Artist of the Month, August 1996
Crumb, a quartet from the San Francisco Bay Area with a sound that sets its own
standard, has just released Romance Is A Slowdance, their major label
debut on Qwest Records.
Neatly sidestepping such ready-made musical descriptions
as grunge, garage, punk and post-modern, crumb's emotional, high-energy
pop sound uses dynamics, structure and momentum to take music back
to the basics to discover something fresh and totally original.
That something is found on Romance Is A Slowdance,
which features twelve crumb originals, produced by Tim O'Heir of
Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh fame. The group counts among its influences
Dinosaur Jr, The Smiths and The Pixies, but there is no doubt, from
the evidence of Romance Is A Slowdance, that what they have come
up with is a sound all their own.
Of course, nothing's ever as simple as it seems. Crumb
is actually a lifelong work-in progress by its two founding members,
guitarist Mark Weinberg and vocalist/lyricist Robby Cronholm. Now
in their early twenties, the pair have been friends since kindergarten.
They grew up in San Francisco, where they still live and began to
write and play together as high school sophomores.
In 1993, they formed Crumb as a duo, playing acoustic
shows on college campuses before adding a bassist and drummer and
returning to the wall sockets for a welcome jolt of electricity.
What followed was the regulation round of bars, coffee
houses and local college radio play, but the group remained virtually
unknown outside a small circle of friends.
That situation didn't last long. Borrowing funds from
their parents, Crumb recorded an independent album titled Happy
Blah in 1994, which was sold at gigs and local record stores. Shortly
thereafter, they recruited bassist Matt Powell, a friend of the
band's original drummer, after their first bassist left the group.
The new line-up began playing shows in L.A. clubs like The Whisky,
Hell's Gate and The Viper Room, practicing all day and writing new
material at night.
In early 1995, the group signed to Qwest Records and
began work on their debut album for the label, with drummers Joey
Waronker (formerly with Beck) and Josh Freese of The Vandals. Shortly
after the album was completed, permanent drummer Bobby Alt joined
H.E.A.R. is happy to honor Crumb as the HEARNET Artist
of the Month. All the members of Crumb have come into the H.E.A.R.
center and had musician's earplugs made and recently played a dynamite
show at the H.E.A.R. benefit. We think that Crumb are great guys
and are a band on their way to the top!