin. It was the first of 3 anual events called Noisefest. We had 4 songs and we didn't play any real instruments. It was all tape loops, feedback, spring reverb, drum machine and voices. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
Soon we had expanded our set to about 10 or 15 songs. We got rid of the drum machine and I started playing the drums. We also started using other real instruments such as guitar, bass, and the world famous Casio SK5. We played around Austin as much as we could. I bought an old Dodge van and we were off to Houston and New Orleans. We also started work on our demo tape called "The One On The Left Is Me." Shortly there after, I managed to break my left femur in 3 places skateboarding. This set us back for a couple of months. We returned to playing 2 weeks after I got out of traction. I had to learn to drum sitting down as well as playing in alot of pain.
In December of 1989, we headed out on our
first tour to the west coast in hope of landing a record deal with Alternative
Tentacles, or Boner
This first tour was a near disaster. We were doing the Sacred Heart thang even though the record wasn't even recorded yet. We actually made more money off of our collection plates during the Rev. Art Bankloby's sermon than we got from the Sun Club in Tempe Arizona. The high point of the trip was new years eve at the Covered Wagon in S.F. CA. This was the first time we ever had a packed house (they came to see the Melvins) and they went absolutely nuts. We met Jello and he seemed to like the show. We left him with tape in hand and attempted to go to Portland and Seattle. December is not the time of year to go there. We were sliding through the fog and ice in the mountains when we decided that we'd rather get home alive than die trying to get to the next shows, so we turned around in Weed California.
When we returned home, Kal from the Seemen had been bugging King Coffey about starting his record label. He arranged a meeting with King and us, and Trance Syndicate was born. Sacred Heart of Crust was released on Good Friday 1990. It was a 6 song EP that cost King his life savings, but he had his record label he'd always wanted.
Shortly there after, we assisted in the recording of Love & Napalm Vol. 1, with Ed Hall, Lithium X-mas, & the Pain Teens. We followed up with a full legnth LP called simply "CRUST." The cover was a photo close up of an eye infected with V.D. Spin wouldn't run our ad because it looked too "ickey."
We had gone on a tour of the east coast and
Canada. Many of the events we encountered led to songs such as "Head
Lice" (we thing we got them in Cincinnati but we're not sure), and "Bumble
Bee" (a song about this sailor guy we met in Windsor Canada who had a
tatoo of a bumble bee on the head of his penis).
By 1992 we had dropped the religious thang and tongue boy was the man of the hour. He was born in Houston at the Showbar. It was obvious early in the evening that this was going to be a really small and lame show. John did a disappearing act and showed up just in time for the set. When he returned, his hair was full of mud and he was toting a plastic bag from a grocery store. He didn't tell us what was in the bag. His only instructions were to stretch out Black Tuesday. During this song, he pulled out a cow tongue, stuck it in his mouth and the the first ever tongue dance. He dove off the stage and made a bee line over tables and chairs to this poor unsupecting guy in the back of the club. I'll never forget the look on the man's face when tongue boy attacked, licking him with this huge tongue and forceing him to get up and dance. Tongue boy can't stand it when the audience isn't involved. Of course tongue boy had his bad times too. There was this pretty girl in a white suede coat that was pissed off at the tongueing she got. "It's ruined!" she was screaming. In Dallas after a show, these frat boys started playing catch with the tongue in the street. The police showed up to investigate a meat disturbance, but by this time the tongue was safely atop a canopy of an upscale restaurant while we hid our diapered selves in our van.
Once, at the end of our set, 2 policemen escorted John off the stage and were going to arrest him for being naked, but he had his penis wrapped up with duct tape. It was quite the sight, watching John drop his pants for the cops to prove there was no way that he could have exposed himself. He did not go to jail.
1994 marked the release of Crusty Love. These songs were about the absurd culture we live in, and all the wierd sexual things people do. By this point, people weren't coming to see Crust for the music but for the performance instead. Playing completely naked was common for us now. We'd go through this whole routine of starting out in womens clothes, tossing out propaganda, fake blood, and full nudity. John would paint himself completely black and sew earth worms into his chin. He'd have this living gotee. It was completely out of hand. People would shout GG Allin at us. They'd jump up on stage and knock stuff over. John got stabbed while dancing naked in the audience. It really had gotten out of hand, and our crowds were bigger than they had ever been, but it wasn't much fun any more.
We finally pulled the plug on the lve show as we called it because it was getting too dangerous. Meanwhile, we had this horrible tour of the east coast where the van blew up in Chicago. This black woman asked if we were lost, and I told her we were broken down. She said, and I quote,"OOOOO you better get back in your van and hide!" Repairs broke the bank, and we missed a couple of shows, not to mention we played in Philly on a Friday and in Atlanta the next night. That's a hell of a drive. The spirit was breaking. We played less and less often. We fought in the studio about the next record, which was totally constipated in its creation. By the time it was completed, Trance Syndicate had totally changed thier format and Crust didn't fit in any more.
The last couple of years was pretty much treading
water. We'd play occasionally to pay studio rent etc. We planned on finding
a new label but nobody put fourth any effort in soliciting the band. In 1995,
at the South by Southwest music confrence, we had a huge showcase with over
2000 people. We bought $50.00 worth of day old white bread at 35 cents a loaf.
That's a lot of bread. Right at the very beginning of our set, we began tossing
out the slices and the remainder of the evening was one huge bread war. I
don;t think the other bands really appreciated our little antics, not to mention
the poor souls who had to clean our wake
By the time SXSW 1997 rolled around, things were completely different. Our showcase was tiny, and our performance was drab. We played all of 20 minutes, and quietly left the stage for the last time. Shortly there after, we got ourselves kicked out of our studio. Crust was packed into boxes and officially put away for good.
We've kept the fact that Crust is no more
a secret for many years. Finally Food Eater is available, but only in MP3
format. This is all that remains of Crust. Please don't e-mail me looking
for Crust for sale. I had to buy my personal copy of Crusty Love on E-Bay.
Trance Syndicate is out of business so I don't think there are any records
left anywhere besides Southern Studios UK. They're listed in my links. If
you want to write just to write please feel free, but I must say it again,
I ain't got nothin' for sale.