Chrome Cranks "S/T" 20th Anniversary LP
Side A: Dark Room, Subway Man, Drag House, Driving Bad, Eight-Track Mind
Side B: No. 1 Girl, Doll In A Dress, Backdoor Maniac, Stuck In A Cave, Lo-End Buzz, Outta My Heart
"The Lower East Side of 1994 wasn’t the Lower East Side of 1976. Or even the one of 1981. But back then, if you squinted hard enough under the pale, hazy streetlamps of Ludlow Street, there were still glimpses of ghosts to be had. Twenty years later, though, you could stand in the exact same spot and squint ’til your eyes were ground to dust and much of what you’d see was the glare of gleaming condos. Of course, ranting against so-called redevelopment, especially in New York, is the redundant errand of fools who no longer fit their leather jackets. In the 1990s, however, there were still vivid fumes lingering from those earlier epochs, stinking things up in all the right ways (piss, subway exhaust) and infusing the neighborhood with all the raw adventure and consummate coolness of certain suburban-Midwestern teenage dreams. Dreams that some of us were determined to bodily inhabit, adding our own voices to the mythic choir. It was William’s idea to move the Chrome Cranks to New York. I thought it was crazy. New York was way too competitive. Better to be, as they say, a big fish in a small pond. But of course that was a joke. There was no audience in Cincinnati for the stuff we wanted to play, and the bass and drums slots in the band—which was more of a concept then, really—were rotating doors of distracted, unreliable, or just plain clueless players. So in late 1992 he left to sublet his sister’s Manhattan apartment, returning to Ohio a few months later to record some tunes and help me move up.Once we were there, things happened fast. Jerry joined on bass, and the demo we’d made in Cincinnati started making a buzz. We found a drummer, Phil Rust, and began playing out. We signed to PCP Entertainment and released the “Eight Track Mind” single and a split EP/picture disc with Foetus (AKA Jim Thirlwell, among other evil guises). We replaced Phil with Charles Hanson and began converting our practice space, Funhouse, into a recording studio. Renovations to Funhouse dragged on longer than planned, though, so we recorded these tracks at Waterworks Studio on West 14th Street. Charlie was a good guy and a fine drummer with a long history (he’d played guitar in New Orleans punk pioneers the Normals), but he was conflicted about being in a band by then and it never really felt like he belonged—a feeling he shared, making his point by bucking our shaggy-haired image and shaving his head just in time for our debut album’s photo shoot. (Well played, sir.) But soon after he was gone and it all worked out for the best: We were lucky enough to snare the amazing Bob Bert and never looked back.
Until now, perhaps. And, since we are, I’m reminded of something someone said to me when I was still in Ohio, frustrated as I tried vainly to get the band going while digging myself an ever-deepening rut: “Dude, there’s a lot of shit building up inside of you. And when it finally all comes out—man, that’s gonna be something to hear.” So this record is the sound of it all coming out, at long last, after many years of festering deep inside. Loud and in your fuckin’ face, with these dirty downtown hands tightening their grip around your ripe, choking throat. The only way it could ever come out. The only way that feels right. -Peter Aaron Hudson, NY, 2015 For Bill Liest. / Hozac