The Crumbs Talk Two Decades of Punk Rock
The Crumbs' Raf Classic.
The Crumbs have been around for almost 20 years in one shape or another.
Fronted by Raf Classic, whose Latin-inflected nasal snarl is widely recognized as one of the best voices in the realm of punk rock 'n' roll, The Crumbs have been relatively quiet since he relocated to Los Angeles a couple of years ago.
For many who grew up in South Florida, Raf and his band defined an era of punk rock. They provided the soundtrack for skating downtown when downtown was a real shithole. And hell, they even skated right along with you!
Now a little older, perhaps not necessarily any wiser, but certainly shaped by so many years in the game, The Crumbs will reunite for a show at Churchill's Pub this weekend. And here's what Classic and crew have to say about two decades of punk rock.
See also: Miami's 20 Best Punk Bands of All Time
An incomplete collection of the Crumbs' recorded catalog.
Photo by Abel Folgar
Crossfade: Raf, how has L.A. been treating you?
Raf Classic: It's been a great time there. The music and art scenes are fantastic with tons of cool venues, bars, and events that draw the very best from all over the world. I ran into filmmaker John Waters at the gravesite of Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone recently. However, there are no pastelitos de guayaba in L.A. That's a big downside.
What are your thoughts concerning the recent sale of Churchill's?
Raf: Man, it's tough to see Churchill's go. My first show there was Die Kreuzen; I was underage back then and had to jump the back fence. So many memories, with some of them immortalized in our song "Down at Churchill's."
From the Dade County Trash album, right?
Raf: Right. The place will definitely be missed.
And this reunion is taking place at a rather opportune time.
Raf: Tono, who lives in Hawaii, just happened to be in Miami the same week I was. It was an opportunity to jam with him, Marcio, and Jose, play Churchill's and ride into the sunset.
Tono, how has it been going in Hawaii?
Tono: We moved to Kailua-Kona, which is the west side of the Big Island, a really pretty place where I'm enjoying the slower pace and the aloha spirit. I miss the 305 like a motherfucker -- family and friends, and Churchill's, of course. But Hawaii has been a good change for my family. It has brought us closer together.
Now you get to jam with your buds.
Tono: Getting together with Raf and Marcio is awesome. I mean, we've been friends for more than 20 years, they are brothers to me. We were gonna get together for a drink and a jam anyways, so what better place to do that than Churchill's? We were all very excited, especially now that Jose will fill up on guitar. I've always had a great admiration for all the musical projects that he has been in. He's a great dude, and it feels right for the four of us to play together for the very first time.
You played bass before Tono, and now you're on guitar. As a long time fan of the band, what does this mean to you?
Jose: They're great. Raf's an amazing songwriter, Emil and Tono are killer bassists, and I learned a lot from watching them play. As far as guitarists go, there has never been a better one than Johnny B in South Florida. When I was 15, I used to watch his fret work and try to copy it when I got home. Marcio's a powerful drummer; he's the soul of the Crumbs!
So they're amazing, how lucky do you feel to be a part of this, Jose?
Jose: When I got involved in music 21 years ago, Chuck Loose and the Crumbs were heroes of mine, they showed me that DIY did not mean crappy. I feel really lucky, but don't tell the band I said that -- I gotta play it cool.
You got it! And Tono, have you been pursuing any musical projects in Hawaii?
Tono: I've been more involved making music with my kids. My son Nathan, who is 19, is pursuing music performance in college. He's a great guitar player, with ranges from classical to punk, jazz and metal. He plays bass, piano, cello, and percussion too! My 12 year old, Nico, plays the French horn, piano, and ukulele. My five year old, Noam, is starting to play piano.
Coño, that's a pretty musical family there!
Tono: You better believe it. I have also started composing and recording again after many years of not doing anything at all. It's all in Spanish and I have no clue as to what I'll do with it afterwards, but I've laid down about 15 songs.
Marcio, what have you been up to since Gator Kicks came out?
Marcio: I've been playing with Blood in the Bathroom, which is a heavy punk rock band, and Perro Negro, which is more in a '60s garage punk vein. Don't forget that aside from this reunion, we also did one in 2011 here at Churchill's and one in 2012 in California.
What's your fondest Churchill's memory?
Marcio: The Crumbs were playing with Nashville Pussy in 1997. And while they were on, the bass player spat out a ball of fire from her mouth. I was standing next to the stage and I had long-ass hair back then. All of a sudden, I started smelling burnt hair! She'd gotten me on the side of my afro.
Like Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial?
Marcio: Hahaha. It was an interesting night. And no, not really. She just got a little bit, but I was scared. My whole head could've caught on fire!
Any plans for releasing old or new Crumbs material?
Raf: I think an opportunity will present itself in the future to release a colored vinyl, downloadable box set of the entire catalog. You know, putting everything under one record label would be the ultimate. As far as new material is concerned, we always worked in the garage all together, so I would need to spend a few months in Miami to get an EP going. It's definitely a possibility.
Of all the labels you've been on, would that work? Who owns your part of the Lookout! Records catalog?
Raf: Lucky for us, we now own the entire catalog of our work, including the early Lookout! stuff, since they have officially folded as a label.
What can people expect from this reunion?
Tono: We look back in time and hold very dear all the experiences we shared together as friends playing in a band. We are Miamians, after all, and we want to express gratitude to all those who've supported us in one way or another through all these years. From Chuck, Emil, Johnny, Toro, Tito, and Joe, we are a big Crumbs family and we want to pay tribute to what the Crumbs have been in the last two decades. So y'all can expect a trip in time to the early days. And who knows, maybe we'll take this reunion to L.A. and even Hawaii. We'll see.
Raf: That and grey, fat, middle-aged fellas! It'll be a fun show. One of the last at Churchill's as we know it, perhaps. So we must tear the place apart, go out with a bang!
Jose: Don't forget all the hits and Schlitz!
Crossfade's Top Blogs
The Crumbs. With Knife Fight, MC-1 (Joe Koontz of Against All Authority, and Riot Agents. Presented by Idle Hands Productions. Saturday, June 21. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at at 9 p.m. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-757-1807 or visit www.churchillspub.com.
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