CRIMECrime - San Francisco Punk

Formed: San Francisco, California, USA

Crime - San Francisco Punk In Prison

Famously self-described as "San Francisco's only rock and roll band", Crime dressed up as cops and made a right old racket with blasts of super primitive, feedback-drenched garage rock. Although they went to some length to distance themselves from it, they were in some ways essential to the L.A.'s underground scene in the late 70s and influenced everyone from Black Flag to Sonic Youth. Their records were not big sellers; maybe because they refused to align themselves with the punk scene and pissed people off, or maybe because they only pressed a thousand copies of each, or maybe because they were more about the "sound" than the "songs".

And as for distancing themselves, here;s what Frankie Fix told Punk magazine in 1977:

There's a lot of bands that want to cash in on the punk scene and get in on the fad, but we're the real punks!

San Francisco's Doomed - UK CD 1991 (Overground/Solar Lodge	- OVER33CD/DOOMED TWO) Page 6

In their original run they never recorded an album, issuing only three singles: Hot Wire My Heart and Frustration are absolutely essential, the latter suggesting that "all you hippies can fade away". A third single (Gangster Funk) was a complete change of direction, a James Chance-esque disco/funk record, believe it or not, with synthesisers, and Fix now calling himself Valentino. It's far from awful; in fact, I love it. Unsurprisingly - given the frosty response to the single - the band split soon after.

Crime - San Francisco Punk

MURDER BY GUITARCrime - San Francisco Punk

Yeah it looks like murder
Yeah it looks like murder
Murder by guitar-one two three
Murder by guitar-in the first degree
Murder by guitar-nasty boys
Murder by guitar-death by noise
Murder by guitar-I'm on the run
Murder by guitar-three to one
Murder by guitar was the only way
Murder by guitar-Aaaaaaayy

Murder by guitar-one two three
Murder by guitar-in the first degree
Murder by guitar-inside your head
Murder by guitar-na-na-na-na-now you're dead

Murder by guitar-murder by guitar-murder by guitar

Right into your heart man

SAN FRANCISCO'S DOOMED

San Francisco's doomed, I need me some fun
San Francisco's doomed, I need me some
San Francisco's doomed, I feel real sick
San Francisco's doomed, I need me some kicks

San Francisco's doomed
San Francisco's doomed
San Francisco's doomed Crime!
San Francisco, is outta tune

Yeah yeah

San Francisco's doomed, just like LA
San Francisco's doomed, all the kids say
San Francisco's doomed, it's all in the air
San Francisco's doomed, and we don't care

San Francisco's doomed
San Francisco's doomed
San Francisco's doomed
San Francisco, is outta tune

 

In spite of their sparse releases, Crime were often in the studio, hence the numerous compilations.

San Francisco's Doomed is the result of two such sessions, with eleven songs from 1978 and nine from 1979. They play with no finesse whatsoever, but amply demonstrate that they are masters of the genre, with chaotic, unhinged guitar work, demented (buried) vocals, and a cool/violent stance. The songs, those on the first session especially, are in themselves pretty weak, but attitude coupled with sloppiness elevates them into something incredible. On the 1979 stuff the band begin betraying their influences - rockabilly ('Rockabilly Drugstore'), Chuck Berry ('Flipout') and funk ('Monkey On Your Back') - and the songs are much stronger, occasionally bordering on tuneful.

Those hungry for more Crime are directed to the bootleg album Hate Us Or Love Us, We Don't Give A Fuck which captures the band in scabrous form on two separate evenings in 1977.

A new Crime was attempted in the early 1990s but lasted long each for what were allegedly some pretty dire shows, caused by advanced age and drugs. Fix, ironically, died a drugs related death in 1996. Nonetheless, Johnny Strike and (third drummer) Hank Rank reactivated Crime in 2007, and they have since released a new album, Exalted Masters.

