Spot the Fugazi: Which of These Bands Is Fake?
As if keeping up with today’s bands weren’t hard enough, the Internet has led to the unearthing and documentation of virtually every garage, indie, punk, rockabilly, hardcore, ska, swing, you-name-it-core group that ever made — or even thought about making — a record. There are millions of ’em, and some have names and backstories more interesting than their music. With all of the musical archeology going on, we decided to highlight some of the more outlandish outfits of yore. We also completely invented some, imagining zany combos that never actually existed but totally should have. Think you can tell the fugazies from the genuine articles? Take a stab and tell us which of the following bands is fake.
They say Nirvana spawned a million bands. Crudlunger were No. 942,437. Formed in the suburbs of Olympia, Wash., at the tail end of 1991, this late-to-the-party grunge act landed a deal with Warner Bros. on the strength of their debut single, ‘Scraping By,’ an earnest self-help scream-along rocker not entirely unlike Pearl Jam‘s ‘Alive.’ If singer Chet Barrington looked out of place in his tattered flannels, it may have been because he came to Crudlunger as a 29-year-old journeymen rocker with a rather un-punk resume. The classically trained singer-songwriter had done prog metal, blues rock and even country, and now that America liked the smell of Nirvana’s ‘Teen Spirit,’ he figured he’d copy the scent, sonically speaking.
As Crudlunger’s appearance on this Real or Fake? list suggests, they never became superstars, and the closest they came to breaking big came just after they dropped their 1992 debut, ‘Malaise Sandwich.’ Grunge was a boom era not just for music, but also for coffee, as wannabe Cobains and Vedders across the nation tried to emulate their Pacific Northwest heroes by chugging huge mugs of the of the region’s signature beverage. That explains why Maxwell House licensed Crudlunger’s single ‘Black Heavy’ for what was to have been a grunge-inspired commercial. Unfortunately, company execs caught wind of the fact that Barrington had written the song about drugs — something he’d never actually experienced himself — and canceled the spot. The band broke up in ’93, and Barrington set off in search of new sounds, trying his luck with big-beat techno, ska and nu-metal. –Kenneth Partridge)
Naked Lady Wrestlers
In the early ’80s, the punk-rock scene in San Francisco was one that was knee deep in radical politics and sloganeering. Bands such as the Dead Kennedys, Crucifix and Millions of Dead Cops served up blindingly fast music that shoved a middle finger up at anything and everything that resembled the status quo of Reagan-era America. Somewhere in that sea of spikes, leather jackets and righteous posturing came the Naked Lady Wrestlers, a group of goofy dudes in camo fatigues from the suburbs who decided they were going to rain on the parade of all the political punkers on the scene.
Made up of members sporting names like Bruiser Brownhouse and Buzzsaw Ironbill, the band brought the trash-talking vibe of professional wrestling into the caverns and taverns that hosted punk shows in the city at the time, and were met with heavy disdain. Their initial shows featured more talking than playing with their guitarist Max Volume giving speech after speech stolen from Saturday-morning wrestling. His biggest gripe was slam dancing. “There’s no dancing on my time!” he’d proclaim to the moshing masses. The band produced only a single one-sided flexi-disc back in 1984, but they continue on in one form or another to this day — with less chatter or audience reaction. –Tony Rettman