San Francisco's Doomed - UK CD 1991 (Overground/Solar Lodge	- OVER33CD/DOOMED TWO) Page 5

LINEUP #1 (1976)Crime - Frustration Back

Johnny Strike - vocals, guitar
Frankie Fix - vocals, guitar (RIP 1996)
Ron The Ripper - bass
Ricky Tractor - drums

This lineup recorded Hot Wire My Heart 7" (1976)

LINEUP #2 (1977)

Johnny Strike - vocals, guitar
Frankie Fix - vocals and guitar
Ron The Ripper - bass
Brittley Black - drums

This lineup recorded Frustration 7" (1977)

LINEUP #3 (1977-1978)

Johnny Strike - guitar
Frankie Fix - guitar
Ron The Ripper - bass
Hank Rank - drums

This lineup recorded nothing officially

LINEUP #4 (1979)Crime - Hate Us Or Love Us, We Don't Give A Fuck

Johnny Strike - guitar
Frankie Fix - guitar
Joey D'Kaye - bass
Hank Rank - drums

This lineup recorded nothing officially

LINEUP #5 (1980)

Johnny Strike - guitar
Frankie Fix - guitar
Ron The Ripper - bass
Hank Rank - drums

This lineup recorded nothing officially

LINEUP #5 (1980-1981)

Johnny St. John [Johnny Strike] - voice and guitar
Frankie Valentino [Frankie Fix] - voice and guitar
The Ripper - bass
Brittley Black - drums
Joey D'Kaye - synthesizers

This lineup recorded Gangster Funk 7" (1981)

LINEUP #6 (2007)

Johnny Strike - vocals, guitar
Count Fink - vocals, guitar
Mickey Tractor - bass, backing vocals
Hank Rank - drums

LINER NOTES FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO'S DOOMED CD:

San Francisco's Doomed - UK CD 1991 (Overground/Solar Lodge	- OVER33CD/DOOMED TWO) Page 2San Francisco's Doomed - UK CD 1991 (Overground/Solar Lodge	- OVER33CD/DOOMED TWO) Page 3San Francisco's Doomed - UK CD 1991 (Overground/Solar Lodge	- OVER33CD/DOOMED TWO) Page 4

 

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

Crime - Hot Wire My Heart Crime - Frustration Crime - Gangster Funk Crime - Exalted Masters Crime - Extortion / Suwani
Hot Wire My Heart
(7", 1976)
Frustration (7", 1977) Gangster Funk
(7", 1981)
Exalted Masters
(LP, 2007)
Extortion (7", 2010)

Extraneous Releases

Crime - Hate Us Or Love Us, We Don't Give A Fuch Crime - San Francisco's Doomed Crime - Cadillac Faggot Crime - San Francisco's Still Doomed Crime - Murder By Guitar 1976-1980: The Complete Studio Recordings
Hate Us Or Love Us, We Don't Give A Fuck
(LP, 1990)
San Francisco's Doomed (CD, 1994) Cadillac Faggot
(CD-R, 2003)
San Francisco's Still Doomed (CD, 2004) Murder By Guitar 1976-1980: The Complete Studio Recordings
(LP/CD, 2013)
Crime - Crime        
Crime (7x7"+CD, 2014)        

Bootlegs

Crime - First Blood Crime - Terminal Boredom Crime - San Francisco's First And Only Rock'n'Roll Band Crime - Piss On Your Turntable... All The Stuff Volume One
First Blood (7", 1989) Terminal Boredom
(LP, 1990)
San Francisco's First And Only Rock'n'Roll Band (LP, 1999) Piss On Your Turntable... (CD, 2002) All The Stuff Volume One (CD)

Various Artists

No San Francisco US LP 1980 (Novak): Murder By Guitar / Frustration

Year Of The Rats! US LP 1988 (no label): Hot Wire My Heart / Frustration

Links

CRIME - Unofficial fansite

An oral history of CRIME


 

 

 

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